Monday 14 March 2011

It's like déjà vu all over again.

The finest thing about Rift for me, so far, is the fact that I can get bored or frustrated with my character’s build and simply tuck it away and try a new role without having to start the character again from scratch. For an altoholic (I’ve decided to start a support group and call it Altoholics Unanimous) like myself it’s an invaluable aid to avoiding burnout in an MMO.

Dragon Age 2, which I’m also currently playing, has a piece of DLC called the Black Emporium which, amongst other things, allows you to completely change the appearance of your character, akin to the ‘barber shop’ functionality in World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online. In combination with this are potions which can be bought very cheaply from many merchants, and which allow the player to reset their character’s ability points, essentially allowing them to change the way the character plays within the chosen class.

I like this increasing trend in RPG games at the moment: there seems to be an understanding on the part of developers that players get bored or frustrated with options in RPGs, that choices made in the early stages of a game can become weights which prevent a player from continuing, and that it’s better to give the player some freedom of choice in these things, rather than obstinately force them to continue for reasons that from a player’s perspective are hard to perceive as being reasonable.

It’s these simple things that have kept me playing two games that I might otherwise have given up on, having otherwise found myself burnt-out while trying to find a character with which I was comfortable playing for fifty hours or more.

Reinvent, not re-roll. Re-specialise, not rebuild.

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