While I love SW:TOR, while I love guild wars–the game that has always held my heart the most has been Star Wars: Galaxies. Never before has a game allowed me to play a completely non-combatant, socially driven character relying on interaction in order to survive. Outside of (and perhaps equal to) EQ II has there really been a game that has offered the same sort of character home customizing and decorating. The game catered to and pandered to people who liked a challenge (Pre CU and NGE to be specific) and who wanted to make their mark–however small or large–on the game.
SW:G was the first game that showed me how amazing a game community can be. And SW:G keeps calling me back.
Thanks to the SWGEmu project (Star Wars: Galaxies Emulator), I have had as well as enjoyed coming back to the pre-CU and pre-NGE game I loved and remembered. It was quite a damn trip remembering how to do some basic things. The game is not for WoW gaming mentality. If you want results and you want them quick…you’ll be disappointed. There is no such thing as quests; welcome to a sandbox game. Tailored clothing, player housing, player vehicles with work being done by hand and by scratch to bring the features and additions we all adored back to the game.
I’ve been following for several years. First as LittleSparrows, where I logged in when they had one planet and a blue frog. I drifted away and lost my log in and pass, replacing it later with my usual handle elf_fu. I’ve been playing a pink twi’lek there named Ameria’ for a bit.
Large crowd gathers outside of Theed Starport hearing rumors of the Royal guard’s restlessness.
The community is the same and yet different. There is a lot of the same sense of helping, but also a lot of the sense of a lot of players doing their own thing by themselves. Of course, the release of GW2 also scattered
the community a little bit too. Yet it’s the same game I fell in love with. The same game I adore. I have a guild there, it’s an RP guild and a city. It’s been fun to be back.I sometimes wish when I play newer MMO’s that they would give a nod to what worked here in SW:G, the total non-combat classes, the merchant system, the player homes and decorating–I think that a lot of the MMORPG’s out there today would be able to appeal to an even larger audience than usual. The one MMORPG in the works that reminds me a lot of SW:G is The Repopulation, which I am very, very, very much hoping to be able to beta test and play.
SWGEmu just fills a lot of the holes I think are missing in the MMORPG’s that have come out recently. It’s a hankering to come home to a place that catered to the imagination and asked its players to explore and do on their own, without being hand held or directed. It’s…a long, long time ago, in a game galaxy far away that keeps drawing me back.
Tera online is a fantasy-ish MMORPG in beta, with no NDA restrictions currently even though it’s still in closed beta. This weekend I had the chance to try Tera Online.
The best I can do to sum up my experiences (and forgive me, those of you who have me added to your Facebook or Google+, as this will be a repeat performance) is: overtly sexualized child characters, jiggly tits, and Aion with a different UI and slight difference in combat.
I played roughly an hour, hour and a half. I played my first character, an Elin–whom I originally thought cute (one of the child-sized immortal characters)–and got her to level 4. That’s right. Level 4. It was a massive struggle to even play that long and level her that much. The game to me seems like such a blatant rip off of Aion (with some reminders of Rift graphically) and I found it intensely boring immediately within the starter area. I spent more of that hour time in the character creator than playing, and I enjoyed that more.
And I couldn’t fail to notice by the way, that the character creator is pretty much Aion’s character creator with a different background. Stunning jolly good first impression, if I do say so myself.
There’s no sympathy for clickers in Tera Online, either. If you are a mouse clicker you’re out of luck. The game gives you WASD for movement, but your skills/spells cannot be used without pressing a key. You can map two skills to your left and right mouse buttons, but that’s generally only good for base skills. Everything else is key press.
And before I get the comment, “But key pressing is more efficient and fast!1!11one!” I know it is. But the plain fact of the matter is, there are people out there that mouse click. It’s what they are comfortable with. As such, they are going to hate Tera Online, a lot.
Another key ingredient into this sour tasting recipe of my early squick into my closing the game after and hour? Intensely uncomfortable playing the Elin race. It was my first choice out of–well, I admit it–cuteness factor. The cuter
A pink tree. Well...that's okay I suppose.
the character is in game the more I want to play it. Enlin are a childish looking, child-sized, well…child character (Hey. Did I say child yet?) with some uber sexualized poses and movements that ended up jarring me out of wanting to play them.
Story wise I found it lacking right after character creation as well. Players are given a bit movie that I’m not sure how it factors into anything once the game starts. Then a short movie of you flying into the starting island with, again, no backstory given as to anything other than “:D YEAH! GO DOWN THERE AND FIGHT 😀 😀 :D” The quest NPC’s are the old fashioned “click & kill.” Click on the quest. Skip reading any of it, accept. Glance at your quest log on screen to go see what you have to kill and how many. Do it. Turn in quest. Rinse, repeat. I did see one cut scene that panned out to an enemy I had to kill with a 30 second voice over–but I gotta tell ya babies….SWTOR and Mass Effect and Skyrim and many other games have spoiled me when it comes to lore and backstory. To sum it up in an overtired, over used internet meme: Son I am disappoint with Tera Online’s idea of story and quest writing.
