I downloaded the beta for Rift this weekend and played for about 2 hours. I know it is not enough to get deep into the game or understand everything off the bat but I wanted to take a look at it.
As a Hunter that meant I rolled a Rogue. The way the skill trees are is such that you can do three different things in your talent arrangement. As a Rogue that wanted to be a Hunter I ended up picking Ranger first, Marksman second and Saboteur third.
The Ranger seems to be the closest to the Hunter we all know and love in WoW. The Marksman is more powerful ranged attacks. The Saboteur is a trap master. So basically I am developing just like WoW. Beatmaster=Ranger Marksman=Marksman and Saboteur=Survival.
Okay, so I lack a certain creativity. There are other Rogue options I could have went for but being I am just testing it out I might as well test it out with something I am comfortable with and comfortable is surely the word for it.
How it works is you have your standard shots just like in WoW. Even one that screams steady shot when you fire it, down to the cast time bar and everything. The one big difference is that Hunters here seem to use Rogue combo points. Kind of fun when you build a 5 stack of combo points and fire a head shot. I have already gotten into the habit of saying "Boom Headshot!" every time I fire it. Silly I know, but I was having fun with it and isn't the reason we play games to have fun?
I like the feel of it but there is no reason I shouldn't. I've been playing this game for years even if it is just coming out now.
Rift is WoW. No if's and's or but's about it. The interface is almost identical. Even my pet, which we start with, has the same pet controls. Control 1 attacks, just like the default in WoW does. The game has a WoW feel to it. It could easily be considered a WoW expansion from what I have seen so far. A WoW expansion with much better graphics.
I like it so far even if I have not seen much of it yet. I am still finding my way through it as there are enough small changes here and there, like the talent trees, to make it different from WoW yet enough things that are similar to make it feel comfortable to play the second you start playing it.
This Beta is over and I will try more in the next one but the game seemed clean thus far from what I saw. There were no bugs that I had come across while making my way to level 6 and playing for about 2 hours, better then I can say for WoW. I encountered at least 5 bugs within the first 2 hours of Cataclysm after release.
Perhaps the fresh entry into the game market trying to make it's way into the overcrowded MMORPG landscape might be a good thing. WoW seems to have settled neatly into it's "we are the best" attitude that they do not try any more. That is most likely the reason for how bad Cataclysm is over all. Blizzard has become complaisant, they do not think they need to work at making the game great any more.
For WoW as a whole this game could prove an issue in time if it keeps up the good work it has started. It's comfortable feel and similarities to WoW will be the biggest draw of people that are upset with how Cataclysm is, which is almost everyone in one way or another really.
I do not plan the quit WoW for it, at least not with the small amount of it I have seen, but I can see how this game could easily fit any WoW refugees in perfectly. Almost as if it were designed just to do that only.
If only as a matter of good timing, this game will come out at a time where WoW is reeling from a backlash from the player base because the player base finally called them out for giving us a shit product. I am sure it was not planned that way, no one could have expected Cataclysm to be this lackluster and boring but now this game will give people another option just when the needed it most.
From the little bit I have played of it so far it is fair to say I will buy it and I will play it but I will do so hoping that WoW can get their act straight. All things being equal, I like WoW and as surprising as it might sound, I like the somewhat cartoonish look of things on WoW sometimes. The graphics of Rift are awesome but for me at least, as a true RPG fan from back in the day, execution and story trump graphics any day of the week.
If I had to give it a rating on a scale of 1-10 based only on what I saw I would give rift a 7.5 right now. I have not seen dungeons, PvP, crafting, deep into talents, etc, so it is a bit early to say over all but 7.5 for me means it is defiantly worth looking into more.
Reasons for losing the 2.5 for me are it seems to be another game that does not understand there are color blind people out there. Having mobs the same color as the trees makes a game a bit annoying sometimes and even got me killed once. The game loses 1 point for that. The other 3 half points are lost for 1) design that seems to assume you play wow so it leaves some things unexplained being they are the same, 2) the graphics, while great, seem to draw a lot, which could lower the possible users for the game, meaning some of my friends could never play it with me unless they bought a new computer just for the game, 3) no hearthstone, at least not yet. Okay, I got spoiled from wow but say I am out in the world and have to go, I do not want to log out in the middle of the forest. I am sure I overlooked something there but if I did not, it loses half a point for that as well.