Gaming Update

I got a Beta key through on email the other day and decided to install it. I have read about it previously and it certainly looked like a game I would like to play so here’s a mini review of the Beta version I played for an hour.

The looks and feel of the game remind me very much of Aion. The artwork during loads and intro sequences looks very similar, mainly concept arts! But they are attractive and add to setting the feel of the game, background history and such like.
The graphics in game are also a lot similar to other games and don’t appear anything new, just a bit more polished to some of the other Free2Play games.
The character designs are great. A lot of customisation at character creation. Classes are pretty standard but do focus on the melee class type and mages/priest seem to be a secondary thought.
The game play is probably the main interest in this game since it is something very unique to this type of game. It has the usual keyboard input but you can also control your character via xbox or ps3 controller connected to your PC. This gives you a bit of a better feeling of action control during play. You can move your character around with the analogue stick, rotate the view with the other analogue stick, and the buttons give you access to learnt skills/abilities. And then by pressing the shoulder buttons on the controller (LT / L2) you get to interact with items and NPCs.

I think I’ll continue to play during Beta, but since it is on a subscription base I will not be continuing after the official release. There just doesn’t seem to be enough new and exciting things to keep me interested.

Rift : Beta – Update (Final)

This is the last update I will be giving on Rift Beta. Not because I have moved away from it, just that the Beta has ended and it’s now on to the finished game and it’s release.

Rift gets released on March 4th (for Europe), but for those that have pre-ordered (like myself) then there is a Head Start period, a time when users are able to log in and get a “Head Start” on the game. The Head Start begins on Thursday 24th February and runs all the way until official launch day. I’ve also gone for the payment option that saves me the most!

Anyway, back to the Beta… I’ve been on and off the Beta due to time constraints, but overall it has proven to be a great way to get in to a game, understand where it has come from and certainly get a feel for what type of gameplay I am looking to get from the game overall.

I have taken part in PvP action. It is great to do, but not all the time. The bonus of having a quest initiate the PvP and you zone in to a specific capture the flag type event zone is great. I even got top of the leaderboard for most kills!

The rift raids continued to come thick and fast during play times. I often found my NPC characters required to complete quests had gone off to help fight the creatures emerging from the rifts which meant I was unable to complete the quest until the rift was closed. Not a big problem, just a time consuming one!

And I also learnt about Souls… I actually get what it is I’m supposed to do with them all! I had purchased a new role ages ago not really understanding what it was I was doing, but when I ended up with 4 souls and only 3 slots it soon dawned on me that I had to switch roles and reassign which souls I wanted to use. This has given me a better understanding on what types of souls I want to play after the launch.

And pets, mounts and other companions, I discovered where to access and use these from. I purchased my mount once I had hunted down the mount seller. It’s a massive rhino donkey type thing. By going to the Character select screen and selecting the Mount tab I was then able to create a hotkey to summon and banish it. The same with the companion pet thing that I was rewarded for pre-ordering … it took me ages to figure out where it was and how to summon it. It’s pretty much the same as finding and summoning the mount!

This is the final screenshot I took of Shadowpuma before Beta closed.

I have loved every moment I’ve been on the Beta of Rift and I have certainly not found any bugs or things I would change, but the changes that were made have been for the better and not the worse.

Be assured that this is no way the last blog I will be writing up on the subject of Rift!

Rift : Beta – Update (#2)

Rift Beta continues and this time it’s to stress test the servers. I’ve played a little more and discovered a few things.

First of all, I like this game. It reminds me a lot of my past online gaming adventures and it’s made me happy while playing it. I’ll obviously not be able to give it the full time and effort I once did, but it will certainly be fun to pick up and play when I have a few hours spare in an evening of a week.

Next up is the races, Guardians and Defiants. I started out playing as a Guardian and everything was light and fluffy but with good story and solid characters. Everything was about protection and destroying evil and machines. Based on this one side I was impressed. But I have also created a character for the Defiants and seen a completely different perspective of the game. The same questing and adventuring applies, but the level of detail that has gone in to make the two sides different is amazing. The graphics fit the race you choose. The environments are lush with more mechanisms and mechanical items as a Defiant which make it a nice change to switch sides now and again.

Part of the stress testing of the servers meant that Rifts were opening up all over the place. Groups were getting together and attempting to complete the tasks at hand. Today I found it to be a great fun time to be online. The rifts opened up and by joining the public groups meant a spot was already made available and off everyone went. It didn’t matter whether you knew the people you were with or not, everyone worked as a team to get the Rifts closed. And that’s just what happened, it was fun and still progression since I gained a whole level just by running round and closing Rifts.
There were a few glitches though. There seemed to be times where the game would pause ever so often during these Rift events. At first I thought it was my PC and network causing the issues, but upon checking others were also experiencing the same effects. This is obviously what the stress testing was all about and the people behind the game can go away and fix it.

