Telara just got a lot larger, and a lot more dangerous.
It’s been almost 2 years since Rift first hit the MMO scene, but developer Trion Worlds has been doing a fantastic job of making tweaks to the game and adding a lot of new content on a regular basis. The first fully fledged expansion for the game, ‘Storm Legion’, is now here, and gives the experienced Rift player a lot more to do, although it won’t do much to attract anyone who wasn’t previously interested to the game.
The amount of new content Storm Legion adds to Rift is quite extraordinary, to the point of which it can be initially overwhelming. There are two new continents, Brevane and Dusken, tripling the existing landmass in the game, as well as a new soul for each calling, a bunch of new dungeons and raids, a new PvP Battleground and the new ‘Dimensions’ player housing system.
Questing pretty much follows the standard MMO patterns for the most part. You go to an area, pick up some story quests and go about doing them. As you make your way around, you’ll find items in the environment, and interacting with them will activate a quest to collect more of them. You may then either get a new objective, or just finish the quest off, with the ability to turn the quest in and collect the rewards where you stand. There’s also Carnage quests you unlock by killing certain monsters, which then require you to kill a lot more of them. The problem with these Carnage quests is that they feel a bit grindy. Also, you can sometimes get several carnage quests in quick order in an area, which might seem overwhelming as you try to figure out what to do first.
Levelling from 50 to 60 can prove to be somewhat arduous at times, but getting around the new continents is quicker and easier now, and levelling a second character can be a completely different experience, as both continents level from 50 to 60. The zones in the original Rift only had one fast travel point each, and it was usually only gotten to about halfway around the zone. The new continents have a number of fast travel points spread nicely around, so you don’t go too long without finding one. It also makes it more ‘short session’ friendly, which is good. The ‘Instant Adventure’ mode is also available, which allows you to just quickly get into a group and complete a series of quick fire quests for rewards.
The Rifts themselves have some differences this time. There is the standard ‘defeat several waves of enemies’ rifts that were a staple of the stand alone game, but now there’s a few different mechanics. You can buy hunt Rifts that require you to build and defend a structure to lure a boss out, which you then have to take down to complete the rift. As before, you can hop into public groups to fight off the invaders. Sometimes certain areas will experience full on invasions of player settlements, requiring you to team up with players and NPCs to shore up the zone defences and fight off the hordes, and it really is hordes. There are quests and rewards for defeating certain numbers of invading forces, too. And, of course, there’s the zone wide events that periodically appear too.
The zones in the original Rift were beautiful, but felt a little claustrophobic at times, packing a lot of things into a small space. Brevane and Dusken are much more spacious, which has allowed Trion to put a lot more detail into the environments. There’s a huge variety as well, from the standard looking plains type zones, to living forest with walking trees that initially appear to be part of the environment until you get close up. There’s also dark, twisted lands that show the effects that the planar invasions have had on the land. Similarly, the enemies are varied as well, from the walking trees, to the pristine soldiers, the undead and the giant constructs walking around.
The variety of the look of all the zones is complemented by a soundtrack that reflects that variety, as well as the usual music changes when you’re in battle. The voice acting is good once again as well, although it does sometimes sound a little bit overdone with some characters, where they sound a little big on the hammy side. Main villain Crucia is excellently voiced and comes across as being menacing and manipulative.
The four new souls that have been added have been balanced well with the tweaks and changes to the existing souls, and gives you more options. The Mage’s Harbinger soul focusses on giving you more damage to a single target, but making Area of Effect less effective. The Warrior’s Tempest soul gives lightning abilities, although lacks strong melee attacks. The Tactician for the Rogues give you versatility with elemental magic and healing, although single target abilities aren’t as powerful. Finally, the Cleric’s Defiler soul allows a healing through dark magic.
Perhaps the most interesting new addition to Rift is the Dimensions. These are player housing areas, that allow you to use dimension items to create a space all your own. There’s furniture, materials, decorations and all sorts of things to buy or collect as you play. You can rotate and re-size objects and even stack them on top of each other. You can also visit and rate the dimensions of other players. The system is robust and can allow for some really creative ideas, if you can think of them. It can cost you a lot of in game currency to purchase dimension items, though.
Storm Legion is a great expansion to Rift, offering plenty of things for the experienced Rift player to turn their hand too. The sheer amount of places to go gives you and incentive to level multiple characters through the content, even if the levelling can be a bit on the arduous side at times. The new souls give something new for you to try out if you’re a newcomer or just fancy a change of pace. The new Dimensions system is also a fantastic addition, with Trion giving players the often requested feature of their own customisable space and really allowing you to go to town on it. Admittedly, there’s nothing that’s going to entice a player who wasn’t interested in Rift before, but if you love the game then this will suck up a huge amount of your time again.