Rift: WoW’s Bane?

They came first with their concept, unveiling a product that was unprecedented and out of this world. Since then, they’ve managed to maintain their spot on top as they’ve rolled out updates while other game developers have only rolled out their hopes of a good horse that can – at least – catch up. In a world of healthy competition, loyalists and newbies, World of Warcraft (WoW) is definitely the “Apple, Inc.” of the MMORPG world.

The competition has been fun for gamers like us to sample. There was City of Heroes (CoH), which delivered a congested world of “Zones”, took away the journey of travel, and gave us Superheroes with a ton of customization options. Even now, the game stands strong, giving gamers the choice of playing as a Hero or a Villain, building a team headquarters, and allowing the customization of one’s own powers.

Square-Enix had a go with its Final Fantasy installments. A great series, but a horrible MMORPG that demanded way too much hard drive space at first, then ran too slowly, gave no chance of winning a battle, had virtually no interface, and won a meager audience loyal to the brand.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRGi32Xzea4&w=560&h=349]

Now, Rift has entered the picture. To describe every single detail would be silly; the fact of the matter is, Rift has decided to do and look like everything WoW has done and been respectively, but calling more upon the PCs graphics card to generate a more mature and sophisticated environment… far more than that of WoWs.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fuM3CaFVuo&w=560&h=349]

One thing that a loyal WoW gamer can notice as a major difference is the lack of real-time traveling between cities. This is because lengthy travel is accomplished through Porticulums, which are magical devices that instantly send you on your way. Still, real-time travel, or the option for it (perhaps a prompt that asks if one would like to skip the real-time travel scene), would be nice. In Rift, the infamous CoH-esque loading screen appears.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHGCQ0FHtiY&w=560&h=349]

Also, albeit still undergoing its early stages as a game, Rift has not allowed for the use of add-ons, which are widely popular amongst WoW gamers. But, the company has been very transparent, releasing a statement in which they expressed that they did not want to endanger the quality of gameplay.

Rift has done an outstanding job in making sure that its namesake makes it stand out from the rest. The rifts themselves are breathtaking (with a great graphics card) and can get truly chaotic, which is what’s supposed to happen! Teams merge with other teams, doing away with the cap on members. “Baddies” appear as the rift progresses through stages. And when the rift is closed, everyone gets a share of the loot.

The one thing that is keeping Rift from touching WoW: the WoW community. It’s not so much that they are dissuading gamers against the new-generation MMORPG. Their refusal to give up on WoW is comparable to the devotion of a nun to her Lord. WoW is a traditional Christianity, and Rift is Christian Rock. For those who do not understand the reference, if the MMORPG gamer is a businessman, WoW is a Windows-based PC, and Rift is an Apple computer. Funny enough, Rift only runs on Windows!

Hopefully, the point has been made. Overall, Rift’s formula of not changing the experience and simply outclassing WoW on almost everything it does is a strategy that makes it the most worthy challenger to the MMORPG giant.

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