Why RIFT is not a WoW clone.

2011-07-01 14:29

This is partially a response to a forum poster on the RIFT forums asking whether someone could write an explanation of how RIFT is different from WoW without using the word “rifts”. To some extent, I think that’s unfair; after all, the rifts are a significant difference for me. But okay, let’s see.

Why I do not think RIFT is a WoW clone

In Soviet Telara, environment raids you. Sure, there’s other differences. But the big difference is that, in RIFT, there are very few places I can go where I have confidence that I know what will be there. Things happen. The quest hub I was just at getting quests might have been replaced with a blasted zone of black-and-purple with a writhing mass of tentacles in the middle of it. This has a number of effects.

In WoW, I would do various daily quests. Each quest had a clearly defined object, environment, and so on. There were no big changes from one day to another. It was always the same. In RIFT, there are also daily quests… But if I do a handful of them, the chances are quite good that during one of them I’ll end up dying several times trying to fight off the invading forces of an elemental plane. So instead of “hop over to the next zone, click a couple of things, head back”, I end up with “spend 45 minutes fighting for my life”. I like this. It’s fun to me. It really does a great job of making the experience less monotonous than it would otherwise be.

Zone events aren’t all of it, though.

The much greater degree of support and even encouragement for exploration is a really big difference for me, because I enjoy exploring, and it’s nice to have a game that rewards this a bit. I like going around finding little glowy things in out of the way places. I like finding a bunch of squirrels dancing around a magical torch. :)

When it comes to the actual mechanics of combat, there are a number of differences. Sure, you can pretty much just run things the way you would in WoW, with a tank, healer, and some DPS. Support roles change that. A lot of people imagine that stuff like Vanilla WoW paladins or shamans were a “support” class. No, not even close. A real support class can be a game-changer at a much deeper level. Support, by it’s nature, is a little optional; you don’t need it if you overpower the content. But… It can be pretty fun. And it changes the dynamic of a group, typically.

Group dynamics is where I think RIFT really shines. In WoW, once you had a group, you were done. The tank would tank, the healer would heal, and the DPS would do damage. That was it. There was no real call for shuffling things, and you mostly couldn’t. You might well have only one person who could heal.

In RIFT, you can frequently get by with alternative builds, and everyone is likely to have multiple roles. I’ve seen groups where one of the DPS, and the tank, were trading roles depending on the fight because one of them was better at tanking one kind of content and the other was better at tanking another. I’ve seen a group replace the healer with two “support” characters who were credible off healers. What that means is that, in many groups, you have tactical choices beyond whether or not to LoS pull the next group, and kill order. Maybe these options could exist for some groups in WoW; in RIFT, they’re commonplace, and most groups have options.

Finally, the soul system really is that flexible. People often insist that really there’ll be a few “cookie-cutter builds” that are the best. Maybe, but so far I haven’t seen it. Instead, I’ve seen people combine a melee tank build and a ranged DPS build and get a credible healer. Yes. healer. (It’s called an Inquisicar, and takes advantage of an interesting interaction between the class mechanics of the two classes.) While there are plenty of “obviously this will work very well” builds out there, there are also a lot of surprising builds. Furthermore, even the builds that aren’t obviously optimized work.

And that brings us to one of the Huge Differences: Hybrids. In WoW, a “hybrid” is a character who can do two different things ever — say, a shaman, who can be a damage-dealer or a healer. You can’t have a single build which can do two things. Back in the Burning Crusade era, I was able to build a marginally-effective DPS/healing hybrid shaman, and some people found ways to do tolerable hybrids for the classes that had both caster DPS and caster healing, but… Hybrids were a weak choice, clearly inferior. In Cataclysm, Blizzard finally put the nail in that coffin by mechanically enforcing a requirement that you fully specialize in one tree before adding any others. Back in Burning Crusade, I was able to make a shaman DPS who could, when a healer made a key mistake, heal a group through a fight. That’s no longer (at least by intent) an option. Furthermore, in WoW, gear is very role-specific; RIFT has put a lot of work into making gear more flexible, so you don’t need a completely different set of gear for a melee cleric than you do for a caster cleric.

In RIFT, hybrids are common. Prior to the 1.3 patch, one of the most common end-game healing builds was an even mix of Chloromancer and Warlock — in many cases, with more points spent in the “DPS” build than in the “healer” build. Even now, in a lot of the content, hybrids remain genuinely viable. You can have a character who can, during a single fight, switch from healing to damage-dealing, or vice versa.

What this contributes to is that fundamental flexibility of roles which makes RIFT so much more fun, at least for me. It’s not just that I have three “roles” available even by level 20 or so; it’s that one of those roles can itself be able to switch from one play style to another during a fight.

Now, remember all that stuff I was saying about invasion events? This flexibility of characters matters hugely in invasions, becuase you don’t get to sit around planning the perfect five-player group. You walk around the corner expecting to see the guy you were killing rats for (quests, regrettably, are perhaps not as varied as we might hope), and instead you see Unholy Horrors. And now… it’s up to you and that random person you see nearby to kill them. You don’t know whether either of you has a healing or tanking set available. You don’t have time to sit around chatting. And here, hybrid specs shine, as does the general ability of characters to swap specializations around quickly.

The net result is a game where you have dynamic roles being used in dynamic ways to interact with dynamic content.

