Ryan Scott, Executive Editor: I recently attended a small press event for Trion Worlds’ upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game Rift. It’s definitely getting a lot of buzz, and it seems like an altogether well-made fantasy MMO. I know you’ve been playing the beta for quite a while; since you’re a big World of Warcraft junkie and MMO maestro, what are your big-picture thoughts on the game?
Jeremiah Leif Johnson, Contributing Editor: I have to admit, I was a little worried when I started up the game a while back. The first thing any World of Warcraft player will notice is that the keybinds and user interface are both a little too similar for mere convenience; fans of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning will likely feel the same way about the visuals and basic gameplay. In other words, it’s tempting to dismiss this as a notable mishmash of the best elements from several other MMOs. But thankfully, Rift is rather refreshing. The “rifts” in question open throughout the game without warning, and they alter the landscape along the lines of what I think we were all hoping for in Cataclysm. Out pours a host of enemies, along with a boss or two — and they’ll even take over quest hubs if you don’t kill them fast enough. It’s a good way to keep players coming back to a zone long after they’ve completed it, and it looks like it fosters more player interaction that what I’ve been seeing lately in WoW.