Addressing Trion’s claims about Rift

Inigo MontoyaA member of the K&G community (Howdiedoodie) pointed this article out to me from CNN on the subject of Rift taking on World of Warcraft.   I warn you in advance that I am going to be highly critical of Rift.  I find the article to be 99% hyperbole and 1% wishful thinking.  I’ll start by picking apart some of the article.  To make this easier to read, I’ll indent, italicize and bold the quotes from the article with my responses following.

“The two factions aren’t necessarily battling each other, but are trying to show which way is the best to save the world.

Wrong.  The two factions are battling each other.  It’s Horde vs. Alliance in every way imaginable.  You fight in battlegrounds, you fight in the world (on PvP servers on PvE if you flag) and you’re set at odds against each other.

“It was all about … ‘Think of all the cool stuff we could build if we had technology that would let us do 500 players in one place, 1,000 players in one place, big events that start up and shut down on their own. A world that is truly alive.’ ” […] “Because of the technology (we built), we wanted to take on the most established online gaming category first,” Butler said.  “We felt we had what it takes to substantially address some of the shortcomings that this genre still has.” (And so on and so on)

They’re referring to how they have server functions on separate servers.  This is not new, nor invented by Trion.  It’s been done for years.  This is why the chat servers come down or the loot servers or the instance servers in WoW and a dozen other games.  It goes on to say that this reduces lag.  The article quotes Scott Hartsman and says that they imagine 500 to 1000 players in an area all at once.  I would like to know what the heck they imagine those players doing and if they’ve played their own game.  The engine is clunky compared to WoW’s and it lags with 50, let alone 500 people on the screen.  It doesn’t add up.

“What people see in ‘Rift’ right now is pretty revolutionary as well as a great foundation for us to keep adding more unique types of things to do.”

No.

Revolutionary.  “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya

“Even the best fantasy MMORPGs out there are still mostly static. They have very limited social game play,” Butler said. “They’re getting old.”

Rift is just as static if not more static than WoW and every other WoW-clone.  They’re all linear.  Nothing about any of them is dynamic.  Blizzard pretends their world is dynamic with phasing technology just like Trion pretends theirs is dynamic with public quests (which they did not invent) that spring up.

“Ten years ago, people were comparing everything to ‘Everquest.’ This year, people are comparing everything to ‘World of Warcraft,'” Hartsman said. He said talk about comparing “Rift” with “WoW” is more about gamer culture than direct competition.

Or could it be that your game, along with the rest, ARE in fact in direct competition with WoW because they ARE just like WoW?

The article mentions, in the context of Rift being unique, that Rift has a sense of urgency because there is always something going on and that the world is dangerous and a new adventure.  I don’t feel that at all.  I feel more like the world is cramped and full of tons of mobs running willy-nilly all around getting in my way like they’re programmed to just amass and charge a predetermined location.  It takes a whopping 30 minutes to ‘figure out’ the Rift system.  It takes 2 minutes to realize the souls are talent trees.

I’m picking on them but it has to be said.  It’s not right glorifying the generic or claiming uniqueness when all that’s been done is continuing the trend of copying WoW.  They won’t tell CNN that their game is like WoW with a few twists.   It doesn’t achieve the same impact as (in a deep voice) “taking you on an adventure you’ve never been on before!” does it?  Those who know better need to speak up and not let people get away with making inflated claims.

I’m getting tired of reading the public statements from Trion employees — I cringe when I read them.  I felt the same when Mythic couldn’t learn when enough was enough.  Rift is a decent game but generic and certainly not addressing -any- “shortcomings that this genre still has.”

 

 

  • I share you sentiment for the most part. The lack of any real innovation in the genre is really starting to wear on me. I’m already finding it difficult to login, and when I do I’m bored after 30 mins. My friends list is usually full of grey names now. I really thought I would get more out of RIFT.

    I’m still holding out some hope to see some compelling world PvP objectives as I think this would be the thing most likely to pique my interest again but I’m not holding my breath.

  • And people (not aimed at anyone here, by the way, just an observation) shot me down when I said the same thing concerning some of their press releases in the “closed” betas. I hope this stupid wave of Rift-love passes soon, because if it doesn’t, it signals that there’s something seriously wrong with the MMO scene atm.

    Also: “He said talk about comparing “Rift” with “WoW” is more about gamer culture than direct competition.”