Sure, there’s a ton of fixed stuff. There has to be in order to attract the key population of existing MMO players needed to fund the game. But even when you’re dealing with that fixed stuff, once you embrace the underlying dynamic gameplay model, you find that you have more interesting choices to make, and more interesting things to do, than you would have if you’d stayed in the box.

Some people find this upsetting. They log in planning to do their daily quests and are frustrated because all this stuff is getting in the way. Me, I’m loving it. I log in planning to quick bash out a few dailies before I really start playing, and instead I really start playing before I bash out the dailies. It’s a nice change.

Peter Seebach

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Comment

  1. You’re a genius.

    — Batman · 2011-07-02 01:12 · #

  2. So the only things you were able to find that separates Rift from WoW are rifts..excuse me, invading forces from an elemental plane…and group dynamics (which can be replicated in WoW by porting around and respeccing. I did just that scores of time on my paladin).

    For some reason, you’ve made it your personal jihad to convince everyone that will listen that Rift isn’t a shameless ripoff. Why?

    Godless · 2011-07-02 14:07 · #

  3. Well, yeah. The game just plays completely differently and has very different group dynamics. (And no, they can’t be replicated in WoW. WoW’s got no support roles, and it’s prohibitively expensive to switch between four or five specs regularly.)

    As to why… Well, that’s pretty simple, innit? People keep saying something which is obviously untrue, and then complaining that they’re bored because they want something new. The something new is there, all they have to do is open their eyes.

    seebs · 2011-07-02 15:21 · #

  4. It’s pretty obvious that Rift is quite different from WoW. There’s also one major thing people forget: WoW was a shameless ripoff of EQ. It just appealed to the people that played diablo/warcraft/starcraft because it had the blizzard name, and it didn’t feel quite the same as a dungeons&dragons basement session.

    Rift is refreshing, and while I stand by the fact that it is quite similar to WoW (as any successful MMO should be; consider WoW’s profit margins), the mechanical differences and event differences are the biggest and most integral part.

    Also, pulling from WAR’s public questing system and improving it to work on the fly with invasion forces was ingenious. Anyone clinging to the “Rift is just a ripoff of WoW” argument should look at WoW’s history and stop calling the kettle black.

    — bastille · 2011-07-02 17:08 · #

  5. Godless, you clearly didn’t read his entire post here. He mentions a number of in-depth aspects and differences, and does so in a very eloquent and calm matter. Why are you trolling him?

    — God · 2011-07-02 20:48 · #

  6. Excellent, all of it excellent.

    — Ziras · 2011-07-09 08:43 · #

  7. Overall this is a quality article. I like the serious inclusion of “dynamic, dynamic, dynamic” as that’s really the driving force in differences. WoW is extremely static, Rift is considerably more dynamic. Could it be even MORE dynamic? Yes. We’ll probably see that with Guild Wars 2. But as Rift stands right now, the experience is already fairly non-linear and much more of a user’s choice in progression, instead of a forced linear path.

    — Polatrite · 2011-07-14 11:12 · #

  8. Seebs, you are always on my forum so I decided to come vist yours. :) A good article and a great site.

    — Gill · 2011-07-15 09:09 · #

  9. great post. I played WoW for 5+ years (EQ for at least that long before that) and just now getting into Rift. I feel more like EQ playing Rift, and I like that. Rift is not like EQ, but more like they took a lot of the good from EQ, blended that with some things from WoW, added a bit of spice and got Rift.

    — Gabbath · 2011-07-15 11:31 · #

  10. The Rift system IS the only thing that is truly different from WoW. The Soul System is vaguely similar. Everything else… carbon copied from WoW. End of story. You can’t make people who actually have minds change them.

    — Ripoff · 2011-07-18 05:35 · #

  11. I find it so funny with all players saying that it’s a WoW copy and that it took everything from WoW. Especialy when they ask us what’s not the same as WoW, we are able to as proven with the original post here, able to state what the diffrence is.
    Now when we however ask THEM what is copied from WoW, all you’ll hear is “Everything”. There have next to never been a time where I have gotten an answear about the actual things that is copied, and even fewer cases have there been truth in those things being copied when actualy looking closer at them.

    Sure there might be things the resembles WoW, but it doesn’t mean it’s copied from there… It’s like saying that all games (MMO or not) where you have HP is copies of the first game where HP was used, does anyone say that? no.

    Sure there is no avoiding that a lot of the employees at TRION have admitted that they were inspired by WoW, but it doesn’t mean they copied WoW.
    Inspiration comes from anywhere, and lately in games it’s often from a mix of other games, so to be fair, if RIFT is a WoW copy, then WoW is a EQ copy, which is a copy of it’s own, all the way back down to pac-man, pong and other games that actually came up with an entirely new thing.

    If one believes a game to be a copy of a other game, then think about what that game is a copy of. There is no reason to tell people that you believe it’s a copy.

    Now to answear some of the stuff in the comments…
    Godless: The RIFTS, aka the dynamic content, is one of the main selling points and is a large diffrence to WoW (Who btw decided to implement a VERY similiar mechanic in WoW AFTER RIFTs release), there is also diffrent lore, areas are vastly diffrent, there is no childish toon-look graphics, more customasible apperence for your characters and more flexibility in the classes.
    more then that, I’ll just ask u what is copied, if u say UI or anything alike, I’ll ask u where WoW got theirs from? EQ perhaps? or maybe an even older game?

