A few weeks ago my social networking flock returned to Rift after getting excited by the announcement of an upcoming expansion. I dutifully followed because I hate being left out!
I wound up enjoying myself more than I expected to, and I’ve continued to putter around in the game, mostly playing on weekends. Work has been extremely stressful lately and it turns out Rift was something familiar and comfortable that I could slip into and kind of lose myself.
I think this is how a lot of people feel about World of Warcraft. They leave it, often loudly, and move on to other games but then months or years later they’ll (sometimes sheepishly) re-subscribe and find that a bit of time away has left them able to enjoy their old standby again.
WoW doesn’t work that way for me. I just don’t like it any more; I think I have too much baggage associated with it or something. But I vocally quit Rift and now I’m sheepishly enjoying myself again. So yeah, Rift is my WoW.
This is going to sound dumb but the addition of fishing to Rift means a lot to me.
Last night I played hooky from work. I had a ton of stuff I should’ve been doing but I was feeling mentally fractured and fragile and just needed to tune out. I installed Rift on the living room PC (and by the way, their streaming client technology is spectacular; I was able to start playing no more than 5 minutes after I started downloading the client), put my feet up on the coffee table and made room for my couch buddy (aka Lola the dog) to curl up next to me.
And I went fishing in Argent Glade. Fishing requires virtually no skill. You left click to cast, wait for the bobber to bob and right click to real in. Very similar to fishing in other MMOs. There’s a Survival skill that goes with it. So you fish to catch stuff, use the little fish you catch to create lures to improve your fishing experience, and use the big fish you catch to cook food that heals/buffs you.
The trainers and suppliers are right near the fishing hole in South Argent Glade so you barely even have to move. So I sat there, tuned out, fishing with one hand and scritching Lola behind her ears with the other, listening to the denizens of Telera as they came and went. (It’s pretty funny how much “roleplay” revolves around a male character hitting on a female character, often in the most frightfully clumsy way. I hope the players running the male characters are being intentionally bad at their pickup techniques!)
I didn’t “advance” very much (I fished up some gold and some artifacts and some of the food you can make has decent healing abilities) but I didn’t care. Finally there was a “downtime” activity to do in Rift and every once in a while I just want to be in a world without really doing much, but I need to do -something- else I get bored.
Now I’m really looking forward to both the 1.9 patch tomorrow and the expansion later this year (I think?). I don’t expect I’ll be playing Rift straight through, but I do expect it’ll be a game I keep installed on my system as my “comfort zone” MMO, ready to be re-subscribed to whenever the mood hits.