Sunday, April 24, 2011

"You're Not in Azeroth Anymore..."

I play video games.
I play video games, a lot.

Console, PC, Handheld. You name it.

But what I play religiously, is something that is classified by a genre called MMORPG.
Which stands for massively multi-player online role playing game, or a fancy abbreviation for an "online" game.
Where many players are connected trough the internet and essentially play on the same server.

My resume includes titles like Runescape (super old school MMO with dinosaur graphics), Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Lord of The Rings Online, Aion...

...and quite recently a game by the name of Rift. Which has taken over my life.

[ I know this blog post is supposed to be on "places to be", but I just cant think of a place, and I thought what better place to talk about then Telara, the virtual world of Rift, in which I spend most of my waking hours travelling and frolicking about. ]

So yes, I am going to talk about a virtual, fictional, made up place. Called Telara. (I'm a nerd, deal with it.)

World of Telara

I am not going to bore you with detailed description you the game's mechanics and game-play and whatnot, so I'm just gonna' briefly give you an Idea of what Rift is all about, and a tidbit on MMO history...

So basically, World of Warcraft, commonly known as "WoW", has been ruling the MMO kingdom for sometime now... With over 8 million subsriptions world-wide... (Yes, you have to pay to play MMO's, monthly.) Then this company called Trion decides to be bold and make an MMO to directly challange WoW, which is Rift. Hence the title of this post, "You're Not in Azeroth Anymore..." which is the slogan Trion use to spite WoW (Azeroth being the world WoW is located in).

Telara, theres so much to talk about when it comes to an MMO world. I'm not gonna describe in detail every one of it's qualities, and rather talk about the stuff that I like most about it.

First and foremost, it's landscape. Rift has AMAZING graphics, even on my mediocre PC, its stunning.
It's rendering of all the different types of topography and landscape really shows that the developer put a lot into making this game. The geography of Telara is divided by it's two factions, which is Guardian, and Defiant. Just like in the real world, every zone or area has it's unique landscape and even weather. Which is also one my favorite things about this place, because it helps you immerse yourself in the game. From the desert areas of Shimmersand, to the grassy hills of Moonshade Highlands, its beauty still, after months of game play, captivates me. What I like to do sometimes is get on my mount and just run around and enjoy the Scenery, while trying not to get "ganked" (player kill) by players of Defiant faction.

Moonshade Highlands
One thing that I touched on just now was getting immersed into the game, or immersion as many MMO players  and game developers like to call it. Basically, this means how the game mechanics or feature helps you to get transported into game, and make you feel like you're IN the actual game world.

And one of the things that really helps with this in Rift is, well, rifts. 
Rifts are portals that randomly open up ANYWHERE in Telara. Meaning while you're out doing quests, or out hunting for Defiant to gank, a rift "tear" can pop up beside you, and monsters will eventually start coming out of it. So essentially anyone who is near has a choice to fight all the baddies and close the rift. You can also   ignore it and walk away and do your own thing, but wheres the fun in that? If you have a comrade beside you or a fellow faction member, you and him can group up and take the rift down. So basically these are "public" quest whereby anyone can join in and contribute.

An example of this is when I was out questing, and a rift tear popped up right beside me. So I used my planar lure, which is an instrument to open rifts, and let her rip. Monsters poured out of it and I couldn't handle it. But lucky for me, there were other Guardians out running about nearby. So they joined the public group and helped me take it down.

A rift tear.
The rift feature makes the player feel like they are a part of something bigger. A higher purpose of some sort.
And not just an insignificant entity in a huge world. It also instills comradery among the same faction.

I am not going to ramble on. I know this is not really interesting. But if you let me I can probably spend hours talking about this awesome game called Rift, and my awesome virtual second home I call Telara.


I'm out. Take care. 

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