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.