Rift Beta 4 Impressions

As early as Friday morning I’d figured I wouldn’t get an invite to the fourth Rift beta event. But unexpectedly, when I arrived at home, there was one waiting in my inbox. Again, Trion fails at keeping the riffraff out!

I have spent the great majority of my available time over the weekend playing it. Also to my surprise, characters from Beta 3 weren’t wiped – allowing me to pick up where I left off, at level 13, rather than having to start from scratch. I certainly appreciated this, as it left me jump straight into rifts and invasions instead of having to level up to that point again. And indeed, I have played a lot in that particular arena.

Rift continues to impress me with its level of polish. It’s not bug-free – in particular, I had an issue where a newly-summoned pet would vanish after a few seconds, and the pet control for ‘stay’ seemed to be more sticky than it should, in over-riding the attack command. There’s also some issues with clipping into terrain and across the water plane, but that’s nothing I haven’t seen in the 6 year old and purportedly polished WoW.

In other respects, Rift is very feature-rich for a game more than a month away from launch; it has mounts, achievements, plenty of dungeons, decent crafting, PvP and all this stuff actually works. I heard some talk in the chat about PvP being broken, but I played a couple rounds in the Warfront scenarios and didn’t see it – in fact I thought it worked pretty well, but more play might well reveal issues that I didn’t pick up on.

Rifts are a lot of fun, when there’s people around for them. There sometimes seems to be a lot more rifts around than players willing to close them, but I joined up with a couple different bands of rift-killers and did a lot of roving around wiping out rifts and invasion mobs. However, one thing that bugs me is when invasions spawn in a rift area, they’ll simply take off toward their target without aggroing the glut of players in the rift area, which strikes me as both nonsensical and a little cheesy. On the other hand, I felt that rifts were often challenging enough without this additional burden.

Some of the invasion mobs are insanely tough; one that I helped take down took a good ten minutes of 20+ players beating on it, and I ran myself out of mana half a dozen times and had to back way out to drink. Mana economy is indeed a concern of Mages in this level range, and it needs to be constantly monitored. There’s an Elementalist ability that let you burn charge for mana regen out of combat, and this saw a lot of use once I picked it up.

I reached level 20, got my mount and my fourth soul, and stuck my head into the Guardian tier 2 zone, Gloamwood, before signing out. I’m not sure if I’ll get to play any more this round, but it looks to me as though there will be at least one or two more events before the beta switches to open, which I am looking forward to.

I’m still planning to not pick the game up at launch. But Rift has a lot going for it, and the more I play, the more I like it. I’m especially curious to see if the tier 2 content is as well developed as the level 1-20 stuff.

6 responses to “Rift Beta 4 Impressions

  1. Hi Ardwulf,

    My impressions are very positive as well: in the beta at least, the game looks and plays well. Graphics are well done, engine seems more advanced than WoW or EQ, though I would not call it state of the art. It seems to be a good compromise between what is graphically possible on the PC and actually feasible on a wide range of PC’s.

    This beta gets high grades from me in terms of execution. For the rest it’s too early to tell; the game and its world don’t exactly fire my imagination (perhaps too much like WoW/EQ and too generic), but if the beta is, for once, a good indication of the final product this game ought to appeal to a lot of mmo gamers.

  2. However, one thing that bugs me is when invasions spawn in a rift area, they’ll simply take off toward their target without aggroing the glut of players in the rift area, which strikes me as both nonsensical and a little cheesy. On the other hand, I felt that rifts were often challenging enough without this additional burden.

    I believe that is a change from Beta 1 because originally, the non-invulnerable and very attackable invasions were being killed in the cradle they spawned from by rift participants, or, alternately, the invasions would wipe the group participating in the rift event. It could perhaps be handled more elegantly.

  3. I’m 24th now and I’ve spent pretty much the whole day in Gloomwood. In my opinion it’s considerably better than Silverwood. It’s certainly as well developed.

    The zones don’t look that big on the map but they are very dense and three-dimensional. There’s plenty up the mountains and down in the valleys, and the plot in Gloomwood, while by no means original, is a lot of fun.

  4. I spent Beta 4 on my Defiant mage, and got to check out the new zone they opened up for testing, Stonefield. The Rift events are starting to get more interesting, and more challenging. Previously, I was starting to get a little tired of the rifts, but admittedly they are becoming less tedious and a lot more enjoyable to do. The level of polish is still astounding. Like you said, it’s not perfect and nor is it bug free, but if it is to launch today, it would still be in better shape than a lot of games out there.

    By the way, I know they will wipe all the characters before launch, but not sure if they will wipe between betas. I hope not, I want to play my mage for as long as I can!

  5. This was my 1st beta event, and probably only due to me pre-ordering. The weekend’s event has definitely piqued my interest. I got a cleric to 15, a mage to 11, a rogue to 7, and a warrior to 8, plus tried a few other combos within some of the archetypes up to 4 or 5, but decided I didn’t like how they played so much. Still and all… once I’m high enough level to get all the souls and swap between them as needed (already working on that with my cleric but the soul acquisition quests require you to get a random loot drop from a rift, so they’re kinda annoying — I know for the future to do as many rifts as possible before level 15 in order to “pre-get” the item. . . . ) I can see why one could easily say that you only ever need 4 characters at max, and since the archetypes can blend souls to enable “cross-class” stuff, perhaps not even that many.

  6. Pingback: Roundup: How Good Was The Rift Beta? | MMO Melting Pot