This really was the most modest female garb a--HOW DOES IT STAY ON??
The nail in the coffin for me were the gravity defying, jiggly, nipples-pointed-at-their-chins female models all in horrible comic super hero postures. The most modest suit, frankly, was an outfit for the female archer that was slit from the top of her knee and open all the way past her side-boob to her neck. With no discerning explanation as to why every time she bound across my screen like a sparkly princess with a bow, everything didn’t just flop out all wibbly jibbly. I can only think these breast-defying suits are being held up with MAAAAAAAAAAGIC 😀 Picture me doing jazz hands sarcastically to accompany this.
2phatgeeks gives Tera Online a big fat no thanks. Perhaps things will change for the game in a couple of months of patches, member feed back and such. But right now as it is: I think it’s a pretty disappointing game given MMORPG’s this day and age.
If this game doesn’t go free to play in a year I will be pleasantly surprised. It’s definitely not a game tailored to a broad audience and it’s reallllly not for me. I’ve played a lot of free to play games over the years that have had more story and more thought given into their style than this. If you want a game that looks like Tera Online? Aion did it years ago and better. I actually recommend people trying out Aion instead of this.
This post an opinion based on personal preference of the poster. It does not represent everybody in the entire universe and 2phatgeeks doesn’t imply to be everybody in the universe.
Since August of this year, Shawn and I have been beta testing possibly—if not the most popular up and coming MMORPG’s–the most talked about: Star Wars: The Old Republic.
And the thing is, is other than flailing about the internet squealing and telling people we were in the beta, that was it. We couldn’t tell them what we thought of it, what we liked, what we didn’t, how the game was doing, our reactions or anything. As long time Star Wars, Bioware fans neither Shawn nor I wanted to jinx our chances at having the ability to continue playing the game as well as testing it. So the best we could do when countered with questions about whether it was any good or not was tell people, “if you get into beta, try it. You might like it.”
On November 18th, the most glorious of days arrived. The NDA was lifted and no longer were we doomed to bouncing around like two excited kids on a bed chanting Iiiiiiiiiiii caaaaaaaaaantttttttt teeeelllllllll yooooou. And so without further ado, here’s everything I couldn’t talk about and want you to know, what I think, my opinions and more of the game that quickly became my all-time favorite.
A taxi ride in Dromund Kaas.
The Amazeballs (aka: The Good Things)
The websites, commentary and other quips about Star Wars the Old Republic’s focus on story and attempting to involve the player as much as possible isn’t just hype. Anyone who is a fan of a) Star Wars, b) Bioware, c) Knights of the Old Republic, c) RPG’s and last but never least: story, I believe, will find something to like about this game. Every NPC has their own little quirk and background and you’re introduced to them almost straight away after leaving character creation. Story is key. Like most Bioware games we have come to know and love, the plot and fate of your character comes first and foremost.
Armor & Weapons
I realize that for some players, having giant spoons, forks, or hot pink bubble guns might be fun. But for Star Wars and my little lore-laden heart, I am happy to say that this hasn’t been seen in game (except for the hot pink pants of boots of a texture not rendering properly!) Your armor and your weapons are going to fit into the environs and story of Star Wars: The old Republic. Guns will be appropriately gun-like, light sabers–despite the early out cry from people of them appearing too cartoony–do not look that way anymore. Armor doesn’t run into that issue where your pants are orange, your shirt is green and your cape is hot purple. Blacks, grays, blues and reds, muted or with panels and buttons to fit into the story and the mood of SWTOR abound.
In a previous beta build and no doubt will be re-instated (if it hasn’t already. Forgive me, I’ve been playing Skyrim!) there is an option in the social panel to match gear with chest piece. This essentially combats any further mis-matched armor a player may have by making everything fit in better, color scheme and appearance wise with the players currently equipped chest piece.
Planets, Graphics & Environments
Never have I ever been so happy to learn skills and buy speeders that make me move faster than I have when playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. I love the environments. Bioware has not failed on this sense of scale; when you are on a planet even if you are on one that has a predetermined area the game wants you to hang out in, the sense of being a little pea in the pod of the universe can overwhelm. As you progress in level and are sent to different planets, the scale grows and even though there is something magnificent to catch as well as look at on all of the planets; the need for a speeder will grow simply to be able to get to point A and point B sometime that day.
The attention to detail is fantastic. When you are standing in front of the Republic Senate, you are filled with a sense of awe (and maybe a bit of the sense of over compensating too–but it’s so pretttty!). The empire’s strict, metallic, hologram red or green or blue infused architecture garnished with ancient relics of the Sith, it’s bowed head statues carry the sense of power and dread.
