12 Days: A Good Friend Questing With Me

On the first day of gaming, Trion gave to me, a good friend questing for free!

On the first day of gaming, Trion gave to me, a good friend questing for free!

As gaming progresses, we move further and further away from the intimate, tightly knit setting that once existed. Even on consoles, split screen is seldom included, and multiplayer games tend to be very impersonal. Until early this year I forgot how much a gaming experience can be improved if you share it with a good friend. 

I've known my friend Callum since we were 8 years old, and we've been gaming together for almost as long. In grade 3 or 4 we played Runescape together, and followed it up with Guild Wars, Warcraft, Battlefield and StarCraft II to name a few. However, over the past year or so our time has been so divided with school and work, that neither of us really had an opportunity to play games together. Despite our lack of time, when we both had an opening in our schedules just before summer, we decided to get together and play some games.

Callum has two computers in his den, and we were deciding what to install before we started. Neither of us had played RIFT seriously before it went free to play, and we decided to give it a shot. The experience I had playing it with him was fantastic. I find it easy to forget how much more fun you have when you are playing with someone you genuinely like. RIFT is a good game, which definitely helped, but even the collect quests and kill quests, which are so often tedious, become funny and entertaining. We played through until level 20, doing a few dungeons and taking our time with the crafting and leveling, stopping to enjoy the scenery and simply have fun.

RIFT itself is a great game. The quest design is decent, the dungeons are well crafted, combat is tight and the game receives consistently good content. The fact that it is free helps a great deal too. The game has the best free to play model of ANY game I have ever seen. It lets you experience all of the content for free, and only locks cosmetics and boosts behind a pay wall.  It never feels like you are missing something if you don't pay, and this liberation from the common nagging stores we see in free games really help to make the game fun. The lore of the world is generic, but interesting, and Trion has done a good job of making the content accessible for groups. With high spawn rates and massive zones, the game provides a world that that is easy to move through with another person, but packed with enough monsters and landmarks that all of the players will have something to do.

Callum loves for his warriors to be manly. He always opts for the biggest plate armor, and his macho looks are definitely prioritized over his stats as he levels. There was one moment, shortly after we hit level 10 on our second day that was particularly hilarious. Callum was still using his plate armor from level two, and was sorely in need of an upgrade. He just received a fantastic new piece, but when he put it on, he realized it was essentially just a flamboyant pair of suspenders. He tried to let himself wear it for around 20 minutes or so, before he cracked and turned to me,  shouting "IT'S A BLOODY PAIR OF SUSPENDERS, WHAT IS THIS!" He didn't sell them. He didn't trade them. I watched as he slowly dragged the chest piece onto the ground and destroy it in cold blood. He then proceeded to rage quit RIFT for almost half an hour. It was so ridiculous and dumb, but for some reason it was hugely funny.

Silly things like that makes games fun. Whether it's racing our huge turtle mounts over houses, or seeing who can collect the most mobs' aggro at once and survive, playing with a friend and actively having fun, as opposed to min/maxing every action, really made my RIFT experience fantastic. It's so easy to undervalue the experience of playing a game with a friend, but RIFT reminded me of how fun it really is.

Over the holidays, find a fun game, a good friend, and get cozy. It made the most memorable experience in 2013 for me. Happy Holidays!

 Aidan Pucchio

Follow me on Twitter! @aiomon

Catch up on the other 12 Days of Gaming!


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