    Ripoff(Oh classic name, wait no… either a troll or someone who doesn’t dare state even a fake nickname he uses): Read what I said to Godless and also, the Soul system is vaguely similiar? to what ? the talent tress?… Let’s clear this out, Soul trees in RIFT = Where you determine what you will do and where you even get ANY of your abilites/Spells. Without a soul, you can’t do ANYTHING AT ALL in RIFT.
    Talent trees in WoW = Where you boost the alignement to one of your type of spells/abilites (Which you already have because you are playing an detirmened class whatsoever soon as you make your character) and can get some EXTRA spells more then the ones you already have.

    WoW= You select your tree and upgrade what you have.

    Rift= you get everything and can upgrade it, also why you are able to have more mixes of roles on one character/class because you can be support/healer/DPS/Tank or even a hybrid of some of them, by spending points into a soul for each thing u need.

    RIFT’s ability to have you make so many combinations, also make you able to end up so diffrent from other players with the same class.
    In WoW, a wogue always comes at you in stealth, while in RIFT there is 2 souls that uses stealth and some for tanking, support and even ranged DPS. This means that you can’t preddict everything about a class by seeing what class it is.
    In WoW, a priest would go holy for heal, shadow for damage and disc for shields, and a little heal. But in the end, you are not fully able to have both high damage and healing since shadow form makes you unable to cast holy spells, while in RIFT, a cleric can bea healer, shield/Healer, support, DPS and tank or go hybrid which still keeps fairly good DPS at the same time as healing a rather fine amount.

    One of the realy big diffrences is also that YOU ARE NOT BOUND TO 1 OR 2 ROLES FOR CHOOSING A CLASS !

    WoW (Will list what I remember atm, might miss something):
    Rogue=DPS
    Mage=DPS
    Hunter=DPS
    Priest=Healer, DPS (Oh, 2 roles…)
    Shamman=Healer, DPS, Tank (o.O 3)
    Paladin=Healer, DPS, Tank
    Warrior=DPS, Tank
    Druid=Healer, DPS, Tank
    Warlock=DPS, Tank(Not sure if this works still, might only be Illidan fight)

    While in RIFT:
    Rogue=Tank, DPS, Support(Buffer/Raid healer)
    Warrior=Tank, DPS, Support
    Mage=DPS, Healer, Support, Debuffer
    Cleric=Tank, DPS, Healer, Support, debuffer.
    And don’t forget that in RIFT all the roles can be combined for a class with eachother so a Mage can be DPS and Healer at same time (No I don’t mean chloros only since that is there original heal which heals from their damage, what I mean is Chloro/Lock who can pull 900DPS and be one of the best raid healers).

    Also a noteis that in RIFT, it’s not ONLY about the gear, while in WoW, most of the time it’s about the gear, aka Gearbased.
    Cataclysm just made this point VERY noticable, hey I get 100k+ HP from my gear and shit tons of stats from it, herp, derp derp.
    RIFT, Oh look, I just got an Relic, but my stats only increased a little (Unless u had terrible shit before), sure gear does a lot still, but atleast the game isn’t based around the player that have the best gear. (PvP might be a bit with the crappy valor system).

    I could go on for hours, but it’s probably a waste since not all read this and even less reads comments and people sure as hell wont in most cases read a comment this long.

    — Ishfadriel · 2011-07-22 21:11 · #

  12. Dude, you forgot to mention the graphics. They are easily 100x better than WoW! And not at all cartoonish, but I can see why you wouldn’t use that as an argument for why RIFT isn’t a WoW clone.

    I’m a little undecided on that front; while there are many things that feel different in RIFT, it basically works the same way…and seems like they took WoW and just added on some unique things to a pre-existing thing. I won’t go as far as to say overall it’s a clone, but it’s hard to say the UI isn’t a clone of WoW’s. People however should look deeper than that when making judgements.

    — Zach · 2011-07-26 06:52 · #

  13. I do believe Rift took the WoW template. And WoW took that template from another game. Trion was looking to make a hotkey based MMO styled in their own dynamic manner. Indeed why would they not take all the best elements from the most popular hot key based game of all time, while improving on the mechanics? If blizzard made an all new MMO with the same template as WoW but with a new and improved engine and new mechanics would you complain about that too? In the advertisement for Rift it states “Your not in Azeroth any more”. They KNOW they are using the WoW formula, that was their objective was to make a game to compete with it. Are you also mad because both McDonald’s and Wendy’s sell hamburgers? They use the same ingredients, but with variations on how they are made. Trion has done nothing wrong here. Look at 90% of today’s Hotkey based MMOs. They all look very similar. The only reason RIFT is called a WoW “clone” more often is because it reached more popularity than most. WoW is a “clone” of several games before it, but we do not call it such because it is the most popular. Blizzard built this “MMO model” that the market enjoys, and if that is what the market calls for that is what is developed. Infinity Ward created the modern “Shooter model” which many shooters now follow. When the market tires of it someone will come along and introduce a new model. If it flops than we will be stuck with the old on. RIFT builds on that model and indeed succeeded. With popularity comes negativity.

    — Afroopenguinn · 2011-09-02 16:21 · #

  14. People seem to be ignoring the real reasons why Rift is considered a WoW clone. Almost all of its systems follow very closely to WoW with tweaks.

    Is Rift a true ‘clone’, of course not. But it borrowed VERY heavily from WoW, and WoW in no way remotely did this from EQ.

