Rift: Defiant or Guardian, and why?

So Rift is nearly upon us, and fans of the game are making plans on what servers and faction combo to go with in order to meet up with friends and enemies.

Servers are servers…boring! But what faction to pick is a decision I find pretty interesting.

I’ll play both eventually, but I’m starting out as Guardian, which doesn’t seem a popular choice around my friends. I’m curious as to why so many are choosing to go Defiant. Before I ask you that, here’s how I came to my decision to play Guardian first.

First, the question of good vs evil isn’t relevant (to me) because Trion has crafted two factions that are very much shades of gray. Neither side is pure good or pure evil. So to me the lore didn’t factor into choosing sides. I want to eventually experience all the lore of both sides…my decision was which to do FIRST.

About 10% of my decision is based on available races. I don’t like the looks of the Kelari or Bahmi very much, leaving me to play only Eth on the Defiant side. I prefer the look of the High Elves to the Kelari, and Mathosians to Eth. But, honestly, character models aren’t a strength of Rift, in my opinion. Particularly the male character models, and I don’t often cross gender lines when I play an MMO socially (if I play 100% solo I don’t really care, but I’m going to play Rift socially).

But 90% of my decision is based on Silverwood vs Freemarch. I wanted to get maximum ‘value’ out of my initial enthusiasm for the game and I’ve found that Silverwood offers a better experience and less frustration *for me*. Here’s why.

Silverwood is shaped kind of like a football with Argent Glade at 1 point an Sanctum at the other. Both these spots have Portals, and you can zap back and forth across the zone whenever you need to. This makes it much easier to traverse the zone really quickly. Freemarch has no portal (or didn’t, anyway) in King’s Retreat (the rough analog to Argent Glade).

Silverwood also feels more free-flowing. When I play Guardian I end up with quests starting from several different places at any one time. As I chase Rifts back and forth across the zone, I feel like I’m always near some quest goal, in the event Rifts die down or I just want a break from them.

In Freemarch, the quests hubs feel much more discrete. First you do King’s Retreat and then the dockside quests and then the windmill quests (where you have to wait for your chance at Ragnar) and then the beach quests and then if you find him, the Acheesement guy and farmer, then the Scarred Mire then finally you get sent to Meridian… you’re basically working your way around a circle that centers on Meridian, but it feels like I do a lot of running back and forth between quest goals and quest hub, and I finish one hub before starting another…it just feels very very Theme Park to me, while Silverwood feels a little more sandboxy.

Freemarch also feels kind of turned in on itself… for instance if you leave Meridian after first arriving, and head straight back to King’s Retreat, you’ll find mobs that are a bit challenging. But if you circle out along the road you’ll be safe…there’s a ‘pocket’ of higher-level content between the two lower-level areas. Silverwood’s difficulty spectrum feels a little more even to me (which I like…others might prefer the more chaotic nature of Freemarch).

Basically I want to log in and charge through levels 1-20 as quickly as possible, just because I’ve done those levels so many times already. For me, the Guardian experience is going to be the faster experience, and so I’m rolling Guardian at launch. (But I’ll be playing Defiant eventually, too.)

So call for comments: what side did you pick, and why?

11 thoughts on “Rift: Defiant or Guardian, and why?

  1. I have to say that my reasons are pretty stupid and meta: the Guardian’s lore just irritates me.

    I’ve read the comics thus far, and have read up on the lore offered by the website, and have played SOME of the Guardian faction, and the Guardian “attitude” — according to the lore — is that THEY were chosen by the Vigil, and THEY are the ONLY ones who can stop Regulos. They rely too much on the say-so of the Vigil.

    Compare that to the Defiants, who weren’t going to take any chances that they were going to win the Vigil lottery and return to Telara. They decided that they were going to get back to fight Regulos on their own terms; they chose to return, to fight, and to die AGAIN as opposed to being pawns of the Vigil. To me, their fight against Regulos is more…honest, I guess. They could have stayed dead, but they made up their own minds.

