After the NDA, like so many others, I decided to share with yuo my long feedback posting, and perhaps some extra last minutes thoughts. According to the Beta 3 release news, much of our concerns are already being acted upon (specifically, more soul points to work with, so as to try out more combinations, earlier).
Rifts is an enjoyable game. The first 20 levels explored offer a beautifully detailed world with a familiar UI. The systems (from battle to crafting) are not difficult to learn, but have a few tweaks to make them new and fresh. I made 4 toons, three of them seeing the max level of 20. I enjoyed then all, obviously playstyle dicted which over others which I will explain below.
Rifts, as a whole, is a two (three?) faction game. In short, it is nothing brand new (similar to Aion, WoW, War, etc.) but introduces the idea of two public "instances" - invasions and Rifts. These are forces, outside the control of players, that appear on the world and attempt to establish footholds in the area, killing PC and NPC alike (even each other sometimes). They add a level of excitment and danger to what would normall be a constant quest grind to reach a high level.
While much of the game remains hidden, peeks of the many factions, many rewards from factions and rift sealings, and even crafting recipes were good. It is not always worth doing crafting in MMOs, short of a few end level items and to help alts with gear, but it seems to be actually practical here, if not a repeat of other MMOs crafting systems (i am looking at WoW and Aion here). I checked out Alchemy, Runecrafting, and the gathernig skills. Runecrafting is the most difficult, requiring a small army of magical items to crush into fine powder... but you get enough to work with.
The first instance shwoed good balance and fun. Level 20 instances, requiring only so much coordination, but this proved to be a challenge and more importantly, a lot of fun! There is a grand storyline on the Guardian side, which I fear will be ignored as people just push to see the end level content, which, I read, is the general target of the game. Makes sense, but with the endless character customization (see below), I would love to see more of the world. In 20 levels, I still needed two characters to see all the quests (missed a few here and there). There are a lot of great hidden gems all over. I would hate for them to be ignored.
Class system is the key component of this game and something that will cause a huge amount of discussion. Currently, yuo can have 3 souls (read, roles / classes) and mix up their skills, abilities, and talents between them. Do yuo want to go all warlock, spreading DoTs all over or empower your endless undead as the necromancer.. or mix the two somewhat and have a decent amount of both? Do yuo want your pyromancer's fireblasts to be augmented by sacrififical powers of an archon, or do you have no one to group with and simply wish to blast things into piles of ash? In Rifts, not all classes are "traditional". there are Rogue tanks, Mage healers, Cleric .. ok, Clerics heal and do support, but the rest are diverse! (Hoenstly, even how clerics do these things varies all over the place). There are an endless stream of pets possible: Fae, elementals, undead, animals... al in all, you can create a rather expansive character that will not have the same powers as any other Warlock/Archon/Necromancer.. all because you tailored him to playstale over being like "what you have to be".
In the future, it is said you will have up to 8 souls, all tradable to "slot" three at once, allowing vor a grand versatility (PvP, Raids, Solo, etc). We did not get to test this yet, and only having 20 points to delve into 3 classes made it difficult to see the maximun benefit of class mixes / full out talenting. I did both and loved seeng the raw power of each class, and then complimenting them with the suggested powers, as an example Pyromancer does fire damage. Archon talents can augment fire damage. they can also permit increases in endurance, etc. Necrowarlocks can see increases in their death spell damage, etc. It is a good system that will promote many "mine is better than yours" discussions.
Overall I had a blast playing this. Below I will write out my list of suggestions and likes. Overall< i would play this again, if nothing else, because it is a new world to explore and for 20 levels, there was a ton to do! I am eager to see the 11/12's of the map I had not seen yet! (yeash, 20 levels in the first map section. THe place is huge).
Story is great
Graphics are nice
Playstyle is familiar
UI is easily customized
Crafting times (actual crafting items) did not take long
I really enjoyed the rift / invasions sections
Versatiltity in character progression
Cons (Always easier to write about):
Overall, not extremely different experience from other MMORPGs
No RP (this is not the games fault. The community has dropped this. RP servers appear pointless in this case.)
Crafting system is nothing not previously seen.
Rifts, playing something like an Archon, was an excerise in futility. Support characters sufffer here.
Rift rewards were, on occassion, totally random. I am not sure how the "contrbuting system" works, and this maybe intentional, but my DPS classes did MUCH better than any other.
Rifts would overrun EVERYTHING. No wait, this belongs in Pros. I loved their mindless slaughter of NPCs, PCs, and even each other. I could see why others would be upset though when their quest reciever is dead though.
Quests were not at all original (the stories involved were however). Really, would an ascended get involved in some college student's initiation when there is a war going on? How many Saints do you know do someone's homework for them? (Note: I DID love this quest line however)
Quests can be accomplished in Raids. This is a bad idea... even with a distance requirment for conditions to be filled, a group starting out in a raid can easily fill quest conditions quickly... maybe it isn't so bad. I should have to ask the community.
Would like to see:
Auto Raids grouping in Public Instances -- Rifts and Raids. At least the options to do so, so all those "in group" skills have a benefit. Trying to create a raid in the middle of a battle (or when a rift opens) is rather rough.
More story based quests. I loved the mini quest leading to acquiring the souls. Seeing how the quests you do have an impact on the world is enjoyable, else, why bother having a whole world?
I would love to see craftnig have more, player interaction. teh creation of items, not just from already made recipes, but combinations of items with chances of making something better, like critical item successes or taking two runes in rumnecrafting and getting something more than you expect? I am not sure how to adjst here, I will need to think on it more.
A wardrobe for custom looks. Many games have this, so some variety now and I rather like them.
I know game blanace wise it is a nightmare, but differences between the two factions, beyond race. A necromancer Guardian and a Defiant Necromancer really ought to have different skills (or at least different looking pets, for example). The animations, if not the classes over all, ought to be different. Elsewise, the fact they use "tech" means nothing.
Edited, Dec 22nd 2010 5:09pm by Kaasha Lock Thread: one thread please