    Lets take a simple one, the user interface. Compare EQ, DAoC and UO with WoW. Now compare Rift with WoW. The design elements are extremely similar. Yes, it works. Yes other games have copied it from WoW. But it is taking WoW’s UI and tweaking it instead of creating a new one.

    Lets look at tradeskills next. In EQ1 you gathered a whole variety of items, and combined them in tradeskill containers. You werent always given recipes, you could experiment. Success wasnt a given, neither was a skill up.

    Now comes WoW. In WoW you learn your recipe, gather the items, and presto you have an item. Orange is guaranteed skill up, Yellow is a decent chance, green is small chance, grey is no chance. Hmm this system sounds awfully familiar does it not?

    How about leveling up? What happens when you dinged in EQ? Not a lot…your stat caps went up, maybe you had access to new spells.

    In WoW? You gained a talent point you could spend in one of 3 trees. Also every two levels you go to your trainer to train your old skills up ranks (removed from WoW shortly before Rift launch, but it was there for 6 years). Sound familiar? Yes, Rift lets you choose the trees and they added the root system. But its blatantly obvious what they used as the base for their system.

    Gear acquisition. EQ had big open dungeons with boss spawns that people would camp. Getting a new piece of gear in EQ was usually a rather big deal, as gear wasnt the only source of progression (spells and eventually AA, as well as augments to the gear).

    WoW? Instanced dungeons, clones of ones you did while leveling up. Doing these dungeons earned you points to by gear. Gear is swapped out rather fast. Green is basic gear, blue is very good, and purple is awesome. Gear is the only form of progression. Familiar, right?

    Now Rift has recently changed the gear being only progression aspect. But at launch it was there.

    PvP systems are very similar in WoW and Rift two with BGs/WFs and Honor/Favor. EQ did not have PvP.

    I never thought WoW was an EQ clone, and people at the time rarely called it that. It took a look at EQ and the other games out at the time, and said ‘how can we do this better?’ and created their own game with their own systems.

    I get the felling when paying Rift they took WoW and said ‘how can we make WoW better’, and set out making WoW better as opposed to starting from scratch with their own unique mechanics.

    ‘WoW clone’ is really the truth. That doesnt mean Trion made a bad game by a long stretch. I feel there are some things WoW did a TREMENDOUSLY better job with (almost none of these are gameplay related), but Trion most certainly made some improvements to the formula.

    My three big beefs are the tradeskill systems, the recycled dungeon grinding for currency, and the gear only progression. 1 down, 2 to go Trion. But with games like SWG, VG, FFXI, EQ1, and EQ2 all having unique takes on crafting why did Trion have to copy the bland one that WoW uses? Yes, I know there are improvements. But its just so damn unimaginative.

    — anonymous · 2011-09-30 01:41 · #

  15. The last post is spot on.

    It even gets funny lately when you see people arguing that anything that is not raid centric is not an mmo, or that most of the players play mmos just for the grouping…

    I dont know, maybe i am too pesimistic, but we are yet to see any really (not 500k subs) succesful mmo that is based on the late wotlk wow system, which rift has copyed, even wow has trouble increasing its playerbase since this system was introduced, while they were able to gain 1+ million just in the year before wotlk launch.

    In the end i still think mmos are all about spending your time in a persistent world, meeting new people, advancing your character, wasting your time in a way that gives the illusion that it is less meaningless than a singleplayer game, not about running instances while doing 0.1% damage to the boss, then gear up, do 0.2% damage and in 3 months there is another tier when you do again 0.1% damage and you have to gear up agan…

    — anonymous1 · 2011-10-02 02:13 · #

  16. Rift is great. WoW is better. Rift will improve. WoW will continue to be hated for it’s success.

    Post #14 was written very well.

    I would love to see some of the ingenuity of Rift put into WoW. I’d love to see Rift add in some of WoWs most definitive features. Rift is a nice change-up, and the best rival to WoW since… well since WoW.

    — J · 2011-10-20 01:18 · #

  17. Rift is shit

    — anonymousrift · 2011-11-07 14:31 · #

  18. Every game designer learns from the games that have come before. Even EQ took lessons from UO and from it’s MUD origins.

    Wow, while innovative, still did all the core things that EQ did. To someone familiar with EQ, it wasn’t that hard to ‘understand’ how to play WOW. There was tradeskilling, the same sorts of classes and expectations for those classes, etc and so on. The trappings might have been varied, but broken down – not so different.

    And people DID decry WOW as a copycat. But I never thought that then, and I don’t now about Rift.

    There’s only so many ways to do something, so if WOW did something right, it would be silly to do it another way JUST to do it differently. Sure, use the fresh slate to fix what’s broken, but don’t fix what isn’t.

    So of course there are similar things. And plus, you get the bonus of having a player base that already understands how to play the game.

    Rift did an excellent job of adding in layers of innovation on top of that, giving us the best of both worlds. Don’t be surprised if you see WOW incorporating some of the lessons learned with Rift.

    EQ Oldtimer · 2011-11-21 07:28 · #

  19. “WoW in no way remotely did this from EQ”

    Ehm, yes they did:

    UI – Inventory – identical. Coins – copper, silver, gold, plat, yep. Abilities dropped onto hud buttons, yep. WoW did add to it, macros and later addons, but the base is the same.

    Tradeskills – Copied from Horizons: Empire of Istaria which was released December 2003 with guaranteed skillups, guaranteed results and the same color coding of recepies (which were trained). If anything, wow uses a simplified version of this same system. In fact, Rifts crafting more closely resembles Istarias than it does WoW (which is good since Istarias is one of the best I’ve seen).