Since starting my testing in early August, the graphics have undergone several tweaks for clarity, sharpness and texture fixes. I am in love with the armor styles. They are very true to Star Wars and very true to which side your are one: Empire armor and robes are definitely more sinister than Republic or Jedi. I have found myself, on more than one occasion wasting fifteen to twenty minutes finding the right spot to take the right screen shot. They only thing the game is missing (as of the last time I beta tested) was the inability to use anti-aliasing, so shadows and characters and textures despite clarity had jagged and pixelated outlines.
Voice over acting
I cannot lie and tell you that this isn’t one of the main reasons why I am in love with this game. To me, the fact that every NPC in this game has his or her (or its) own voice is amazing. I remember eons ago when I was beta testing Ever Quest II and I was so tickled pink with the fact NPC’s had voices. Limited things to say, but voices still–and the NPC voice overs in SW:TOR bring a whole new level of fun. Not that I am adverse to reading Quest text…But hearing the NPC with dialects and accents and emotion is a level above.
Flashpoints, AKA Dungeons The first thing I want to tell you about Flashpoints–otherwise known as Dungeons in other games–is make sure you have your shiznit together before running them, especially if you’ve a) never run them before or b) have people in the group who have never run them before either. Get your drink. Go to the bathroom. Repair your gear. Make sure you have enough whoofizzles for your jiggliemoo. Feed the cats. Put the kids to sleep, whatever it is you need to clear at least an hour and a half free of interruptions. Especially if you enjoy taking your time and listening to all the voice over, thinking carefully about your choices–like I do.
I also recommend not running any new Flashpoints with a group that speeds through them like hamsters on crack. You miss so much if you do because all you’ll be thinking of the whole time is how to catch up with everyone else and keeping up.
Flashpoints are another aspect of the game that Bioware has ensured they go above and beyond. They have mingled cut-scenes with dialogue and Dark/Light side choices with each step, as well as a good sprinkling of trash mobs and bosses. Some of the bosses will require a strategy, especially if you’re going in with three or two people and their companions. If you’re lucky to have a full four member party in decent gear you might be able to luck out and just use the “KILL ALL THE THINGS,” strategy.
As far as I know the best means to tackle Flashpoints when you are at level is a full group of four. You can eek through them with companions if you’re smart and utilize all the tools available; and of course, if you’re way over level.
From level 1-10, you are set loose on the world of your origin, be you Trooper, Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter, Jedi, Imperial Agent or Smuggler. During your class quests on these planets you will eventually be introduced to your first Companion Character–or as some have even called them. ‘Pet.’ If you aren’t familiar by now, Companion Characters are player controlled party members that do a pleathora of things from healing you, being ranged DPS support, being a damage dealer or tank and also being the extension of your invetory selling and crafting.
Not only do your Companions have things to say depending on where they are and what triggers them, they are also the vehicle to your crafting and selling of gray vendor trash. You can send them off wherever you are to sell all gray items and this usually takes roughly a few minutes. When you send them to craft, you can send them to craft up to 5 items at a time (with each item you ask them to craft adding minutes on their timer away from you.) Eventually you will get more Companions and that means more back up support choices depending on where you are and what you are fighting, more conversation items and more crafting!
You can even send your companions out to collect harvest-able materials for you if they are near by.
The Lacking (aka: The Not-So-Good Things that may still need work.)
Now if you’re coming from a game that lacks a lot of customization (IamnotlookingatwowIamnotlookingatwow) and that’s your only experience with character customization (alsonotlookingatRiftnotlookingatRift) than SW:TOR might seem pretty satisfactory in the character creation and customization department. I’ve played a handful of MMORPG’s out there that went out of their way, above and beyond really, what you could do to create your own unique looking characters–and I was instantly spoiled. I know that for some, character customization matters little to the mechanics as well as how great the game play is. To me, having a character that is semi-unique, in facial features and hair at least is important.
I’m going to be staring at my own avatar (and my guild mates avatars) for the entirety of playing the game. I’m also playing a game set in a vast, open universe and staring at 230923293829323 cookie-cutter twi’leks, Chiss and humans takes a little bit of the wind out of my sails. Obviouslynot enough for me not to tell Bioware to SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!11!!! but enough so that I am a touch disappointed. I had hoped for more and I am also hoping that with release as well as after, that more customization options will be offered.
Companions: you don’t need to click/pick that up, do you?
One of my biggest annoyances–aside from the fact that Bioware has yet to figure out how to fix the fact elevators completely confuse companions and also sometimes they fall to their death on them or just stand there like how is elevator formed?– is companions always seemingly being in the way of looting. Be it a dead body or a material for crafting, when I went to click with the mouse or select with a keyboard short-cuts, nine times out of ten it seems like my companion will be in the way. Even when they move out of the way they somehow move..just…further in the way.
