I have put in 34 hours into Rift retail so far. I’m still on the fence as to its longevity in my stable of games. Looking back over my initial impressions none of those really have changed.
I still think souls could have been constructed better. I still don’t like the overwhelming amount of duplicate powers on the low end. I can also see a problem at the high end of there being far too many powers as well. I’d love to see more passive effects applied because I have a feeling as time goes by I am going to be buried under the powers of multiple souls across multiple builds. Also I apparently hit one of the pitfalls of free-form character construction, self-gimping. Apparently Trion envisioned Mages as a pet class. As such making a non-pet build really didn’t make my first dozen or so hours in Rift enjoyable. The concept is sound, I really do like it. But the implementation is rough.
Rifts themselves have been streamlined in Retail. Well, at least in Freemarch. Before Rifts would spawn pats which would target quest hubs for attack. Now that happens rarely. Instead the pats now generate footholds in the world. I’m not sure what those footholds do aside from mess with the local mob spawn. Maybe they tie into the invasion system somehow? Who knows. I see them as a quick way to get a couple of Planerite. I still think the rifts themselves will become a chore after a while. In fact several of my guildmates who have long since hit 50 have pretty much written off doing rifts. Which does not bode well since that is the namesake of the game.
Also, this has to be said, the run speed is way, too, slow. Playing LotRO after a few hours of Rift is an eye-opener. In LotRO both my toons have run speed buffs. I’m used to zipping around on foot. After logging into my Warden I kept trying to turn off my buff, even though it was never one, because my LotRO toon felt faster than my Rift toon on her 60% speed mount! Rift characters look like they are floating over the ground. I’m not sure the design decision there but it is bordering on painful.
The graphics are growing on me. The character graphics are an improvement over LotRO (what isn’t?) but the limited armor sets and lack of cosmetic options are a disappointment. The environment is fine when you’re not running around. However when you start moving you notice the visual pop of items appearing. I mean when buildings pop in from nothing when they are bordering on close-range it is painful. For a LotRO player to criticize that you know it’s bad.
I’m willing to give it more time. I’ve just gotten to the 2nd zone and still have to decide which toon I want to dedicate to. My proto-hybrid tank/dps/healing cleric or my proto-hybrid dps/healer mage.