Time Travel. You don’t see it in MMO’s much. Sure you have the “Caverns of Time” in WoW, but I’m talking about time travel within the actual game narrative, the spine of the story. Rift comes out this week. It has two factions, and, like WoW, both factions believe they’re the good guys. Unlike WoW though, Rift accomplishes this with time travel… in both directions… with both factions. That’s complicated, and they pull it off. I was admittedly impressed.
You’ve got two factions: the Guardians, and the Defiant.
As a Guardian, your first seven levels take place 20 years in the past. You witness the Defiant’s mistake, which unwittingly brings evil back into the world. You set things right as best you can, only to have the gods send you 20 years into the future where you can do more good.
As a Defiant, your first seven levels take place 20 years in the future. The Guardians’ persecution of the Defiant has unintentionally sealed the world’s doom, and you witness it’s destruction right as you are sent by your people 20 years into the past to try to set things right.
So there you have it. Right from the get-go, Rift gives us a quick glance of 40 years worth of lore. The Defiant started the fire, and the Guardians poured gasoline on it when the Defiant tried to put it out. Both factions are in the right, and both are in the wrong.
Dare I say Rift provides a firmer foundation for its factions than WoW? Yes, I do… and WoW had an entire prequel-game to establish where its factions came from (and two more games before that).
Yes, in many ways Rift is a WoW clone, but lore-wise Rift is anything but lazy. If you enjoy “reading the text”, I would check it out.