Monday, June 27, 2011

Not Everyone Likes Rift ;)

I got a note the other day from a friend who played Rift just through the intro stages and lost interest (you don't know her). She fully admitted to being in a bad mood that day, but I thought I'd share a couple of her complaints and see if I can't comment on them a little bit from my perspective after around 50-75 hours of play.
Non-Rift liking friend says:
"Surprised you like Rift, I was really surprised at how much it truly sucked. There's nothing new, there's nothing being done that hasn't already been done by others, better. They seem to have taken the worst of all mmos and put it all in to one."

Response: Ok, I'm gonna admit that my "Non-Rift Liking Friend" has a lot more experience in MMOs than I do, and therefore, I'm gonna give her as much respect as that deserves. I know she's also a very particular gamer with particular tastes. I know she has a passion for the games she plays and the higher ground she strives for. I get it. I want something different and better too.

But, there's something about the ease of public Rift raiding that is so refreshing and easy if you're the type of person who wouldn't mind raiding while leveling. After you get a mount, you can just join a public group and start bouncing from rift to rift to rift. Entry requirements are very low in this kind of raiding and rewards seem fairly high. For the most part I don’t have to form any attachments and can log off whenever the heck I want to instead of getting sucked into a group where I feel “committed” to anyone.

As a busy father of three, I LOVE THAT . . . good or bad as that may seem. It's not that I'm non-social . . . it's that I'm busy yet like the companionship of gamers. haha. If that makes sense. :)

Of course, somehow this all could be done better, but Rift is new, and although low level "raiding" as it were is familiar in a few other MMOs out there, this MMO is popular NOW in 2011 . . . which makes it a happening place with tons of people around. I like that. It's HOT. I'm not sure what the future for Rift looks like, but it's thee game to play right now.
Non-Rift liking friend says:
"Yeah so I can be melee ranged or magic...skill tree you say - yes of course there is, so while we pretend to let you be unique, you're unique, just like everyone else."
Ok, I see where you're coming from on this. "Builds" become the min-maxing beast that they are and no skill is truly unique, so although your build is great for you, it's not really what the min-max crowd would consider "the best." This is very much unlike a game like Guild Wars where you would have to capture your skills from unique and rare bosses across Ascalon. Some skills required a lot of patience and time to capture.

Just like how Syndrome in The Incredibles says, ". . . And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone's super ... no one will be."

Rift suffers from Cookie Cutter aka "Everyone is super." I'll give you that, but so did Guild Wars . . . it just took more effort to be a cookie cutter build in that game.

I will say that I didn't even look at builds when playing. I just kind of filled out my skill tree with what felt comfortable. If I was raiding and grouping at 50 though? Yeah, I think I'll be researching and adjusting my build--call it fear of social stigma.
Non-Rift liking friend says:
"I'm just so tired of 'go kill 10 bears and collect bear hearts - but not every bear has a heart' bullshit."

Fair enough. This quest system is in pretty much every mainstream MMO and ALL have this problem. I'm tired of it, and I think many other people have this complaint too.

On the other hand, it's comfortable. Rift feels a bit like I'm sliding on a familiar pair of shoes. I "get it," therefore, it's hard to resist that familiarity.

I have heard of people trying to level without quests though . . . only leveling from Rifts or killing stuff alone. Seems to be possible, but as long as you're killing stuff, you might as well get a quest reward for doing it. Too bad my leveling is so independant. I think Facebook games will eventually change the way we play MMOs.
Non-Rift liking friend says:
"Graphically pfft - I've seen better on my DS."

HAHAHA! Ok, I can't give my friend this one. That's pure rant. ;)

I crank my video settings all the way up on Rift because I have a rig that can handle it, and it’s beautiful. I'm not 100 percent sure, but it seems by default Trion starts you on really low graphic settings . . . it's debatable if that’s a mistake on their part. At first I was thinking what kind of horrible 90’s texturing is this?

The scenery and landscapes are amazing in parts of the world. I truly enjoy Rift's beautiful world.
Non-Rift liking friend says:
"Are we all such sheeple that as soon as a game comes out that dares to not kill 10 bears, we don't know how to process it, so we shun it and run back to what has been beaten into us as the norm. Is this the best we can do?"

Obviously not. My friend comes from a videogame design perspective, and I have to agree. What I like is that it seems at least a couple different paths exist for leveling up, but I think this should have been more blatant. I think perhaps experience rewards should be granted to those who specifically choose to level up without questing. If I wanted to skip early quests and only quest in say Perspice, that would be really cool. Give me a toggle! Something! We like choices, but I think we also like those pathways to be defined for us. That would be the "design" part of a video game.

ON THE OTHER HAND THOUGH, I tend to take the John Cage approach to most MMOs I play:

"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all." --John Cage.

"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason." --John Cage.

"Which is more musical: a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?" --John Cage

LOL, oh wait . . . that last quote doesn’t apply. ;-) But, in all honesty, I think you have to give Rift a chance to live with you for a number of hours. Try it out. There is truly beauty in this game. You just have to look for it (unlike say the videogame "Flower," where beauty *is* the game.)


On a side note though . . . there is something missing in Rift, and that would be my old friends from WoW and perhaps my lack of community involvement in this game. Something is missing here, and I'm not sure what it is. When it all comes down to it, this may not be the right time and place for me to play Rift . . . and that's ok . . . I would like to get to 50 though. ;-) If something doesn't change for me in this game, that very well may be the end of the game for me.

I do like playing with my good buddy, Dina though. My best memories of Rift may very well be her running me through dungeons like the pro she is.

What do you think?

Happy Dueling!


  1. I'd run stuff with you, but I'm a guardian ;)

    Also, I need to get my authenticator issue taken care of... (ipod got stolen -_-)

  2. Heh, heh, I like that you are using Stingite as your name in Rift. I only discovered this blog shortly after discovering version 3 of That was about a week ago, and honestly, you need to keep this blog up-to-date man. I hope you haven't quit yet just because you've maxed out at 50. I mean, a month or two ago, I would have jumped on the band wagon with your friend. I had one of the worst experiences in the Rift beta, because I went pure elementalist with my build by choosing stormcaller and pyromancer to go along as my secondary souls and it ended up turning my character into a total chew toy. I ended up stranded in the middle of a besieged quest hub in the middle of the guardian controlled forest at the beginning of the game. No one actually got rid of the life rift and it had appeared the day after I got to the hub. Now I miss the game, because I know that I just happened to get the short end of the stick in beta. I listen to two Rift podcasts and have to live vicariously through them, except they are both defiant podcasts and I was originally full blown High Elven all the way. The thing that you seem to be missing in Rift is that it doesn't have a customary design like EQ clones out there (ahem, I'm looking at you, WoW). Sure, the UI is similar, but the game doesn't rely on safe zones to allow you to quest without a hitch and thus doesn't provide a sense of normalcy and false security. Since this is due entirely to the Rifts, it means that the entire game structure is based upon open-world warfare. Which means half of the game is made up of chance encounters of elemental legions that aren't always there to fill the content void between daunting quests. This means that someone who is tired of questing in one game and has the option to head right into the other features offered in that game doesn't always find that in Rift because rifts are hit or miss. They are there one second and sometimes gone the next. This causes occassional gaps in content when after a whole bunch of rifts are closed, there is a randomly varying waiting period before a new rift appears. Anyway, I hope you still play Rift and keep those videos coming.