The upcoming Rifts MMO is my current most anticipated title. The graphics look gorgeous, I love that it is an open world and there seems to be a lot of good ideas contained within it. However, I do have my reservations. The Rift system itself is causing me a bit of worry.
A quote from the official website:
Often, rifts appear in the world as a tear in the fabric of reality. Powerful magic has been used to study these anomalies, and sometimes they have been opened inadvertently, resulting in great tragedy. But there is still much to learn from these destructive forces. Can riftic power be harnessed by sorcery? Can powerful beings enter the rifts to venture into the deadly planes beyond? How many planes really exist?
From what I have been able to find out about Rifts, they are random and they completely change the look of the world when they form. Fire Rifts cause molten lava to kill trees in the area, Death Rifts cause decay around the area and there is a different effect for each of the six planes.
When a Rift opens it can cause horrible damage to the environment as it squeezes its way into the world. Besides the transformation of the world itself, it also brings with it beings from other planes. Demons, undead, fire creatures and the like. These forces must then be fought back and the Rift closed before it can get a solid grip in the world. Of course, it is up to the players to do this.
Sounds cool, huh?
Yes, but I do have my reservations. Take a look at this newly released video from Gamescom:
It looks to me like a Warhammer Online Public Quest. Rift comes down, changes the world (which, admittedly looks damn cool!) and monsters spawn. Players come in and start killing stuff until they reach the end of a stage. New stage starts, with tougher monsters and the thing continues that way until they reach a final boss, defeat it and close the Rift.
Now, I am not one of those people who hated WAR’s Public Quests. To the contrary, I thought the system was a fine idea and was probably the single most innovative thing that Mythic did with WAR. Many of the PQs could be incredible fun, especially the competitive PQs, of which there were too few, where both factions competed with each other to complete their part of the PQ before the other side. Some of the bosses were a lot of fun and there was humor and fun to be had with many of them. The Dwarf/Greenskin ones were fantastic. However, there were some problems with the implementation of WAR’s PQ system that really caused problems and bogged down the entire thing.
First, there were just too damn many of the things. They were everywhere. Each zone contained 2-3 PQs and after a while they ceased to become a fun even and became a grind. Had Mythic just made them special it would have increased the fun ten-fold. It became a case of: “oh, damn another PQ…” when it should have been: ” Hey! It’s a PQ!! Awesome!!”.
Secondly, there were just better things to do. In any MMO, players will normally take the path of least resistance when it comes to leveling. You can make all the cool instances you want but if the fastest way to level is by standing in a field and grinding mobs, that is exactly what most players will do, grind mobs. When WAR released, by far, the fastest way to level was through Scenarios. So people endlessly queued for Scenarios and it made the open world a dead place thus no one was around to do Public Quests.
Now, we do not know enough about Rift implementation to say whether Rifts will have either of those problems but the similarities between the Rift system and WAR’s PQs does cause me some concern. But let’s be generous and say that Rifts will suffer neither of the above problems. Let’s say Rifts will be fairly infrequent and when they do happen they will be an event instead of a grind. Let’s further say that when one does happen that they will be the absolute best thing to do to level or get gear. Let’s say they are so fantastic in that aspect that players flock to the Rift. Do I still have my reservations if that is the case?
Yes, I absolutely do and the above video is the cause of it.
The change in the world in the video, as I said, looks really cool but there is one very big concern I have from the video and that is the possible “sameness” that might exist within these Rifts. For all the problems WAR’s PQs had, they had one great thing going for them; variety. One PQ might have you defending an Empire village from a Chaos Giant, another has you sobering up a Giant so that he can carry a bomb to a Dwarven fortress, while yet another has you blowing up Orcish catapults and stopping an Orc offensive. Each PQ was different from the last.
But what about Rifts? Even assuming that different planes spawn different types of Rifts, there may only be six different things that could happen when attempting to close a Rift. Even with that, will each boil down to kill a monster type, wait for the other to spawn, kill those, then kill the boss mob and the Rifts close? Will there be no variety from that at all? If it is just a series of back to back to back kill quests then that is no fun at all.
However, I am hoping that they add some variety to the Rift system. Maybe to close a Plane of Life Rift you have to lure undead from their graves and coax them to attack the Rift. Maybe a Plane of Fire Rift will need some element of Water to close and you will have to decide how to do it. Something, anything to break up the monotony of kill quest, after kill quest, after kill quest.
So, has anyone heard anything to allay these reservations of mine? Does anyone else share this concern or am I just being loony?