Monday, February 7, 2011

Cheating on WoW

I'd say I feel guilty. Or dirty. Like I was sneaking around the back of a long-time lover. But none of that is true...and not just because I have a knack for being a heartless bastard.

I managed to get in on the RIFT beta with the help of one of my guildies. The beta for RIFT is somewhat interesting in that instead of being a continuous thing, it's broken up into separate events.

This past weekend was beta #6 and it ran from Friday afternoon until today.

It was kind of a bad weekend for me to get in on it. For one, I had the goal of driving my Hunter, Grevioux, up to level 62 this weekend. At the start of the weekend he was 49. Even with the increased speed in leveling, that's a time-consuming goal.

I also knew that today would be pretty much out of the picture as far as any playtime was concerned as I had a Super Bowl party to prepare for/attend. So my weekend really only allowed me about 8 hours to play around in Tirion's world.

I'm still not 100% certain on what I can say and what I can't. There was some sort of NDA agreement that I agreed to, but it wasn't really clear to what extent I wasn't allowed to talk about the game. It was all in legalese, which I don't speak.

That said, I think there's a few things I can say. I just have to stick to generalities.

The game looks amazing, but it's a double-edged sword. While it has the more realistic and high-res graphics that I've always hoped WoW would update itself to, I constantly found myself thinking, "now I understand why WoW sticks to a brighter color palate and toonier feel." Things blend together a lot, and the longer you spend playing, the harder it can become to distinguish stuff. This isn't a great thing to begin with, but when your own character doesn't look crisp and clear and stand out strongly, it becomes tiresome.

The strongest point of the game is definitely the Rift events. I found myself frequently veering off my questing path to participate in them.

The Soul system is intriguing. There's a lot of depth there and a lot of room for possibility. Like my early days in WoW, though, I find myself getting obsessive and trying to spread my talent points around somewhat evenly rather than strongly specializing. The whole fact that I got to choose all three talent trees out of a larger set further encourages this behavior. Why would I choose something and then not spend points there?

In general, I think my personality would drive me to try as many different combinations of souls for each class as I could and I'd end up overwhelming myself with it.

I didn't make it to a high enough level to try the first dungeon, but I'm hoping I'm able to do so when the next beta event rolls around. I'm anxious to see how it feels playing in a group, as that's what I really enjoy in the MMO experience.

Do I think it's going to pull me away from WoW once it's released? Unlikely. But I will say this: if I wasn't playing WoW and I was actively looking for an MMO to play, I would definitely get into this one.
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