Oh Rift, I’m wandering your beautiful shores once more!
One aspect of my injury and subsequent recovery has been a bit of a “reset” of my entire games portfolio. Some titles I was committed to before I had to take a break have fallen completely by the wayside (PS2, EQII) and others have taken a far less active role in my day-to-day play (such as DCUO and TSW). This has provided me with some time to re-evaluate some of my choices and re-align some of my playtime to better suit my own enjoyment. As I’m still operating under a reduced physical capacity I’ve had to make changes to my routines and certainty to my choice of games.
Enter Rift. Enter Rift again.
Old Wounds, New Bandages
When I first played Rift it was after the free-to-play transition and what I consider, in my time in MMOs, to be somewhat after my long-term recovery from World of Warcraft. I quit Cataclysm in early 2011 and didn’t really touch another MMO until TOR released at the end of that year. TOR was a huge letdown, and it only lasted a few months for me. After, I played a lot of console games and RPGs. A few of the free-to-play titles found their way onto my hard drive, but they couldn’t satisfy me after WoW.
I really credit Rift with getting me interested in MMOs again after the dual betrayals of Cataclysm and The Old Republic.
Cataclysm brought many changes to WoW which, from my perspective, killed a great deal of the fun and engagement. No longer could I theorycraft cool builds from the skill trees, as they had been replaced by rather lackluster “choices” which ended up not really being choices in the end.
The addition of on-rails, highly scripted and curated content which felt (and was) artificially walled off from the rest of the game further complicated things. No longer was I in a world… I was playing essentially a single player game until I hit the level cap. Friends were caught out-of-instance; the landscapes constantly changed and the heavy-handed phasing made the game feel very walled off and unlike previous experiences in Azeroth.
The changes to Heroic dungeons didn’t help, either, as endgame felt overly punishing and complicated.
All You Need Are Friends
The main driver of my dive back into the world of Telara has been the motivation to play with a new guild that I suppose (by this point) I have “officially” joined: Eternal Dawn. In particular, both Simcha and Jaedia have welcomed me back to Rift and have provided a great deal of conversation and general camaraderie which has been invaluable to making this go around in Telara far more productive, I hope, than the last time I set foot in this themepark’s forests and icy mountains.
First is the Worst, Second is the Best…
Having some friends in game (as well as guild support) will be something new for me in Rift. The last time I spent time in the game I was both very engrossed and quite impressed—yet I played my entire time solo. I may have stepped into one, maybe two, dungeons with others and done a few Adventure Modes and public parties for zone events, but there was no chat and certainly no follow-through after we were finished with our short-term task.
I leveled my first character on a NA server to 48, loving every moment until I began to experience the beginnings of the dreaded 50-60 Storm Legion grind. This was before Iron Pine Peak was re-imaged as a mid level zone and when I began to have difficulty soloing all the various quests.
But this time I feel better, and with the help of Eternal Dawn I’m hoping to get myself leveled up and back into the closer-to-endgame place where I was before in no time at all. The leveling is certainly faster and in my limited two days of initial play I crested level 12 and am well on my way.
While I can’t say that I’ll be moving forward with any sort of concrete plan, I made it to level 20 overall this short run in Rift. I look forward to popping back in from time-to-time and perhaps even finding a newly sparked passion for this very solidly constructed game.