Over the summer my little family gaming group – my brother and sister-in-law and myself, have been working out way through LotRO. Granted there has been a lot of travel and busy time, but whenever we could, we would log in and tackle some content together. LotRO has its flaws, but it is a solid game, and for anyone who grew up reading Tolkien, simply being “in” Middle Earth is a bit of a treat. We also did some unholy trinity swapping. My brother normally tanks while I heal, but we traded places this time around and I was tanking and him healing. Or at least that was the plan. As it turns out, in Soviet LotRO, Minstrel Healers out-DPS everyone and Warden Tanks don’t actually have an taunts. None the less, we have had a good time.
But, with LotRO’s model being what it was, we eventually ran out of free content. And while I don’t think any of us were opposed to dropping the $5-$7 to open up a new section of the quests in the game world, it did give us a pause in our playing that led to the question – stay here? Or try something else?
Game hoppers that we are, we decided to duck into Rift and see how the F2P transition had gone (turns out we aren’t the only ones who have done this). We all have fond memories of the game, and truth be told, we only let go of our subs there to embrace the world of The Old Republic in all its grandeur. That worked out so well, we had to do a little gaming cleansing before we were ready to commit to anything else. So after some discussion, we decided to try out the Guardian side of things and rolled some new characters. And we kept the same role-swapping. Of course you have more leeway in Rift, so I could tank as Warrior, Rogue, or even pet tank with a Mage, since we tend to be content with the regular content (though I have heard that pets don’t perform all that badly in normal level dungeons). But after the frustrating experience of not being able to hold aggro with the Warden, I just decided to belly up to Warrior and give it a shot. So far I haven’t regretted it, and in fact have come to realize that one reason I hadn’t looked at the Warrior too seriously before was because there weren’t just one or two souls therein that I was interested in – I wanted to play them all. This could cause a problem – since I am at level 10 and haven’t spent a single soul point. But I’m sure I will eventually settle in on something.
My brother meanwhile seemed to be having fun with his cleric. In the one hour we got to play this weekend, I think I saw him with hurling fire and armed with a staff, and then beating people with a two-handed hammer. The only hitch was that Rift, in all its joy to cater to the weak-minded, managed to enable a button somewhere that spent all your soul points for you, without giving you a “hey you sure you want us to do this for you?” Yes/No confirmation. Not that its bad, but we are very much “make your own build” people. And one thing that has not had the “make it terribly convenient” makeover is the ability to respec your spending (oddly enough).
Still, overall we had a good time. We have a nice stash of credits for all of us and some fun loyalty rewards to play with. And the Defiant/Guardian divide means we have a new storyline and leveling content to play with. And if things do get frustrating or we just want to tackle some higher content, well – we always have those 50’s sitting around ready to take a stroll.