Now that I’m no longer working for an MMO developer, I once again have time to play MMOs. Currently in my ever-revolving playlist is a new online game called RIFT.
RIFT plays like an updated version of Warhammer Online and looks like a dirtier version of Guild Wars. Its claim to fame are the titular rifts; temporary inter-planar doorways from which routine invasions occur. In terms of game play, these rifts act as spontaneous public quests. If you’re in an area when a rift opens, associated quest objectives instantly appear in your tracker and the system automatically creates a group or raid, which you are prompted to join. Although these rift events are supposed to be spontaneous, my sense was that the system times them at regular intervals, or they are based upon the player population within a given area. The game tries hard to keep you engaged by constantly bombarding you with rifts, enemy invasions and wandering high level mobs, to the point that it can become chaotic and overwhelming to an old geezer like me.Although RIFT has the standard Cleric, Mage, Warrior and Rogue classes, each class has a set of eight different “souls” from which you can choose a combination of three that forms a “role”. These souls act as class specializations, with each having a unique set of abilities that you gain over time as you level. Supposedly you can mix the souls in any way you choose, but I found that if you didn’t follow the game’s recommended combinations you would end up with a rather goofy (and gimped) character concept. My Rogue soul mixture of Bard, Assassin, and Bladedancer resulted in a character that could turn invisible, sneak up behind a monster and scare it to death by playing the mandolin – LOUDLY. Hilarious as it was, it wasn’t a very effective strategy.
The Druid, a soul choice for the Cleric class, has three Fae companion characters from which to choose. I find the art design for one of these fae companions to be a bit unsettling. It is my sincere hope that this creature is not intended to resemble a prepubescent female child. With its exposed cleavage and derriere, it would be wandering disturbingly close to pedobear territory. Barring this extremely unseemly choice leaves the possibility that this character is meant to resemble an adult female dwarf. In fuzzy knee-high boots and polka-dot underwear? Eh, ok.
I would have found it far more interesting if the artists at Trion Worlds had designed a MALE fae creature – with or without polka-dot undies. But in our deeply homophobic American culture, I’m sure a half-naked male faerie would have garnered the game a harsher ESRB rating. Because we all know that in fantasy, only females have breasts, abdomen and behinds that are impervious to arrows and swords.