First things first, for those following my “hand issues”: In case you’re wondering why and how I can even get in some gaming time: With a trackball mouse for my left hand, and having to stay away from the PC as well as handwriting while only unpacking moving boxes and moving around shelves in the new flat, my hand had a chance to regenerate and it now tolerates a little bit of MMO gaming time – granted I don’t move around too much. Thankfully, playing a ranged class in Rift and focusing mainly on rifts lets me do that!
But now on to Rift Prime and my very subjective impressions!
It is nostalgia coupled with “modern Rift”. Not everything was recreated as it was in the beginning. For example, the old skill trees aren’t back and the new souls that were introduced with later expansions can be unlocked with in-game currency. Some features, like the instant adventures and minions, aren’t enabled either. Minions are like trading cards that you click on every couple of hours to “send them on adventures”. You do not need any skill etc. You just click to send them and click again a couple of hours later to receive your loot. The instant adventures are great on the current live servers to level. You are brought to a zone with others that play the instant adventure and get quest after quest to do as a group. It’s very busy and fast and you certainly don’t have time to explore the world around you.
But I don’t want to list the differences and similarities here now. I just want to stress that some of the “old feeling” comes from starting all over again. My account on live has so many of the comfortable things that I’ve gotten used to over the years: I create a new character and as soon as she or he gets to a mailbox, I get all the shiny and fast mounts! I send my new character 100 platinum. They even get a weapon and earrings that level with them now. It’s basically a very easy and carefree experience.
Not so on Rift Prime. I saved everything to afford the 2 platinum and 50 gold for my 60 % mount. Yes, 60 %! And yes, I was so happy once I owned that mount. At some later point, I had wanted to buy new armor, but could only afford one new piece – and then I did not have enough gold left to teleport to the quest area, so I had to get there “by foot”. Thankfully, I already had my mount at that point. But there is no big established “main character” to send some platinum. There isn’t a rich economy either. I gather low level resources and get a tiny bit of money for them, as nobody is super rich on the Prime server. For example, my actual main character has more than 25,000 platinum. Spending 2,5 platinum on a mount is nothing!
I know there are several players that have reached level 50 already and I am only level 15. But I’m enjoying the slower pace. Not only because I can’t play much or for long, but also because I don’t rush through the areas on fast mounts or through the levels through instant adventures or level-up-potions. Fights take longer, because mobs have more health and they also do more damage – but my character not having great equipment also adds to that. Quest rewards actually mean something again, though! I got excited when I received a new pair of shoes for my mage!
My usual problem, however, was: Which class do I want to play? I was certain it would have to be mage or cleric. My current main is a cleric, so that’d be an easy option, because it’d take less getting used to playing. But I started Rift playing a mage as a chloromancer (a class that can heal the group by dealing damage). So this would be quite neat, too. And so I started playing my mage. But as usual: The grass is greener on the other side. It only took until level 15 to realize that I may want to give the rogue a try. On live, as I said, my main is a cleric. I used to play warrior before that. She is level 65 (70 is the maximum on live servers). My mage is 65, too, but she was boosted, so I didn’t actually play her to level 65. My rogue is level 41, but I boosted her to level 40. She is also an elf and… well, I don’t actually like elves. I’ve never really played a rogue, though – wouldn’t this be the perfect chance to do so?
My little dwarf (yes, it had to be a dwarf, as all my other 65+ characters are dwarves as well) is now level 15, same as the eth mage I had created, and I am pretty sure I am going to level rogue on Prime. Thankfully, you only get two character slots on the Prime server, so I have no choices left now (I didn’t delete my mage!).
The slower levelling pace also gives me more time to learn my skills. There are also less premade builds to choose from which again, makes it easier to get into the class. Sometimes, too many choices are nothing but overwhelming for a new player. The Prime server is located in the USA, so I sometimes have a bit of lag. But in the last few days, it has not been bad. I am only playing in open world areas and with my pet that tanks. So it’s not crucial to have a low latency for me.
What I really love is seeing the factions’ headquarters filled with players again. On live servers, these areas are usually quite empty. There are a few more players in Tempest Bay (the first expansion’s main city). Not sure what it’s like in the other expansions’ main hubs, as I don’t like them and thus, don’t spend time in them. Having a smaller world, though, means that you automatically get to see more players around.
I also went guild-hunting and found a casual-enough German-speaking guild for myself and for bookahnerk (in case anybody from “Die Gelassenen” is reading this: Yes, I’m talking about you! Moin! ^^). Our guild on live is rather inactive in Rift by now, so it’s nice to see an active and talkative guild again!
Altogether, it is not like it was back then when Rift released. It is nothing like the current live servers either. And despite having to pay a subscription, I quite enjoy playing Rift Prime. I bought the year-long subscription last year, so I’m paying roughly 7 € a month which is a fair amount, I think. Trion did a great (not a perfect, but a great) job and they deserve my money for that.
I enjoy the current “vanilla” game (map- and world-wise) and I look forward to being there when the first expansion releases on Prime. I only dread the release of the Nightmare expansion, because I greatly dislike this whole area and would prefer not having to set a foot into these areas again. But this is still some time in the future and there are a lot of other adventures awaiting for my little rogue until then!