Alts & Replayable factor
The truth of the matter is, despite how fantastic the story lines are–once you go a certain point outside of your class beginning planets the stories for all classes on the same side start to converge and eventually everyone gets all the same quests more or less. Running the same Flashpoints over and over again will probably get wearisome too. Of course, your class quests remain unique to said class, but what’s found on the planets all classes share tend to be a like. Meaning if you start an Empire side main character and go back to create another Empire side character, different class–eventually you’ll find yourself doing the same quests as before. That means the same voice-overs and same cut scenes and for a few this might become boring, quickly, finding themselves clicking through conversations quickly so as not to listen to the same dialogue you’ve already heard. The re-play value is a touch lacking. But when I think about it, this is pretty much the way it is for most MMORPG’s out there anyway. Most
RP add ins, Player Housing, Small things that may only bug Me
Ship is supposed to be player housing, but don’t see a lot of room for player decorating and customization on the inside at all yet.
Unable to sit on chairs, benches or interract much with the environment other than shooting and maiming–although did add in Juke boxes.
Social clothing is a bit of a work out to get. Level up social points. Then spend credits to buy a token.
Legacy idea, neat, but having to hide it so that all my characters aren’t related to one another bad. Want different names for different characters on account, not one for all. Also, want to share hubby’s character’s last name.
First, I know I have missed so many details. There is so much more to this game, like Datacrons and Holocrons and the different healing and how do they stack up and PVP and companion story lines and gear and gear slots and lightsabers and grouping mechanics and showing Sith corruption on a Sith character and matching clothing to chest piece social options with social clothing and race specials–but if I were to go through all of that I would end up writing MORE and as it is, this post is already short novel length. There are hundreds of fantastic sites out there for you to learn so much more about SW:TOR, such as some of my personal favorites (but never limited to)
Star Wars: The Old Republic R2-DB Torhead Greetings, Meatbag TORSyndicate Community
Admittedly, despite being a super-duper-fan-girl of immense chubby proportions, I can admit freely that there are aspects to this game that might impede other’s enjoyment. You still have to go here, kill 10 of these–oop, here’s your bonus quest to kilk 30 more! There is a grind and a repetition to the questing. The formula isn’t something we haven’t heard of before in being sent out to do something, come back to the Quest giver, and being sent out to the same place to do more.
It is a bit linear.
For those not familiar with Bioware’s games and not a fan of RPG’s/ not a fan of MMORPG’s, the heavy RPG aspect might be a turn off while the MMORPG fun of playing with thousands of players–some of whom make the moniker ‘douchecanoe’ look like a compliment–might also turn players away.
The game is not perfect. There are balance issues between classes that need ironing out still and there are glitches and issues that still need to be addressed. I do not tout that it will be a WoW killer or the GAME OF THE CENTURY! CENTURY! ENNNTURREEE! URRREEE! EEE! (<—That was me writing out the echo sound effect. Because I am funny, god damn it.)
What I do think is that Bioware has made an almost perfect marriage of the two things I like: their games and MMORPG’s, story and grind, questing and exploring. I think this is a truly magnificent start to what may be a long-lived game if Bioware pays strict attention to the mistakes and pluses of other games gone before them, during them, and after.
I am going to be playing this game at release (pre-ordered) and if lifetime subs ever become a reality, I am sure Shawn and I will be having them too. This is a game that I want to be part of through thick and thin and one that I do highly recommend.
There were two phat geeks who made posts, but life and distractions (Like Google+) came and endangered the meandering writing habits of two huge nerdlings.
It’s been a long time since we last joined our heroes, Mel and Shawn for their epic adventures in cooking, life, loving, laughing and things they liked. What could possibly be worthy enough to keep us from updating frequently? Other than Shawn having a full time job of course and his wife having a severe case of oooo what’s that?
Star Wars my friend, Star Wars.
Specifically both Shawn and I were lucky enough in August to be invited to beta test Star Wars: The Old Republic. If you aren’t familiar with what that is, it’s an MMORPG created by Bioware. The delicious people behind such classics as Never Winter Nights, Jade Empire, Knights of the Old Republic and my personal fan-girl favorites: Dragon Age. Shawn and I have been following Star Wars: The Old Republic, like many Star Wars and Bioware fans since it’s announcement. We both have accounts created on the official site that have been there since 2008 (as probably many people there do too.)
But…due to the NDA I cannot say anything else. I mean, I love you guys and those of you that have stuck around with us for so long–in between forever posts and through all our craziness–I do. But I love Star Wars as much and I can’t tell you anything else.
It’s killing me, let me just say.
Bioware’s publicity department has been doing a fantastic job eeeeeking out class information, videos, planets and so much more information from their official site: http://www.swtor.com/ And then of course there’s my personal favorite site to get further information: http://www.greetingsmeatbag.com/. Greetings Meatbag just isn’t pure info–it’s pure fun. There are interactive quizzes, well written break-downs of videos and articles as well as super friendly administrators. *Waves her hand,* You will go visit and tell them 2phatgeeks sent you.
