Matt "Typically" Drega's impressions of the RIFT: Storm Legion's Dimensions and how they stack up.
Dimensions are the intriguing take on player housing that TRION has added with their RIFT: Storm Legion expansion. Housing has been a hot topic of discussion for various MMOs with opinions swinging widely to either side of the argument, and I was more than a little curious as to how the concept would be adressed in RIFT. I finally had a chance to sit down and take a look at their system earlier this week and have some thoughts to share on my experience.
Sometimes the hardest shoes to fill as you embark on a journey are your own. This is the distinct impression that washed over me as I loaded up the RIFT: Storm Legion expansion for the first time. The familiar music that I hadn't heard in months greeted me as my level 50 Rogue waited for me to take up the mantle of an old life. It is a surprisingly daunting task to step back into a living world like Telara that has been evolving and pick up where you left off. Every time I experience this it brings a moment of pure excitement because everything is different, but then I have to pause because everything is different.
Standing once again on the hallowed ground of Sanctum with only a nebulous idea of what was ahead of me I stopped to look around and hopefully find the neon sign telling me that “here lies NEW stuff.” No sign found I took quick stock of my new soul, the introductory quest helpfully mailed to me, a general babble of nonsensical new terms in level 50-59, and had to spend a minute scratching my head. Thankfully the game makes it easy to pick up old macros and key binds, both things that I hate having to redo constantly in other games, but that left me with figuring out builds, either Purposes or pure buildcrafting, before I could even dive into the new content.
As our incomparable Gareth “Gazimoff” Harmer laid out in his first impressions article, RIFT has seen many changes over its year plus life span and as such the list of things to get adjusted to is long indeed. Realizing that finding my way to the new continents and the journey to 60 wasn't going to be as clear cut as I had first hoped, I decided it was time to find a place to hang my hat while I lazed around looking at builds. It was time to explore the Dimensions that I had heard so much about from the buildup to launch.
The Keys to the Castle
Before I could start carving out a chunk of the planes to suit my whims I had to find the front door so to speak. A little scrounging for info led me to an npc just outside of of Argent Glade named Toia Hejme who could give me a key and a little starter quest to talk to her brother who was trapped in a blue lidded amphora which, conveniently, could only be placed within a dimension. I happily accepted this chance for some free items to test and place in my new home.
Using the key provided to me I loaded into the tiny little nook that is Sanguine Shores. Running around to test my boundaries first I quickly had a Cabin in the Woods encounter as I ran into glowing walls a few yards away from the little shrine that is the focal point of the dimension. Accepting that the starter dimension was going to be little more than a closet I dropped the amphora in the world, completed the quest, and turned my attention to learning the UI.
The tools provided by the Dimensions UI are simple and fairly intuitive. There is a mode for xyz movement, rotation on three axes, moderate scaling, and free move. Exposure to games like the SIMS helped familiarize me with these tools, but even without that prior knowledge each mode is clearly marked and works logically. I am confident that a small amount of experimentation will have anyone feeling confident in building their new abode.
Looking further through the Dimensions menu at the options I was pleased to find that they had included robust permissions options. You can restrict yourself to private use only or allow access to friends, guild, and public to enter, move, place, or take items. Eager to have a look at what others had done with their dimensions I joined the most popular publicly available one on the list and commenced exploring. Rather than build a structure right on the ground level of this dimension the owner had instead built far up into the sky with an impressive array of ramps and independent rooms. This look at the varied things I could do with my materials soon had me back in my own Dimension raring to go.
Building the Dream
Placing down the items provided to me from the quest left me feeling a bit disgruntled with little more than a table and a chair to call my own. I decided that it was time to see what my meager sums of money could buy from the vendor and found one in Sanctum that sold some basic goods. After pining for the 200 platinum key to Faen's Retreat I bought a few adornments like bottles and books to brighten up the place and some large amounts of basic building materials to actually make a place to brighten up.
Diving in with gusto I soon met with an obstacle I had not expected and that was the item limit of the dimension. Each item from a small tile to a large table takes up one available space making balancing intricacy of detail and economy a difficult task. I was able to expand the building limit a couple of times with ever increasing sums of platinum which allowed me to place most of what I wanted. After expanding as much as I could afford I soon had the simple tile floor and table that would account for my first living space made in RIFT.
The House of Tomorrow
Overall I have to say that I am pleased with the Dimensions as the RIFT take on housing. While simple in execution they hold potential to become an engrossing project for anyone to undertake in their spare time. They add a constructive element and a level of personal and social investment that is valuable to all types of players. Those feeling lost can have a room for contemplation, friends can have a place to share, and intricate buildings can be shown off to the tune of public praise. Telara can now be more than a connected string of rifts and raids but also a virtual home, which is a concept that has been dwindling in many modern MMOs.
Dimensions also hold the potential to be a phenomenal money sink over time both in and out of game. I can only hope that the SIMS influence doesn't eventually extend to the idea of a large catalog of real money transactions for decorations. At least there is no need to worry about Creepers invading your space and wrecking up the place other than the ones public permissions can let in.