I spent quite a bit of time playing Rift this weekend, and I have to say I quite like it. I honestly didn’t expect to–the last two non-WoW MMOs I tried (Aion and Age of Conan) both fell completely flat for me, and I didn’t last longer than an hour in either one. But my friend and former WoW guildie has gone for it in a big way, so I picked up the game and gave it a try.
It’s a lot like WoW in gameplay, which to me is a big plus. I don’t really have the time or the desire to learn a whole new MMO gameplay system. If you play WoW already, Rift will feel very familiar–the same action bars, many of the default keybindings are the same, the loot is similar (down to the color-coded rarity and the names of things (like “<mumble> of the Berserker” and such). So stepping in and getting started is very easy.
After a weekend of play my character (a warrior who’s focusing on the Reaver soul) is level 17. He has a horse mount and has done a bunch of quests and rift-sealing (I can see how the whole rift-sealing thing could get old after awhile, but since there’s a small chance of getting a decent reward from it, it’s worth going to a rift if one pops up near you). I haven’t tried an instance yet–I’m about the level now where I can do that, so I may give it a shot in the next few days.
The look is a lot different from WoW–at first I didn’t like it as much, but now I find when I go back to WoW that it takes me a short time to get used to the cartooniness of it after the more realistic Rift models. I wouldn’t say it’s better or worse–just different. And the world is beautiful.
One silly thing I do like a lot about Rift–armor dyes. I’ve never played a game with them before, so it was a new thing–I was quite pleased when I dyed my chestpiece blue and suddenly this boring looking piece of armor really looked nice! I don’t plan to do it a lot on low level stuff, but when I get better gear I’m looking forward to customizing it so I don’t look like every other warrior on the server.
I’m getting a little disillusioned with WoW right now, to be honest. We’ve had attendance problems in our raid group (which I think might be fixed now–I hope so) so we haven’t made the progression I’d like to have made at this point in the game. I love my guild but they seem fragmented, everybody off doing their own little 10 man thing and not really communicating as much anymore. Much as I hate to say it, I think Blizzard might have dropped the ball a bit by making the 10 and 25 man raids share lockouts and have the same level loot. I don’t see myself leaving WoW anytime soon (I’ve got way too much time invested in it, plus I have friends there and I love my two mains) but if Rift continues to be as much fun into endgame and continues to get solid support, the possibility exists that down the road I might gravitate toward spending a lot more time there than I do in WoW.