Rift: Fraternizing With The Enemy

May 26, 2011

I don’t recall if I’ve ever written about the fact you can communicate with the other faction in Rift, but regardless, it’s a feature that’s been around since day one and which I find myself appreciating more and more each day.

Originally, I was a little skeptical towards the idea, but after thinking about it, it really does make more sense from a PvE perspective. Lorewise, all things point to Guardians and Defiants speaking the same language, so there really is no logical explanation why they shouldn’t they be able to understand and communicate with each other. Fundamentally, our two sides might be at odds, but we also share a common enemy. We don’t play nice together, but when a rift invasion is threatening to tear apart our land, perhaps dropping our ideological differences and banding together temporarily would be good for both sides in the long run? At least, that’s the way I see it.

A personal anecdote: the other day, I found myself and another Defiant meeting up with a Guardian at a major rift in Shimmersand — all farming earth and fire for the eggshell dailies, what else? Admittedly, old habits die hard. Every once in a while I still want to slap myself when I remember that instead of hopelessly emoting gestures to a Guardian, I can simply /say to them what I think. Kek!

In short, however, the three of us ended up working out roles between ourselves on the fly — without having to mime it all out, thank god. Obviously, neither my group member nor I could do anything for the Guardian tank, so he went DPS instead while I healed and my Defiant partner took up the tanking duties. It was a quiet night, as it was only the three of us for a long time. Regardless, we steamrolled through about a half a dozen major rifts, banished our foes, collected our loot, finished our dailies, and everyone went to bed happy.

As someone who is predominantly a PvE’er, I can see the value behind such interactions. Our factions may hate each other, but we’re not all unreasonable. Communication allows for planning during times when cooperation will benefit everyone, which is what makes Rift such a unique game in my eyes because rifts are dynamic events that can happen out of the blue at any time regardless of who’s around. You can’t always choose your allies, and having the ability to communicate with whoever’s there is a nice option to have. I’m not saying we should all sit around a campfire and sing Kumbaya, but I also like the idea of being able to say a proper “Thank you” when a Guardian goes out of their way to save my skin out of the goodness of their own heart.

Sure, PvP on the other hand is now filled with 100% more trash talk, but despite initial concerns that it would lead to wide-spread dickery, it really hasn’t. I seem to recall Scott Hartsman saying something about wanting to give people a chance, and I think ultimately that was a good call.

Besides, on Faeblight I get the pleasure of witnessing some truly phenomenal, grade-A RP trash talking. Some time during my first week, a group of us were mowed down by a roleplaying guild of level 50 Guardians cutting a swath through Freemarch, but instead of being pissed, I thought it was actually quite awesome to have been slain for my impiety. One has not truly lived until he or she has had the experience of some Guardian yelling down at their dead body, calling you and all your friends a bunch of “vile, godless dog-hearted mountain troll whore-sons.”


  1. The one thing I have been sad about regarding chat is that you cannot PM or even add friends with someone of the opposing faction. Yet, I suppose that makes sense though, although I do like to keep up with friends and RP partners.

    • Yeah, unfortunate, though I see the need to keep certain barriers up between Guardians and Defiants. The game still has two factions after all, though imo giving us the ability to talk to each other through /say, /yell etc. is awesome.

  2. INteresting, haven’t been any cross faction zones, but I do recall, during the last beta event, being able to understand a high-level griefer in Freemarch laughing at us as he mowed down everyone in the quest hub more efficiently than a full scale rift invasion.

    • The level 50s I talked about in my post did that, went on a killing spree across Freemarch while there was a rift invasion, and it was just after the game launched so no one had clicked off the auto-pvp tagged option in the settings yet. The Guardians were flagged for pvp so those that aoe got flagged in return, and they just picked us off like the lowbies we were. They were an RP guild that did all this in character though, so that was awesome 😛

      • A feature you can turn off, btw. But for some reason Trion has PVP auto-flag on-action turned on by default. I forget whether you find that in your misc or combat interface options… I actually had that happen recently on a lowbie alt in Freemarch. A mage with a high-end earth pet (therefore I knew he was waaay above my level) came in flagged and then started rolling everyone that auto-flagged themselves by catching his pet in AoE. Pretty funny. Sadly that one wasn’t a talker.

