Rift: The Defiant Are The Good Guys

Warning: There are some early Rift story spoilers in this post.

I mentioned last night that I had selected the Defiant faction in Rift, and that the opening story line painted the Defiant as the put upon in the Rift universe. I also mentioned that there were two sides to every story, and so I decided to put that to the test and created a Guardian Cleric called Majikthise.

Having just played through the starting zone I didn’t see anything to change my view that the Defiant are the good guys.

In the Defiant story, many of the NPCs had suffered great personal losses to the Guardians, and indeed, it was the Guardian faction that opened the rift that let loose Regulos.

In the Guardian story, the Defiants were simply the bad guys and had to be stopped at all costs. Their crime? Attempting to replicate Ascension using technology. Something the Guardian faction took as a great afront to themselves and their gods.

So. In essence the Guardians started the war in an attempt to crush what they saw as heresy.

I was kind of expecting some kind of reasoning by the Guardians to justify that position, but it simply seemed to be simple zealotry.

Not that that’s bad. I find it refreshing that the bright and shiny guys are cast as the villains. Too often we see stories (and real life) where awful acts are justified by the excuse that it’s the ‘good guys’ doing the acts.

I also found interesting the two elements of the time travel aspects of the Defiant/Guardian story.

The Defiant story started at the end of the world. Regulos had effectively won and had destroyed everything, conforming all souls to his purpose. The goal of the player in that story was to fix the machine that would send him back in time to the current game time period.

The Guardian story was more like a prologue. It starts twenty years before the events of the main game story where the Guardian king has just done the dirty and has released Regulos using Defiant technology. The player in this quest chain effectively puts paid to the plans of Regulos and smacks him with a dirty great hammer, shattering him and putting him into statis for a time. The player is then sent forward in time twenty years by the gods of the Guardians.

I’m sure that I’ll end up playing more Guardian at some point, but for now I’m happy to have picked the good guys.

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  1. Scopique

    If you’re bored one day, check out the Epic Buzz on Rift Lore!


  2. Stropp (Post author)

    Thanks for the link Scopique. There’s quite a lot of discussion there on the whole good vs bad sides.

    I also didn’t realise there was a comic book series for Rift. I’ll have to see if it is still available.

  3. lawless

    So, in the original ancient war to imprison the dragons, tech was used by the Eth to great success, but the Gods ended up winning the war for everyone and then immediately put a ban on tech (I am assuming to keep mortals from becoming too powerful, but it could also be a “you can’t handle the power you wield” move). The Eth refused. Fast forward to Aedraxis releasing Regulos, he used sourcestone tech to do so, which is why most of the Guardians are zealously anti-tech.

    Fast forward to Port Scion where Guardians/Eth/Bahami are living together after Regulos had been released, the king there had allowed tech to be used to protect the city, and a Guardian (Alsbeth) betrayed the city and used the sourcestone tech to let Regulos’s forces into the city. Again, tech is the reason it went to hell, but, it was a Guardian who did it, so there’s a shared blame in Port Scion’s downfall.

    Thus, to the Guardians, not only have the gods (their only hope in winning against Dragons) put an explicit ban on tech, but also the two times they’ve allowed it, both times it was used against them to disastrous effect.

    That being said, I also definitely get the feeling that the Guardians are the bad guys in that they aren’t nice people. They are ruthless zealots and sympathy for their side is hard to find even in their own storyline. However, history has shown to them that technology is the cause of all of their woes, and that the Vigil is the only way to save their world, so it’s easy to see how they got to that place, and it very well may be that they are right.

    The Defiants, on the other hand, have a very sympathetic plot, but they are arrogant in their use of tech (in the mindset of “Well, even though it has blown up in our faces before, THIS time we will get it right”). They really have no reason to trust the Vigil, though, and given that they are from a future where the world is going to end anyway, there’s no point not using tech at this point to try to change things.

    Ultimately, I think the real bad guys are the Vigil. The only time they helped the world was when the Eth were getting really good at tech and able to defeat the Dragons. I think the Vigil felt threatened by this, stepped in before the Eth could finish the job and essentially took the limelight from the Eth – they could have stepped in at any time before and ended the problem before it became a war, but only did so when the Eth were reaching godlike levels of power.

    The ban on tech essentially meant that most of the knowledge about tech was lost. Therefore, when Aedraxis used the machines to release Regulos, nobody knew how to stop it before it became too late (and from what I can tell, the Defiants have replicated the Ascended ability, but not the ancient levels of power needed to take down the Dragons like the Eth once did). The Vigil have once again stepped in to help, but in a very limited fashion – just sending Ascended. This isn’t enough as we see in the Defiant’s future.

    I get the feeling it’s possible the Vigil and the Dragons, minus Regulos, are one in the same, in that the gods are sort of bipolar (and in ancient mythology, like Greek, Norse, etc, this is pretty par for the course that gods will have multiple personalities). The Dragons were losing the original war, and essentially “stopped themselves” to keep the Eth from becoming powerful enough to kill them. You’ll notice that Regulos was the only Dragon actually vanquished – the rest were imprisoned. During this time, the Vigil all but disappeared from the world.

    Later, when Regulos was released, suddenly the Vigil are back to being active as the rest of Blood Storm are gaining power and influence. Thus, both the Blood Storm and the Vigil fight against Regulos and are in reality one in the same. The Vigil give the Guardians the Ascended and not much else, because the Vigil are not yet willing to allow themselves to fall back into a limited intervention (even self-imposed) in Telara like they did while “imprisoned”.

  4. Stropp (Post author)

    @lawless — terrific analysis there. It will interesting to see how it all pans out as Trion develops the Telara story over the course of the game.

  5. ShinChuck

    Eh, I wouldn’t call it “refreshing”, it’s basically par for the course at this point for the “shiny” types be the bad guys, just grown to be the trend over the last twenty years or so. I pretty much expected the Guardians to be the bad guys. Gods? Righteousness? Light and prettyness? Zealotous and closed minded? They really kinda hit ya over the head with the bad guy clichés!

  6. Azadar

    I might be missing something, but the way I understood it the evil king of mathos or whatnot used defiant machines to open the rifts because the guardians were about to defeat his armies, so it seems neither side is good or evil because defiant machines are powered by stolen sourcestone the choice is tyrants or thieves

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