RIFT: Storm Legion Launches Today

RIFT’s first expansion, Storm Legion, launches today, adding two huge new continents and dramatically increasing the size of the world.  There’s a new powerful enemy to contend with too: Crucia, who aims to remake the fabric of the planes and loose her Storm Legion on all who would stand in her way.

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In the News – 1st March

The release date for Irrational Games’ BioShock Infinite has been revealed: October 16th in the US, and on October 19th internationally, for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  The game will also support the PlayStation Move motion controller, with more details to follow later.. though Eurogamer spotted a “special” BioShock Infinite peripheral on Sony’s website back in November.

Mojang have released Minecraft 1.2 today, adding a slew of new features including new blocks and items, a new jungle biome and a map height limit of 256.  On the creature front, ocelots become cats when tamed, and tamed wolves can now have puppies! (more…)

RIFT Lite Announced

Trion Worlds have just announced the launch of a Life version of fantasy MMO RIFT, accessible to anyone with a Trion account.

The Lite version of the game will allow new players to try out the first 20 levels of the game, accessing capital cities as well as other areas, with no cost or time restrictions, rather like World of Warcraft’s Starter Edition.

Via Massively.

Orcs Must Die Some More

Another game I tried out during ScampLAN was Orcs Must Die!

I previously played the demo, and while I thought the game was a lot of fun, I could see myself getting tired of it.. especially without co-op or versus mode.  Therefore, I didn’t pick up the game, though I will keep my eye on it in case of a nice Steam offer 😉

The full game has more maps and a wider range of traps, though.. including some throwable acid pots which were very nice against small enemies.  These were easier to use than the Boom Barrels, as they detonate with a right click.. or shatter when a trap goes off, rather than relying on you being able to shoot it in the middle of a horde of Orcs.

The demo had limited maps, so I was keen to look at the new ones on offer.  Some of these had numerous routes for the enemies to take, meaning there was even more ground to cover.. for these I set up lots of traps down one path while I fought enemies down the other, rather than try to take them all on nearer the Rift.

The new defenses included Wall Blades, Spring Traps, and the Floor Scorcher.. I used Spring Traps and Floor Scorchers to knock enemies back, though I wished for a faster reset on both!

I was pleased to see new enemies too, as they add a bit of variation.  The Kobolds were fast and rather good at slipping past my defenses.. though acid pots were great for wiping groups of them out.. and the Ogres were tough..

I didn’t get as far as looking at the upgrades for the new defenses, or at some of the other weapons for the Warmage.. but yeah.. waiting for that Steam offer 😉

Rift

Rift is a new fantasy MMO from Trion Worlds, with all the usual PvE, PvP, quests and crafting, as well as some nice world events in the form of the rifts, which open to release elemental invaders into the world.  There are two playable factions: Guardians and Defiants, both trying to save the world, but opposed to each other as well.

There’s a brilliantly unique system in place in this game for character classes – rather than simply picking one of a few classes, you choose a calling: Warrior, Cleric, Rogue or Mage, and then specialise by attuning with a variety of Souls, the first of which you get for the first quest in the tutorial area.  This allows a vast array of customisation, and hopefully means a lot more variety amongst players than in WoW, where choice gives way to ‘optimal’ specs.

There’s a Riftwatch video here, which shows the Guardian’s starting zone.. there’s also a detailed explanation of Callings, Souls and the use of spells 🙂

A friend and I started off as Guardians, since he was determined to be a Dwarf, and they are only available to the Guardian faction.  I also picked a Dwarf Warrior, then a Beastmaster soul, which gave me a pet to help me in combat 🙂

After a few more quests.. enough time to try out the initial abilities.. I was asked to pick my second soul.  One of the suggested pairings for the Beastmaster was the Champion, a specialist in charging into battle with two-handed weapons..

This was where the confusion came in.
The second soul gave me a second set of abilities, which seemed very similar..  I just didn’t know which I should be using at first.

The abilities are similar in terms of the amount of damage dealt and amount of power they use, but the Fierce Strike increases pet attack ability as well as causing damage.. so it made sense to use that rather than the equivalent Champion ability.  I also took the Bull Rush ability as my opener.. having seen my friend charging in at mobs I wanted to be able to do that too.

From my third and final soul, Riftblade, I took the Storm Blade ability – a buff which could be applied to increase melee attack, and which I could apply and then forget about as it lasts an hour.  Less mess; less stress 😉

The quests seemed very easy, especially with friends.  By the time there were four of us, it felt too easy in places.. enemies don’t stand up very well to a mob attack 🙂

The rift events were more chaotic and a lot more fun.  Spawning at random, the rifts throw out elemental type enemies until players have killed enough of them, at which point the rifts close again.  Once a rift is open, a button appears at the top of the page for you to join a public group, should you want to.  The really cool thing is that everyone can get involved.. there are no level restrictions, although if you are much lower level than the invader, you might find you miss rather a lot 😉

While talking about the game with a friend, he said that his character didn’t feel powerful.. or as powerful as he should.  It hadn’t been something I’d considered to that point, but thinking back, I realised that my character hadn’t felt all that powerful once our group had split up..

I had been fighting goblins which were a few levels lower than my character, and therefore should have been going down fast, yet it was taking a while to kill them even with Cuddles biting and clawing at them too.  In WoW, when I charge in with my Warrior and take something on, it goes down fast.. and it feels powerful, especially considering he’s doing it alone rather than having help from a pet.  When I think about that, Orola doesn’t feel powerful at all, despite being a warrior hero type character.

Maybe we shouldn’t be trying to compare games.. maybe it’s just that generally, mobs are tougher in this game and you’re not meant to feel powerful until you’re a much higher level..

I decided to take a look at the Defiant side, creating a new character: Zaaliah, the Eth Mage.
New characters on this faction start off on the last day of Telara, with the tutorial area having you prepare for a trip back in time to try and stop the destruction of the planet.

My first soul was the Pyromancer.. woop, fire!   I’m loving my fire mage in WoW at the moment, so wanted to see how this works in Rift.

While the fireball spell had a great animation.. swirling the staff with the fireball being created and then flung at the end, it had a really long cast-time.  As soon as I got some points they went straight into Ignition, which decreases the cast time of all fire spells.

My second soul was the Elementalist, which gave me the ability to summon a Lesser Earth Elemental who I named Lumpy.. he’s a rather grumpy-looking guy 😀

The other ability from this soul was Crystalline Missiles: this time round, I was able to see it as comparable to my Fireball ability straight away and rather than be frustrated by it, I simply ignored it.

My third soul was Warlock, taken mainly because I liked the idea of healing myself by draining health from the enemy.. although I had considered the Necromancer, you can only have one pet at a time and I wanted to stick with Lumpy 🙂

The early quests included the usual tasks of talking to a person, killing so many of an enemy type, or collecting things.. but I quite enjoyed one particular travel mission when I found I was to be escorted by a Wraith Battle Construct.. a huge thing!

I enjoyed watching him punt the enemy mobs out of the way! 🙂

As per the story, I was to travel back into the past to I can help stop the world from being destroyed..  which brought me to what I think is the same time period as the Guardians end up in after they complete their starting zone and go forward in time.  Nice idea 🙂