Over the last 3 or 4 years a certain stigma has developed relating to the game-that-must-not-be-named and others that superficially attempt to emulate it’s success. Whilst being labelled a “WoW clone” may be an accurate label to describe a particular style of MMO RPG, it also encourages the projection of a person’s feelings towards WoW on that game. If you hate WoW chances are you’ll give it a miss. If you like WoW, well you’re probably playing it and waiting for Kung Fu Panda to arrive.
I should qualify this post by admitting that I have attempted to get into WoW on no less than 3 occasions. The most successful was post-Cataclysm where I got a mage (I think) to the mid 20s and then got the overwhelming feeling of repeating the same 3 quest types over and over in different scenery. I quit, and had the 4 gold I’d accumulated taken from my account by an unknown party. I’m sure it was worth it for them.
Rift came out a few months ago and got the WoW clone label attached to it. Having played it a lot over the last few months I can say that the label is somewhat accurate in the sense of killing differently skinned rats in different areas in order to complete the same 3 quest types. But to leave the labelling there is just plain inaccurate.
A lot of the boredom of doing the same few quest types is that you invariably end up pressing the same few buttons each time. Rift has a flexible class structure made up of an archtype (eg. rogue) and 8 souls within each one. Players can slot up to 3 at a time and distribute points as they wish between those souls. It makes it perfectly possible for a rogue to be doing DPS one minute, support the next, and AoE the one after that – boredom doesn’t get time to set in. Sound familiar? *cough*GuildWars*cough*
Another problem is diversity of stuff to do while you’re levelling. WoW had what felt like a very linear path, and if I didn’t finish this quest I wasn’t going to get any more. Rift breaks up progression through, well, rifts. Sure you can ignore them if you like but it seems rather silly to do so. Zone wide invasions where a dozen or so rifts will open, a load of invaders start attacking towns and you’re tasked with beating them back are fun to be part of and the rewards for participating are good. World events are a nice change of pace too, giving players different tasks for the month or so they’re active in addition to their regular quests.
The moral of the story is that not all clones are created equal. Don’t dismiss a game just because you dislike WoW and it starts getting that label. You could miss out on a real gem you grow to love.