    Instanced dungeons – EQ expansion Lost Dungeons of Norrath released September 2003 had instanced dungeons. WoW was released Nov 2004, a whole year later with the same basic instancing.

    Loot – Titan Quest (which admittedly is a diablo2 “clone”) had the same random loot system as Rift, besides some colors shifting to appease the larger crowds coming with WoW experience it probably is closer to their loot groups than WoW’s. But its splitting hairs since they all have the same loot system more or less.

    WoW did things differently enough that I wouldn’t call it a clone. But Rift does things differently enough as well. Reinventing the wheel is more hurtful than you think. Imagine a MMO where an item that you can’t use yet but is an upgrade is colored gray, now imagine how many people that wouldn’t even loot said items for many a level before they realized their mistake.

    Before calling a game a ripoff of a single game you might need a bit more experience with the other games in that genre however, a bit of perspective will make you realize just how much more fluid the transitions from game to game really are.

    — anon · 2012-02-02 15:25 · #

  20. Stop bitching, WoW copied just about every aspect of EQ and made it better. Rift did the same to WoW and made it better. I am sure another game will come along and do the same thing to Rift.

    This is just the way all games evolve, so stfu and play the game that you like the most instead of bitching about the other like a spoiled 10 year old child.

    Just so you know, I can apply the same logic to every FPS… omg bla bla copied Quake, Quake copied Doom, Doom copied Wolf3D… educate yourselves you dumb children.

    — Gen0meX · 2012-02-15 21:09 · #

  21. Actually have minds Mr Ripoff? I doubt that, anyone who is so blind to refuse to see the glaring differences is a mindless slave to Warcraft.

    Warcraft borrowed and stole ideas from other MMOs to reach where it is right now and its still the same stuff everyday. Your Sir fail as a troll and don’t know what a real game is.

    — BetterThanARipOff · 2012-03-03 01:51 · #

  22. I hate wow so much its nothing but extremely overpriced over cartoony overly resrtictive of how u make a chracter. I like lotro and ddo with there faults but at least they dont look like some crappy adult swim canceled show; im downloadin rift now, after along break from mmos wow ruined them for me so i played dragon age, a great game but sadly no multiplayer so eventully u feel reel lonly.

    — Xalerx · 2012-03-03 17:22 · #

  23. Rift is a fun game. I enjoy playing it a lot. It almost makes me feel like a new MMO player. Not since my time in UO have I felt such a freedom of play. While many people ring their hands waiting for the WoW killer yet denounce anything that comes along, I’m just enjoying my time in Telara.

    I would like more freedom, in the sense of creating a character wholly from all aspects of character design and getting off of the level and gear treadmill. This is the one aspect I liked about UO. There were “builds” (especially after AoS and gear importance) but you truly could make a character anything you wanted, just by playing! And you could live and die by those choices and be happy because you’d be playing what you chose. see: Herding thief with a pet dog that likes to hang around West Brit bank and peak in peoples’ backpacks, but I guess that will have to come from a different game. Way to tangent! Anywhos…

    WoW is Diablo2 clone with a 3D Warcraft skin.

    — John · 2012-03-12 11:46 · #

  24. The people that claim that Rift took from WoW in the same way WoW took from EverQuest are not really adequately remembering EQ.

    I would say that probably 80% of Rift is WoW. I’d say probably 30% of WoW is EQ.

    Sorry, but when I started playing Rift, my general line of thought is “I can do this in WoW, what was the hotkey for that? Oh, hey, same here.” There’s very little learning involved in transitioning between WoW and Rift – as you start to get higher level you start to run into the nuanced differences.

    EQ didn’t have auction houses, it didn’t have quests (not in the way we think of quests now, at least), it didn’t have talent trees (AA points are nothing even close to what talent trees were), it didn’t have objective-based PvP zones, it didn’t have waypoints (flightpath/porticulum), it didn’t have competing factions (the closest it had was Tallon and Vallon Zek which was groups of three races split into groups but it wasn’t an overarching storyline of the game), it didn’t really setup to ensure all classes were equal in all aspects, etc. etc. I mean, I could go on – and the point isn’t to say that WoW and EQ didn’t have things in common, but you’re absolutely, 100% kidding yourself if you think that WoW and EQ are anywhere near as similar as EQ and Rift are.

    The Rifts, after awhile, can become a little bit of a hassle than interesting – they’re definitely cool at first but once you’ve seen the events you settle into the same tedious grind that you did in WoW, with Favor, or Planarite, or Marks of the Ascended, or whatever.

    And yeah, Rift has better graphics – but Rift is also 7 years younger than WoW.

    The one thing that really, truly separates Rift from WoW to a degree significant enough to be worth mentioning is the specialization system. The ability to hybrid spec was not as grim as you made it out to be in early WoW (I ran something akin to 22 Shadow, 8 Spirit, 11 Holy or something like that in top tier end game guild pre-BC who was predominately a healer), Rift is miles ahead of it in that regard and the ability to keep multiple roles quickly on the fly.

    However, your experiences with people dynamically switching roles in the fly is much more in part to Rift’s newness than it was to anything else. People were still “getting to know” the game – and the devs weren’t quite sure how people were going to use and abuse certain combinations.

