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?