Entering the RIFT. Is there life after WoW?

Posted: May 7, 2011 by ryanlecocq in Features

So I’ll make this long story as short as possible.  Like I mentioned in my used laptop guide, I’ve been making some side cash buying, fixing and selling laptops.  The first one I bought when I got back to Albuquerque ended up being such a find that I decided to keep it.  People have been telling me for a while now that RIFT is a lot of fun and will run on most dual-core systems.  RIFT was on sale at Gamestop, so I decided to spend the money I saved on this lappy and give them both a test drive.  The laptop specs are as follows ($150 on craigslist):

Intel Core2 Duo T7500 2.2 Ghz 4Mb L2 (runs at 2.4Ghz with the badass high performance mode in the stock BIOS)

2Gb DDR2 667Mhz Dual-channel RAM (goes up to 800Mhz in aforementioned high performance mode)

ATi Mobility Radeon HD 2400 w/ 128Mb dedicated DDR3 and up to 896Mb hypermemory (this baby overclocks too up to 615Mhz)

This puts me well over the minimum and at the recommended in everything but RAM (rec 4Gb).  I already ordered a 4Gb kit, so in 4 days I should be smiling.  We’ll see in about 12 minutes (patching) if this game meets the performance claims.

UPDATES COMING THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT.  I HAVE THE STARBUCKS DOUBLE-SHOTS.

Getting good framerates means going in low renderer.  Kind of looks like WoW but with more going on.

So far so good.  The game does indeed run even on a laptop that’s a few years old.  It would start up in full rendered mode with fancy lighting and such, but the slowdown when NPCs filled the screen was annoying.  In low renderer I can turn the other settings up a bit and still run just fine.  I’m sure once I get the hang of console tweaking this game I can get a nice balance of looks and performance out of the mobile GPU’s limited shader pipelines, but for now, I want to cover ground.

I’m really enjoying myself so far.  My human cleric is a bit humdrum, but he is a human cleric.  I think I’ll make a few more race/class combos and report back soon.  The gameplay is very streamlined and smart so far.  Multiclassing is intrinsic to gameplay; you begin leveling three parallel classes from the start.  I started a Cleric build with the subclasses Druid, Shaman and something else and I had a pet, another form and several buffs and heals by about level 4.  Learning how to level them up and equip them was second nature for an ex-WoW player.

———————

So I made several characters and tried out a bunch of combinations, all of them were both fun and viable from what I could see so far.  Need to stop to get food.  I haven’t gotten past the starting areas for each faction because I’ve made several alts.  Everyone shares the same starting area on each faction.  Wonder if each race has a different area after that?  Hope so.  Food.

———————

After walking a block to Taco Bell for a chicken quesadilla last night, I continued playing until the wee hours.

So I have to say I’m liking what I’ve seen so far.  The big theme in RIFT seems to be ‘say goodbye to the word NO.’  This game combines the best elements of WoW and Guild Wars (the last generation’s most successful games) and not much from any other games.  The thing that’s different is you almost never have to make a choice that is also a sacrifice.  No matter what class you choose, you can spec for almost any role.  You can respec at almost any time, so even if you’ve played the whole game doing DPS and CC, but you feel like adding a pet, it’s only about 10 minutes away at most.

Things like weapons and gear are far less restrictive as well.  You can try out a different weapon type at any time and most of your abilities will work with it.  It’s like a combination of WoW’s weapon skill system without the restrictions and Guild Wars’ weapon ability system without the restrictions.  This idea of combining the best elements of the last generation and improving upon them has worked in the past.  WoW and Guild Wars could both be accused of taking the best elements from Everquest and FFXI and polishing them up.

The only thing I don’t like so far is the lack of a unique character starting zone.  Everyone starts in the same area rather than WoW’s race unique starting zones.  I really like having a unique experience that makes you feel like the race you chose.  My first WoW character was a Dwarf paladin and I will never forget my first time through Dun Morogh.

I restocked today with coffee, nacho fixins and assorted other necessities.  Rather than bouncing around between my 4 characters, I’m going to focus on one and try to progress until the game opens up.  I’m hoping to enter a proper dungeon of some kind and hopefully get some options about which quest area to tackle.  So far I’ve spent way too much time experimenting with the gameplay and not enough time completing quests.

——————-

This game is definitely worth at least a month of my time.  So far I’ve had a lot of fun with very little frustration.  I’ve played solo for hours without other players harming my gameplay.  I’ve also hopped in and out of groups with ease and found many helpful players on the servers.  The class system is extremely versatile and although the combat is functionally similar to WoW or Guild Wars, the animations and spell effects make it seem more action packed.

When I get back up to WA on Friday, I’m going to start building Laguna and I a pair of matching gaming desktops for reviews and betas.  We’re going to put this game through it’s paces with a couple weeks of solid playing.  Look for more content in the future on this game.

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