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So I am leaving on vacation for now turns out to be 2 weeks and will be in allot of areas without internet. So I can write allot, but cannot post for some time. Before leaving I finally decided to play RIFT up to level 10 and take notes. I literally had Microsoft Word open and RIFT in window mode to hop back and forth and write and take screen shots.

Later I would like to level up and finish this article with a follow up review. Here are my direct notes followed by explanations:

Note 1) "Buggy graphics, mobs pop, react bad. Static mobs, bad animations." - I ran this on medium high setings, and noticed allot of hiccups. Animations are super stale. A few movement left and right, but nothing to give it that "alive" feel that a few others do. It is basic standard stuff here.

There were strange moments the mobs "pop". It is like the auto-pathing glitches and they explode out. At first I thought it was lag spikes, but nothing else lagged, and there is a slight animation for it...odd. It makes no sense.

Static mobs here and there. Just solid as statues...not doing any movement... Some size issues. Like stairs that you just float up and that are bigger than your feet...In fact, that is a good word to describe the camera and movement. Strange floating. Not flowing (good) but floating (strange)...notice I say strange. It is not BAD, just...odd, feels a lil out of place.

The interface has super small buttons and over used menus. Menus that stick (should logically close, have to manual push EVERYTHING) It is like they got lazy and just said "eh, let teh player do it, he will feel "interacted"". I have seen games like this. This game felt ALLOT like WOW an Lord of The Rings Online. When I say allot I mean straight up copy. Down to the targeting reticule to the use of terrain and color pallets. There were moments I wanted to go back to those games because this one wasn't fullfiling like the others. For example, the worlds of LoTRO feel rich. This game took some of its dress up elements but left out the "richness" part, so it felt like a stale LoTrO biscuit. The wow aspect is in the animations, quest progression, and over all look and movement and customization.

And please do not say "Oh but it has multi class tree! that is why it is different". *face palm* Runes of Magic, Eden Eternal...I can go on..Really I can...Even Path of Exile (and perhaps Secret World) tot mass skill selection...but at the core, you are healing, dpsing, or tanking. Waver to far or build like a noob, and no one wants you / useless. The trinity is there, use it. RIFT just slaps pretty little names to the skills to create "variety". And if you pay attention, you are just specializing in skill types. For example, a healer can has like 3 classes of healing to get into, but really it is Heal over time specialty, Big heal, or buff n shield...chose one. I prefer wows choice of having all 3, but better output if you go heal build. Any ways, let's not get side tracked.

(What is this barrel thing? It will never be explained. This is never a quest thing. It is just graphic garbage)

2) "Broken quest level 4. Just got unstuck, quest items are in the quest dialog box, not the pinned quest text, not the sac, not the character screen…the actual full quest menu small button on the bottom…" - So I swore I was bugged. The quest at level 4 said: "get resonator for the machine on Soldiers". Ok...easy enough, the quest area is even highlighted on the map. I could not at all find 3 energy conductors. I farmed an entire level (level 5) before re reading every thing 4 times...the 4rth time, I noticed that the QUEST ITEM is in a little tiny hot bar for quest items in the Quest log... YES, it is not in the quest text to the right pinned, it is not in the bags, it is not on your person. IT EXISTS IN QUEST DIMENSION LAND! LOL! YOu have to open the full quest tab window thing, and look down, bottom of the box, there is a tiny hotbar and there it was, a conductor to pull energy out of enemies XD. So I did this and moved on, but man...that sucked and makes no sense. That is a great example of how this game feels like an after thought of two clones smashed together.

(So collect condensors. Put them here. KIll 3 guys...The button is highlighted but does nothing. Mobs drop nothing. The boss is just sitting there dead already...OHHH I get it, it is in the quest Window, hidden in a mini hot bar. This is an mmorpg first for me.)

3) "Lag between action and result." I am playing on Fibre Optic internet with mass speed. It took me only 30 min to install this entire game (yeah my internet rocks). I play in EU (faster connections than commecial US) and on my local server...I never noticed lag like in other games, like, the move 3 steps forward 2 steps back...that did not happen, but there was a delay in the attacks hitting the enemy. I do not think this was server lag as all my other things are going fine, the other mobs moving around, the chat box, etc...it never hiccuped, but when I press 1 for spell 1, nothing happened. The mob did not even look at me..I press 2, and POOF his engages combat but his health is now 50% in one hit! "Wow" I think, "I must be powerful"...then I realized no...it is just because the 1st spell did indeed hit, but there was no registration until the second hit..like a lag spike...wtf? It seriously felt like a design flaw...

4) good battle sounds. I am spoiled in the graphics and game department as I play TERA actively. But TERA mob sounds suck. They are just flat and copy and paste. RIFT has great combat sounds. MEtal against metal. Screaming. Dying breaths, etc..One little problem..Anoher design flaw...sometimes...Cries come out of nowhere. This is actually REALLY REALLY funny. I will be sitting around, and suddenly out of nowhere a grunt.."ughh ughh ughh" like some one is ...well.../ getting busy...Or some chick is screaming. I will look around and find no one..or, perhaps it is that guy like a mile away, I get closer, and yes, the voice could possibly be coming from him...wtf? It felts out of place. Also, the voice acting is horrible. The NPCS usually have an audio que to speak, but the mouth doesn't move, the static positions, or the "look left and right" behavior does not correspond at all with the dialog that the audio is spitting out of my speakers.