    I’ve been level 50 for less than a week and I’ve already started to run into that same old mentality of WoW. Grinding for badges, farming for gear, with only two avenues left for me – grind PvP Honor (Favor) or raiding. I see countless level 50’s sitting around Meridian all day just like I saw in Ironforge and Orgrimmar.

    Now, that being said, I enjoy Rift. This may come across as me bashing it, but I’m not really doing it. I just think people are in denial and annoyed at what WoW is become, or just bored of it. When a new game came out that was predominately WoW, but was newer, shinier, and with enough newness to make it obviously not quite WoW, it made it easy for people to transition. It was a fresh take on an old formula.

    It’s not a bad thing – but trying to pretend that “WoW took just as much from EQ” is sadly, sadly mistaken.

    — Mavlis · 2012-03-26 21:49 · #

  25. The similarities between Rift and Wow are NOTHING compared to the differences that make Rift so superior.

    If you want to cry over those similarities, by all means go back to the stagnant puddle that is Wow. My guess is, if you are a wowfan currently playing rift, you’re the sort that spends all their time sitting around Sanctum/Meridian wishing you had any sort of meaningful existence.

    You shall not be missed, buh-bye.

    — Alvari · 2012-10-17 02:13 · #

  26. To say that Rift is a rip-off of World of Warcraft is like saying “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is a complete rip-off of “Lord of the Rings” because they are fantasy based and were written in English. Are the books similar? Yes, as they were published in the same era by close friends, Tolkien and Lewis. So, of course, “Lord of the Rings” was a great influence on “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” but there were many differences as well. WoW certainly influenced Rift, but it was not the only influence. In the end, Rift is a great game that improved the standard MMO formula. To get upset over the correlation between the two games is futile. The only reason people piss and moan about the commonalities between the games is due to the fact that they want to bash something because of lacking in their own character. If you like the game, play it. If you do not like the game, don’t play it. Unfortunately, trolls and other naysayers are not as easily dispatched as they are in novels.

    — Heeelp · 2012-11-17 08:43 · #

  27. >the big difference is that, in RIFT, there are very few places I can go where I have confidence that I know what will be there. Things happen. The quest hub I was just at getting quests might have been replaced with a blasted zone of black-and-purple with a writhing mass of tentacles in the middle of it. This has a number of effects.
    >the same events hit the same areas over and over again so you fall into knowing what to expect in very short time. In the case of your quest hub being replaced with a mass of tentacles, all you do is kill it and the hub reappears. How is that an invasion with repercussions? Do a little dmg and everything is unharmed. The “raiding” is not permanent.

    >In WoW, I would do various daily quests. Each quest had a clearly defined object, environment, and so on. There were no big changes from one day to another. It was always the same. In RIFT, there are also daily quests… But if I do a handful of them, the chances are quite good that during one of them I’ll end up dying several times trying to fight off the invading forces of an elemental plane. So instead of “hop over to the next zone, click a couple of things, head back”, I end up with “spend 45 minutes fighting for my life”.
    That’s not how it works. Your quest remains unchanged. The “invasions” are hardly easy to kill, unrewarding, time-consuming, and don’t care if you’re there or not. Kill them, big deal, it respawns and tries again. Bypass it, big deal, it won’t come after you. How is it different from WoW that there are patrolling, respawning mobs that appear in the world? Oh, just because they’re not ALWAYS there?

    >The much greater degree of support and even encouragement for exploration is a really big difference for me, because I enjoy exploring, and it’s nice to have a game that rewards this a bit. I like going around finding little glowy things in out of the way places. I like finding a bunch of squirrels dancing around a magical torch. :)
    There is no encouragement or support. None of these things affect your overall standing in the game, they’re just little achievements. They affect your game EXPERIENCE, sure, but WoW has plenty of things to explore just like this, sans the superfluous achievements. No difference here. As for the glowies, they just spawn randomly in set places, it’s effectively no different from mining/herbalism in WoW. Or shit, even Archaeology.

    >When it comes to the actual mechanics of combat, there are a number of differences. Sure, you can pretty much just run things the way you would in WoW, with a tank, healer, and some DPS. Support roles change that. A lot of people imagine that stuff like Vanilla WoW paladins or shamans were a “support” class. No, not even close. A real support class can be a game-changer at a much deeper level. Support, by it’s nature, is a little optional; you don’t need it if you overpower the content. But… It can be pretty fun. And it changes the dynamic of a group, typically.
    No it doesn’t. Support don’t change the flow of the fight or the conditions of victory or defeat, they just press buttons to make numbers happen. The ONLY difference between a WoWadin and a support in Rift is that you affect other people’s numbers more than your own, but you still just make numbers. Tacticians drop a cooldown that gives damage to everyone, can dps or heal. Sounds like a Shaman using Bloodlust and dpsing or dropping some heals. Same thing. WoW doesn’t jam it down your throat like Rift does, but they’re in both games.

