RIFT Preview
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RIFT Preview

For January’s MMO Co-Opportunities, I did a write-up on a lot of the heavy-hitting MMOs which plan to release this year (or have the possibility of being released this year). One of the MMOs I named was RIFT, an MMO developed by Trion. You may have noticed that I’ve been participating in the game’s beta over the past few months and this is one MMO I’m definitely planning on playing when it launches in just a couple weeks. As the Beta 7 event is currently running (which is also an open beta, so you just need to sign up on their site and you’ll get invited) and the head-start begins in a week, it’s high time for a preview of all the things this game has to offer - lingering, of course, on the co-op-like aspects of the game. I was also lucky enough to sit down with Trion’s Hal Hanlin (Design Producer) and Chris Schmidt (Corporate Communications Manager) this Monday to get any lingering questions answered.

In some ways RIFT is like a lot of other fantasy-style MMOs. As Hal told me (and I’m paraphrasing here), Trion has never claimed to be reinventing the MMO wheel, but instead trying to make the best MMO they can possibly create. That being said, RIFT still has a whole lot that does set it apart from other MMOs. Its high-def graphics and detailed and varied environments are things that one notices at first glance, but there are unique mechanics at work as well.

The Soul System

One such mechanic that I mentioned in my upcoming MMOs article is RIFT’s soul system. There are four familar archetypes in the game, known as Callings: Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, and Mage. Each of these callings has access to 8 Souls (plus a PVP soul) which at first glance might look a whole lot like what are known as talent trees from other games. You can have any three souls equipped at a given time. You distribute points throughout the branches of the tree. Some of the branch skills are passive and others active abilities. As you put more points in a given soul tree, regardless of which branch skills you choose, you unlock skills in the roots of the tree (most of these are active abilities, but there are some passive abilities in the roots as well). The souls you choose and the way you choose to distribute your points completely determine what kind of playstyle your character will have. Just because you’re a Cleric doesn’t mean you only get healing spells and just because you’re a Rogue doesn’t mean you only get dual-wielding abilities. While the different callings certainly have trends (e.g. Clerics do seem to get access to more heals, though they are not the only calling that has heals), the calling you pick will only determine what type of armor you wear and which souls you have access to. Everything else is up to your soul selection and skill tree point distribution.

Here’s a super brief run down of the differences between the souls. Many of these souls have unique mechanics that set them apart from other souls, but I won’t get into that at the moment:

Warrior (plate armor)

  1. Beastmaster (Melee DPS with pet focus)
  2. Champion (Melee DPS with 2-handed weapon focus)
  3. Paladin (Tank with some protection spells)
  4. Paragon (Melee DPS with dual-wielding focus)
  5. Reaver (Tank with AoE focus)
  6. Riftblade (Melee DPS with elemental damage focus)
  7. Voidknight (Anti-magic Tank)
  8. Warlord (Tank with group auras as well as short-term group buffs)

Cleric (chain armor)

  1. Cabalist (AoE DPS)
  2. Druid (Melee DPS with pet focus)
  3. Inquisitor (Ranged DPS)
  4. Justicar (Tank)
  5. Purifier (Healer with absorption shields)
  6. Sentinel (Healer with AoE healing focus)
  7. Shaman (Melee DPS with group buffs)
  8. Warden (Healer with HoT spell focus) 

Rogue (leather armor)

  1. Assassin (Melee DPS)
  2. Bard (Support with group buffs)
  3. Bladedancer (Melee DPS)
  4. Marksman (Ranged DPS) Nightblade (Mixed melee and ranged DPS)
  5. Ranger (Ranged DPS with pet focus)
  6. Riftstalker (Tank with teleports)
  7. Saboteur (Ranged DPS with spike focus)

Mage (cloth armor)

  1. Archon (Support with debuffs and group buffs)
  2. Chloromancer (Healer who heals through doing damage)
  3. Dominator (Crowd controller)
  4. Elementalist (Ranged DPS with elemental damage and pet focus)
  5. Necromancer (Ranged DPS with pet focus)
  6. Pyromancer (Ranged DPS)
  7. Stormcaller (Ranged DPS)
  8. Warlock (Ranged DPS with DoT focus)

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