Rift Crafting Review

Last week one of our readers was kind enough to send me a trial code for last weekend's "Allies of the Ascended" event in Rift. I spent the weekend investigating the crafting system in Rift and I put together this overview/review for those of you who are interested.

My overall impressions of the game are pretty lukewarm. Having tested four other MMOs now, I'm getting to the point where I recognize "borrowed" ideas. The graphics in Rift remind me a lot of Aion. Some of the animations are kind of clunky, specifically the running animations for characters and mounts as well as the critter animations. Combat is the standard MMO button mashing affair - I've even gotten to the point where I mentally refer to some of my Rift spells by their WoW counterpart (lol!). Rift uses the same quest/foozle leveling mechanic that most MMOs rely on for leveling. So far I've seen two distinguishing features in Rift: the talent system and the rift events.

The main change they made in the talent system is to boil the actual character creation down to four primary types. Then you select three talent trees for your character to further customize yourself and when you spend talent points they can go into any of the three trees. Personally, I don't see this as a huge departure from other MMOs. Perhaps if you're the type of player who likes to hop around on alts alot this would be a strong perk. But in terms of the overall dynamics of the MMO style of gaming, this didn't feel like a huge change to me. No matter what game I'm in, I'm going to play a healer so giving me three trees to wade through isn't a huge draw to me.

The other big feature that Rift brings to the table is the rift events. This is basically a random event that occurs at different locations during the day. Once the "invasion" starts, anyone in the area is prompted to join a public raid group to quell the invasion. Those who stick around until the final "boss" mob is killed will automatically receive a goodie bag with some random currency tokens and a couple of other items that are often crafting ingredients (something like our chaos orb). My take on this system is that it combines the random epicness of a Scourge style invasion with the automated grouping of a battleground like Wintergrasp. I see the appeal in this for players who want to be a part of a big PVE group event without the organizational hassles of WoW-style raids. I don't think this feature is particularly revolutionary in the MMO world, but I think Blizzard would do well to consider implementing some form of "public quest" style PVE content in WoW.

The crafting content in Rift is pretty standard fare. You start out questing in newbie areas and I was not able to find any crafting trainers during this time. I finally found some gathering trainers at level 7 in a town called Divine Landing. You might be able to get there a bit quicker if you really push forward, but I suspect they don't intend for players to start crafting until they reach level 5. Rift has three gathering professions: Mining, Butchering and Foraging. Mining obviously deals with ores, butchering lets you skin dead mobs and foraging lets you harvest herbs and wood. Yes, Rift has wood gathering! The other professions you can pick up in Rift are Armorsmith (plate/chain armor), Weaponsmith (bows/guns/melee), Outfitter (leather/cloth armor), Runecrafter (enchants), Artificier (jewelry/wands/staves) and Apothecary (potions).

Each player can learn three professions, which is nice. I grabbed Foraging and Mining up front so I could collect materials while I quested. I got skill points for harvesting nodes and a few points early on for processing my ore and wood. The gathering trainers both offered me a quest to collect some materials and turn it in for XP. I'm not sure if these were daily quests since I didn't stick around at the lowbie area. When I got to the next town there was a fully complement of profession trainers and I picked up Weaponsmithing as my third profession.

Weaponsmithing has a fairly standard skill progression with new recipes learned every 10 skill points. Rift also follows the typical difficulty ratings for recipes where they start out orange, then change to yellow, green and finally gray as you level beyond a particular recipe. From what I observed you will normally get about 10 skill points from a recipe before it changes difficulty on you. There does not appear to be a level requirement for training higher tiers of skill in a profession. I was unable to move above 75 skill but I suspect that was due to my trial account status. The trainers didn't have any level requirements listed on any of the higher tiers of training, so it might be possible to level all the way to 300 skill without leveling your character much.

All professions except Apothecaries come with a "salvage" ability that allows you to destroy your crafted items and salvage them for parts. This only applies to the items your profession can make but I discovered that it can be used on loot/quest items too. As a weaponsmith I was able to salvage a quest mace my character was using, but not any of the armor. It looks like they designed the salvaging ability to let anyone disenchant items that fall into their crafting specialty. My salvaging efforts would generally turn up 1-2 metal bars and/or a few metal scraps that I could combine into a special type of metal. I also got wood when I salvaged bows, which made sense since wood was used to make the bow. I thought the salvaging was a nice feature and something that would be handy when grinding skill points. In an ideal tradeskill scenario you wouldn't need to grind skill points on worthless goods, but clearly the Rift designers opted to go with the salvaging idea as an easier path.

Most professions require the use of specialized work stations such as forges, work benches, etc. A good number of the towns I visited had these stations, but this setup does prohibit you from crafting in the field. Also, most of the recipes seem to require vendor materials to craft. Almost everything I made as a weaponsmith called for flux or grinding stones. Based on the wares the other trainers sell, I suspect this is the case across the board. You can expect to spend at least 100 gold on training and vendor supplies to progress through the Novice level of your profession. Prices scale up from there with the highest recipes costing almost 9 gold each.

