Two topics in one post; it’s a delicious blog sandwich!
Firstly, I recently decided to take a few days off from WoW and give the free trial of the much-hyped new MMO, Rift: Planes of Telara, a whirl.
I was immediately struck by the fact that, in terms of gameplay, the game is virtually identical to WoW. The similarity is frankly absurd at times. I won’t quite go so far as to use the term “rip off,” but… I can’t think of a way to finish that sentence.
There are only two substantive differences between WoW and Rift. One is the class system, which allows you to build your own class by choosing one of four broad “callings” and then smashing together different subclasses. This system is both a blessing and a curse. The opportunities for customization seem virtually endless, and many of the potential classes are very, very fun, but it’s also incredibly complex and overwhelming, even for an experienced gamer like me. This is made worse by the fact all this complexity is hurled your way before you even hit level five; I’d much prefer it if you chose your subclasses slowly over time. I can only imagine how lost a total newbie to MMOs would be.
The other difference is the Rifts themselves, which create a dynamic world in which rampaging hordes of demons can come out of nowhere and sack your town. This, too, is a double-edged sword. It creates for a much more dynamic and interesting world than WoW, and it allows for some genuinely epic and fun times, but it can also be very inconvenient to have a small army of elites appear between you and your objective, and I see this as a gimmick that could get old fast. The Rifts are not solo friendly from what I’ve seen, so once the player base matures and low level zones become underpopulated, I imagine newbies will be screwed pretty badly. Though to be fair, I only played for a few days, and there may be some failsafe to prevent this I’m not aware of.
Rift is, on the whole, a pretty good game, but one thing prevented me from getting into it: it has no character. Love it or hate it, no one can argue that WoW is a game oozing its own unique style and personality. On the other hand, everything about Rift feels generic–the artwork, the world, the story, the characters. I felt like I should have liked it, but I got bored very fast and have already gone back to the lush, cartoonish pastures of Azeroth. I’m sure a lot of people will love Rift, but it isn’t for me.
If anyone else out there has given Rift a try, please comment. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.
Now, onto the latest episode of Sanctuary. “Out of the Blue” is, frankly, not an episode that inspires a lot of commentary. It was neither good nor bad. Merely predictable and ordinary.
Like the past episode, it is a very generic concept–Magnus and Will* are stuck in a hallucinogenic fantasy world a la the Matrix and several dozen episodes of Stargate and Star Trek. It’s well told, but feels exactly like every other version of this story I’ve ever seen. The only real spike of drama was their ultimate plan for escaping, which I won’t spoil but was pretty cool–at least in my opinion.
*(Why is it always Magnus and Will? Couldn’t something horrible happen to Magnus and Henry for a change? Should be careful what I wish for; I might get another Kate-heavy episode. *Shiver.*)
What is exciting, however, is the ad for the upcoming season finale, which featured both John “Jack the Ripper” Druitt and the show’s best villain to date: Adam Worth, AKA Dr. Jekyll. Those two (or three, if you count both of Adam’s personalities) can only mean awesomeness is approaching. If Tesla shows up, too, I might just have to hug someone.
Want to give Rift a go? Feeling ready to catch up on Sanctuary? Pick them up on my Amazon affiliate.