    But I agree: I like how neither side is “evil” and that both are whacked in their own way. On many levels, it’s kind of head-scratching that since their goals are the same, why they don’t just work together, but I guess that would kind of defeat the ability to offer PvP, now wouldn’t it?

    Once I left the Guardian starter zone, though, I REALLY liked the Argent Glade area (which was was far as I got). It’s really one of the most beautiful zones I think I’ve ever seen in a game.

  2. I went Guardian because they have dwarves.

    Well, they have dwarves, plus I like the zones better. What I saw of Silverwood, Gloamwood, and Moonshade Highlands was *very* appealing to me, so I prefer to start with those zones. Same reason I played Alliance in WoW… I like the stereotypically pretty zones, and the Horde-side Durotar/Barrens/Thousand Needles/etc zones just did nothing for me.

    But I may very well roll a Defiant alt at some point too. I really like their storyline and the sheer tenacity they have, and I’d really like a female Bahmi warrior.

  3. I really like the Defiant lore but it’s hard to say how much of that is due to bias since I “know” MissDoomCookie (who is Defiant lore lead, for those who don’t know) and don’t know the Guardian lore guy.

    Actually I’m kind of into the lore in general… I find it all pretty interesting which is why I’m determined to play both sides eventually. 🙂

    I loved that Shyla (?) is a hero to the guardians in present day but is a corrupted mini-boss in the Defiant starter area… stuff like that really tickles me.

  4. Yeah, the comic books really give a decent back-story to parts of the lore, but they take place during the events of the game. I didn’t see Shyla (?) in there, though. Asha, Cyril and the other characters you encounter in the game are there.

  5. I don’t remember Shyla in the Defiant tutorial area. Oh was she the one you fight to get the third souls? Kewl! I’ll have to pay attention tomorrow.

    Of course, I am roling Defiant at first, though I haven’t settled on an archetype yet. I’ll have to blog about it. Like you, Pete, I plan to get though both factions eventually. Just like I did with WoW.

  6. Honestly, I never got past the lore before making my decision. When I heard Guardian/Defiant described as faith/tech that pretty much sealed it for me. I did try out the Guardian starter zones during that second beta event and found all of the NPC’s incredibly obnoxious.

  7. @rowan – In the Defiant starter section when you get to that one area where you first meet the faceless man. you have to go up those steps to do a few quests…one is to put out fires over to the right, but one has you going back and to the left and killing Shyla and using a device to suck out her soul or something after she’s dead.

  8. I’m rolling Defiant on Faeblight, partly because my guildmates all chose to go Defiant. I agree that the Guardian zones are better, but I like the whole steampunk thing that the Defiant have going on. Anecdotally, I just had a better experience in beta on the Defiant side. I ran into more obnoxiousness when I leveled my Guardian. I know that’s a bit silly, because it’s really just a chance thing and there are going to be asshats on either side. But it did flavor my impressions of the factions, so Defiant it is!

    I’ll probably roll a set of Guardian characters on the other RP server eventually.

  9. Where are these comics that you speak of? Something you have to buy or some fansite? Please share a link…thanks.

  10. I started beta as a defiant and went to 17. I then started another character on Guardian and ended up at 32 there.

    I liked Silverwood a lot. I actually thought the lore for Guardian at that level was much richer than for Defiant. The quests were more fun (particularly at the college) too. As to rifting, i noticed you had two basic highways north and south that branched through the high level and low level rifts. It was easy to decide which area you wanted to go to based upon your level lower folks went south, higher levels went north. Plus there were two good focal points for invasions on either end.

    I didn’t see the same level of organization on the Freemarch and agree with all your comments there.

    So what am I going to roll? I have no clue. It will all depend on my partner in adventure. I think i can enjoy both. We are leaning toward Defiant to keep things fresh because we did so much in the Guardian area. In either case I know we are going to have fun. 🙂

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