So, I mostly ignored RIFT because of the Pen and Paper game of similar name. I was told through Twitter that it wasn’t the same, then that it used a “skill based” system that made it different enough from the other Fantasy MMOs out there, that I decided to sign up for the beta, a complicated enough process that I insulted the game team in my reasons, and forgot about it until they invited me for a beta event.
Everybody has their favorite kind of character to make, and my is a dark-skinned, white-haired Mage, who I usually name “Zhenette”. I had one on WoW, have one in DDO, something similar in Guild Wars, and so on. She’s not the only kind of character that I play, but I like playing ranged magic DPS, and whatever that is, usually gets a character like that, as much as I can make it. I even have on in Dragon Age, so there.
I also usually play on the more civilized/order side. Yeah, Alliance on WoW. I played Order/Light on WAR, although I made characters on the other side, to see what it was like. So I gravitated towards Guardians in RIFTs, but you know what? I couldn’t make Zhenette on that side. The darkest character I could make had a slight tan. The first thought through my mind was “They didn’t go there, did they?”
And when I went over to the Defiant side, all the characters and races there are dark, by default, and I realized they had. I also saw that the Defiant used machines, and Zhenette is often also a mining/engineering type, I settled on them. I’m glad I did, because their opening story is much more evocative than the Guardians.
The over-story goes something like this: the world was created as a nexus to all the other worlds, which was intended as a blessing from the gods. Things went well until the dragons showed up and tried to take over. The gods sealed the rifts, and things were doing okay, but people forgot about it, and then something happened which unsealed the rifts, and things got bad. I’m not certain precisely what happened, and in fact the opposing sides have different views about what it is that happened, each blaming the other.
The gods then made the Ascendent, special people designed to fight back and fix the problem. These are what we call “Player Characters” for the most part. In the Guardian story line, an angel raises you from the dead, and sends you out to fight. In the Defiant starting area, however, you’re far in the future, and the Defiant have finally figured out how to make Ascendents themselves, raised you and through the tutorial area, ship you back into time to when things got started so you can stop it. The Guardian starting area is much more vanilla, with a siege on the city your in, starting just after things went to heck.
So while I don’t like that they’ve racially divided the two sides light/dark, I like that the conflict is one of Religion vs Science. Trust in the Gods to save you, or save yourself, because you can’t trust the gods. Which means I probably won’t be playing my Guardian Characters during the open beta, because I’m pretty sure I’m firmly in their camp.
I’m setting these posts to start after the open beta is over, and writing them as I go, so my impressions may change. In the next part, I’ll be talking about how their “Skill based” system stacks up, and how successful it feels to me, with the understanding I’m not deep into it yet at all.