(I heard strange grunting coming in over my speakers like an npc was close. Turns out it is just this guy digging half a village away. Also, WTF is this npc doing? This is all over RIFT nonesense animations. She is like dying. And then gets back up. Talks nonesense, and dies again...I don't get it. And worse is when it has nothing to do with the story or never explained....just bad design)

5) "Level up graphics better than any spell you have, seems different.." - Spell animations and over all graphics are lack luster (remember this a noob review, perhaps they will get more...cool...later on). The funny part, when you level up, this 3D purple redish lightening fire bolt thing descends upon you and swirls around and says YOU HAVE DONE IT! LOL! The animation is actually kind of more 3D and epic looking than anything I have seen in the game...It feels...off. Like it was an after thought.

6) "Don’t care whats happening – Quests speak singularity like single player RPG. But the entire environment is geared towards world action.." - At this point the story takes you out of the noob area (boring use of mobs that just run around for theatrics, you literally cannot die here unless you pass out on your keyboard and die in real life...mid battle). You are not on an island but it feels like it because it is the noob zone. You work your way up the paths to this sort of hill top where apparently the people have been using steam punk like technology to build things... I don't know...I don't care. All I know is that a scientist opens a RIFT and some bad guys come out in phase 1, phase 2 it is some white golem thing...no idea. Phase 3 some chick. Phase 4 the lord of the rift I guess. And then a dragon...just toss a dragon in there for measure XD. HE starts talking about something. MY quest log says enter the rift. I Do, but get kicked back...guess I have to hear this idiot talk about nothing. So he talks typical straight by the book "Im gonna kill you all pathetic mortals"...and then I can enter the rift.

Up to this point and everything after (as a level 10) the game speaks to me. There are cut scenes talking to me like "You are the only hope! The greatest warrior etc etc"...but I am playing in a persistent world with other players and the rifts are community battles...Why am I singled out?

So as you go in the RIFT they send you to the past to warn the others before the rift opens. But the past looks exactly like the future and rifts are everywhere. I guess maybe I should read the text to follow along. I don't really care, I have "X" things to kill XD.

Also it is apparent that farming is not the way to get exp. It trickles in. Do quests early on.

7) "I’m sitting under a rift, surrounded by enemies…Think Ill go cook lunch." - My early level rift experiences (and they are everywhere) was boring. You can literally sit under one and AFK and mobs just do the static mob thing and stand there looking left and right. I left my chair several times to do things around the house. Came back and killed and kept going. YUP. It is like that. Now, this could be a GOOD thing. Because I like to afk often in mmorpgs as I alt tab to do homework or other tasks. So I personally like this, but as far as rifts being the games selling point...I was not sold. It was just there. Nothing more. Again, perhaps these get better later on.

8) "All these skills and buttons mean nothing…dead is dead. Holy trinity is holy trinity.

Noob 3 attacks to class upgrade 1 fire attack? Whaa…" - OK....Get this... As a noob you have A selection of skills like Healing, attack, etc etc. In my skill list I had 3 kinds of attacks, 2 buffs, and 2 healing skills. I was pretty untouchable. As soon as I advanced and got my first "job" change (I chose healing over time), I lost all previous skills and now have 1 attack spell...and 4 healing spells and 5 buffs...Ok, so now I take the role of healer...but that is odd that my noob set up was more lethal than later levels. I know attack slower because no choice of diverse attacks, but you know what? IT doesn't matter, all these crap spells are on the same COOL DOWN. Global cool down folks. Prepare for the slow slow stab of combat.

This is also one of the those "look at all these skills!" but only 2 are really useful. To much of nothing. I had "heal 222" as one instant skill then, "heal for 221" as another wtf? Basically the same thing just different branch of skills...nothing but hot bar clutter. There are just core skills and essential ones. That leaves so much to just ignore. But again, as you level up, things tend to change, so I reserve this comment for the first 10 levels (and probably well into most mid game).

Dead is dead means, I attack with one spell. takes off 50% no the killing blow can come from launching my other spell, or the same spell (since both on same cooldown) I had all these great choices...but the outcome is the same. The mob dies... so just press 1 1 1 1. No need to go to 2 really, or even have that spell hot barred. IT does not even add anything special to spell animations either so meh.

(Apparently I am a protector of fire...yet a user of water because of my job choice. This leads to silly combos)

9) "Status bars more important than my character.." - Bars, windows, get out of my FACE! but you know what? Looking at big annoying bars and intrusive windows is better than the ugly environments.

10) "I like the epic quests that keep you busy." - Not to much travel so far. Right into epic stuff. Thank god no wolves or pigs to farm. But enough interesting tasks to fulfill.

The end of my run, before logging off. I was left in a new world to explore and did not feel any different than the noob island I just got out off. Things were happening because I can hear displaced sounds, and silly npc movements...but I never felt apart or threatened by it. Very very by the books, very basic mmorpg so far. I can see what the future holds. And I have seen some mid to end game videos... but again, nothing that breaks the mold. Just different ways to press those buttons in the over crowded hot bar.

I was on the fence to install this game because it looked so so. I was right so far, and now I am on the fence to install it right away. But I am curious. MY big problem is that it has all the little cosmetics from WoW and LoTRO like the targeting reticle done in celtic style, the player window, the colors, designs and animations. The problem is, it reminded me so much of these other games I already played and left mid to high level characters in, that I just had the itch to go RE-play those OTHER games! Rift did not have the living day and night "ambient" setting like LoTRO did so it was like "missing" something.

The wow like colors, animations, and menu systems made me think "ok, at the least I am playing F2P wow"....then I got depressed LOL. So, I do not know. The big picture is that I do not know, and I feel bad for uninstalling at this point. So I will plod along and see if this game can surprise me and convince me to make it stay on my HD.

What do you think of this title?


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