So I’ve been taking a little bit of a break lately from the console gaming scene to give my computer some gaming love. And boy is there a lot to be had these days! Between MMO’s, FPS’s, strategy’s, and more my backlog has really gotten big. So big in fact that I am going to have to split this up into a few posts to share some of the games that I’ve been playing or have picked up lately.
So first and foremost, I have been playing Rift. And I love it. Now to be fair, the Rift forums are full of people whining about how this is just a WoW clone and Trion didn’t deliver on their promise of a different experience. While I could re-hash the various reasons why it is not or why their playstyle is making it seem that way, it has already been said.
Anyways, I’ve rolled up a few different characters including a warrior, mage, and cleric (haven’t tried rogue yet) but have yet to have a chance to try out all of the different souls. Yes, that is where this game really excels in my opinion. The ability to customize your character AND to change on the fly really raises this title above the rest.
As an example, I was asked the other night to participate in a dungeon, Runic Descent. Not only that, but they wanted me to tank. Well I was in the middle of the Droughtlands working on some quests solo and as such I was in my DPS role. No problem! With one button press I switched from my Riftblade/Paragon/Champion role to my Paladin/Void Knight/Warlord role and voila, instant tank. The last time I saw something even close to this was in Final Fantasy XI but even then you just had a type of dual classing that could be switched, but only in your house. This new trailer illustrates my point perfectly:
In addition to the diverse character customization options, I’ve found the world of Telara to be a dynamic place in a way that no other MMO I’ve played had achieved. Planar invasions, footholds, and rifts. Zone wide and World wide events. All of these come together to offer an ever-changing landscape to adventure in.
A perfect example of this comes from the time I spent online last night. I gather a handful of quests from a group of NPC’s in the wilderness and set off to complete them. While doing so I get an item drop which gives me yet another quest. Now that I have wrapped all of these up, I set back to the NPC’s to turn them in. But lo, what is this?! The quest NPC’s have been slaughtered and in their place is an Air Foothold with 6 elemental guardians! Wow, that sucks for those poor NPC’s. Good thing they respawn.
As I say there contemplating whether or not I could take these guys solo or if I needed to call in some reinforcements, a bright flash of light brought my attention to the foothold (itself a mob that has to be reduced in health and destroyed). It had spawned an invasion force that was heading back toward town! The longer the foothold remained in place the more invasions would be launched towards populated areas. Well, my mind was made up and I decided to attack…
…and die. But that is not the point. The point is that the world changes in subtle ways and those changes aren’t just cosmetic. When there is a zone-wide invasion event the very environment changes with the sky growing darker or trees catching fire. Creatures begin to glow with planar energy. In short, you know something’s up.
Hey, if you are thinking about it but still haven’t really decided if Rift is for you or not, come on over and give it a try. They are doing 7 day free trials now. Roll up a character on Greenscale and give me a shout.
Now as great as Rift is it’s not the only game in town. An old favorite has just be re-launched as a free-to-play/premium model offering: Age of Conan Unchained. This classic was a favorite of mine when it was first released back in 2008, though due to my job at the time I really didn’t have the free time/energy for much gaming. However, now that it has gone free-to-play it is back on my radar and boy am I glad!
Age of Conan for me really pulled off the gritty and grim atmosphere that I can’t say I’ve really felt in any other MMO, even Rift. In this regard I think that Funcom has captured some of the essence of the Robert E Howard’s Hyborian Age and presented it in an interactive medium. Everything from the environments to the item design really seemed to fit in my mind. Very moody, just like Conan.
Also on my coming back on my radar are some other old favorites that are also all free-to-play: Runes of Magic, Lord of the Rings Online, and Dungeons and Dragons Online. I did a bit of a mini-review of Runes of Magic on my old site last year, I will get that out and update it to post here. Of course LotRO and DDO both need no introduction. All 3 of these are grade A titles and at a cost of $0/month to play how can you argue?
On that note I leave you with something to shatter your insanity courtesy of The Geek Life Project. Until next time.