Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rift and Combo Points

With the launch of Rift right around the corner (Feb 24th head start), we are hearing and seeing more of the game.  For some, the facade is cracking a bit.  One of Rift's most touted feature is the soul system.  Overall it's a neat way to do character building but I do have some issues with it.

Since each of the 4 classes are really just shells, which house 3 souls at any given time, they have no inherent mechanic.  Instead, the mechanic is provided by the souls themselves.  The Saboteur, for example,  uses a Charge (Combo Point) system.  You apply charges to an enemy, and then use a finisher to cash them in.  There is a twist though, charges can have different effects.  There is a DoT charge, damage charge, AoE damage charge and so on.

The thing is, nearly every soul uses a combo point/stacking system.  I am going to use the term combo points for stacking abilities too.  Let's say you wanted to have a Saboteur/Assassin, that is two different combo point systems you have to deal with.  The Stormcaller is another example, they have a combo point system called Electrified while all Mages also have a Charge system.  Clerics seem to be the exception, as the ones I looked at did not really have any mechanic. 

I can understand why they did it this way, but it really makes the classes feel very similar to me.  On the plus side, each soul has a good amount of abilities which do not use the combo point system.  It seems doable if you want to use one soul as a primary and then the other two options just to cherry pick some abilities.  Trying to manage different combo point systems in a fight sounds like a pain to me. 

When Rift launches, I will probably stick to a single soul and just pick neat abilities from the others as I advance.  Keeping it simple is a motto I try and live by.  I will be interested to see how players are able to take advantage of all of the different combo point/stacking systems.