Philosophical Rift

So, been playing Rift like a crazy man lately, and it’s got me thinking on something.

Rift is a fantasy world that also incorporates technology to some extent. The machinery in the world is equally fantastical. It’s not exactly steampunk, it’s more of an arcane design. Telarapedia refers to it as technomagic.

There are 2 factions in Rift: The Guardians and the Defiant. The Guardians (which consist of the Dwarves, High Elves, and humans from the nation of Mathosia) are devoted to Telara’s Gods, a Pantheon known as the Vigil. The Defiants (Humans from the nation of Eth, the Kelari Elves, and the Bahmi) believe that the Gods failure to act during the Blood Storm War (in which Telara was invaded by evil Godlike Dragons, their elemental minions, and the cults that worshipped them) means that they are not infallible and thus do not deserve the devotion the mortal races give them. The Defiant make great use of the Arcane technology developed by the Eth to fight the war against the Blood Storm and their cults, something the Guardians consider heresy. Now the two factions fight each other as much as the Blood Storm.

With that background set, you can see a real world parallel here, with the Guardians representing those who call themselves religious, and the Defiant representing those who reject religion in favor of science.  Now I have no doubt that Trion Worlds (Rift’s developer) is not trying to make a statement on that debate, only drawing upon real world inspiration to tell their own story.

Personally, I see Rift as a world where only the extremes of the two sides are represented, and neither are a section I find myself within. I’m not a person who believes faith and science are mutually exclusive. To me, they’ve always complimented each other. I don’t pretend to know all the answers with how to reconcile the two where they would seemingly contradict, but I do believe God made this world, and made us with the desire to understand how the infinitely complicated world He built works, something we have made tremendously amazing strides in doing so. I also believe there is a ton of knowledge for us to uncover that we have yet to do so.  I can’t wait to see what else there is out there.

As for Rift, well, Telara’s not Earth, the Vigil isn’t God, and the people of Telara may have parallels to Earth’s humans, but they’re very different. I may not be entirely comfortable with either of their philosophies, but that’s what makes this a role playing game. We take on a different persona in them, adding as much or as little of ourselves to them as we wish. And I’m having a great deal of fun playing the role of using magic and technology to protect Telara from Regulos and the rest of the Blood Storm.

The initial choice did present a bit of uncomfortability though, as silly as it might seem. As any reader of this blog can attest, I do put a good deal of myself into my characters. I don’t exactly have a story written for my characters in Rift yet, but I’ve no doubt this practice will continue. So by picking a side in Rift, I felt like I was internally making a decision with parallels in the real world. I know, it seems silly. I’ve already stated I reject both sides of the extremists in reality, yet i cannot deny I did feel a bit of discomfort with it. Maybe I need to use this as a reason to stretch myself creatively.

What’s your take on the whole subject, readers?

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    • Kyle
    • March 1st, 2011

    The extremes are all most people see. Show em something else and knock their socks off!

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