Shawn and I would like to highly encourage you to give this game a chance. More and more these days, people tend to judge a game by a screenshot of a single video and that really makes me head tilt. Good games are going untouched by the tendancy to spout negativity about them well before testers or players get their hands on them. Sign up for the site, apply for beta testing and wait until the NDA is lifted before making the call.
And so–there you have it. Where Shawn and I have been all this time and where we will–no doubt–be for a long time yet.
What games are you playing at the moment and what games are you waiting for?
Things to keep in mind while reading this review:
This review was written during the second closed Beta Event right before the NDA was lifted. Changes have been made to the “soul tree,” system to tweak points wise and I’ve tried to update sections where I could. Remember however, this is my personal impressions of a game in beta.
Rift: What is it?
Rift is a Fantasy MMORPG (Massively Multi player Online Role Playing Game) set in a land called Telara. Telara is a place of gods, goddess’, rebirth of the soul, Guardians and Defiants. Something happened to tear the peaceful barriers between Telara and other planets however, causing places on the planet to become weak and tear. In this places, rifts appear, allowed denizens from other far off places to flood Telara and cause destruction and chaos.
It is your duty as a reborn soul of a great hero to protect Telara, defend the citizens and last great cities from these strange creatures pouring out of rifts; as well as defend them from the opposing faction.
Let’s start off with the usual: combat.
Combat itself is actually generic. I’m not sure what’s going on with a lot of other sites giving Rift raving reviews in this area, because in all honesty this is one place that they haven’t done anything new. If you’ve played any MMO in the last eight years, Rift’s combat style won’t be a steep learning curve for anyone. Essentially, you’ll be granted skills as you pour points into your Soultree’s (skill trees) and as you level up you’ll also visit your trainer to purchase level appropriate damage upgrades to these skills. Drag your attacks to the action bar and you can choose to hit the keys they are assigned too or click them. Target an enemy, hit keys or click on them if you
prefer: rinse and repeat until your enemy is dead. Gear that gives you bonus to your class specific stats will help you.
Sanctum, the home city of the Guardians
For the Beta 2 event I chose a Cleric/Sentinel, which is basically pure big heals and a little holy damage over time. Later on I was given the choice to pick a second healing subclass and I went with Warden, which is mainly heal over time. Beta 2 didn’t hand out enough points, in my opinion, to make it worth while to divy them up between Sentinel and Warden, so I chose to pour my points into Sent. Beta 3 even, the Devs changed the point system a littl
e bit. We were given more points per level, however we could only spend a certain amount in any one given tree per level, meaning there was always a point or two available to split into a secondary Soultree, making multi-classing more feasible.
Even so, one thing carried through out Event 2 and 3: monotonous button mashing. While I am not surprised or even too bothered by it, I am a little disappointed given how all of Rift’s videos seem to be trying to tout itself as a ground breaking game when there really isn’t anything amazingly new in it. It IS a good game, yes. But the Developers really should have steered themselves away from calling it NEW and INNOVATIVE and NEVER SEEN BEFORE when trying to describe Rift. I went in blind to the beta expecting combat to have at least something unusual to make it stand out from others. D&DO had you clicking the mouse for every sword stroke, Aion had characters who could fly, Age of Conan had special finishing moves that beheaded people and blood on the screen. Rift has….everything we’ve already seen before.
Did that make combat lame? Not at all. It just wasn’t something I could possibly say stood out from any other of the many MMORPG’s I’ve played so far. Find enemy. Press bewton. Collect lewts.
Enemy Spawns and Rifts
Jahanya, my beta Defiant with an open Rift in background.
The one thing they DESPERATELY have to work on during closed beta is spawn rates. They are nutty at the moment. You can clear a spawn and have two repop in place well before you’re half way finished with one. Spawns in some areas are so tightly packed and return so quickly that finishing quests in some areas just isn’t a good idea currently. This also made exploration really difficult.
Rifts in Telara are places where the veils between all the different worlds and planes have become thin, and the various other creatures, magics and invaders try and use these rifts to invade as well as attack Telarans. Rifts, or their beginnings can be spotted on the player map or indicated on the mini map. The kinds of Rifts and creatures I encountered in Beta were: Earth, Water, Fire, Death. I’m sure there were more, but these are what I remember and come to me off the top of my head. Rifts are the defining factor that makes Rift, the game, stand out. They’re everywhere at any given time and they WILL attack towns and villages you and other people need to finish quests. The land around a rift is affected strongly by what plane or what creature comes from within it. Earth Rifts bring grasses to spread across the land, Fire brings well, burning and FIRE as well as hot deadly lava, death darkens and kills the land it touches.
