Trion Worlds hits the nail on the head in its upcoming MMORPG.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend Trion Worlds' Gamer Day at the Trion Worlds studio in Redwood City, CA to get a hands-on experience of its upcoming MMORPG, Rift: Planes of Telara. I fully admit that I went out knowing very little of this game other than the few screenshots that occasionally grace my screen. There was no real hype of which to speak built up in my mind going into this, and I think that's a fairly relevant point to mention as I continue, as I think we're looking at a true gem here. As I didn't, you may not know much about it now, but you soon should.
Rift: Planes of Telara (formerly Heroes of Telara), takes place in a high-fantasy world called Telara. Its proximity to the elemental planes of reality has created a nexus of unfathomable power alluring to the dark elemental gods of the Blood Storm, and after a nearly cataclysmic war, the Telarans managed to fashion a magical Ward around their world to prevent another onslaught of the elemental forces. Eons later, the Ward has breached, and with its fracture, rifts into the other planes have managed to pop up all over the world of Telara, allowing the entry of twisted creatures from other planes of reality, bent on destroying the world around them.
Rift: Planes of Telara is filled with many of the standard trappings expected in an MMO these days. Faction/Class system? Check. Leveling/powering up? Yup. Questlines and story arcs? You bet. Aside from all that, however, Trion Worlds is hoping to capitalize on what it's calling a dynamic layered world - ever-changing world environments that will drastically alter the gameplay experience from player to player, or even from session to session. Rifts will constantly be opening up throughout the world, threatening the world around them. If left unchecked, rifts will turn into full-blown invasions, with hordes of elementals pouring out and massacring the surrounding lands and cities, even slaying NPCs in needed quest hubs if given the chance.
As I sat down to create a character, nothing was particularly out of the ordinary. I was given the choice between two factions, Guardians or the Defiant. Guardians are the chosen of Telara's gods, the Vigil, working to redeem their world in order to usher in a new era, while the Defiant reject the Vigil and seek to use technology and their own will to save Telara. Races were next, with Mathosians, High Elves, and Dwarves on the Guardian side, and Ethians, Kelari, and Bahmi for the Defiants. I chose Defiant (I do like technology) and Kelari, solely because I wanted to be a mage.
The physical character editor was quite impressive, with a full facial morph, sliders for age, hair, beard, tattoos; the works. The options at my fingertips were plentiful, and I was told that many more options would be coming before launch (remember, the game is still in Alpha).