So I did finally get my Rift troubles straightened out (probably motivated by my finishing the “free” portions of The Secret World). I had a level 30 rogue when I stopped playing, and loaded him up without hesitation.
Then I stopped and stared. It’s been a while, and I felt a bit overwhelmed by the volume of talent points I had to spend, the different souls, and the obese wealth of abilities granted me from the talents and souls.
Of course, I’d done all this before; I was just rusty, so I loaded up a new character and started him out. I played the first fifteen or so levels in the Defiant starting zones, then felt comfortable enough to begin my old character.
Part of the problem was that I’d forgotten how many overlapping and identical abilities are generated by having three souls. Each one comes with (for a rogue) a combo builder that deals about the same amount of damage in about the same way (expect for saboteur). Then, as you buy up into a talent tree, you also get new abilities goes down the tree, some of which are very duplicative.
I was running mostly saboteur, which I remembered being the most unique and “fun” of the souls when I last played. It remains so. Something’s great about loading up an enemy with explosive charges, then setting them off with an annihilation bomb and watching them go immediately to about 10% life. Ah, fun.
Except, after a play session, it wasn’t. The volume of abilities from saboteur alone seemed enormous: different types of charges, different traps, different bombs. And it was too easy. That’s right, another free to play game that’s just a playground for fooling around with no real challenge.
Well, I saw to that. I switched out EZ-mode saboteur and brought in a stealthy assassin to at least make the fighting more face-to-face and personal. The Assassin only has a few abilities (and I skipped a few in the talent tree, too, since bleeds at this level are mostly wasted). That made the game a bit more fun (and allowed me to skip unnecessary pulls).
It struck me then that one of Rift’s best qualities is that by design you can play several classes at will; I can, on a whim, play a saboteur, an assassin, or my “3rd role” class with the click of a button, and those classes feel different enough while requiring the same gear to really change up the player experience.
Not that the ease changes; I’ve moved to a “much harder” zone where I can only just take the quests, and the mobs there are still tissue paper. I solo’d a slightly-higher level rift, too, somewhat to my surprise. It seems ease is the currency of MMOs nowadays.
I tinkered a bit with the new dimension (player housing) system, which was okay, but it’s not something that’s going to grab me. Maybe someday, but I still long for what Lord of the Rings had; different houses decoratable with trophies that dropped from bosses that you slayed. Hanging up a suit of armor taken from the corpse of a barrow wight king has a certain satisfaction that I’ve not found reproduced elsewhere.
We’ll see how long I stick with it.
Stubborn (and flighty)