Since GamesCom starting today, Trion has lifted much of the information embargo on Rift: Planes of Telara. With this lift, Massively’s Brianna Royce has written a very detailed article about her experiences playing the game at Trion’s Gamer’s Day in San Fransisco. She details her newbie experience and a few other places the game designer’s were showing off that day. As a self-admited WOW Fangirl, the article’s author compares Rift and WOW in various different ways.
The article starts off telling us about character creation and the early level experience of an Elementalist remarking about the ease of controlling the Earth Elemental pet.
Pet controls were lined up just like LotRO’s or WoW’s, and my pet was chomping down on mobs with barely any input from me, which is exactly the reason pet classes are so much fun — laziness! The earthie was surprisingly well-animated and put to shame such pets in other games…
Further comparisons were made with Warcraft, especially about the combat animations and feel.
I suffer a strange readjustment period. WoW makes me forget how much clunk there is in gaming. There’s something about WoW’s combat and movement system that’s so smooth; there’s a brilliant, intuitive intersection of animation and effects at play. Most games … just don’t have that. So please understand that I mean it as a high compliment when I say that Rift: Planes of Telara has borrowed many of WoW’s very best assets, including a distinct lack of movement clunk.
A few other game elements are borrowed from other games. Inventory and bags work very much like Warcraft. You use water and food to restore health and mana. There is a “rested” mechanic (you gained rested experience while offline). There is also no ammo for ranged classes.
The author also saw tiered battlegrounds or “Warfronts”.
I saw several lower-level battlegrounds tiered for levels 8-10, 16-20, and 10-19, marked as capture-the-flag events.
The author also mentioned City Raids as well for PVP events.
A much heated debate for every new game is the ability to use addons like Warcraft. If you’re a fan of those you might be a bit disappointed.
I asked Scott Hartsman specifically about Rift’s future insofar as addons and was told that the team is currently planning for basics like resizing, rescaling, transparency, and possibly even skinning, but that we shouldn’t expect full-scale modding at launch.
It appears that we won’t be able to do much to the UI other than fiddle around with what we get in game. This is the biggest disappointment I have for the game so far. I enjoy personalizing my UI.
What’s the biggest thing that Rift brings to the MMORPG genre? Dynamic content. We already know all about Rifts in a general sense. We even got to see some in action at E3. What we didn’t learn about were enemy footholds.
Past the newbie zone, the map widened considerably and became dotted with the multi-colored warning symbols of enemy footholds. These enemy base camps are generated randomly based on zone participation, and can be attacked and subdued for fortune and glory just as Rifts can. In fact, if two opposing footholds spawn too close to each other, they are very likely to begin fighting each other (since the planes are all at war, too). I really loved that I could see the enemy’s position on the large map, as if I were some general plotting out my campaign. But what really got everyone interested was a funny little arrow slicing its way across the map. That arrow, we were told, was the first sign of an enemy invasion. An enemy planar boss and his minions had spawned, and they were steadily marching toward the nearest town, intent on laying waste to my allies. Players could choose to tackle the invading army immediately, or proceed with a bit more strategery — a bit of patience might allow the players to ambush the army while it was busy skirmishing with an enemy foothold along the way. Why not let the other NPCs do some of your dirty work, after all? And all of this is going on amidst normal questing endeavors. On a PvP server, this mechanic could get even more interesting!
Rifts will not just be simple randomly spawning Public Quests. They will interact with each other and the game world. This creates a whole new layer of the game. You won’t be able to ignore the rifts and go on questing when they are attacking the small town your quest NPC lives!
Make sure you read the rest of the article and find out what the author thinks Rift’s chances are in the years to come.