As a reborn heroic soul in Telaran, you will also be given the ability to open a Rift should you be the first to encounter a tear. By participating in killing creatures from a Rift and successful closing it, you ARE rewarded various things, such as stones, collectibles and even in some cases–rare and epic gear. The catch is that it depends entirely on how much damage/healing you do, if I remember correctly. Exactly how the game factors this I never got into nor spent too much time getting into.
I really enjoyed the Rifts! I think the one thing that made them something awesome for me, and the strongest part of the game that stuck out in my mind was the fact it drew so many players together at any given time. The one annoyance I am not sure I like is how many times a rift can open on a single town–if you’re trying to craft or turn in quests during a rift invasion, during beta this could get frustrating due to frequency. I’m hoping during release these will be timed better.
During the Beta Event 2 screen tearing was a constant and the seam which fit zones together (I don’t know the technical terms) the seam where zones fit together and the anti aliasing doesn’t seem to work completely yet.
Those aside? The game environments are gorgeous. Lush forests, stately and elegant buildings, quaint villages, misty bogs and sparkling oceans–it’s on par and a little bit shinier than Lord of the Rings. Character model textures and details are very good as well. I found myself enjoying the scenery a lot, as is my habit when I’m in a gorgeous game. I like the looks of everything so far honestly, graphic wise and can’t wait to see what the game will look like when closer to release.
Since this IS a newer game, you will need a semi-decent rig to run it. Something that is older than four years old will probably not be able to run it with any kind of high end detail. If your drivers are out of date, the game will notify you of this and remind you to update them.
There are only four main classes in Rift. Cleric, mage, warrior and rogue. These archetypes split into several “souls.” These “Souls” are generally your subclasses.
Once you pick your archetype however, you can pick up two additional “souls” within your archetype. Souls in Rift are a nifty way to re-name sub-classes, or talent trees within your archetype. To give you an example to hopefully clarify: I chose the archetype cleric. But for my “souls,” I picked Sentinel and Warden. Choosing your “souls,” open up “soul trees.” If you’re familiar with WoW or any other game that uses the talent-tree for specs, this is pretty much the same thing.
At its core, the “souls” isn’t anything too new we seasoned MMORPG’ers haven’t seen before, either. But Rift does bring its own element into the talent tree/soul tree aspect in that right from the get-go within the first 1-10 levels you’re offered two talent trees to play with. You can choose to split your points between two classes and dual class, or you can choose to pour all your points in one or the other, paying a fee to your trainer when you can afford it to switch between these roles at any time.
If you thought having two soul trees to play with with two different classes immediately is a lot of fun, there’s a third “soul” spot available for later and then apparently even a forth. This third spot purportedly won’t be restricted by your class. If I remember correctly, it means, for example that I as a cleric with two healing trees could slap a warrior sub-class into the third soul if I like. Or rogue. Or mage or anything I’d like, making the talent tree aspect of Rift something I do feel is truly diverse.
If that’s not enough, there are 2 parts to each soul tree (talent tree) as well. You have the upper ‘branches,’ to which you pour your points into it. These talents can either grant you new spells and abilities, or increase the damage/effectiveness of abilities you already have. Below the branches are the soul trees “roots.” These are ‘free’ talents and abilities that you are granted, no point cost, just by pouring points into the upper branches of your chosen soul tree.
Since this was a Beta event, we were limited to level 20. Rumor has it that the official level cap for the game at release will be 50 and I am sure that means there will be plenty of talents.
Anthracite, my Guardian Dwarf Rogue/ranger
Another personal big disappointment on my end was the lack of ability to make my character look different.
In the character creation screen, you have one face. You have a slider that will make that one face thinner, thicker, or give your characters face different definitions–but no matter where you move it, it is still only one face for that chosen race and sex. You can choose to up tilt or down tilt your nose, widen mouth, change eye color, change hair color, change eye tilt up or down, change eyebrow shape, facial hair if male, face markings, face marking color, height and hair style but the choices there are limited and I find myself in game staring at 239238293829382392 other carbon copies of my own character. The only difference I can see is that I appear to be the only elf so far to choose bright purple hair. Go figure.
This doesn’t mean the characters aren’t pretty (and I’ll have some screen shots below for you to check out ). They are actually very well done and remind me of a smattering of Lineage, Final Fantasy and Aion. Character female models aren’t going to poke you in the eye with MASSIVE BOOB WEAPONS and can range between cute looking, serious, formidable and pretty fierce. Males look manly (even the male elves) and the detail as well as textures on clothing/armor are fantastic. It’s just that…There are fifty million characters out there that look just like you, generally will have the same armor too. That’s kind of depressing but I have simply come to the conclusion that this is one area most MMORPG game developers choose to overlook in order to focus their resources elsewhere.
Game Play – Questing, Collections & Crafting
Questing in Rift isn’t anything we seasoned MMORPGer’s haven’t seen before, either: Go here. Kill 10 of these, return to me when you are done and Go here, Kill this Named, return to me for a reward when you are done. I don’t really mind this type of question because the alternative, straight out grinding would drive me to drinking. (And is the sole reason why I dropped Aion like a hot potato.) Yet, masking the grind with endless Kill this many whatsits and return to me can become as mind numbing and monotonous as the outright grind.
