If you’re going to position yourself as a front-of-the-pack, AAA game producing publisher of massively multiplayer games, you kind of have to stare World of Warcraft in the face and say “Yeah, we’re putting out a fantasy-themed, massively multiplayer role-playing game (AKA, MMORPG; AKA, mem-mor-pig), what do you have to say to that?” People love to act like elves around other people, so why not continue to seed fertile soil?
Rift: Planes of Telara (previously known as Heroes of Telara) is unabashedly a fantasy RPG full of magic and swords and elementals and every other D&D-derived creature like so many other games, but Rift seems to pride itself in some of its most obvious differences from the rest of the MMO pack.
Opening up a rift is a bit like unplugging a bathtub, provided you’re down at the sewer end of the outflow. These rifts are giving monsters from these other dimensions -- which are themed around common fantasy and video game themes like the elements of earth, fire, water and air, but also of life and death. Wait, why is life something we don’t want to be invaded by? That actually sounds positive! Wrong, chachi. Imagine primordial beasts of gargantuan proportions with the Darwinian concept of “survival of the fittest” instinctively burned into their brains. Scary. All of those “planes” (again, important enough to be in the title) present uniquely interesting threats to the world of Tesara.
It should be obvious to anyone that taking on these rifts is an endeavor better approached with others. That’s the point of games like this, right? Playing with your friends to tackle a difficult objective together. It’s that or straight up PvP for bragging rights; Rift thankfully lets you play both ways. And it does everything else you expect out of an MMORPG: Big monsters, deep character and class creation options, diversity of environments, etc. It may all sound very straight-forward to fans of traditional MMORPGs, and if Rift: Planes of Telara is going to step up and be considered more than that, they’ve got a lot to do to convince gamers. It’s going to take more than just looking the part.