Friday, 23 November 2012

News from Dusken and Brevane

More then a week as gone since Rift's Storm Legion came out (which is the thing I'm playing nowadays). What do I think about it?

As expected, I'm having a great time playing it. I guess, first, because it's new content, people always like it at first, and only after a while some will start complaining about it. In any case, I find this expansion to be a great addition to an already fun Rift. Sure it has some flaws but I will come to it soon.

First and foremost, since I like exploring, I find the new zones to be awesome in quality and size. One of my main complaints about Rift, was how small the world was. Compared with some titles I played, like let's say World of Warcraft (WoW), it felt smaller then a single continent of WoW. I guess Trion heard the complaints and decided to make the new zones quite massive. This is great for explorers like me. 

Another good thing is that Rift seems to be walking away from the standard game-play in mmorpg, where we have a city or camp with npc's that give a number of quests, then we go out do them and come back for more. On Storm Legion although we still have a few of these, it's a lot less common. Most quests, players will just grab the quest at spot while doing something else, complete it and get the reward at spot with no need to luck for any other npc. Makes progression on maps a bit more fluid. Sometimes I feel annoyed when an npc gives me a quest, I finish and deliver it back at him and then he gives me a second one to the same spot...

As with Ember Island, players will find in Storm Legion, the Onslaught quests, which is basically defend a camp from waves of planar creatures. This is not new to Storm Legion but it's always a refreshing change from questing. I've seen raids of players grinding these just for faster experience I think.

A new addition, and I talked about this before, are the Carnage quests. Carnage quests are nothing short of a grind quest... Basically every type of mob in Storm Legion will open a Carnage quest, and after that, players will have to kill a certain number of creatures of the same type to complete it. Some don't really like it, I find it ok, but it's nothing special. The good thing, is that each Carnage quest complete, will give players 2 tokens that can be used to trade for gear.

Carnage Quests
Every zone has one or more different zone event. This is another great thing, one that makes Rift a bit different from, let's say again World of Warcraft. These events (plus all the Rifts around the game world), makes me feel the game more. I think if it wasn't for these, the game would be yet another game of rushing to cap level for typical raid and dungeons. But with these events, at least for me makes me want to run around the world looking for something new and fun. I think this is the main selling point for Rift and this should be where Trion should concentrate efforts (not despising the rest of course).

Dungeons. I only did two of them. One was available pre-launch, Exodus of the Storm Queen. Felt challenging enough, but then again, I was placed with a group of raiders, so I guess it makes things a bit easier. The dungeon, followed the plot of the expansion, with typical fights. Nothing flashy, was OK  The other one, Storm Breaker Protocol, did surprised me. Half of the dungeon is done on the controls of this Asian manga or whatever type Mech, clearing mobs or bosses. The boss fights as a Mech are quite interesting and I liked this change. The second half of the dungeon was normal but still OK  There was a stage where we had to place some mechanisms to spawn mines to kill big waves of enemies. Overall it was a fun dungeon, just a bit long.

Dimensions or housing for some, is a great addition to Rift. Although I like it, I'm really bad at housing and I rarely put much effort on it, but I like this and I'm glad Trion went this way. From what I've seen, creative players can do some impressive work out of this with the tools Trion gave. Heck, even create a house from bottom to top, since every item can be crafted/purchased (even blocks of wall and such). This is probably the most complete housing model I know. Respect to Everquest 2 or Star Wars Galaxies, but I think Rift does it better.

Crafting it's about the same as before, just higher level with more recipes and new quests. This is not Rift forte. It's ok, I like it but it's far from crafting on Vanguard, Everquest 2 or the new dead Star Wars Galaxies.

Oh and let's not forget the new Hunt Rifts. I've did a few last week, but it's been like a few days that I haven't touched any. These Hunt Rifts, are a new breed of Rifts. As I talked before about it, the main difference of these Rifts, is that the player is put in a position of defending a certain object from destruction until finally the Rift boss is summoned and killed. While other Rifts would be based on us attacking it, these types of Rifts resolves on us defending it until the final boss. I don't know much about it but will explore it eventually.

But there a few things I complain about Rift. First off performance. Sure I don't have a great pc but still think the game is a bit un-optimized. I have to lower details a bit to make it bearable but whenever I'm in a big event, things get way too laggy
Secondly, and this is problem I already complained about in World of Warcraft, is the fact that with new cap level, and new gear, the old content is like forgotten. I mean, didn't developers lost time developing content for players and all of the sudden it becomes crap? Just because we have higher level stuff doesn't mean we couldn't use the lower level stuff. For once, make gear progression not so extreme. I spent like 1000 tokens from Rifts events on a mage staff (believe me that's a few weeks work) and after a few quests it got replaced with a low quality type staff (better stats, but it's green and not purple! :p). It might annoy some people. Also all those raids and dungeons will be forgotten and that's a shame. Couldn't they at least scale the dungeons up to 60? I just think it's so much work going to waste...
Another problem, I think with Storm Legion, leveling from 1 to 50, will become a chore and many will complain. One because, there won't be many players around and secondly knowing how well the game flows in Storm Legion, going back to the old system of quest hubs will become boring. Not to mention a problem that I also dislike is the lack of different starting zones. It's OK to create your first Guardian or Defiant but a second time it just becomes, well, boring. I think Trion could do a effort and throw out new zones, and get a way of making leveling more diverse then the current one path there is. This problem is old in my eyes and will only get worse with this expansion.

Overall, after a bit more then a week, I can say I'm enjoying this expansion, my expectations were high and so far it didn't failed on me. I've read somewhere it's expected to have content already released for Rift this next month of December but I don't know if this is true or not. Maybe it's the Christmas event people are talking about. Will post more in a near future. Until then happy mmo gaming!

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