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IF you follow my blog (god have mercy on your soul), you may have seen my first steps into rift review here (http://my.mmosite.com/4069628/blog/item/nanbos_noob_rift_experience_prereview.html) and shortly after my final rating review based on the first 20 levels here (http://my.mmosite.com/4069628/blog/item/nanbos_rift_experience_levels_1020.html)

Well today we continue on the RIFT adventure. Although I gave it a final 3/5 rating and stated "I do not see much of the features changing as I progress", I continue to play to touch on the points and "prove" my original findings correct or prove them WRONG! So, what did levels 20 and 30 (half way to cap now) bring to the plate? Let's find out:

What I do is play the game and take notes and screen shots off to the side. Here are my notes in chronological order with commentary:

1) As I push on more to mask the grind. Interesting, but not deep, things to do: Basically what I was discovering was that I was being shipped around quest hub doing a few things out of the normal. In one instance, I was arming cannons on a boat shooting off invaders. Another I was using objects on enemies. Doing disguise quests. etc.. What I liked was that I was doing allot of interesting things to fullfil the "collect X" quest. THANKFULLY I only had 1 escort mission. I dislike games that dump escort missions on you. Some funny moments included dressing up like a troll to get information etc.

I paid more attention to RIFTS and RIFT types (elemental, undead, etc..) Although they all generally behave the same and just come in different flavors, I had a new appreciation on how they brought all us noobs together to fight side by side... I also gave them a thumbs up for giving me a cool free mount and pet! I guess RIFT farming is now my new distraction.

However, all that said, nothing was really DEEP. Nothing really tied deeply into the lore or character progression at all. It was just there. Like "Oh look, a boat, no go on it and defend it". Nothing really to give me allot of decisions as to what to do first. Just very linear go here, do that, get reward move on. I mean...at least give us cut scenes if you are going to be so dry on the questing. But hey, I highlighted on that in my official noob review, and it is still not getting better as you progress.

2) Decent pace so far, a few grind spikes, not bad at all: As regards to character progression, it reminded me allot like TERA. That is, you are givin no more than 15 or 20 MAXIMUM things to kill, and then you move on to the next hub. And if it is 15 or 20 things to collect or kill, you usually do it in groups of 2 so 15, 20 divided by 2 = kill 10 or 5 things. The quests serve as a place to discover the terrain, kill the monsters at least once, and get out of the region with a levels under your belt. There are a few moments where you are repeat killing and doing the typical grind for quest drop, but not that bad. Decent progression. But of course, if you open your map, you will notice the regions are based on level; Region 3 Level 25-35 for example. So super linear progression. But, there is enough bio diversity and quest diversity to keep it some what interesting. I found myself ALT tabbed out watching videos or doing home work as I auto walked forward to do things...little bland.

(Like my big red sack???)

3) Noticing deeper systems. Books to collect, artifacts, pets, etc. But all extras that I am setting aside for end game. Nothing really to pull me away. I do like rift rewards: So in my first review I stated that I noticed systems and menus to open up for achievements, etc...and that I could care less because the heart of my experience was to level up. In fact I have chosen NO CRAFTING PROFESSION what so ever. It is not really evident on how to get started, and I am pre launched on quests etc. I have no need to busy myself with dungeon runs or material farming. However, level 20-30 gave me a reward, my pet and mount. I went into the menu systems to see how to manage them and decided to click around a bit more. I noticed reputation bars, reputation shops in some out posts. I noticed that we can start collecting pets and different things. OVerall, I noticed that yeah, I see how this game can get deep with it's collection systems and artifact hunting (like monster hunting, but just objects that belong to each zone scattered around). But again, nothing to pull me fully away. Perhaps something I would do if I was end game and bored out of my mind.
Despite the fact I Ranted about the auction house being PAY TO USE (even after the CEO Said he does not like to "monetize" his community and will keep the game truly F2P) I do notice that RIFT showers you with allot of rewards. The dungeon runs are rewarding, the RIFT rewards are rewarding. It is a shame I Cannot participate in the auction unless I pay, but all in all, I am satisfied with what I have from my travels through the world.

