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Over the past year we have seen a lot come out of the MMO market.  Rift launched in early 2011, Star Wars: The Old Republic in late 2011, and most recently, Guild Wars 2 and the latest World of Warcraft expansion. And despite the miriad of options we have had there is still plenty of room for more.

Let’s face it, Star Wars: The Old Republic was a massive failure and World of Warcraft has been getting stale since Cataclysm. In my opinion, Rift and Guild Wars 2 are the most solid experiences available at the moment. What some may not realize though is that Guild Wars 2 borrowed a lot of what made Rift so great – multi-role classes, dynamic world events, and level scaling.

Trion once again puts themselves in a great position to excel and my experience with the beta has once again validated what I have been saying for a long time: you need to experience the world of Telara.

Having taken part in the beta for nearly every MMO released in the past ten years I have come to understand what a beta needs to do in order to make it evident to the player as to what it has to offer. Rift: Storm Legion beta is unmatched in this regard. Between the fantastic community interaction by Trion and the seamless transition into the beta, there really is no reason you should have missed it. But if you have, read on.

What I appreciated the most was how easy it was to experience the new content. If you had a level 50 already you were able to transfer it to the beta server and hop right in. If not, you could create a new character, talk to an NPC and you were given an item that made you level 50, level 48-50 gear, and more platinum than anyone would need over the course of a beta.

Once 50 it was just a matter of making your way through the portal and into Storm Legion. What became immediately evident is just how large the new continents are. With three times the amount of space as Rift there seemed to be an impressive amount of content.

But like Rift it doesn’t seem to use the space that well. Enemies and quests are spread out and located in areas that resulted in not only a lot of running but also an at times peculiar flow. This does help in herding people into areas that spawn events though. And it is times like this where you can appreciate what they did.

And it is the dynamic events and the quests themselves that really shined in Storm Legion beta. The first few hours of Rift provide some fantastic story, set pieces, and variation. There is no doubt in my mind that you will be glued to your screen from levels 50 to 51 – with a level 60 cap.

It is around this time that you will find yourself in an expansive, fantastically designed city. The first thing I recommend when here is to check out Dimensions – Trion’s solution to player housing. Players can buy a key to various dimensions that differ in not only location but size as well.

Once you have your key you can step into your dimension and start building. The control that you are given over this dimension is absolutely astounding. Think Minecraft but with much more fine tuned control over items, scale, etc. Dozens if not hundreds of hours will be spent with Dimensions and is something I plan to spend most of my off-time messing around with when I am not leveling, raiding, or theory crafting.

And it is the theory crafting part of Rift where I spent most of my time in beta. With a new soul for each class the amount of potential that has been opened up for each class is really promising. As a Mage I can now play an entirely melee based class which proved to be my new favorite spec and provides fresh gameplay and combat that most expansions fail to provide.

In fact, it is the addition of new souls that has made me want to level a new Warrior alt so I can play the new ranged soul. The number of options for specs in Rift was already one of the most appealing elements of the game and Storm Legion only makes it that much more impressive. It is without a doubt the best combat in any subscriber based MMO out there.

What I was unable to test out during the beta though was the dungeons and raids. But with seven new dungeons and end-game raiding there is no doubt that end-game will be the most entertaining in the market. Guild Wars 2 has been my MMO of choice lately but the lack of end-game keeps me from coming back night in and night out. And with the over 600 hours of Rift I logged – a lot of which was spent in end-game – I have no doubt that Storm Legion will deliver.

All in all my time with Rift: Storm Legion beta was very positive but I only pined for more after the limited time I spent with it. If you are looking to fill that MMO void a lot of online gamers have right now be sure to give Rift: Storm Legion a try – especially since you can get the base game and the expansion for only $49.99. Expect continued impressions from Gamer Limit soon as well as a full-blown review early next month.

  1. Hmm I like what I read so far. I know I have said it before but I found Rift to be too grindy and too generic for my taste when it came out. I also personally consider the most interesting recent MMO release was The Secret World, but that isn’t really the point of the article or my comment.

    I will keep my eye on this and if the new features really do add enough into the game and make it a bit more varied I may give it a whirl again. The fact that you still play it a year later Kevin is a good sign for sure.

    • I’ll admit, even as a Rift fan, that the game looks fairly generic for a while; especially in the early areas.

      But the game is really well supported, and is fairly deep to boot. It’s a solid MMO.

    • Yea it can definitely be grindy at times and that is what made me enjoy Guild Wars 2 so much. One thing I didn’t mention about Storm Legion though is that it will automatically pick up the more “grindy” quests when you interact with objects or kill enemies as part of story quests. It is because of this that it makes the grindy quests more of an afterthought that weave in real well with the main quests.

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