The ghost of MMO past was knocking on my door this weekend, dragging those chains of nostalgia around and instilling an urge to explore a MMO from my past. While I have tried many mmo’s going back a few years now none of them really got their hook into me like Rift did. I tried WoW in its first years and hated it; LotRO and was kind of boring; even War in its release period and thought it was terrible designed and buggy. Going into Rift for the first time was a real shock to my gaming sensibilities. The combat and content style was widely different from anything else I’d tried and for some reason it was a world that felt unbelievably large to me. It was a rather naive thought but coming into the genre blind and ignorant meant that I appreciated the things rift did in ways I can’t really describe,
I remember playing during the beta period and being amazed at the things happening around me. Grouping with strangers from around the globe to complete those rifts made it seem more like a form of symbiosis with others, me healing as much as I could and everyone else doing their own part as well. Those massive large invasions as well were amazing as well, just seeing that many people running around the map and the chaotic atmosphere of all these mobs rampaging around was something I’d never experienced before. It felt like I was part of a community for the first time rather than just something focusing on my own play.. and it was exhilarating.
It was also a time of mystery and discovery, a feeling that imprinted itself on me for years to come. The clearest memory I have is exploring the first zone with someone I’d met when we had finished up the zone and were heading through the mountain passes to the next one. Along the way a death group had taken over one of the smaller guard posts and had set up a foothold, we proceeded along not worrying about it until this massive stone giants appeared in the valley and started coming towards us. We both had no idea what to do, just stood there for a bit like deers frozen in headlights. As they got closer we scrambled up the mountain edges just outside of range to watch them past and crash into the death foothold. Then the began smashing and fighting together and we watched the fight unfold and finish…with the giants victorious.
That might not sound like much but for someone who didn’t really know the mechanics of the game, the strength of what I was seeing and even my own capabilities it was a humbling experience that filled me with awe. From then on I kept on seeking for that same feeling of mystery and mostly Rift supplied this to me for close to a year. Many zones to explore, dungeons and raids to learn and coordinate, even just learning the various class mechanics. Mostly though it was indulging in PvP that indulged that itch, whether it was in the battlegrounds or out n the open world each fight seemed new and exciting to me.
I truly felt like I was a part of the world during this time, not just playing a game or learning mechanics but part of a living world. I felt so small in comparison but because of that my adventures felt more meaningful. It was my world.
Going back into Rift I really don’t know what I was expecting, I believe it was still the same in many ways but the magic wasn’t there any more. It’s too early to tell as all I’ve done is finish the starting area but the main thought I was getting is that I’ve done this… I’ve completed this game already so what’s the point. I also think it’s because I miss my Cleric Erinthia, my main character that I journeyed with for a year and took through every piece of content; that I lovely crafted and grew, met people and made a reputation with. Sadly when I quit I thought I might sell the character for a couple hundred dollars and now it’s gone. At the time the money was very welcome and I never thought I’d want to go back, rift didn’t seem to be changing in the ways I wanted and the content wasn’t enough for me anymore. I wanted new adventures but now I also want adventures back in that same realm.
I think I’m still going to see how far I can get before the will to game leaves me. I do like playing it again and want to relive a little of that same feeling I had once upon a time…. I also really want to get crbuilding in the housing dimensions for some pre-Landmark training.
2 thoughts on “A Rift Retrospective”
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It’s good to see my own memories confirmed. Rift was something different and new in beta. I vividly remember watching two rifts from different planes open on a beach in Freemarch and battle it out without any intervention from players until only one survived. I remember outposts being overrun and held by planar invaders, the roads being deathtraps and an all-pervading feel of anarchy and imminent apocalypse.
A month, maybe six weeks at the outside, and all that was no more than a memory. So much was watered down in late beta and the first few weeks after launch. By the time I finally stopped playing about six months later the entire sense of threat and chaos was nowhere to be seen or felt. All that was left was a solid, workmanlike level-then-raid MMO.
I also tried going back when Storm Legion launched. I lasted about three days.
it is a shame they watered down the rifts as much as they did. It did make the game something more with the everwhelming chaos at times. Fighting those invasions and rifts together was a far better way to level than the questing.
Still a bit of chaos there with opvp…completely wiping out enemy camps, towns and quest givers, give and take of large forces across zones and even raids on the capital.