(Collectible library)

4) Graphics still meh, allot of grey land. No end game character looks good. We are all ugly: Everything is grey and dull. Nothing really begs to be seen or explored. No new jungles or change of scenery to much as you push into your 30's. It was hard taking screen shots as everything had the same color pallet. Also, end game characters, all decked out in Orange tiered gear, look like level 1 armor sets. The armor still is just bleh. I do not expect everything to be glowing POwer Ranger like, but man, SOMETHING to show status! But like I said in my review before, this also adds the "we are all equally savage" aspect to the game. A very middle age look and feel. But then again, that does not really match allot of the steam punk things that are going on... It feels off, and a little depressing to know we have nothing but ugly to look forward to at end game.

(IS this supposed to be ICE??? wha... bad graphics)

5) Game needs an auto attack. Combat is boring and deathless: Like I said above, I easily found myself watching videos, making sandwiches, doing other things as my character plodded along into the world of level 30. Combat is tiresome. If I click once to attack, my double handed staff attack takes literally about 20 seconds to swing. MEaning the enemy hits me about 3 - 5 times before my slow ass swings. That is just standard attack, now if I sit there and SPAM 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 22 2 2 2 2 2 2 2, I attack fast like lightening. The system is made for you to be paying attention to your screen as you spam the skills. This combat is tiresome considering it does not matter. I have a healing pet and can sit there and be hit all day without dying. I wish this game had better auto attack features instead of spam the spell action.

All that said, I love the roots to a true TAB targeting combat system because it is LESS stress. After playing TERA where every combat is a game of dodge and roll and attack. I welcome this RIFT of just spamming and looting and pushing on. But yeah, for my ALT TAB needs, an auto attack would be nice. Perhaps I Can loop attacks in a MACRO...

(Grey is the color of choice in RIFT)

6) Some items auto looted others not. Logic is not clear. Kind of dumb: One of those little things that will pick at you until annoyed. Example, "Collect 10 red gems from bird" you kill the bird and the gem is auto looted into your quest pack and log pops up "1/10" - You turn it in, now "collect 10 Blue gems from bird". YOu go back, this time the gem does not auto loot, you have to manually loot the corpse and click "collect". Wha.... did development just not communicate this point? Was it just laziness on their part? So many little objects that make sense to be auto looted are not, and some things we should manually loot are auto looted, just feels sloppy.

7) To all the Fan bois that said "oh you did not do the dungeons". Yeah, I am doing them now, still nothing to write home about. Just a diversion and armor run. Very disorganized group finder for dungeon search, a little better for quest: A few people said I was unfair because I did not test the first dungeon out in my review. I replied, "I saw it but ignored it because I had no use going into it when I am doing fine leveling up". And I am here to say that it is 100% true. I am level 30 and still have no need to dungeon. I did want to test it out to get some quests out of my log that belonged to the dungeon. I did a few level 20 dungeons and one my level. Still very standard issue clear the mobs and just down the bosses material. A nice distraction if you want to break the quest rhythm. Each one takes about 30min to 1 hour depending on the group.
The dungeon finder is nice in that you select your role and it filters out the trinity in a great way. However, what dungeon you are going to is never clear and where you will be teleported in can be chaotic. Thankfully after the dungeon run you are spit out exactly where you were before being zoned in. It works ok if you chose the dungeon by QUEST, otherwise you will be thrown into some odd dungeons with odd groups. One thing I utterly hated about the finder, is that you cannot use it unless you max out your talent skills. YUP, if you have 5 points of skills not assigned to your tree, you cannot be invited to a dungeon VIA dungeon finder. You mist spend the points....

