For some weeks I’ve been weighing up two of my stable of MMOs as a game to play when I’m not playing Guild Wars 2. This does not mean I’m bored with GW2 already, or that I foresee leaving it anytime soon. Rather it is an acceptance that I’m not a one-game person anymore.
I made the plunge last week in buying the Rift Storm Legion deal, 12 months game time + the expansion for £72. It’s a great deal, and unlike the WoW annual pass doesn’t have any small print related to cancelling the sub early as it’s not a subscription. Even if I only play Rift for a few months past the launch of Storm Legion, enough time to cap my main character for instance, I’ll feel like it was a good investment.
LoTRO will remain on my hard drive for the foreseeable future since I’m a lifer, but the game was missing something despite the excellent story-telling. This article on Massively certainly speaks volumes for me, though I’d already made my decision before reading it. I do think the class and progression systems in LoTRO are in desperate need of an overhaul. As the article points out you get no new abilities for any class after level 55. The cap will rise to 85 in Riders of Rohan, so that’s 30 levels of pretty old-school slow leveling for no tangible benefit. I like dinging and I like class systems with levels. Gradually adding new abilities is part and parcel of the RPG staple of character power progression. It’s not just a mathematical increase in some attributes like health or morale, you actually get some new skill or tactic every so often.
I do like creating alts in games. I have a whole stable of alts in LoTRO, but most of them are below level 20. Why? Well the leveling is very old-school (i.e. slow) and it is rather grindy so sadly, despite the lovely synergies between the different crafting professions each has, I can’t really face leveling them all to 50 or 60 let alone the cap.
In contrast Rift gives me a plethora of character building options. There’s traditional levels with gradual unlocks of new spells and abilities plus there’s planar attunement for some funky element related abilities as post cap progression. The soul system, in a sense, discourages alts since you can be most of the trinity roles with one character, changing at the touch of a button. But that’s ok, despite the drive to create alts when I last played I was still happy playing even after I hit the level cap and ran out of traditional PVE character progression.
I’ve often created multiple characters in MMOs to try out different classes and gaming styles. But I also think it was a way to keep a game fresh past the point where I was getting bored with it. This certainly happened in WoW, and I think it was also the case in LoTRO as well. In constrast with Rift I leveled my main character to the cap with no “alt breaks”. I had one alt to play with friends but once they stopped playing I left him parked and concentrated solely on my cleric.
I look forward to seeing the features of Storm Legion, in particular the new dimensions housing system – I’ve been missing a decent in-game housing system since I left EQ2 and this could well set a new standard when the expansion launches!