The sky is falling

Rift review

Jonathan H. Cooper at

"Defend the Wardstones!" the warrior beside me bellowed, seconds before being overrun by Breathless Banshees. Undead hordes were invading Telara, spewing out of a dozen swirling, inter-dimensional rifts in the canyons of the Scarlet Gorge. The army of the Plane of Death—banshees, ghosts, ghouls, and drake—marched forth, cutting down any players, NPCs, and wildlife in its path. We, the ragtag group of players who happened to be there when the assault began, were all that stood in the way. From atop a tower in the last remaining city in Scarlet Gorge, I frantically fired off healing spells, but things weren't looking good. If the Wardstone fell, the event would be lost, and the undead would occupy the land.

Just in time, an uneasy alliance of players from both the Defiants and the Guardians (Rift’s rival factions) finished sealing the last of the Death rifts. While they'd normally have slain each other on sight, they stood together against the common threat, and managed to turn the tide. This truce was short lived, however. Closing the final rift triggered a boss stage: a huge wave of zombies (which, like a group of crows, is known as a “murder”). Once the horde showed their decaying faces the factions once again crossed blades, each hoping to defeat the zombies and claim the best quest rewards for themselves. In the end my faction, the Defiants, emerged victorious, and all who contributed were rewarded with fabulous items.

These frequent, zone-wide events aren’t a distraction from Rift—they are Rift, and they’re some of the most epic, fantastic experiences available in MMOs today.

Blizzard: Cataclysm delivers "bold" talent changes

Tim Edwards at

Blizzard have just posted a lengthy update to their forums in which they discuss removing multiple talents from all of World of Warcraft's current talent trees.

Blizzard poster Zarhym explains that "When we first announced our design goals for class talent trees back at BlizzCon 2009, one of our major stated focuses was to remove some of the boring and "mandatory" passive talents. In an upcoming beta build, we will unveil bold overhauls of all 30 talent trees." One of Blizzard's  stated goals of Cataclysm, as revealed in our Tom Chilton interview, is to deliver meaningful choice without overburdening the game systems. This effort to prune the talent trees is a significant step in that direction, and will be live in the Cataclysm beta very shortly. The full statement is below.