Sunday, July 31, 2011

I have Ascended.

Yesterday morning I woke up with the old World of Warcraft loading screen theme in my head, you know, the totally awesome one with the Dark Portal? I thought about reactivating my account, thinking about re-rolling all over again, and playing. The more and more I thought about it, the more and more it seemed like a chore. I would have remember my password for starters, since I can barely remember my own name on a daily basis. Then I would have to go through the agonizing process of patching, patching, patching, as I know I have missed a lot. Then, of course the leveling and the scramble to get on top, or at least as close I could be.

I pushed those thoughts aside and did some yoga, had some coffee, but as I went through out my day, I could not help but think about reactivating my account. Today, I was bored - Ed had control of the TV for some old tymey video gaming, and I put my laptop away. So, with the "awesome gaming computer" waiting for me, I downloaded the trial for Rift. So far, I have played through a minor portion of the starter area, only about maybe an hour or two. My impressions of it are, well, good!

To start, my first complaint is the fact that the trial period is only 7 days. I remember the WoW trial being longer. Ahem. Anyway. So, in Rift, the world Telara is under siege and you as an Ascendant are one of the chosen ones to fight for the world. I liked the opening movie, as I am impressed by flashy lights and pretty colors. So, your first stop is a lot of choices, from which shard to play on (server), to faction (Guardians or Defiant), then race and class. It's pretty standard fare. Having absolutely no knowledge of this game or the story lines, I pretty much closed my eyes and clicked. I ended up choosing a Bahmi Rogue. So, once you get that out of the way, you're dropped into the world. Or, rather, into the world as apparently you find out you were once dead. Like any MMO, you're given tasks, you do them, and you get rewards. Some of the tasks reward you with choices, and these choices are your Soul Attunement, the leveling and class system in the game.

This system is magnificent. The amount of customization is incredible. World of Warcraft's three talent trees and duel class system is a child's toy compared to what this system can do. Even from the beginning you get two "souls" to choose from, and even some helpful suggestions as to which ones could be used together. Altogether you get three souls, along with their branch options and roots. The branches are the points you place yourself and the roots are the standard skills and spells that come along with your levels. So, not only can you build a custom class, you can THEN customize the class to how you want it. For a full listing of all the options, go here.

The graphics are great, and less flashy pants than World of Warcraft, but it's appropriate. You've just been ressurected into a world of turmoil, and your purpose to go fix it. I enjoy the realism and darkness, after almost 5 years of cartoon characters carrying around swords the size of small children. I haven't kicked the graphics up, opting to stay at a lower rate, but even on the low side of things, it still looks pretty. The menu and toolbar are fairly basic, easy to understand for the novice and pro-raider alike.

I haven't played a whole lot of it, but I plan on for the next week as I pay my trial. I have taken advantage of the built in video cap system (also: auto posting to YouTube, posting to Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter of pictures) to post some videos:

I fite with arrows! And a boar-thing!

screwing around in the first main quest area.

and yes, I did recycle my old WoW Mage's name. I am sooooo original. Anyway. I think this has the potential to become the antidote to World of Warcraft burn out. The game is extremely sophisticated from graphics, character customization, and the wide range of class options. The story line and world is engrossing as the game throws you into the action from the very start. It's different though, and coming from WoW, I might be inhibiting myself a little bit as I keep comparing the two, but I can't help it. In two hours, I had a lot of fun playing, but I know I have barely just scratched the surface.

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