A single soul dwelling in two bodies
RIFT has this fancy schmancy thing Trion is calling soul-combinations. It's pretty cool and allows for a diverse way to bend traditional classes, but did you know there's more to RoM's dual-class system than meets the eye? RIFT lets you combine three different souls (classes) to make a unique build. You then have access to the talent trees belonging to your three choices for mixing spells. Straightforward calculations say RIFT has 56 different soul-combinations (or 84 depending on whom you talk to), while RoM's dual-classing also provides for -- are you ready for this -- 56. Spooky, isn't it? You also get a set of general skills and a unique set of elite skills based on your choice of class-combo, but RoM's class-bending doesn't stop there. Take into consideration the gear-modifying system and you end up with potentially mind-numbing choices.
For any readers not familiar with that system yet, I did a livestream about gear-modifying that I saved to my YouTube channel. There's a rule that states you can't use any two of the same stats on a piece of gear that I forgot to mention in it, but now you know. Stats are in large supply, and they can be put on every piece of gear. My Rogue/Priest has 16 slots to work with. That's up to 96 stats I can stack all over my character. I'm statting my R/P like a Mage by putting lots of magic attack and intelligence on all my armor. If I wanted to, I could throw a truck's worth of dexterity and physical attack on it. What about a Rogue/Scout packed with stamina, physical defense and magical defense? The potential is there to mix and match stats to suit your desire.
That doesn't even include the many runes you can fit into armor slots or refining, tiering and hammering, all for added oomph.
Before you start throwing flaming daggers at me, I know there's an arguable downside, but I want to save that for next week. For now, I think it's legitimate to say that a player has many choices for playing many different ways for her enjoyment. Even if some of those class-combos fill the same roles, they offer many different options to cater to different and new tastes.
Let the bodies hit the floor... and then loot them
RIFT has another nifty feature that lets you loot multiple bodies in one fell swoop. While you're out mowing down mobs, you need only loot one body and nearby mobs will be looted along with it. It can save a lot of time. Back when RIFT was just a twinkle on the horizon, RoM added its robust pet system. You can do a lot with pets, but pets can also do a lot for you. In addition to being able to craft, provide upgradable passive skills, fight with you, and fill up your chat-window with inane chatter, they can loot for you.
Pets have a fairly wide circumference around you that they run within, so you don't need to be right on top of the body for the pet to loot it. All you need to make your pet loot is the pet perfume you buy in the cash shop. Just activate the perfume, have your pet out and bounding around, and go a-killin'. You can get the perfume in one-day and 30-day varieties. All the shiny loot it picks up will go right into your backpack. It is also controllable for those times you don't actually want to loot mobs. I like RoM's ability to multi-loot better than RIFT's. It doesn't require you to go loot any bodies at all. You can be a caster throwing a fireball in a mob's face and move on to the next mob without slowing your roll to walk over and click the body.
The only drawback is the speed at which pets loot. It's a bit on the slow side. For those who start gearing up and AoEing the living tar out of everything in sight, pets just can't keep up. There's a sluggish delay between bodies it loots, even if the bodies are on top of each other. It's still a feature I like, but that like would be upgraded to love if pets looted even more quickly.
It's not unusual for similar features to crop up in different MMOs. Standards come and go like a shifting tide that washes over the entire genre. It pleases me to see my favorite MMO being developed by a group of forward-thinking people. Whether helped with analytical reports or Madam Carolyn's crystal ball, Runewaker has implemented its own brand of these features into the game, and did so quite a while before other MMOs that are just now getting around to it.
I have more to say concerning a downside to the freedoms and choices RoM's class system provides -- in fact, I have my eyes set on Guild Wars 2 for a future comparison, plus there's a ton of Chapter 4 content to go over. Stay tuned!
Each Monday, Jeremy Stratton delivers Lost Pages of Taborea, a column filled with guides, news, and opinions for Runes of Magic. Whether it's a community roundup for new players or an in-depth look at the Rogue/Priest combo, you'll find it all here. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.