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Rift: Storm Legion
Score: 98%
Publisher: Trion Worlds
Developer: Trion Worlds
Media: Download/1
Players: Online Massively Multiplayer
Genre: MMORPG/Free-Roaming/Online

The Storm Has Arrived:

As if it wasn't bad enough to have to deal with Regulos, the Destroyer, a new evil has descended to claim Telara. Crucia, the dragon of Air and Queen of Storms has returned to Telara and she fights dirty.

As one might expect, the Queen of Storms has her own Legion - the Storm Legion - fighting for her to aid her in taking over Telara. She has saved her strength (and theirs) until this later point the fight, so she can more easily complete her conquest. However, she has also placed invulnerable enchanted message-relaying devices all around and she uses these to spread propaganda to turn the citizens of the lands against their would be saviors - the ascended... (That's you.)

When I first played Rift, I was astounded by the beauty of the environments. I did the quests, traveled around the areas I was supposed to, but I would also find myself traversing the mountain peaks, to see the vast, beautiful views. The environments are no less beautiful in the Storm Legion expansion, and there's more of it...

Vast New Lands:

...In fact, the Storm Legion is actually twice the size of the original game, expanding the available area to three times that of the original game, with the addition of two vast continents on Telara. Among these areas waiting to be explored, you'll find Tempest Bay, a new stronghold for both Guardians and Defiant.

In addition to the new territory to explore, Storm Legions also brings the introduction of Dimensions, Rift's answer to player-owned spaces. With Dimensions, you can build a home of your own, acquiring your own slice of one of your favorite area in Telara, then furnishing it with your choice of items, from furniture to plants to lanterns and music-playing devices - you can truly make it a place to call your own.

Enhanced and Expanded Experiences:

With the addition of more things to do, there's an increase in the level cap, so you can keep advancing your character. With ten new levels added, the cap now stands at 60.

While there are still quests that involve going to talk to somebody, doing what they say and then returning to them (or someone of their choosing) to complete the quest, there are a lot of quests that are activated by doing something, rather than by finding some guy to talk to about something. What does this mean? This means that when you come across some sparkling construct on the side of the road that looks like you can interact with it and you do so, you may have just deactivated it, let's say, and started a quest to deactivate ten of them. When you deactivate the last one, you've completed the quest and you get your experience. This makes so much sense and cuts out the overhead of running around to find someone who needs something done and then finding them again once you've done it. I never thought about how pointless that part was until I played a few of these quests... now I'm spoiled. Finding adventure to embark upon in Rift is now, perhaps, too easy, with Instant Adventure, onslaughts, rifts, events, quests, seven new dungeons, 3 new raids, a Chronicle and new Grandmaster crafting. And not only is the adventure easier to find... the planar baddies are bigger and badder.

It's Dangerous to Go Alone. Take This:

So, there's lots of beautiful area to cover and lots of baddies to fight... whatever shall you take with you? Don't fret, you're not going in without some new goodies. First off, there are four new Souls to try out - one for each of the four callings, allowing you to further tweak your character into exactly what you want.

Tempest (Warrior Soul)

The new Warrior Soul is called Tempest. A Tempest is a Warrior who has learned to bend lightning to his will. This soul features long range electrical attacks, energy-based area of effect attacks, heavy armor and the ability to "fake" their death, allowing you to end a fight when you feel like it. It can be quite nice to be able to say, "Okay, I give" and watch your enemies turn and walk back to their posts. Living to fight another day just got a lot easier.

Tactician (Rogue Soul)

The new Rogue soul is known as a Tactician and can unleash bolts of withering energy, elemental torrents of fire, ice and death and also sports a nice set of support abilities, including the ability to heal his party. Tacticians, however, primarily affect groups and areas, rather than single-targets, but I found that my level 51 primarily Tactician build did an excellent job standing toe-to-to with an Elite level 52 dinosaur. Mind you, the battle lasted a while, but my Necrotic Torrent slowly whittled him down while my Curative Engine kept restoring me almost as much as the damage the dinosaur was dealing out. If it hadn't been a one-on-one fight, things may have gone much differently, but, as it was, I finished the fight with almost full health... eventually. The area of effect attacks can be pointed at one opponent... especially if that one opponent is big enough to fill that area.

Harbinger (Mage Soul)

Conversely, the new Mage Soul, Harbinger, is great at dealing large amounts of damage to a single target, but poor at fending off groups of enemies. Harbingers are highly mobile and have future-sight which allows them to simply not be present when an incoming attack arrives. But, when they do take damage, Harbingers are also quite hearty... for a Mage. (Which is kinda like being quite tall... for a Dwarf.) Actually, when trying out a primarily Harbinger level 50 build, I was surprised to see how hearty he was; even after getting ganged up on by seven enemies (when I was trying to fight just two) I managed to stay alive. In fact, when my health got down to the point that everything started to turn grey on me, I just jumped away and ran a few feet then turned and took on my opponents as they chased me and regained health quickly enough to finish off the baddies. I really didn't think I was getting through that scrape alive, so, okay... Harbingers are impressive for Mages.

Defiler (Cleric Soul)

The last remaining soul is the Defiler... and it's not merely the last soul we're discussing, but the last soul that you'd want to seek healing from. Defilers are powerful healers, but they tend to go a bit overboard. Imagine, if you will, that you went in for a broken leg and not only did your leg get mended, but you grew several big toes from your knee. Yeah... elective surgery doesn't sound so grand when you're not the one doing the electing. In addition to twisting life and death energies to allow them to heal, intercept healing or prevent healing, they can also deal great ranged damage with infectious bonds that spread corruption and torment. It's nice to know he's on your side, but he's not the guy you invite to a pool party. I'm just sayin'. The sadly ironic thing is that, while a Defiler is a powerful healer, he's not very effective as a straight-forward combatant, so if you're not using him as a secondary or tertiary aspect of a build with more offensively-slanted Clerics, you'll need to depend a lot on your friends when your party is in combat. (You know... those same friends that didn't invite you to the pool party.)

Additionally, there are new artifacts, collectibles, achievements, mounts, pets and titles. Basically, more Rift, all the way around. If you're interest in Rift was spurred by the fact that there is a free-to-play version, then you might not be ready for Storm Legion, just yet, but when you're ready to experience more, there's a whole new world awaiting you in Storm Legion.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins
Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP SP2, Vista, 7, or 8, Dual core Processor (2.0 GHz or better), 2 GB RAM, 15.0 GB available Hard Drive space, gaming video card (Nvidia GeForce FX 5900 or ATI/AMD Radeon X300, Intel GMA X4500, or better), DirectX 8.1 compliant sound card, DirectX 9.0c or better, Broadband internet connection (DSL, cable modem, or other high-speed connection)
  Test System:

AMD Athlon(tm) II X2 220 Processor 2.80 GHz, 4 GB dual-channel DDR3, ASUS Mainboard, CoolerMaster 850watt power supply, Dual boot: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit / Windows XP Home Edition (played in Windows 7), Graphics: ATI Radeon 3000 (on motherboard) / XFX ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB graphics card, Dual Monitors (Gateway HD2201 21" HDMI / Sony SDM-HS73), 1.5 TB Western Digital Caviar Green SATA Hard Drive, 750 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 SATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive, Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse, Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Logitech Z313 2.1-CH PC multimedia speaker system, A30 Gaming Headset, Cable Modem, 8GB Einstein Mimobot USB Flash Drive running as dedicated ReadyBoost Cache

Related Links:

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