      • This was like in the first week of release before everyone realized it was in the options, and of course I’ve since rectified that. Trion really shouldn’t have had the autoflag on by default, given how everyone loves to AoE during rifts 😛

  3. Great editorial. I couldn’t agree more. Important trying to get my SWTOR buddies to roll RP PvP. They all have these negative preconceptions of the server type, mmostly due to bad PvP server experiences. However, as your post so eloquently illustrates, RP PvP servers can really enhance gameplay and provide very positive community interaction. I’m going to point some unbelievers your way. 😉

    • Speaking of which, I hope SWTOR will also allow players to communicate across sides, at least on the /say level. If there’s ever a game where not being able to speak to the other faction will make no sense, it’s that one. Language barrier as an excuse won’t fly, everyone should be able to speak galactic basic! 😀

      • I need to learn not to comment on your blog from my phone. Half the words get ‘autocorrected’ in error and my comments barely resemble the original text! Anyway, in regards to speaking with the other faction openly, I wholeheartedly agree this is a necessary game design choice for SWTOR. There is no way Bioware could justify otherwise.

  4. Communication is everything. http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/truce.asp

    • Ah, the famous series of ceasefires across the western front. My grade 10 history teacher told me this story!

  5. I have yet to be spoken to by anyone from the other faction. The distraction of my CoH account, and now my AoC account being reopened (as well as being in a different state most of last week) has cut into my Rift time quite a bit lately.

    • I wanted to get back into AoC with the free account activation and all, but never got a chance. Still doing the rift eggshell dailies every day and I have Portal 2 to finish, and I just bought L.A. Noire. It’s a wonder I get any work done during the day, really 😛

  6. I honestly wish there was no faction wall… but I am booned by the fact that like you did, you can at least work together a little bit to coordinate for rifts and events. I cannot count the number of times I have rolled up on a rift and it has been just me and a guardian. We worked together and quickly closed the rift, all the while helping each other out as best we could.

    • Having no limitations would be interesting, but they made the game with two distinct factions so I can understand why they kept certain barriers up; it would be a different game it it wasn’t. But still you’re right, being able to communicate across sides helps so much; though we’re unable to heal or rez each other, because Rift lets you play around with so many different souls, you can always count on everyone having multiple roles at their disposal. Being able to communicate and plan things out, a small group of 2 or 3 can still overcome pretty much anything, regardless of being from different factions.

  7. Rift has so many good qualities, I think that is something that helps out with making a game feel more ‘accessible’. So many times, in WoW, I wished I could talk to the other faction, especially when my brothers played on the opposite faction.

    Sounds like you guys used it to your advantage which puts a nice spin on it!

    • There have been many times in WoW where I wish I could have spoken to the other faction too. You learn to get a little creative, I guess. I remember how Hunters used their pet names to communicate! And one time I was farming a pet with a Hordie, and they told me to /wait and came back on his Alliance toon to ask me how long I’d been there and if I’ve had any luck so far XD

      • You used to be able to MC someone with a priest and communicate with them through the /me emotes, but Blizzard took that ability away for a reason I can’t honestly fathom. Also they locked pet names, although they did open that up again in WotLK, but only with a one-time use inscription item.

  8. One of the things I most love about LoTRO is the lack of factions. Everyone’s on the same “team” and I feel like it creates an atmosphere of cohesiveness rather than the divisiveness you see in faction-based games. A lot of people forget the “Them” are in fact human players, just like you are.

    • I like LOTRO for that too! So many MMOs these days are under the pressure to include good PvP but I’m glad Turbine didn’t force it and just went with monster play. I completely agree with your comment, but then like I said I’m predominantly a PvE player and PvP only once in a blue moon.

  9. This was one of the best aspects of Ryzom. Even though there were two factions you choose which you want to be a part of and can freely communicate with members of the other one. There was some smack talk during OP battles but it was mostly friendly and when no pvp was going on you could find members of both side leveling togther and generally helping out. I’m sure this all stems from the fact that you can communicate with each other. It’s harder to be an anonymous jerk when someone can call you on it for all to see.

    • I’ve never played Ryzom but from what I hear, it has also benefited from players of opposite factions being able to communicate with each other. It just goes to show that given a chance, something like this won’t always inevitably lead to griefing, dickery and a customer service nightmare. A lot of people had those concerns with Rift back in the fall of last year when it appeared that cross-faction communication might make it into launch.

  10. I love it!

    The other day I helped a guardian rogue get the ‘dances with squirrels’ achievement and title, a feat I would not have been able to pull off in a host of other MMOs! He thanks me and we chatted for a bit before I went back to my crazy 5-pull grinding.

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