E3 2010 Preview: Rift: Planes of TelaraBy Joe Rybicki - Posted Jun 23, 2010
What We Already Know:
Rift: Planes of Telara is a massively multiplayer RPG with a fantasy theme, and some interesting multidimensional mythology behind it. The idea is that the planet has been fractured by beings from other planes of existence, and it's your job -- along with thousands of others -- to try to put it back together.
What We're Seeing Now:
Though it carries a fantasy theme, Rift does some interesting things with it, injecting steampunk-ish technology into the mix for what the designers call "a Moroccan Jules Verne theme" for one of the game's two main factions. The main combat gameplay centers around rifts opening into the game world, which corrupt local flora and fauna and eventually start spawning their own new monsters if not closed through player action. These rifts are dynamic; the game can stick them almost anywhere, lending an element of unpredictability to even familiar locations. And they come loaded with sweet loot, giving players a reason to take them on whenever they appear.
Also interesting is the class system, which allows players to carry up to three classes simultaneously, and switch up at will. To compensate for this, the game tries to "auto-balance" classes by unlocking complementary abilities on its own when players level up.
At this point, it's hard to talk about any fantasy MMORPG without mentioning the WoW juggernaut, but Rift looks like much more than a "me-too" fantasy. Will it be enough to draw players away from their WoW addictions? The designers are certainly giving it their best shot.