You also have the ability to add extra ingredients to recipes to create a better quality item. These ingredients can be bought from vendors and I think some are also rewarded from rift events. I'm not completely confident on how that all works but I know the interface allows for it and I did do a few test items myself. I'm just not certain about the full implementation because I ended up with some items that I was unable to use this way even though they were marked as crafting ingredients

From what I've seen Rift also offers daily crafting quests for each profession. I only had weaponsmithing as a tradeskill, but I assume other professions have quests as well. Each quest tasks you with making 2-5 crafted items and turning them in for a few vendor tokens, a goodie bag and a small amount of XP. The goodie bag has ingredients appropriate to your profession, metal bars in my case. The interesting thing about the daily quest is that they appear to offer more than one if your skill is high enough. Once I leveled past tin and got into copper weapons, the quest giver had a new daily quest for copper items and still let me take the quest for tin items. Assuming this holds true all the way up, you could end up with as many as seven different daily quests. This would be a pretty beefy way to rack up tokens. The vendors who sell recipes have token prices up to 300 for rare/epic patterns.

In conclusion, Rift has a crafting system that is comparable to existing tradeskills in other MMO games, but nothing special. I don't think it's compelling enough to attract new players in and of itself, but it should be reasonably enjoyable to players who plan to play Rift anyway.

10 comments:

  1. Sounds very much like Runes of magic crafting. The salvaging sounds a little like Allods. As you say - nothing new.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Also sounds a lot like LoTRO crafting in some areas.

    Some good, some bad. Thanks for the rundown!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So what is the state of crafting in MMOs?

    EVE Online is clearly the most sophisticated. And committing to nearly everything in the game being player produced is great. Alas, it occurs amongst the sociopaths of EVE.

    What is the state of crafting in the other MMOs? I read Tobold's post on GW2 and so have quit reading GW2 stories. I am hoping SWTOR can rescue me from Cata but it's looking like no. For crafters, is WoW as good as it gets now?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The current state of MMO crafting in my opinion is weak. But this shouldn't be surprising given the stagnation with the whole MMO genre right now. I'm more hopeful about GW2 than I am about SWTOR, although I plan to check both of them out. Also Tobold had compelling things to say about the Sims Medieval and I want to try that purely to see for myself how a next-gen crafting system might be done.

    At this point in time WoW is the best that MMO crafting has to offer. I say this ONLY because most servers are able to support a decent economy, not because the crafting system itself is particularly well done. It's the vibrant economy that brings a rather average crafting system to a level that provides reasonable enjoyment and satisfaction for the crafter.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was thinking about how crafting works in Sims Medieval so I look forward to your report on this.

    For me the problem with Rift is that it is not enough of a leap ahead, perhaps this is because it was made by people that had made the other MMO's and the genre needs fresh ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I dont understand why are people constantly saying that WoW needs to "try" a rift like spawning of mobs and bosses? Didnt Wow actually try this during the elemental invasion? (cata pre-event)? They were not random, of course, but they allowed people to do stuff together in the world, and then go to an instance.

    The reason it would not be possible to kill the boss by 100+ people so that they all get some rewards is that they either make the rewards too powerful so people complain they "have" to do them, or too weak, so no one does them.

    A game played by millions is very different from a game played by thousands :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well the reason I think Blizzard should consider public raid content is because the "gearscore" mentality has negatively affected the game and this could be a good way to counter it. Players don't have to go through a vetting process to get into a WoW battleground, but there is no such content for PVE. The concept of a public raid event could be a good way to introduce it.

    I agree that our invasions are comparable, but the way players handle it is not the same. In WoW players will usually participate in small groups or do them solo, which often leads to more grief than fun. By automatically building a raid group from the players who show up, the event will become an impromptu raid where everyone works together and everyone benefits.

    WoW has the functionality right now to offer this - automated raid building ala battlegrounds and random event generation as seen in Scourge invasions. And clearly they aren't against borrowing ideas from other games - so why not? It's clear that players are getting bored and the current content feels stale to them, a dynamic invasion event would be one way to jazz things up.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The daily crafting quests in Rift give tokens that can be used to buy specialty recipes with better stats than normal stats.
    Most of the crafted items have only average stats and as leveling goes fairly quick you will probably shed those fairly fast for quest rewards. Once your skill gets above 50 you can start adding an enhancement to the recipe to boost on of your stats. Also the Runemaking skill lets you make enhancements that can be traded and added to gear later. Adding enhancements to the specialty goods makes an item you can use for a few levels.

    For me, most of the appeal of Rift is that you don't go looking for a raid, the raid comes looking for you. AS the raids are the primary source of the material for recipe enhancments (whether random drop from the raid or bought from the currency fro the raid), these raids are pretty much "have to do", but as the raids are the point of the game it is not a bother.
    As this game is best when there are more people in an area, Ninja looting of resource nodes is high, but spawn rate for nodes and mobs is very high so while you get ticked off at first, it quickly wears off.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I forgot to mention that while the major raid on happens at certain times, there are lots of minor rifts that pop up frequently, don't take much time (the more people in the area, the faster you can complete and completion within a certain time gives bonus stages with more goodies). While the minor ones don't give the "chaos orb" type reward they are a good source of currency for character customization.

    ReplyDelete
  10. elements invasion may be can compare to Rift open raid, but there the over all operation is very different. In Rift, it is supported by public announcement, world map (with level mark and duration). But more advantage is on player's part. They can switch role (Talent tree) within 2 second without need to regen mana. And the drink, food buffing stuff only need 10 second (compare to wow need 30 second). In Rift every player can easy change role to fill up the situational need. That does not happen the same in WOW. I would heartly say the dual talent in wow is mostly unless, either you dont have gear, or you dont have time to regen. Everything in wow is too much depend on gear. There are plenty are good stuff in Rift game. As a player, innovative or not is the most important. Ain't you agree?

    ReplyDelete