Still, making it to level 13 on my cleric– in spite of the cookie-cutter questing system–was moderately fun. Early levels won’t feel like a grind fest as they come quick and easy in the 1-20 phase. Of course, doing quests in one town will often lead you on the trail to the next town, the next set of generally level appropriate quests and so on and so forth. What I found the most interesting truthfully was the amount of Lore given by each quest giver. Rift has some how perfected the talent of making reading Lore given with quests quick and easy as well as interesting.
Again, Questing in Rift is pretty much cut and dry. If you’ve played any MMORPG in the last ten years, Rift won’t throw anything at you to hurt your brain in this area.
Hello my fellow Ever Quest II players. This for you won’t be strange at all. In Rift, there are various bits, baubles, books and other things cluttered about the ground all over and these are called collectibles. Just like in EQII, you can discover a collectible by noticing a very bright white shimmering dot on the ground. Picking it up will reveal either a book, trinket, or piece of history that you can click-add to a collection. Collections when finished can be turned into a Collection vendor, granting you EXP and small rewards. So far the rewards outside of EXP have been potions and stat increase scrolls, but I assume I have handed in newb collector quests so get newb like rewards.
Gather supplies. Make mats. Make item. Congrats, you’re done.
No. Serious. That’s all there is to it. If you’ve crafted in World of Warcraft you’ve crafted in Rift. You run our and gather things that match up whatever crafting class you’re after, pick them up off the ground, fashion them into the mats (materials) needed to craft and then open the crafting panel, click on what you want, mark how many you want aaaaaaaaand….Sit back and do nothing until done, reaping in the rewards of earning more xp to learn more recipes to go back and stand around a crafting area for another six hours. Do I sound a little bitter about crafting? Maybe. I love crafting. I do and I think it’s one aspect of a game that tends to get neglected so much. Rift’s crafting is terribly, horribly neglected and I am sad to see it that way.
On the flip side, you can choose 3 professions in gathering/crafting. Once those three are taken, you have to unlearn one to change. I did choose instead to take up all of the gathering professions–which is nice for a change–and skipped out on doing any crafting past the basic smelting tin ore into tin bars, for example.
Not much else to report on this front. Perhaps in the future they’ll make crafting a bit more interesting and worth while.
Jahnya, my Cleric/Sentinal elven Guardian
I chose a PVE-RP server out of choice, but noticed there was a PVP faction rewards NPC area, a hand in reward that teleports you to the other sides starting area, and a PVP NPC who could transport you into Solo or group PVP situations. Alas, those aren’t implemented nor ready yet and could not test them. And because I generally have little to no interest in PVP I didn’t even try this area of the game out–sorry PVP enthusiasts.
Summary and Overall impression?
Would Mel recommend this game?
As it stands? With all of its glitches and weak points and in the middle of beginning beta? If you have nothing better to play?
And I’ll tell you why I say yes: MMORPG gamers are bored as hell. If you listen to the mass of us, zombie shuffling to our computers day after to say to get our MMORPG fix, you’ll hear us mumbling the same things over and over again. “Woooorllld ooooof Warrrrcrrraaaft,” or insert some other game that has been going on for years and people return to it because frankly there’s NOTHING NEW TO PLAY OUT THERE. Until Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out (or anything that isn’t World of Warcraft) gamers are having to go back to the same old game, over and over again to get their fix while the majority of companies pump out cookie-cutter MMORPG’s in a desperate bid to cash in on WoW’s success.
A little change of scenery in the midst of boredom is good. Rift is definitely a change in scenery and I believe the fact it’s something different is half the reason Rift’s getting the glowing reviews and warm reception it is. If Rift can keep up the questing, improve crafting, smooth the graphic glitches and not follow in the footsteps of several games that failed horrifically–I can see Rift becoming a contender.
Do I think Rift will become a game that will stand the test of time? As the game stands right now? No. Rift is good, don’t get me wrong. I like the game and, should miracles come to pass and it’s released before SW:tOR and I have $50 I want to shoot into the wind? I’ll probably get a copy of it. But there’s nothing that Rift offers that Warhammer, WoW, Aion, Tabula Rasa and several other games haven’t already offered us. It’s everything we liked about those games repackaged in a new, shiny world.
Rift is undeniably fun for a non-serious, casual gamer. If you’re a hardcore gamer that demands a lot from your game to entertain you, Rift probably isn’t for you.
If your bored as hell however and have money to waste, when it comes out I’d recommend giving it a try.
The year was 2007. I was still fresh-faced from the disappointment I held in my little nerdy heart for a few other MMORPG’s that Will Not Be Named here Again.
