Revisiting RIFT in 2020: Is the MMORPG Worth Starting?
I’ve never devoted as much time to RIFT as I perhaps should have. That was mainly due to how preoccupied I always was with my main games – games like Final Fantasy XIV or World of Warcraft.
However, after Mrs Stix and I began streaming 3-4 times per week over on Twitch, I found a new outlet with which to explore all these games I never had the time to in the past.
The best part of all of this was that you could all play with us, really getting the community involved.
Regarding RIFT, though? Man, where do I start.
RIFT is a free-to-play MMORPG developed and published by Trion Worlds from 2011 through 2019, where Gamigo took over.
Players were ecstatic: Trion was a terrible publisher, and they were of the opinion that any publisher was better than the game had. Unfortunately, Gamigo ended up being more or less.. Gamigo, and there was little if any noticeable improvement for the game.
However, even despite all of this, RIFT has maintained a solid playerbase of active players over the years, much to my surprise.
When beginning the game you’re required to choose a faction. The two factions are currently at odds with one another, and this functions much in the way of the Horde vs Alliance, Playstation vs Xbox, Red vs Blue. It’s a tale as old as time.
Then you sit through a drawn-out tutorial, which honestly, is an outdated mechanic that is no longer required in MMOs in this day and age.
Now you’re free to set out into the world and pretty much do whatever you want. Explore, fight, quest, PvP, run dungeons… or at least that’s what you could do, in theory.
One thing that was made abundantly evident after beginning, was that much of the game, much of the early-stages of the experience are obsolete.
Yes, there are giant RIFT’s that open from the sky, but nobody does them. Yeah, there are giant bosses that spawn throughout the zone, but they’re too difficult to combat alone.
Heck, Mrs Stix and I attempted to queue for dungeons, with some of our community watching the stream, and we couldn’t fill up the required amount of players to actually enter. We sat in queue for over half an hour, looking for a single player to queue for a dungeon with.
But that was okay, considering that isn’t how players level in the game anymore.
We were instructed to queue for “Intrepid Adventures,” as that is the only method of leveling that is worth doing all the way through until endgame. So we did. We queued up, and the queue popped almost instantly.
And that’s where we leveled. We queued up for hours of Intrepid Adventures every single RIFT stream and made it all the way to level 40, and it was one of the most mundane, monotonous, tedious leveling experiences I’ve ever had to sit through in the last decade.
You’re grouped up with 3, 5, 10 other random players and you kill monsters, loot items and basically face-roll over your keyboard with no coordination whatsoever and gain XP, level-up, and learn nothing about the game.
But the alternative is quest in the large, open world, run dungeons that require teamwork and basic knowledge of your class, and PvP to fight against other players.
To me, all of that combined with the Intrepid Adventures sounds like a much less arduous process to go through, but once again.. this is a case of everyone going the fastest, easiest route they possibly can to achieve the goal of hitting endgame with as little effort as possible.
Don’t get me wrong: RIFT is a solid looking game. I’ve never been all too fond of the character models, granted, but the world, the skill effects, the outfits, they’re all very pleasant to look at.
The combat is tab-target, and abilities are, for the most part, on a global cooldown so it functions primarily like World of Warcraft – one of the games that RIFT was first compared to.
These are skill-trees present, providing you quite a lot of control over your character. You have 3 skill trees, and fill them in according to whatever playstyle you’d like to utilize.
In doing so, you’re given access to more skills than I knew what to do with. By, what, level 20? I feel like I had 2 entire hotbars filled with skills and I had no idea what I was supposed to be using, what element I should be focusing on, if I should be DoTting, AoEing or single-target casting.
But at the same time that’s part of the fun – providing so much freedom and control over your character is something that players often request. There’s nothing more boring than everyone playing the exact same way, after all.
Unfortunately we didn’t make it to end-game. We dedicated the entirety of May 2020 to getting as far as we possibly could and honestly, RIFT just isn’t really holding up too well right now.
I know there are a lot of people that claim RIFT is dead. That’s not entirely true – the game isn’t dead, there’s still a dedicated playerbase that log in and level new characters, run content and continue to provide Gamigo an excuse to keep RIFT going.
But with the state the game is currently in right now? Yeah, I would say it’s definitely not worth trying in 2020. If you’re a fan of the game, I can say with certainty that nothing has really changed. Nothing has really been added.
If you’re a new player, then once again, you’re probably not going to get much out of beginning the game now. There is little, if any participation if you aren’t at end-game and if end-game is all there is to do in the game, it probably isn’t going to last you very long.
But that isn’t to say we didn’t have fun while playing.