I played a few more hours of the RIFT beta, and had a fun time. I’m not sure I’m going to subscribe, but will keep an eye on the game for reconsider in a few months. The mechanics were superb but I couldn’t find a class combo I enjoyed playing.
I tried several class combinations, searching for one that clicked with me. I tried a standard ranger/marksman, but I was lost in the crowd of all the others with that combination. Since the soul system allows such diversity, it seems wrong that one combination is so popular, even if players customize further with talent points. I tried a Sentinel/Warden/Druid, a group HoT-healing cleric, which was pretty solid and survivable, to be expected from a Cleric archetype character. Many other combinations from the Warrior and Mage archetypes weren’t as survivable, mostly due to lack of pet and/or lack of healing, but the ones that included a pet or healing did OK.
The reason I wasn’t enamored with the ranger/marksman or sentinel/warden/druid was that lacked a bit of finesse, by which I mean there wasn’t more to playing the char than merely using skills on cooldown. I was looking for a class with reactive skills or skills that required good timing to use as effectively as possibly – for example some of the trick removal skills the burglar in LoTRO has, or many of the skills the mesmer from GW can choose from.
Of course I couldn’t try every combination, there are too many.
The class system, or calling/soul system in RIFT terminology, seems overwhelming to me. 4 archetypes I can follow, but 8 souls within each archtype, and 3 souls per build, with talent points to spend within those 3 trees? That is so many it seems to overlap. I see the number crunching optimizer crowd is already making builds where the 3rd soul is chosen for its 0 point ability, that is, the 3rd soul is taken merely because it has some useful skill available without any point investment. This implies to me not all the souls are equally useful for the point expenditure in their talents; I can’t believe the designers want to encourage these vestigial souls in a build.
To be fair to RIFT and Trion, they are trying something a bit different with the soul system. In RIFT a char has 4 callings (major archetypes) and 8 souls within the calling (refinements), of which 3 are used. Players spend points in the 3 souls, opening up new abilities and enhancing existing ones, in a fashion similar to the talent trees of WoW. It leads to a large number of possibilities, which is exciting, with the unavoidable minor downside that it might take a while to find the right combination for each player.
The quality continues to amaze, literally the only issue I had in the beta was a “stuck” sound effect – occasionally I’d turn in a quest and the associated sound effect would repeat for a few seconds, and then finish. So instead of a chime, I’d hear 0.1 seconds of the chime for 2 or 3 seconds, and then the game would continue. Once or twice during this sound cycling, the game would freeze, so perhaps this is a device driver issue on my system.
What I plan to do is follow the forums for a bit to read some commentary on the various souls, and fiddle with a soul tree calculator. Yes I know official forums are dominated by screamers, but I’m pretty good at filtering for constructive criticism.