Time Travel… Interesting


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.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laslo March - 2011 at 8:45 am

So are you playing Rift?

I stumbled on your blog when I was looking for a Bartle test. I wrote some blogs about Rift and WoW and how they supported or didn’t the different archetypes.

If you’re playing Rift, how do you think they did?

2 Cocles March - 2011 at 2:12 am

I think Trion did an excellent job. For those of you who haven’t played Rift, there are four classes: Warrior, Rogue, Mage, and Cleric. This might not sound like a lot, but there’s a catch. Each class has nine talent trees and you get to use three of them, mixing and matching at your leisure to figure out what works best for you. So two warriors can be very, very different from each other. With that in mind, I think Rift supports the archetypes better than perhaps any MMO that has come before it simply because you as the player get to tailer your character to what *you* think the archetype is all about.

3 Cocles March - 2011 at 2:33 am

Laslo, just checked out your blog and realized you were probably referring to the Bartle player archetypes, and not the character archetypes. How does Rift do with Killer, Explore, Achiever, and Socializer? I think they did a great job. This is the sort of thing where if you just give the players something to do, and the freedom to do it the way they want to, you’ll be fine. It’s more of a thing to “screw up” by trying to be fancy, more than anything else. Killer? Yes, there’s PVP, and it’s not discouraged the way Blizzard has done everything it possibly can for the past few years to keep World PVP “over there” out of the way of the people who want to quest. Let’s face it. World PVP is at it’s best when huge battles erupt over griefing. “They took our quest hub! To hell with those bastards, let’s take theirs!!!” Conquering the other teams quest hubs is *encourged* in Rift. That’s good fun. Exploring? Good god. I received a blue weapon for reaching the peak of the highest mountain in my zone. No quest. No hints that this would happen, just a, “Hey, I see you’re an Explorer. You just found a part of the map we as the designers thought was cool too, so here’ a free sword.” As an Explorer, you want to be rewarded for discovering every little nook and cranny of the map… and not with an achievement, we want what everybody wants: LOOTZ. Sure achievements are a nice perk, but Explorer does not equal Achiever. As an Achiever? Heh, let’s face it, if you’re an Achiever you probably want as many people to know about your achievements as possible. So what does Rift do? It allows you to have the game automatically post your achievements in real time to your Twitter feed. Brilliant. And finally… the Socializer. Unlike WAR, which had the lamest chat setup I have ever seen in any video game ever (the chat normally only reached players within about 100 yards of you), Rift does it right. They have chat channels for zones *AND* chat channels for your level range such as “Level 10-19 Chat” and “Level 20-29 Chat”. Brilliant. Frigging brilliant. Every game should do that from now on. So yeah… Rift kicks a lot of ass. I’m not saying the game is perfect (Why the hell would you not allow the apostrophe key to be custom mapped? I use my mouse left handed, so that really pissed me off.). But yes, I think the guys at Trion put a lot of thought into how they could do a game like WoW… only better.

4 Milan Sovilj March - 2011 at 3:28 am

I wonder if WoW will do something with time travel if they ever release a Nozdormu expac.

Leave a Comment