[RIFT] Faction Cool Factor

Open beta began yesterday with Rift. I am heading to the Guardian side initially at launch after I have spent most of the invitation-oriented beta on the Defiant side. The Defiant are a cool, god-forsaken magitech alliance. They comprise three different “new” races, lots of cool lasers and devices, and a total sense of independence. In their tutorial, the Defiant oppose fate and time by building a time machine to change the past for heaven’s sake. Then, we have the Guardians.

Having only experienced the Defiant side, I believed that the Guardians were going to be this boring vanilla faction. The Defiant have races with cool names I can’t even remember, and the Guardians have humans, elves, and dwarves. The Defiant are rebellious, and the Guardians are just part of the system… man. I also saw my prejudices confirmed in various forums on Rift. It seemed that everybody was excited about the Defiant, and “mature” guilds were considering rolling Guardian side just to get away from that immature crowd.

A strong Guardian community was forming on Faeblight that I wanted to be a part of, and so last night I rolled through the Guardian tutorial. I was expecting a vanilla candyland of World of Warcraft’s Ellwyn Forest or something. I was wrong. Trion Worlds definitely escaped a very strong gravitational pull from a standard baseline faction and made an equally cool faction to the Defiant.

The first thing Trion did right was make the Guardian side feel like they have power. This can be hard to do with a faith-based culture. Too little and the faction doesn’t sound cool. Too much and it gets hokey. I don’t know how they did it, but the feel of the Guardians is just right. The power feels Old Testament. Unrelenting and merciless instead of just or righteous. Plus this power was as apparent as all the Defiant gadgetry. This wasn’t a heavenly power source that required a leap of faith and hope. This was in-your-face power. If I called on the power of the gods, it was going to go down. But then, this power also required my heroic usage.

This is just another notch on Rift’s belt that shows how much effort they have put in to all facets of their upcoming MMO. They didn’t just recreate Alliance (vanilla) vs. Horde (rebellious to vanilla). They actually gave both sides very believable, but opposing, views with each having a healthy dose of some kind of power. I think that many players might still choose the Defiant simply because for a mall survey: magitech rebels are cool and religious traditionalist is uncool. But, I would definitely give the Guardians a strong shot for winning the faction cool factor.

angels would smell vengeful

15 thoughts on “[RIFT] Faction Cool Factor”

  1. It doesn’t hurt at all that the dwarves in Rift have a very steampunk image, rather than looking like mangey Scot gets.

  2. I have a feeling Guardians will be more popular than Defiant, just like Alliance was more popular than Horde.

    Also expecting Defiant to have the ‘elite’ guilds, while Guardians will be the newbie faction, also like early WoW.

    1. That’s what I thought initially. Now I could go either way. The forums definitely seem Defiant weighted, but that’s what 10% of the users.

  3. Allods Online has a faction breakdown very similar to what you thought you were getting into with Rifts. One is eastern European steampunk, the other is WoW alliance but a bit more fluffy (you can play a trio of teddy bears that summon a giant pink squirrel, for example). Glad to hear that Rift is doing a better job of things.

  4. They explicitly say that religious fervor is not the primary reason for ascension. I imagine the selection process to be more in line of:

    God A: Next we have the Warlord Ravious who famously destroyed the town of Anywhere.

    God B: Yes, but I would point out that before slaughtering every living thing in the town, burning down all the buildings, salting the earth, and pissing on the ashes he did offer up a prayer to the Vigil.

    God C: Sounds perfect.

    God D: Aye, should make a great addition to our forces.

    Least that is my impression.

  5. The Guardians are rude and bigoted, or at least some of their quests and flavor dialog suggests so. They also raise spoiled rich kids, if you take their educational system as evidence.

    It’s quite a sophisticated set-up that took me three of the closed betas to begin to come to terms with, but now that I have I quite like having two opposing factions, both of which are morally repugnant, yet neither of which is portrayed as “evil”.

  6. Were the two faction leaders figures from Earth, Vladimir Lenin would head the Defiants and Osama Bin Laden* would head the Guardians.

    * Okay, I could have used Innocent III’s Papal Legate, Arnaud-Amaury, but figured he was a tad obscure.

    Myself, I’ll probably be rolling Defiant at launch, but a lot of that has to do with preferring Freemarch to Silverwood – in some ways Silverwood is more polished, but I like the greater “open-world, I’ll just have a wander over that hill and see what’s there” aspect of Freemarch.

  7. 1) From what I have seen, most ‘immature’ probably will roll Defiant

    2) Guardians sound a lot like post-Horus Heresy WAR40K Empire: religious bigots ready to purge anything that is different.

    What’s not to love?!

  8. I’ve played both Factions up far enough to get to their main cities and I gotta say that Meridian is much better laid out than Sanctum, imo — especially the crafting area. Meridian has all your trainers, recipe vendors, a bank, mailbox, and auctioneer all in the same big room. Sanctum has the bank, trainers, and mailbox together, but I didn’t see the recipe vendors (admittedly I didn’t look very hard) and the auctioneer is a good 200 yards away.

    That said, I did prefer the feel of the forest on the Guardian side overall. But with that said, I’m thinking I’m going Defiant anyway. I like the Eth and Kelari appearances.

    1. Interesting that you liked the forest more than Freemarch. I know it sounds stupid, but I haven’t actually just played in a fertile, green, meadow-filled plain for ages in an MMO, so Freemarch was actually a nice change of pace.

      Silverwood, I was just like: yeah, ANOTHER forest in an MMO. Meh.

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