Trion invited former Rift players back this weekend to have a look at their Storm Legion expansion. I was excited to see Rift on my new computer, so I re-installed on my sleek SSD (Solid State Drive).
My first adventure, while the game updated, was to click the ad on the launcher for the sexy black “Submit” T-shirt. Who hasn’t clicked that link, right? So. All of the shirts are for guys. I think it’s great for guys to submit to Crucia, and it’s even greater to have a powerful female antagonist in an MMO expansion, but this is a typical situation for Rift. I’ve blogged in the past about the sexist female outfits *in* the MMO. Irony! Or something. Moving on.
After updating, I started a new character just to get the feel of things. Trion changed the start of the game quite a bit, so I stopped and made a few changes to my Rift newbie guide here on Kitty Kitty. First of all, the new “purposes” in character creation seem like a nice idea.
New players can get into the game more quickly by clicking a button instead of having to choosing souls, but I honestly liked picking a soul combo in the old days. When I make a character, I want to know everything about every class. This may be a habit from D&D and other games that lock you into one class and/or role, of course. Rift doesn’t really do that. Anyway, I hadn’t played five minutes before I was Googling to figure out what to do.
So I checked out Freemarch and Meridian with my Defiant warrior. My console controller worked great, without re-configuring anything different from LotRO. I didn’t like my skin color and re-made my character, only to realize that the lighting is vastly different in character creation than in the ark rooms where you spawn. It was a similar situation at launch, without going into boring details. Dear devs everywhere, this is not good.
I was prepared to see graphical wonders in Rift, but it was a mistake to think Rift would be the best looking game on my brand new computer. Rift vs. LotRO on ultra settings seems like overall a wash. Rift has better polygons. LotRO has equal textures, with better distant landscapes and definitely better skies and water, at least from what I saw. Rift interiors and definitely surfaces are better (bump-mapping?). My Bahmi’s skin looks nice up close.
At first I thought my hi-res textures for Rift hadn’t loaded properly, because even my armor was bland. I checked the performance settings on my Catalyst panel. I found a forum thread on this topic. I ended up verifying that my new warrior outfit textures did match up to screenshots of what they should be on the highest settings. So that was that.
I then went to check out my main, a L50 mage. I decided that rebuilding even one skill tree to use was going to take a lot of time. I grabbed my mail instead and noticed a quest to investigate a wrecked ship, so I sallied forth with a few simple fireballs and chloro heals in my pocket, noticing that my quest said that I was to speak with a queen.
I was intrigued. Who is this Queen Miela? Why did her ship wreck right there off of Shoreward Island? Where did she get that beautiful outfit? And those shoes!? I still don’t know. I spoke to her, and she didn’t have time for questions or a proper introduction. She said the situation was pressing, and I was to man the scatterguns and hop on the anti-aircraft batteries because some hordes of monsters were coming.
Right then I nearly collapsed from a series of terrible World of Warcraft flashbacks. This is typical game writing for both WoW and Trion. Action first, ask questions later. I guess most players will get impatient without something to kill. This is why I quit WoW. I had no clue what the story was in Northrend. It was endless questing and killing with no purpose. No characters.
Characters are the heart of fiction. Is fiction the heart of an MMO, or action? I can get endless action in Diablo 3 or any game. I have always said that characterization is a weakness in Rift. What is the motivation of the NPC? What are the emotions? How does the NPC react to you? An NPC reacting to your character is like a double-bonus in writing quest text. You get two characters characterized (yours and the NPC) for the price of one, and a triple-bonus if the conversation happens to be about someone else.
At that point, I noticed the queen checking out the skimpy brassiere piece of my traditional Ethian dress, and even managed to grab a screenshot (the pic above). My heart skipped a beat. The queen was attractive, emotionally vulnerable in that moment, and probably rich. I wondered if we had a chance together, and regretted that I’d slotted points into Pyromancer and nothing in my Domination soul.
I decided that her name “Miela” was derived from the Spanish word “miel”, or honey, which is lovely, and not the vulgar “mierda” stuff implied by this thread in the Rift forums.
Ah, but I’ve just given myself away. Yes, I did log out of the game at that point so I could go back to Google. I want story, immersion, and fiction. I want roleplay. I don’t want to man the scatterguns. Seriously. And worse yet, per that same thread, the queen may be possessed and controlled by the dragon goddess Crucia, so a date won’t work out after all.
Undaunted, I quested onwards on the internet, trying to find something besides heavy artillery to get me interested in spending money to resub in Rift, buy the expansion, and spend the rest of the weekend wiping my skill bars and starting over. That’s a bit of headache and dinero.
I found a Youtube video of a Storm Legion dungeon. I liked the original Rift dungeons, and the dungeon finder tool is the best ever. Unfortunately, the devs were showing off a big mech with yes–more artillery and flame throwers, plus a cool jumping ability. And a *double jump* trick. Wow. Sorry, Mario. I also found the official trailer that claims massive battles with even more massive mech-y monsters.
Rift is a great MMO, and I’ll jump back in those waters at some point, but not today. Rift requires a lot of time, and I still need to finish Rohan in LotRO. This kitty may be sling-shotting from here to a F2P SWTOR installation this afternoon, however.
I’m supposed to be boycotting SWTOR due to their removal of LGBT content, but I’ve still got a holiday season new-game itch that maybe SWTOR could finish scratching. My foray into Secret World was short-lived for several reasons. I don’t want to bore even more, but these reasons are the lead-in to my punch-line.
I don’t want to solve puzzles using Google. It was frustrating in Secret World trying to solve puzzles. I tried. I wasn’t a big fan of the short, spammy skill bar either, and the skill wheel had broken tooltips that plain said the wrong thing–for over a month, at least. Maybe Funcom fired the guy who could fix tooltips, but still, every new player during that key horror/Halloween promotion period was misled and had to use Google to figure out how to put points in his or her skills.
I was simply not immersed. My character looked good with nice outfits, but she was kind of a robot. When I got my first call from the boss, I thought I’d get a promotion or something would happen to my character but no–they just wanted me to do XYZ and go back to questing. I killed over 1000 zombies. That was fun, and I don’t want to kill more zombies. I don’t want to blow things up with big guns.
I just want the queen’s shoes–those magical snowflake-colored shoes she was wearing.