I concentrated on my main character this week, refining and exploring as much of the world as possible, to give you, the reader, a real flavour of what to expect.
Upon entering the past, I was directed by several people to assist with the ongoing assault between the Defiant and Guardians, the 2 factions in Rift. The story is a consistent part of the game, serving as a means of directing you further through the zones and explaining the context of your actions. The quests themselves are standard fare: kill this, collect that, speak to X. These repeat quite often, but the variety in creatures and their abilities does at least alleviate some of the repetition.
I picked my professions: Butchery and Outfitting, allowing me to make my own cloth and leather armour. This openness between armour classes is quite nice, as it allows you to use a larger number of resources, and therefore level your skills more appropriately. I have been using nearly all my resources without having to back track for more in order to access higher recipes, and my character has been keeping up to speed with my atrocious fashion sense.
Rifts are the key factor differentiating Rift from other MMO titles. At any point, anywhere in the world, a portal or ‘Rift’, will open up and spawn several monsters and alter the landscape that players must kill over 5 stages of increasing difficulty to close. These return unique rewards, and serve as a great distraction from questing and provide great xp points and gear. So far, Rift-chasing has been the most exciting part of the game, allowing players to join on the fly, and be rewarded based on the contribution they make.
So far, so good. Rifts were being closed, I was levelling and getting loot as normal, everything was fine.
Then, a horn sounded and I was informed, “The ancients have awoken from the deep and are invading Freemarch!” This was new. This, was an invasion.
When a rift remains open for too long, monsters will start spawning and attempting to take over nearby settlements. If they succeed, footholds are established, spawning more monsters and they need to be destroyed if players wish to obtain quests, heal etc. If BOTH these things go unnoticed, then an invasion triggers. Rifts will open up across the entire zone, continuing to spew creatures into the world, whose sole purpose is to kill you, eat you, and conquer your towns. They are levelled based on the average level of the quests offered in the area, so all mobs can be handled by any players that are likely to be present there. This is a hugely entertaining part of the game, requiring real teamwork and providing a huge sense of accomplishment when completed. A real moment came for me when I headed off an invasion group of undead, sabotaged the road they were walking down and took them out one by one. The only issue I can see, is that if this happens constantly, the drama and urgency could be subdued somewhat, turning an exciting element into nothing but routine. (NOTE: This is STILL awesome at level 35)
The Iron Tomb, the first instance was a rather rushed but otherwise standard dungeon fare. Run in, kill things, ask questions about how to kill the boss, not get a single item for rogue class, (an element prevalent amongst all MMORPGS it would seem) have fun. It was enjoyable, easy to find a group to tag along with, and would be a fantastic way to spend an evening with mates.
I didn’t quite do James Bond, I discovered something far more….. Marvel.