Versus Mode: RIFT vs. Neverwinter (The Final Verdict and Beyond)

The tutorials are over and the battle is done. Which of these free-to-play MMOs has issued an irresistible call-to-arms?

At the beginning of this feature, I was looking for an answer to the question: which game does the best job of making me want to play beyond the tutorial?

On paper, RIFT has won with a score of 3-2, but that doesn't really tell the full story. My experience of both new player experiences was mixed - some aspects of each were fun, others were frustrating - but for the most part, I was left wanting to play on.

What's Next?

Of course, I've seen very little of either game and it they have thus far been solitary experiences. My early experience has raised more questions than answers.

I'm intrigued to see how the gameplay expands to make use of the massively multiplayer aspect. I've still not seen the dynamic content of RIFT which is its central conceit and I'm not sure how Neverwinter's combat will stand up in a group melee - will they just become frantic click-fests or will players co-ordinate to good effect?

There are other elements of both games which give me cause to investigate further. RIFT has its Dimensions system which seem like it scratches the player housing itch with some style by offering "...a canvas awaiting your imagination and handiwork: will you transform your remote hideaway into a stunning castle, or a lofty aerie requiring wild acrobatics to reach?"

Neverwinter takes this player content idea even further, allowing entire dungeon instances to be created by players for players using The Foundry system. Neverwinter players are invited to:

 "...[l]ay the groundwork for an epic adventure that takes players into the depths of the earth in search of dwarven treasure, or pits them against near impossible odds to save the city of Neverwinter."

What Price Freedom?

It's notable that microtransaction culture wisely did not show its face in either tutorial. I'm sure if I had felt pressure to put my hand in my pocket that early on, I would have been reaching for the logout button straight away. That said, I appreciate the amount of craftsmanship and labour that is required to create and maintain a functional MMO and it is only right that sooner or later I should pay for the privilege of using the services.

So which will I return to? The rift-scarred planes of Telara or the besieged city of Neverwinter?

At this stage, probably both as neither has annoyed me to the point where I'd lose interest and both potentially have a lot of entertainment to offer.

Besides, they're free until I choose otherwise.

Do you play RIFT or Neverwinter? Do you agree with this assessment? Let us know your thoughts and what your experiences beyond the tutorials are in the comments below.

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Featured Columnist

Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.

Published Dec. 6th 2013
  • Liger_8250
    If only neverwinter had an open world PVP, they'll be the best

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