First Rift Impressions: How I Learned To Love My Turtle Warlock

Turtle Warlock Yes, in the pic you see my two-headed Turtle Warlock killing a cultist in Rift. You didn’t realize that Turtle was a race in Rift? Well, it is! (*edit- Or at least it was. The bug was fixed within 24 hours, after the GM staff was apparently overwhelmed with requests. See ed. note at end of post.)

As I understand it, the story went like this: Trion gave all pre-orders a special turtle mount, despite the fact that only the CE edition was supposed to get it. They took that mount away at the end of the week of release, while advertising that in order to keep the mount, you needed to upgrade. A tad heavy-handed from the marketing department, but minor league compared to some other MMO’s.

Well, I didn’t upgrade. I *did* log out mounted. This morning I logged in, and joy of joys, I was a cute Turtle Warlock. (Actually a turtle with legs coming out of its belly, but they aren’t very noticeable.)

I’ve been to four MMO launches now, and this one was by far the most buggy (as in my client has crashed like a dozen times, mostly on the character gen screen.) And now this. Apparently the only way to fix this bug is to save enough for a horse. Personally, I think Trion should give me a horse to compensate for emotional trauma.

My main is A TURTLE.

At least the mail works. (Glares at Age of Conan.) And I can swim! (Squints at Aion.) And all of my spells seem to be working and not broken or nerfed within a couple days of release. (Rolls eyes at Champions Online.) Turbine, the LotRO launch was almost perfect so you get a pass.

Don’t take me the wrong way. This is a great, fun game, and well worth your entertainment dollar, especially if you are an MMO aficionado. (Rift currently doesn’t seem as noob-friendly as it could be. It had been so long since I played WoW that I forgot to visit a trainer to skill up ranks, until about L10. Obvious, right? Not if you play LotRO. Get yer silly ranks off ma lawn.) Click past the break as you wish for more observations.

Overall, Rift really impresses. I think of it as a steampunk WoW baby on steroids. (I cringe at the last bit, but I don’t know how else to say it. This is why words and expressions and evolutions are invented, which I think is a good thing. Alright? Cool.) The Defiant starting zone was pure chaos. It reminded me of WoW’s Burning Crusade start, complete with gigantic lumbering things.

The game really is derivative of WoW. It’s good or bad depending on how you look at it. What *is* bad is the preponderance of WoW players bringing their smack to the forums, telling Trion we simply have to have DPS meters built into the game, or we’re noob casuals or something. The DPS meter debate is the biggest thing going in the Rift forums right now.

It’s interesting coming from LotRO to see the WoW players coming in with their completely different sense of how things should be in an MMO. I mean, every other MMO has gotten along just fine without DPS, threat, and healing meters, but apparently a lot of WoW players can’t cope. They don’t know any other way to play a game.

Needless to say, I’m against gluing my brain to a meter while I play. It isn’t even so much the e-peen, the teeth-gnashing insecurity, the elitism, and all that other nasty stuff. It’s just not FUN. I hope Trion will see through this and not put in these meters. It will only make their balancing pressures worse anyway, since their open soul system is balancing spaghetti in the first place.

If you’re on the fence about Rift, I’m giving this a thumbs up. There isn’t a better entertainment value in an MMO or RPG right now. If you prefer single-player, then of course Dragon Age 2 in a few days is a must. For some reason, I’m not excited about DA2 because of being forced to play one preset character like in Mass Effect. Bioware wants to tell a deep, profound story, and that’s why they chose the format, but it still isn’t *my* character’s story. Maybe I’m not saying it well.

On the topic of character customization, Rift offers six races and a ton of class combinations. Unlike LotRO, all races can be any class. There was talk before launch that there would be faction-specific souls (classes), but so far I haven’t seen any evidence or discussion of that. I agree with observations that Rift needs much more in the character gen department–more hairstyles, more options, more everything. Trion’s offering is a little sub-par by today’s standards, thinking of AoC and Aion.

If you haven’t looked into Rift, you’re missing a very entertaining MMO experience, at least in the short term. I can’t comment on the longevity of the experience. I think some bloggers, including myself, are a little skeptical of how long the game design can really hold interest. Currently I have all four callings at L10 or above, and I’m liking my choice of Defiant, with the exception of the Turtle curse.

(*editor’s note: the Turtle bug is now fixed with a patch. Kudos to Trion for getting this patch out early on a Saturday morning.)


About Silverangel View all posts by Silverangel

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