8) The pigeon hole factor. 3 skill trees, change classes on the go...Quest rewards only offer 4 kinds of armor.
So really, all that building, only to be stuffed in 4 kinds of armor + Role specific game play = not really allot of
class type game play, but class type ANIMATIONS: I mentioned this in my other article. So many fan bois saying this game offered multiclassing on the go etc... I tested it and all I found was the same old class build the other trinity based games offer. Except the specializations were just more pronounced. For example, healer in some games have 3 skill trees (holy - buff - dark). But all in all you are either dishing out damage holy skills or healing skills with a touch of buffs. In RIFT you have 3 heal types, DoT, BIG, or offensive...so nothing really was changing. The buffs are built in the same tree line. Also, mirrored skills. In my 3 trees, you only build really in 2 as 2/3 trees have THE SAME EXACT ability! just a different icon...I found this VERY pigeon holed and super linear and not at all "multi classed" as so many claim. Also, yes, your role can be changed on the go. I started off as a pure healer, and have a second build called "SMASH" where I used DoT and my staff as a mele fighter because a pure healer was fighting so slowly. I have perfectioned my class as PvE damage, and group Heal, or support dps. All and all, this corresponds NOT AT ALL With my skill names "Shaman, Cleric, Purificateur"..What??? non of these skills match what I Am doing, it is just allot of fancy names, buttons, and animations to mask what is under the hood, DPS, Heal, Tank. That is all folks. I mean the entire druid tree is nothing but a healing or damage pet skill bar...kind of a let down. I was wanting to be a healing rogue. I ended up a stick swinging mad man.

OK, here is the BIG EVIDENCE of being PIGEON HOLED: So you have created a class that changes to TANK or DPS to Magic wielder. Each one has 3 trees, you will be managing 6-to 9 skill trees depending on your classes...but EVERY QUEST and and DUNGEON LOOT / ARMOR DROP is based on a set of 4!!! That is right, all these choices, but anyone find it odd that the armor loot is a table of 4 plates. Meaning, you can fool yourself all day behind those skill trees, but you are stuffing the final result down 1 set of armor from a choice of 4 armor types (Str based, Int based, Agi based, Dex based) - so there it is. Nothing really tailors to builds, but momre or less the the trinity, which is just masked behind your 6 trees.

9) Seriously, they need flying mounts since falling causes no damage, I am pretty much exploiting the terrain: My last point. As I am exploring the world, I am noticing I am doing something very interesting. Exploiting the terrain. A good part of level 30 is spent in a mine like area which big canyons. The main road is zigg zagged to get up and down. Aint no body got tim for dat. So I suicide jump down the canyon to get down. No falling damage = this game feels super plasitc like, and then it hit me, I feel like I am flying around everywhere by suicide jumping...ARe there flying mounts in this game??? This, of all games, would be the best game for flying mounts and in the air content...I asked in chat, the response was a sad: "NO". Really TRION? you leave us to exploit the terrain but we cannot fly. With all the steam punk non fantasy elements in this game, they should really give some air ships or dragons...

(One of those odd quests. Throw water on the sleeping workers...)

Conclusion: I gave RIFT a solid 3/5 and that is not changing. I have not fallen more in love with the game, not have I hated it any less. It is living up to exactly what it offers. Linear
progression based on the holy trinity with lots of rewarding distractions in game. Take it or leave it, it is what it is. I personally am enjoying the pace of the game. I can hop in casually, take out some rifts, get rewarded, log out. Hop in, dungeon run, hop out. When I want to kick back with a beer, game n chat a bit, I go to RIFT. Allot of other titles have slowed in content for me recently, and not allot of interesting things seem to be coming down the pipeline anytime soon, so I have time well spent in RIFT.

My next adventures, I hope to discover this player housing I hear is very top notch. Perhaps I will get my hands dirty in a profession. I am VERY curious about PvP in RIFT now. We will leave that for 30-40 adventures. See you then!


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