    >Group dynamics is where I think RIFT really shines. In WoW, once you had a group, you were done. The tank would tank, the healer would heal, and the DPS would do damage. That was it. There was no real call for shuffling things, and you mostly couldn’t. You might well have only one person who could heal. In RIFT, you can frequently get by with alternative builds, and everyone is likely to have multiple roles. I’ve seen groups where one of the DPS, and the tank, were trading roles depending on the fight because one of them was better at tanking one kind of content and the other was better at tanking another. I’ve seen a group replace the healer with two “support” characters who were credible off healers. What that means is that, in many groups, you have tactical choices beyond whether or not to LoS pull the next group, and kill order. Maybe these options could exist for some groups in WoW; in RIFT, they’re commonplace, and most groups have options.
    Really? Because every dungeon I’ve done in Rift has been Healer, Tank, x2 DPS, Support. I don’t see how being able to switch roles with someone else is different from WoW, I switched to my warrior’s dps spec for some fights and tanks for others depending on the viability. But it all falls into the same trends – you need a tank, you need heals, you need dmg, you don’t need too much of any one of them. It’s not “common place” to find a fight where you can drop a healer or tank, it’s rare and it’s NOT EVEN IDEAL. In the end there’s a group or raid full of ranged and melee dps, tanks, and healers. Support isn’t something new, in WoW we had a discpriest and a shaman that did exactly the same shit you’re talking about.

    >Finally, the soul system really is that flexible. People often insist that really there’ll be a few “cookie-cutter builds” that are the best. Maybe, but so far I haven’t seen it. Instead, I’ve seen people combine a melee tank build and a ranged DPS build and get a credible healer. Yes. healer. (It’s called an Inquisicar, and takes advantage of an interesting interaction between the class mechanics of the two classes.) While there are plenty of “obviously this will work very well” builds out there, there are also a lot of surprising builds. Furthermore, even the builds that aren’t obviously optimized work.
    Go to the forums. There are cookie cutters, builds that perform blatantly better than “experimental builds.” Exactly. Like. World of Warcraft. The Inquisicar is a bullshit example because you act like the souls can ONLY tank or do ranged dps, but that’s just one of their potential options. Those souls can also provide heals. So your argument sounds like, “It’s unique because some builds you don’t EXPECT to be good, are good!” Uh, that’s par for the course. Either it doesn’t look good but is and everyone knows, or it doesn’t look good but is, but everyone acknowledges it is crippled by it’s lack of viability and won’t make it. WoW has plenty of builds that aren’t ideal and are unusual, just like Rift does. NO. DIFFERENCE. Souls are just specs in WoW. Rift souls are IDENTICAL to Wrath of the Lich King talent trees in WoW. Remember the blood/unholy/frost death knights? How they had no dedicated tank spec? How about the prot warrior that could dps just as good as actual dps classes by stacking attack power? This is nothing fucking new or different.

    >And that brings us to one of the Huge Differences: Hybrids. In WoW, a “hybrid” is a character who can do two different things ever — say, a shaman, who can be a damage-dealer or a healer. You can’t have a single build which can do two things.
    Wrong. Discipline priests can contribute damage and heals simultaneously. Their heals and damage when doing this don’t end up being higher than a dedicated healer or dps, but that’s balance and that’s exactly how it works in Rift. In Rift, you can build a warrior who can sort of tank and sort of dps, but he can’t viably do both in experts or raids. It’s called a solo build. WoW has them, too. No difference.

    >Now, remember all that stuff I was saying about invasion events? This flexibility of characters matters hugely in invasions, becuase you don’t get to sit around planning the perfect five-player group. You walk around the corner expecting to see the guy you were killing rats for (quests, regrettably, are perhaps not as varied as we might hope), and instead you see Unholy Horrors. And now… it’s up to you and that random person you see nearby to kill them. You don’t know whether either of you has a healing or tanking set available. You don’t have time to sit around chatting. And here, hybrid specs shine, as does the general ability of characters to swap specializations around quickly.
    Just because invasions are retardedly easy and you can buff your damage by 200% and reduce incoming damage by 75% at-will easily during them doesn’t mean flexibility becomes important. It just means that flexibility is ENOUGH. You don’t need an ideal group to take on something with hardly any hp and dps.

    >The net result is a game where you have dynamic roles being used in dynamic ways to interact with dynamic content.
    Tank, Healer, Damage-dealer, Support. Four roles, that doesn’t sound very dynamic.

    — anon · 2012-12-03 09:32 · #

  28. Above me nailed it, its the same shit with a new skin. Dynamic content? You gotta be shitting me right? Its not dynamic, its static pre planned events on a set timer. Woah, im amazed at how dynamic you are Rift.

    — ^hes right · 2013-02-24 15:18 · #

  29. Pretty sure it’s not a “set timer” — it varies noticably with zone population.

    Here’s the thing. I’m not saying it’s insanely dynamic and totally without any familiar aspects. I’m saying that if you log in, and decide to go do some crafting dailies or something similar, you don’t know when you start that whether there will be zone events in those zones. If you have to go harvest materials, you don’t know whether you’ll be fighting through rifts to get to them.

    There’s a lot of things that happen some of the time but not all of the time; I’ve played through Gloamwood a few times, and only twice have I encountered the wandering merchant who needs help restocking his store, and I’ve only encountered the Little Red Riding Hood expy once or twice. That’s dynamic. It may not be very dynamic, but I wasn’t claiming it was more dynamic than everything else ever seen.