I was tired of being lied to. I understood gaming companies had to really sell it to get the subscribers, and thus the cash, to pay things off, I really did. Look, Mr. programmer who spent hours making fighting chick’s rack perfect and realistically bounce has gotta eat too, right?
But selling it and then paying roughly $50 for a copy of the game, plus the monthly subscription–just to play for two weeks and be disappointed? It was weighing on me, man. It was getting tough. I didn’t realize it then but I was becoming an MMORPG skeptic. I still played MMO’s, don’t get me wrong. I still signed up for beta and to this day? I still play them. But I eye them far more warily than I used to and it’s rare that I write about them. By the time I get around to writing about them I find I am usually already disenchanted.
But I’m ahead of myself–let’s go back to 2007. What happened then?
Elven starting area.
Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar was released. A massively multi-player online role playing game set in the universe of J.R.R. Tolkien, riding on the back of a huge wave the movies had set to motion. It was a good move by Turbine, actually. Here was a beloved setting many adults and children were familiar with, rife with all the markings of a great backdrop for a game. Earlier that year I got the chance to beta test the game and I did.
For a week I played, I really enjoyed myself. There were glitches of course and several things were not even yet implemented this early in the game (those would come later on) but I found myself liking what I’d seen so far. I didn’t have the same parts and video card in my computer then, that I do now, and couldn’t run the game full blast. It was still pretty.
Then the game was released and that was the end of beta. I asked my husband if I could play, who had also beta tested the game as a hobbit burglar. Unfortunately, he did not enjoy the game as I did. On top of that, we were in a financially crappy time–he couldn’t see a point in purchasing a game he did not enjoy and I couldn’t see me pushing him to spend money we needed for other things–like food, bills and so on.
So the game was set aside. I heard about it through good blogging friends of mine, Eve and Lillith. Art, posts about–all these things reminded me of the game and I never truly forgot about it. Life simply wasn’t going to let me play it when I wanted to. Several other games came out and one thing distracted me from it and another and another. One year went by, then two, then three. I’d almost put Lord of the Rings Online aside entirely until–
I got a little e-mail that informed me this year, Lord of the Rings Online was going free and that you could sign up for the beta…
So I did.
Now…I’m doing a bad thing by telling you I got into the beta. Yeah, I know. I’m pretty rebellious. Last week? I totally ate three peanut butter cookies while baking them. Just sayin’. So, technically, even though I am no longer playing the free-to-play beta, I am under the NDA not to discuss it. Let me just say I am aware I am breaking the sacrosanct of NDA and am fully ready to accept my punishment. (Dear Turbine, please send a reasonable Aragorn look-alike to dole out my punishment. Please.)
But I have to tell you this because it was the free-to-play beta that convinced me to to finally purchase a subscription to the game. And to make the deal sweeter the monthly sub is a might cheaper than most MMORPG’s out there if you buy a package payment plan. AKA: Purchase 3 months for $ 24.
I do not regret my decision one bit, despite the fact it’ll go free to play this fall. And I plan on continuing to support LotRO even after it goes F2P.
Because the game has not degraded over the years but has improved, significantly. There is player housing, horses, fishing, hobbies. Many, many, many more quests than I ever remember there being. There are two new
A beautiful day for a walk in the Shire.
extremely fun classes and the community (which reminds me so much of the Star Wars: Galaxies peoples when the game was in its golden years)is a fantastic, amazingly patient, helpful, well spoken bunch of fellow gamers. It truly outshines any MMORPG community I’ve been in for a long while.
I can download the high-res version and play this game with everything cranked max. Lighting, shadows,Anisotropic hiked up, water, water reflections–you name it, I’ve got it turned all the way up. It’s gone from pretty to pretty-damn-gorgeous.
Right now, at this very second on the Lord of the Rings forums and in the game chat channels–there are countless debates about how the game will go down hill once it goes free. There are people saying the community will slide down hill. That paying members will stop paying and that the game will never be the same.
I’m here, breaking the NDA of free-to-play Beta, understanding I might have it taken from me (that’s okay though) to let you know it was because of the F2P that I decided to purchase a sub. It was because of the community that I wanted to support this game and hope to continue doing so. I wanted to remind fellow subscribers that, not all bad things will come out of the F2P.
And to let you guys know, seriously? If you played the first year and quit–if you’ve never played but always wanted to–do it. Go check out the free trial. Go sign up for the F2P beta right now.
I never go back to old games. That’s just how I work. Once the magic is gone I simply can’t. It’s done. Ask anyone I’ve met and follow my posts about the MMORPG’s I’ve played, and you’ll notice that once I’m done that’s just it.
Here I am, three years later, and I’m back to Lord of the Rings Online and loving it to pieces. That in itself, should be incentive enough for you just try it.
And hey, if you do? Send a hello to Bluecup Bumbleroot, Landroval server, let me know what you think of it and if you need any help.