Rift: Planes of Telara is a subscription based MMORPG developed and published by Trion Worlds. Rift seeks to distinguish itself from other MMORPGs with heavy focus on PvE via dynamic world events. Quite an average looking subscription MMORPG, but maybe this one will stand the test of time, and make a name for itself.
System - 9/10
A modern PC is required to run Rift, but you're definitely going to want an above average rig to play smoothly, as it can get quite hardware intensive during the large events of the game, which happen frequently in this game. The game runs well without problems (but if you do run into any problems, it's likely to be a graphic related one), and offers a great amount of tweaks to suit your needs, including a really nifty UI editor. The server is what you'd expect from any other subscription based MMO, smooth and without hitches.
Graphics - 7/10
Nothing special, everything looks pretty standard, and there's nothing that'll surprise you for better or for worse.
Average day in Telara.
Gameplay - 16/20
Let's start with your character. You choose one of two factions, and each faction has three different races, making a total of 6 playable races. They all have unique racial skills, as you would expect. There are then four "callings", which are general archetypes of your RPG: Warrior, Rogue, Mage, and Cleric. There are then nine "classes" in each of those callings, roughly pertaining to the archetype. You can customize how your character looks with ears, eyes, colours, blah blah, standard fare.
Here's where the unique touch comes in: you may be any three classes of your chosen archetype at once. That's right, not dual-classing, but tri-classing. Furthermore, you can have up to 4 "roles" which are class configurations saved at once, and may switch between them freely at will. This leads to having different roles for different situations, and allows everyone to be very flexible, as well as a great deal of customization. Each class has a main linear skill tree, which grants skills that everyone of the same class can obtain, provided they have enough skill points invested the class. Then there's an actual skill tree that branches out, and has a variety of additional skills to put points into.
The most outstanding and defining element of Rift is their world events. The world of Telara is under siege by Regulos and the denizens of the planes, where demonic creatures and the like reside. Rifts are a tear in space, that randomly spawn in the world for players to seal. Rifts spawn monsters which patrol the world, to the annoyance of the players, and invade towns. If a town is not defended, it will be taken over, and the NPCs will be inaccessible until the town is taken back. Obviously being unable to quest or vendor would be a real problem, so you will need to actively help. Invasion forces require a group of players to defeat, and rifts can be done with varying numbers of players, including solo. The rift occurrences, level, and strength are scaled to the number of players in the area, and their levels. Players can band together in public groups to fend off the monsters, and each player is given a reward based on their contribution in the effort, no matter how small. Rewards from the Rifts can also be exchanged for various items to aid the player.
While rifts are cool and all, it's strictly PvE, and of course, there are PvP aspects of the game. There are PvE and PvP servers, so don't fret if you're not too keen on PvP. Assuming you're on a PvP server, it's open PvP in contested areas of the game. For organized PvP, you have warfronts, which are scenarios in a closed map, with objectives to complete. Participating in PvP grants you valor points, which is PvP currency for buying equipment and such things. After hitting the level cap of 50, you convert to PvP levels, which operate the same as normal levels, only you PvP to level.
There is an actual main quest/storyline to Rift, with other supporting main quest lines that add to the lore of Rift. As for the actual content of the quests though, they're more than just fetch and hunt quests, but unfortunately, they're generally all uninspired and bland. There is a staple quest tracker of course. The game has achievements you can work towards, and some grant items on completion. There's also an artifact system, where you loot items scattered randomly in the world to place into sets, which when completed, can be exchanged for rewards. A simple way to reward explorers.
Combat uses the tried and true skill bars+WASD movement with mouse targeting system, nothing special. There's your standard professions system, where you gather materials and craft items and learn from recipes as well. There's instances and raids too. Something I thought was a nice touch in the game was mobs attacking each other though. Mobs from different planes from rifts will attack each other and faction NPCs. Certain types of mobs attack each other as well.
So many options, so little skill points!
Audio - 8/10
Nothing special about the BGM or sounds, however, the amount of voice overs were somewhat impressive. Storyline events are fully voiced, along with special quests. There seems to be an above average amount of voice clips for any NPC with any amount of significance pertaining to gameplay or story though, so that's pretty nice.
In the end, Rift is a solid subscription based MMORPG. While many of its gameplay elements are in any average MMORPG, they implement it well, leaving no flaws, albeit they aren't anything to shower praise upon either. The swappable tri-classing is neat to play around with, and the world events are nice ways to spice up the lives of the players.
Overall - 40/50