    As to the previous commenter: “Four roles, that doesn’t sound very dynamic.” isn’t even coherent. It’s not as though a fifth role would suddenly magically make the game dynamic. What makes it dynamic is that you can swap roles, and also use hybrid roles — especially in rift and zone event content, where hybrid roles can be excellent. Even just soloing a rift, I will sometimes change roles from one stage to another because the stages require different skills.

    seebs · 2013-02-24 18:38 · #

  30. I think you might be over-glorifying things a bit(I’ve never had to go out of my way over invasion events, they’re usually locked down pretty well, even in underpopulated zones). The point is sound, and I can’t blame you for being passionate, but the skeptic in me had to call you out on that one. :)

    Rift has the same core design as WoW, it just took the core system in a different direction. I am however having tons of fun with this refined core design, and it fits my playstyle better than WoW ever did. My god, the amount of gold I sank into respecs every day just to keep my A.D.D mind entertained…

    — Kazin · 2013-03-04 03:29 · #

  31. Actually, you outright stated that it was pretty damn dynamic, so it’s funny you’re falling back on “Eh, well, I meant it’s SORT of dynamic, but no very.” Of course, WoW has some content that isn’t always up, like rare mobs, rare merchants, etc.

    You said something about hybrid roles being useful in zone and rift event content. Well that’s cute because those are all zergs anyway, viability of your spec is utterly irrelevant. You could run a shitty build but the zone population will carry you. Switching roles between stages? Sounds an awful lot like when I switched my mage from frost to arcane for an DPS race, or when I switched my rogue from subtlety to combat for an aoe, protracted fight. Not really following how this separates the two.

    I’ve played lots of MMORPGs. I’ve played MMOs before WoW existed and after. I can tell you this – Rift is the closest any MMORPG has ever come to World of Warcraft, except for maybe EverQuest 2. The three mentioned MMORPGs are all clumped into an identical design paradigm and it’s not an accident. You’re ignorant and deluded if you think you’re going to convince anyone otherwise.

    There are MMORPGs out there that break the mold. You’re probably too afraid of how different they’ll be from Rift, however.

    — anon · 2013-06-28 14:56 · #

  32. “Rift is the closest any MMORPG has ever come to World of Warcraft, except for maybe EverQuest 2.”

    You obviously never played Warhammer Online. It was so much like WoW, it was eerie.

    Some people, like “anon,” seem unable to accept that a game can have similar features (because they work) without being a “clone.” Or that it’s just a freaking game.
    Others are simply here to be childish trolls, or to act as if disliking their game of choice is somehow physically threatening to them.

    I really don’t get the fanatical, indignant rage some people have when others don’t share their taste or opinions on something as silly as games. FFS, it’s a hobby… it’s not even important enough to get worked up over. Why some people can’t grow up & see that is beyond me.

    — SilverStrings · 2013-07-10 15:58 · #

  33. All i wish that was put in there somewhere is: One is not better than the other”.

    I agree with your post, they are different in special ways. Rift did something that some people thought was lacking in wow. Yet wow has things that some people think is lacking in rift.

    People comment saying you’re a hater, and stepping in their shoes, it does look like you intentionally say “rift is better because:”

    I feel that they can be considered equal. Who is to say one is better, not number of subs, not game play experience, it’s all personal preference. plain and simple.

    — Helmut · 2013-12-17 18:07 · #

  34. good article. but i don’t think it’s enough to prove rift is not like WoW. & I don’t really see a bad thing in a MMO having some similirity with another one. i don’t know why some people tend to be so defensive about it. I always say… take the good things from other stuff & make them BETTER. this doesn’t make someone a imitater. it just shows that person has been inspired! which is a good thing!
    I personally see LOTR (books) sign in most of the games i’ve played. lots of creatures or story lines are obviously like the ones in LOTR, with little difference! does this mean that all these fantasy games are LOTR clone in story & graphic?! of course not!

    & about roles… I say yes to flexibility as long as it makes sense! for example… a rouge having both ranged & melee dps role & being able to perform in different styles is quite nice & gives more excitement to game by providing variable options.
    but a warrior healing?! I would never say yes to that kind of flexibility. cause it simply doesn’t make any sense. it ruins the meaning of WARRIOR in my mind. I would be ok if they simply change the class name!! but healing under this name, for someone as obssesive as me, is a slap in the face of all stories & myths i’ve grown up with. it’s like seeing an elf without pointy ears! but hopefully I won’t see this untill 3.0. for now, i’m rly glad about this current class system. on my cleric I have 4 healing role & 2 dps.
    but I know not everyone see this flexibility as a good thing. some like the traditional way & growing with a role & playing it till their last days on rift. I showed this article to my boyfriend & he said I agree to all above. but flexibility should be an option, not a must.
    he likes being only in one role. but game is FORCING him to have more than one. for exanple during lvling, he had a really hard time in Unhollowed Boneforge as a melee dps warrior. everyone would tell him dudddee change to ranged. & he would get really angry about game FORCING him to be flexible. same thing is for raiding. in my guild, having at least one decent ranged spec is a must for joining raids. also in warfronts, a warrior is really better off using tempest. so game actually forces u to be flexible even if u dont want to. & it kinda robs the fun away from some players.

    Elaa · 2014-01-11 08:21 · #

  35. Just reading this, I’ve skipped half way through comments because I was getting bored of the same old “copy-paste” fight argument.
    But anyway, I would really love to know what do these people think of Archeage. It is based on RIFT for some things (as Trion announced – unfortunately I don’t have beta access and I can’t tell much). But now, would RIFT players go say “Archage is all copied from RIFT” ? My guess is: YES!! They will, and the same “copy-paste” fight argument will start over and over…
    look guys, you know what? if you want something different than your current MMO game, go play an FPS. There is less to nothing similar to an MMO in a FPS game… just go play any different game and please don’t come back complaining. No offense :-)

    — T3STY · 2014-08-02 23:59 · #

 
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