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“Should I Buy RIFT?”: a one year review

Mass Effect 3 mid-game mini review: SO GOOD. I am already melancholy that it has to end soon.


By far and away one of the most common search terms people use to find this site is “rift review” or some variation. That’s true even now, when the game is a year old. I wrote a review of RIFT at its six month anniversary, but the public has spoken and I do love to talk about RIFT, so let’s address this issue again.

Hopefully the following will help you decide: Should I Buy RIFT?

1. Are you tired of WoW-like mechanics?

If you hated WoW, you probably won’t like RIFT. If you liked WoW at some point but got bored of it, you might also be bored of RIFT.

The basic mechanics of RIFT are startlingly similar to WoW. It has the standard action queue system of MMO combat. The interface uses almost identical keybindings. Both games have warzone PvP, raids in multiple group sizes, and daily quests. Both have dwarves and elves and rogues and mages. RIFT certainly brought a few unique ideas to the table — namely, um, rifts — but in general if you are really bored with the basic mechanics of WoW then you will be bored wth the basic mechanics of RIFT.

2. Do you enjoy fluff (non-progression content that is fun or looks good) in your MMOs?

If you enjoy “fluff” content like wardrobes, pets, and achievements, you will probably enjoy RIFT.

Trion has done an admirable job of adding fun content to the game since it launched. There is an elaborate wardrobe system with armor dye and they continually release new costume gear for all levels. There are a handful of major events each year which usually come with amusing new daily quests again for all levels. There is a full achievement system, and collectible artifacts sprinkled around the world. Additionally, RIFT has a number of neat pets and mounts that are obtainable in different ways and suit different occasions, from a pet corgi wearing reindeer antlers to a giant steampunk spider mount.

3. Do you enjoy theorycrafting?

If you like doing your own research and experimenting in MMOs, you will probably enjoy RIFT. If you cannot live without WoW on one monitor and Wowhead on the other, you may be disappointed.

The flexible class talent trees is a bonanza for people who like to fiddle with their characters and play with mechanics. If you want to get into serious progression raiding there are probably optimal setups that you’ll be asked to use, but otherwise it is up to you to find something that you enjoy and that does what you want it to. It is a theorycrafting paradise!

Also, for whatever reason RIFT doesn’t have the same array of online resources as WoW or even SWTOR has available. That means you’ll probably have to discover a unique rotation or where Questgiver X is on your own.

4. Is crafting important to you in MMOs?

If a robust crafting system is an essential element of your MMO experience, you will probably not like RIFT.

Crafting in RIFT feels like an afterthought, much like most big MMOs. It is the standard procedure of selecting a few gathering professions and a few crafting professions, and then AFKing for 20 minutes while you make stuff. If I had to come up with a positive comments about the crafting, it’s that at least some of the level 50 recipes are desired for gearing up new characters.

The Auction House has all the usual features and a nice interface, so if you like playing the markets then RIFT will fit the bill.

5. Are you a casual or hardcore MMO player?

If you are a casual MMO player — casual as in limited in time, not limited by effort — then you will probably like RIFT. If you are interested in hardcore PvP or PvE progression for notoriety, you should play WoW. If you like challenging PvE content, you will likely enjoy RIFT. If you like challenging PvP content, wait for GW2 like everyone else.

There is a ton of drop-in content in RIFT for characters of all levels. You can be just running around and hit a rift or invasion. You can swim over to Shimmersand and join in a crafting rift raid for a while, or keep an eye on General Chat for a daily raid rift or PvP rift. You can do an Instant Adventure (queued group quest), visit Ember Isle at level cap (special quest zone), or run a Chronicle (solo/duo dungons). Additionally, RIFT has the standcard automated LFG dungeons and PvP battlefronts.

I haven’t done the serious progression raids, but I’ve heard that they are challenging and fun. (And Trion has beaten out most of the bugs that drove early raiders crazy.) On a firsthand level I’ve enjoyed the 10-man raids I’ve run, and they are frequently pugged now as well.

So, best case scenario: If you are tired of WoW but not of WoW-like mechanics, enjoy character fluff and theorycrafting but don’t feel too strongly about professions, and are happy with either drop-in or relaxed progression content… my review concludes that you should try RIFT!

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  • Reply
    Michael Martine
    March 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Great comparisons. Another way to approach it: if you mostly liked WoW and you try Rift, you will find a lot of little things, nice little touches, to be very happy about. Things like instantly loot all mobs within range, even while mounted, a customizable interface in addition to mods, mounts at earlier levels, better graphics, zoomable & scrollable world map and fast travel (no flying taxis or boats that take time) to name a few.

    It’s like they made a list of little annoyances from WoW and then systematically eliminated them in Rift.

    Also at high levels Rift gear looks truly bad ass, whereas WoW gear looks like Las Vegas at night, like it’s become a self-caricature.

    Even though I will be playing Tera and GW2, I’ll still keep my Rift subscription going. It’s obvious the Trion folks really care a lot about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it and that goes a long way with me. Their dedication and customer service are exemplary.
    Michael Martine´s last post: A Revealing Look at a Game in Development (and is that a Good Thing?)

    • Reply
      August 19, 2012 at 8:53 am

      I love Rift, but my one negative comment is there are too many (FAR too many) currencies in the game. WoW had it about right, but then there are too many. I get that a level 50 shouldn’t be able to farm content for big money, but at the same time if I farm L50 content and have to go away for a few months, I don’t want to come back and my coin is worthless. That’s what Trion has done time and time again.
      Raids/Dungeons should drop the same loot as Rifts… just in varying amounts, based on the level and complexity of the engagement.
      I currently have 16 differing types of currency and I don’t even have close all of them, lol. My guess there is over 30.

      Hell of an economy.
      BrianB´s last post: RIFT Again: Player and Guild Housing Revealed!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Shit review, the idiot writing it hasn’t even done progression raiding.

    • Reply
      March 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      NO U!

      • Reply
        May 31, 2012 at 3:31 am

        Rift PvE is probebly more hardcore then WoW hardcore.

  • Reply
    July 19, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Thanks for writing this – it’s very useful to see reviews a year out from a release date… too many are done right as it comes out before a company can really get running on all cylinders. Unfortunately, it also sort of confirms why I never picked up Rift in the first place.

    My understanding is that the Rifts, while technically random, are fairly repetative and don’t really have lasting impacts on the game world. Is this a fair assessment?

    I ask because Trion Worlds had a big roll up on Defiance (their new MMO shooter – TV show hybrid with SyFy) at ComicCon. I wrote up some of my impressions on my site. It looks like they may be reusing the Rift-tech to do something similar in Defiance, so I’m trying to get a feel for how that might play out. Thanks again.
    Cavernshark´s last post: Defiance: ComicCon 2012

    • Reply
      July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      You are correct — the rifts don’t permanently change the world in any way. However, when the game originally launched failing to close a rift or turn back an invasion would result in your cities and roads being swarmed by enemies for up to hours at a time. It wasn’t permanent, but it definitely affected one’s game time and served well to drive home the point that we lost.

      They’ve been nerfed now to the point where there isn’t much of an impact on the world at all, though.

  • Reply
    douglas restaurants
    October 29, 2012 at 8:19 am

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