by Andrew Hallam
reviewed on PC
A New Challenger Appears...
MMORPG Behemoth World of Warcraft has ruled the genre since its inception in November 2004, riding on the success and fan base created by the immensely popular Warcraft series before it. And yet, after almost 7 years at the top, surely it's time for a new champion? Many have tried to take its place and none have even come close to succeeding. However, this has not deterred Trion Worlds from being the latest to try. Rift is what they're bringing to the table and from recent advertisements for the game directly referencing Warcraft's world, stating “We're not in Azeroth anymore”, its clear that Trion Worlds plan to go head to head with WoW for the title of MMO Champion.
So what exactly is Rift? Well, imagine everything that has come out of MMORPGs in recent years, public quests, world events and so on, put them all in a blender and throw in a few unique ideas of your own such as global NPC invasions, shifting territory control and one of the best class system's seen in recent years and you'll get Rift. Not only that, but Rift adds a story that is mildly entertaining and interesting compared to Warcraft's 'click quest giver, automatically accept quest and don't care why'. In a nut shell, some bad people, namely Regulos, the god of death, have opened interdimensional rifts to different worlds, causing all sorts of nasty beasties to pour out and cause trouble for everyone.
The two factions within the game comprise of the Guardians, Humans, High Elves and Dwarves resurrected by the gods of Telara, the main world within Rift, and sent back to fight Regulos after they had died some unknown time before against Regulos' armies. Defiants, seen as enemies of the Guardians, are a bunch of Humans, Dark Elves and Half-Giants who have forsaken the gods of Telara and put their trust in technology to defeat Regulos. It's not overly clear why the Defiants and Guardians are at each other's throats instead of joining forces against Regulos, but it seems to be down to the Defiant's calling on the aid of dragons, who are seen as quite possibly the most evil things in the universe, to help destroy Regulos and that didn't work out well for anyone. Essentially, you have four waring factions, Defiants, Guardians, Regulos' undead forces and Dragons who are just out to mess everything up.
Surprisingly, the introductory questline is pretty fun for the two factions. Guardians start out by being resurrected and brought to a sanctuary by some kind of warrior angel. Your character then proceeds to march against the forces of Regulos with an army of Guardians. Pretty impressive for an introductory questline. Defiants, on the other hand, have the strangest starting questline. Defiant players are brought back to life through a mixture of magic and technology. They start in the far future as the war with Regulos has decimated Talara and the remnant of the Defiants are hiding in underground bunkers, fighting for their lives against the undead hordes. Defiants must fight their way through the hordes and help activate the Defiant's time machine in order to go back and change the past.
Interdimensional Bad Guys
And so begins Rift. You are then thrust out into the world to stop Regulos in your own way, be it by helping the gods or using technology. Rift features a beautiful and diverse world much like Azeroth, except without the cartoony graphics. However, one of Rift's main features is, while annoying, also what makes it the most interesting. Throughout the world of Talara, rifts to different worlds open up in random places, causing all sorts of headaches for players and friendly NPCs alike.
A true Warcraft beater. Intuitive additions to standard formula
Some minor bugs. Quests a slight let down