Meridian Unveiled

The folks at Trion Worlds have released a short trailer featuring Meridian, one of the two factional capitals for Rift: Planes of Telara. Massively also has a rundown.

The trailer illustrates one of the reservations I have about Rift; graphically, it looks good but has a very old-school vibe. I’m almost tempted to say ‘regressive’. The combat animations (not shown in this video,) look flat and static in the traditional style; it doesn’t look like blows connect, and I’m not seeing much reaction from struck enemies. Of course, it’s hard to get a good feel for how a virtual world behaves graphically from even the best static videos, and my impressions may prove to be premature once I actually get into the game and start doing stuff.

I have high hopes for Rift, but I’m trying not to project too much. It’s a game that looks good but neither awesome nor earthshakingly innovative. I’m looking forward to trying it, but I’ll say this: the virtual world aspects of the game had better knock my socks off, because I’m not seeing anything really compelling from the mechanics reveals we’ve seen so far.

The rift idea itself is interesting, on the other hand, and I’d love to see it in action. (Plus it looks cool.) But it’s not quite as new as it might at first appear; organic spawning of enemies was built into Tabula Rasa (mortui uiuos docent,) and the progression structure of these events seems much like WAR’s public quests. I expect an improvement from both, but it’s an incremental advance, and seems less ambitious that what ArenaNet is touting for Guild Wars 2. Then again, I expect the world impact of this kind of thing in GW2 to be largely or entirely instanced, whereas in Rift it looks to be global but temporary.

Again, I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude with this title. Launch is probably something like 6 months away yet, so there’s time for a lot to be revealed before then.

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