Rift came into the world in 2011. It was a direct competitor to Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and features similar game play. It initially required a subscription and received generally favorable reviews. Soon after the first expansion, Storm Legion, the revenue model was changed and Rift became a free-to-play game. As with all free-to-play games, a cash shop was introduced. But is Rift dead?
I played Rift for a few years right after Storm Legion came out and was really impressed with the depth of the game. From crafting to dungeons to raids, the game had it all. Everything in the game could be had for no money at all. I was fortunate enough to find the original game for $5. This included 1 month of patron status, more bag slots, and more characters per server. As I normally do with games I like, I threw some money to the game and kept my patron status after the one free month.
I eventually left for other games after the third expansion, Nightmare Tide, came out. Everyone needs a break right? I would check the forums occasionally but never played again. I decided to pick the game up again and see how it is doing. If you read anything online, 99% of MMOs are dead. The same goes with Rift. Everything I read said Rift was dead and no point in playing.
So that is what I plan to find out. Is Rift dead?
Rift has all the basics an MMO should have when creating a character. You can choose your Origin, race, gender, character customization, and class.
There are 2 origins or factions in Rift, the Guardians and the Defiants. Each faction includes 3 races. The races not only look different, each one has 2 special racial abilities. These abilities are not game changing and you should play the race you want to play. Just think of them as a bonus.
Classes are called callings in Rift and most will look familiar to MMORPG veterans. Unlike other games though, the classes can do all four jobs, tank, heal, dps, and support. Unfortunately, free-to-play players will need to purchase different soul packs to have this ability on all the callings. Thankfully, for paying nothing, you still get a lot of choices here. The primalist is a newer class that will need to be purchased in order to play it.
The last part of creating a character is customization. All the items to make your character unique are there from eyes, nose, mouth, hair, tattoos, etc. Once your character looks perfect, just add a name and enter the game.
Welcome to the World
Once the character is created you enter the world in the designated starter area for your faction. The game does a good job at easing new players including handy tutorials about game mechanics and creature that will not attack unless provoked.
I chose to create a rogue as my first character returning to the game. I did not really play a rogue much in my previous time in Rift and thought I would give it a shot. I also have the healing soul for the rogue, so I can play all four jobs. I also decided to go for a bow build as dps. Ranged characters are usually easier to play and I can switch to melee later on. I also chose to play on the Guardian side for the sole reason of having my capital city Sanctum. The Defiant capitol city is Meridian which is a little too big for my taste.
On thing to notice, is leveling is not really fast and the starter area takes longer than you would think, as you are weak and it take some time killing the creatures for the quests. You also have to walk everywhere and the game actually teases you with a rental mount for a quest. Then it takes it away. Ha!
Eventually you make it through the starter zone and the game dumps you into Silverwood (I’m a Guardian). The Defiants head toward Freemarch. I managed to make it to Sanctum and finish up Silverwood quests around level 19. The quests led me to Gloamwood next and these were finished up at level 27.
A couple things I did which sped up leveling is running Instant Adventures and dungeons. Instant adventures are group quests where you are put into an area with other people with quests to do. These are good for leveling but I hate them as they are so repetitive. To me, Dungeons provide faster leveling and I just like them better. There is a dungeon finder to help find dungeon groups. I ran one dungeon, Darkening Deeps, and gained 2 levels, as an example.
I will provide more insights and such as I level on up, but for now, the question remains:
Is Rift Dead
I read a lot of comments online about the game being dead and I really thought about not playing again. Curiosity eventually won out. Here are a few things I have observed:
- New Characters: I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of new characters when I was leveling in the starter zone. This has also continued on throughout the zones I have been in so far. It is rare to have a few minutes between seeing someone else. I also stood where the new characters come out of the starter zone in Silverwood and saw four new toons in 20 minutes. I would like to see more and, of course, they could be alts of current players, but for a “dead” game, that is not bad.
- Dungeon Que Times: Usually if there are no players, que times for dungeons can be bad. My first dungeon I tried took an hour to get in. A few years ago, for dps the times were usually 20-30 minutes. I did notice that at level 15, you are only eligible for one dungeon. This is still quite a while and concerning. Although, the next time I tried a dungeon it only took around 30 minutes to get in. I was eligible for three dungeons at this point. So that made me feel a little better.
- Chat: Chat seems pretty busy and someone always has something to say, as usual. It does seem to be slower than it used to be though.
- New Content: This is the most concerning. The current release was 4.3 in October of last year. That is almost over 4 months on this release. There is also a pattern of releasing 1 new dungeon/raid and then an upgraded version of an older dungeon/raid. I would like to see more new content. They are also releasing Rift Prime. Although ambitious and interesting, it is not new content.
These are my observations up to level 27. Is Rift dead? I can answer that with a resounding “NO.” Is it dying? I do believe the game is dying for the most part. The capital cities still have a lot of players in them, but not like it used to be. It would not be hard to bring this game back to life with great new content, but I am not sure the developers have that in them. I do not think Rift Prime is the answer. I hope I am wrong and the game lives on for a long time. I would definitely give rift a try or another try as it is still one of the better games out there.