Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Rift Prime

I've been playing Rift Prime for the last month or so.  I originally tried Rift back when first launched, and a lot of what I posted then still applies:

Some things have changed. Rift now has a Dungeon Finder, which makes doing dungeons a lot easier. As well, Rift got rid of spell ranks, which makes leveling much smoother. They also give you several optional "automatic" builds, which you can choose and the game will guide you where the points in the build goes.

Level 20 Eth Ranger in Stonefield
A lot of things are the same as well. Warrior armor is still sketchy, the macro system is still excessive, and that third soul still does not feel quite right. I still think that Rift builds should have been two souls only.

Requires People

Rift is a game which really needs a lot of people. When Invasions pop and there are many groups running around, it's a lot of fun. But as you level, the number of people drop off, and higher level zones are a lot less interesting and lack the same energy that the lower zones have. Rift tries to encourage people to go back to old zones, and there is some level scaling, but it feels less and less effective as you level.

It's also possible that the large wave of people has gone ahead of me and has already reached the level cap.

I kind of wonder if Rift could have worked without instanced dungeons and raids. If everything was in the main world, and better gear and armor were earned through doing rifts and invasions, would that have been better in the end?


Rift's story is really lackluster. It's odd, because it does feel like they put a lot of effort into it. Named NPCs pop up from zone to zone, plotlines generally make sense. It's kind of hard to put a finger on just what is wrong with the story.

I think the main problem are the villains. They're elemental invaders from another plane, as such, they're very faceless, interchangeable, and have very surface-level motivations. They just don't seem to lend themselves to good stories.

I do think there's a few missed opportunities. For example, if you character is a Defiant, you come from a future where the bad guys have won. The major villain then is a sorceress named Alsabeth. However, when go back to the past, Alsabeth is already a villain. I think there's a lot which could have been done if Alsabeth had started as a hero, as you'd be constantly waiting for her to fall.


There is one system in Rift which is best-in-class. That is the game's wardrobe system.

Wardrobe system on my warrior
The wardrobe is simple and intuitive. It is extremely easy to understand and use, but it is also thorough. Every option is available, you can easily show or hide items, choose a new look, or dye gear. You can store many sets (though you have to pay to unlock them).

It's also built into the character pane, so it's always available, which is especially useful when you get a new piece of gear. You can put it on, and fix your looks right away, rather than having to go back to a vendor.

Rift also has armor "sets" for every piece in the game, from the very first pieces you wear. That adds to the whole collection aspect.

If I was making a cosmetic armor system for an MMO, I would use Rift's system as a model.

Final thoughts

I'm probably going to stop playing Rift Prime when my current time runs out. It just hasn't grabbed me. Rift isn't a bad game. It's just a "decent, not great" game. Unfortunately, that really isn't enough in this genre. To survive, I think an MMO has to offer at least one "special" thing, something it does best, and something worth falling in love with, even if other elements are subpar. Sadly, Rift lacks that one unique "special" element.


  1. A lot to agree with here. I knew from the start I'd not keep the pace of the levelling pack, and as a result my interest in the Prime server has dwindled - the game is a lot more fun when zones are busy, much less so when there's barely enough to defeat and invasion.

    I feel like Trion have tried pretty hard to crack these perennial problems, the instant adventure and intrepid adventure systems on live are great, but they also exacerbate the problem in terms of feeling like other players are around you - the more people in the queued content, the fewer you'll see out and about randomly...

    I forced myself to do a pug dungeon run a few days ago as I was already past the optimal level for Iron Tomb, but it was pretty painful. Honestly, I love the game and the character build system, find the world has a lot of unfulfilled potential (I'm a fan of the faith vs technology to save the multiverse backstory), but something is missing.

    I think I'd rather be playing on live to be honest anyway as I still feel more invested in the cleric I've played all these years (sporadically) versus the progression character, it's a shame that the Prime server has dragged so much attention and activity away from the live server(s).

    1. That's an interesting perspective on the impact Prime has on Live. I confess that I was thinking about digging up my old Live character and continuing with that for a bit.

      But maybe Prime will prove to be a boon to Live, as people give Live a try after the subscriptions run out.

  2. That third soul was often a point dump for lack of choice in the first two, or provided some sort of passive/skill gain for minimal investment. Really isn't much different than the early WoW talent trees in that regard.

    I do recall my Cleric had 3 tanking builds, where the first 2 souls were the same, but the last one changed depending on the event. AE, big tank, and self-sustain. But that was a level of min-max that 90% of the playerbase just doesn't care about.

    1. Yeah, my main thought is that two-soul builds would be more "defined" than three, and would be a bit more different from each other.

      Like in your example, instead having three variants of one build for different situations, you might have to have 3 builds which played very differently for each situation.