Rift: Planes of Telara - Hands On

| 16 Nov 2010 05:21

imageClass systems are where the game deviates a bit from the norm. First you choose from one of four callings (Warrior, Cleric, Mage, and Rogue) - this dictates your options as far as character development. Once you begin playing, you choose a Soul, which at first glance appears to be a standard kind of talent tree, but in fact allows a great deal of character customization, both in terms of group role as well as playstyle options. You start out with one Soul Tree, and as you spend soul points in that tree, not only do you gain talents and abilities that enhance that Soul Tree's abilities, but you also open up extra abilities specific to that tree the more points you put into it.

As you play and level, you are given the option to open up new Soul Trees, mixing and matching abilities and talents into a highly customizable character. This enables the blending and blurring of certain fantasy archetypes, if desired. For instance, you could have a tank that also heals some, or a rogue that can also tank. Later in the game, you can even learn and lock extra Soul Tree sets, and swap between them when out of combat.

I managed to secure the sought-after name Msbuttersworth for my new Pyromancer and start my journey - into the past. I began my adventure as an Ascended, a Telaran slain during the great Shade War and resurrected to help save the world from the forces of Regulos, the god of Death. I was in the future, in a shattered world on the brink of destruction. The Defiant had brought me back from beyond the grave with the intent of utilizing the power of the rifts to send me back in time to change things for the better. Obvious time paradox issues aside, I'm cool with it (gotta have some suspension of disbelief).

The first thing I do with any game is invert my mouse control; it's just how I play. While doing so, I notice a setting for UI customization. Turns out every aspect of the UI can be moved and resized, and I can even adjust the alpha on each element. In these days of post-WoW's heavy UI customization, stuff like this seems like a no-brainer to me, but it's amazing to see how many games fail to give you any control whatsoever over your user interface. Another aspect of the interface that caught me off-guard was the inclusion of a small targeting arrow on the ground, pointing in the direction of my current target. Small, unobtrusive, but very clever and very useful.

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