And today was the only day I’ve seen a character on screen of someone I’ve known from games past and met in real life too – Rasuphas! The chat channels are nice, but seeing a character and their face/equipment is nice too. Here is a screenshot of him carrying his bow!

The experiences I’ve had with Rift during the Beta events and after my initial quick review of the game, my thoughts on actually getting the game have changed. After a few requirements to complete tasks by March, I am able to pre-order the game on the special discounted rate per month (6 months at £5.99 pm). So come launch day I will be there with the rest levelling up.

Rift : Beta – Update (#1)

I logged in again today to continue the quests I had started and got a nice surprise. It looked like 20 to 30 people running past me to some destination. I thought I’d follow and see what was happening. I then noticed a button at the top of the interface. By clicking it I was not part of the public raid.

I checked the map and saw various swirls of colour dotted around. And a few seconds later text appeared in the centre of the screen telling me that rifts were open and monsters were coming through. And it was right, soon there were monsters in front of everyone and dieing pretty quickly.

A few rounds of monsters later and that particular rift was closed. A nice feature of the game was that there is a little icon symbol thing where you are awarded loot. You click it and get to see what you’ve been awarded. There were various things, but mainly quest related items. I thought this was a nice touch to the game in that you don’t have to worry about loot distribution in a raid, it’s pretty much all taken care of automatically.

As the rift raid continued to run around I noticed the quest log update to say everyone needed to kill a particular named boss. I ran up the hill to find a massive demon monster stood there and everyone had already engaged in battle. I of course joined in and soon it was detroyed and the rifts were closed.

It looked like I logged in just at the right time to see some of the exciting action that Rift offers. It adds in the raid element to the game without having to always get a guild and organise a raid through dungeons to get to the boss and then spend 10 minutes deciding on loot, you just join the raid and do your part and end up feeling like you are part of something.

Rift : Beta – Quick Review

The latest in online MMORPG was made available to me this week. Rift (www.riftgame.com) brings everything you want from an MMO together in to one place.
I’ll start by explaining what I experienced with it before I go comparing it.
I setup my account with Trion and applied for Beta. Eventually an email arrived giving me a key to enable play of RIFT. This last phase of the Beta (phase #5) appeared to be a stress test of numbers online since a lot of people were talking about it and being given access. I downloaded the client, a few gigs worth of files, installed and was ready to go. The time came for everyone to log in and enjoy the experience of creating characters and adventuring.
I created my usual type, a mage. The character creation is very good. You get the usual tools to adapt your looks, and the typical slot to enter your desired name (or pick an automated one). Once it was all complete your character appears in the main screen for selection.
Upon logging in you get to do a series of quests that gets you started on the talent trees for the various callings, along with getting used to the keys, movement and interface. Since I’ve played many MMOs prior to this it was really easy to pick up.

The things I like about this game include …
The Graphics – They are very detailed and give the game a very fantasy feel to it. With my current gaming PC setup I was able to run it at full spec and still get around 20fps. The animations throughout are fantastic, ranging from the battle animations, spell casting, and environment animations, they all add to the effect of you really being in the world of Telara.
The Sound – This has been thought about a lot from the time spent in game. There is the background music that adds atmosphere to the areas you explore. There are the usual battle cries and weapon sounds as you fight you way through the evil. But best of all there are the little things that add to the game. The sounds when you level up, the quest acceptance and completion sounds, and the other nice pings and ding tunes you get all seem to fit right in place.
The Interface – Everything appears in the right place. I didn’t find myself hunting or looking for something that wasn’t there. The tool tips are all very handy and appear in the right place also. The colours and feel have really been polished off to make the game look wonderful at the users level as well as within the 3D world.
Overall – I like Rift, a lot. But at the end of the day it is just another MMO that has the same fundamentals as all the others before it. They just happened to be done at a very high standard.

If you have played the Beta’s of Rift at any point you will probably notice the number of comments that appear in the channels. The same topic keeps coming up over and over again … how much Rift is like WoW (World of Warcraft)! And I have to say, yes it is … and it’s much like all the other MMORPGs out there. It looks like it’s taken the best of everything and merged it in to one. You have the game play style and interface of WoW, there is the character look and feel of EQ2 and Vanguard, the dimensional theme from of Aion, but as I mentioned, they are all done to a higher standard. For example wings … I’ve seen characters with wings before, but Rift just has them look better and animate better.

And for those that played EQ with me back in the day may get a laugh out of this image…

Shadowpuma is drowning!

They have breath meters in this game too!

Will I be buying and subscribing to play this game? Probably not. Mainly due to the real life commitments. But it has certainly been a great pleasure in playing the Beta before the game gets launched in March 2011.