Feb 152011
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I really love MMOs. I probably shouldn’t. I dislike paying a monthly fee for a game, and I’m actually not very social. My experiences playing with random people in any MMO are mixed at best, the general maturity levels of the average player seems to be stuck at age eleven, and being female … well, let’s just say there’s a whole new range of lows to experience.

And yet, I love MMOs. I love playing them with the groups of friends that I make who not only don’t suck but are pretty awesome people. I love playing them with my husband; we fit together perfectly as duos, as he loves support classes and I’m all about leaping in and getting my hands dirty. And I love playing them solo. In my time I’ve logged countless hours running through quests on my own, tweaking this character or that build.

So tonight we settled down to Rift.

We’d actually first heard of the game at PAX last year, and weren’t overly impressed (due less to the game and more to some unfortunate technical issues). Mostly the name has stuck with me due to getting a shirt there which was just this incredibly soft cotton. Anyway, it’s slipped under the radar otherwise, but my friend Matt has been raving about the game as best he can behind his NDA curtain. He then uttered the magic words: “open beta”.

I’m actually not subbed to any MMO at all right now. I’ve found that the maximum value for us is to pick a time period when we don’t have much else that we either need or want to do, and then devote like a month of hardcore free time. Play like mad, then cancel again. Otherwise keeping the sub is more habit than anything, and I find we’re only logging on for like ten minutes a week to check auctions. Don’t need to pay $10-$15 for that privilege, thanks.

The last MMO we were playing was World of Warcraft (our first time playing actually), and we were seriously enjoying the hell out of it. But our subscription was due to lapse just before Rock Band 3’s release, and then Christmas was coming, and we’ve just had other stuff to do and play since, so it’s not been worthwhile to return right now. Same with our usual staple, City of Heroes. I actually bought two copies of “Going Rogue” on the cheap (month of game time included), but we’re saving it for that month of mostly undistracted free time, whenever that is.

But the Rift beta, man. Not only is it only a week, but it’s a free week! It’s like an all-expenses paid binge weekend for a cokehead.

So of course we have friends coming in this weekend. Damn their timing! Why Steph’s grandparents couldn’t have gotten married 60 years ago NEXT week is beyond me. It’s right inconsiderate.

Tonight we were running behind, but finally got started in the game around 8pm. We closed down about three hours later, having just finished the tutorial/starter area. So far, it’s impossible to distance it too far from WOW; the interface choices seem almost designed to invoke your WOW instinct. But the character classes/soul system are pretty interesting, and lead to some scary levels of customization. I also quite enjoyed the taste of the rift zone event at the end of the starter zone. It’s pretty clear that these two elements are going to be primary factors in making it stand apart from Warcraft, I’m just not sure how much different yet. Getting out of the tutorial and into the primary game world tomorrow night will likely give a much more accurate view of gameplay.

Honestly though, I’m predisposed to like it. I haven’t yet played an MMO I didn’t like, at least on some core level. The question is going to be if I like it enough to plonk down the money. The money times two, mind you, which is really the game killer. ($15/month for a game you’re not playing too much right now may be a small enough figure to let slide by, but $30/month? That’s a bill!)

Whatever the end result, we’re gonna milk this freebie for all its worth.

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