    While you made some good points, I feel you missed out the obvious: Trion’s whole fucking advertising campaign as DIRECTLY ABOUT COMPETING WITH WOW (i.e. “We’re not in Azeroth anymore.” You’re right, Scott. We’re in a crappy knock-off of it.) And to think people really believe Trion care. They’re doing everything for publicity and lots of it; and it’ll give me endless satisfaction to watch RIFT be forced into server merge after server merge as first WoW, and then GW2, TOR, TERA and all the rest snap up RIFT’s playerbase.

    And to think I would have defended RIFT to the death two months ago. My how times change.

  • “Hartsman said the technology had to be created first before they could figure out what to do with it”

    Well, that much is true. They created the technology, but they have not yet figured out what to do with it, beyond “WoW, with a couple of changes that we think would be cool.”

  • @Carson: What technology did they create? Server functionality spread across multiple servers? No. Sounds to me like they created a technology in their heads.

  • ” We’re in a crappy knock-off of it.) And to think people really believe Trion care. They’re doing everything for publicity and lots of it; and it’ll give me endless satisfaction to watch RIFT be forced into server merge after server merge as first WoW, and then GW2, TOR, TERA and all the rest snap up RIFT’s playerbase.”

    omg someone make it stop. you dont get it do you ? we are in a endless loop.

    yeah GW2,TOR,TERA are going to come along and save us. just like Warhammer,AoC,Darkfall and name your game as whatever the next big thing is going to be.

    i never bitch about the game i am playing now good or bad. i play to have fun then move on. take the fun where you can guys or dont play these games at all. i just think alot of us should just quit.

    as much as we love them they are not what we want.

  • That’s very true Stan. Everything that rolls around since after EQ/DAoC/UO were mainstream, has been utter crap. People need to stop believing there is even a remote chance that game devs, the MMO variety in particular, will ever give a crap about content over money.

    It’s just a pure treadmill that we run on in real life, instead of the loot treadmills we find today in MMOs. A game comes out, we drop $50, we play it for a few weeks… then it gathers dust.

    The only game that is still going strong atm, that isn’t a “loot treadmill”, is EvE. You have to hand it to CCP. Not only have they managed to increase their playerbase constantly, they actually have great ideas that turn into great content. The only way I could be happier with them is if they didn’t make Dust console only as they are currently planning (yuck at FPS on a controller).

    I know I know, a bit of a tangent. Ah well.

  • Tangents are okay with they make a point. You’re very right about EVE, Rawblin. CCP is currently running the most ‘different’ from the norm and reasonably popular MMO right now. Have they posted official numbers for how many subscribers they have? I’d be interested in comparing that to current players of free shards/servers and even people hanging onto older games.

    I think CCP and EVE are successful because their game is fairly polished and not a flash in the pan (or worse). Games come out that are different: Mortal Online, Xyson, Dark Fall, Fallen Earth, etc., but they all suffer from underdevelopment, low budgets, and small dev studios incapable of creating games with any sort of realistic scope. We just need more studios with money and good ideas — seems like asking for the moon.

  • I am curious about how well Rift sold last month. I read a shady post that said it was 1.3 million copies but have not yet read about any official numbers. It seems to me that Trion should be bragging about some type of big number pretty soon.

  • If it was 1.3 million, I bet closer to 500k were retained after the first month. That looks really bad, which may be why they’re not talking on the subject. Of course, this is all pure conjecture so it doesn’t mean much.

  • ” I don’t feel that at all. I feel more like the world is cramped and full of tons of mobs running willy-nilly all around getting in my way…”

    This.

    Although it was mildly amusing for a few days. These games are all Skinner boxes and the payoff for fighting those waves of random mobs is just not worth it.

  • “…Rift has a sense of urgency because there is always something going on and that the world is dangerous and a new adventure. I don’t feel that at all. I feel more like the world is cramped and full of tons of mobs running willy-nilly all around getting in my way like they’re programmed to just amass and charge a predetermined location.”

    It might have a real sense of urgency if there were more than 500 people left on any one server and more than 2 Rifts were active in any one zone at any one time any more.

    Merging servers or increasing Rift spawns will be the only way for this game to get back to being even slightly as active as it was in Beta.

  • Balance in PvP is completely off. The hardcore pvp crowd left. Not that they care.

    Trion is pulling a little game trying to get subs by offering a free code for people to get their friends to play over the weekend. They’ve done it for the last two weekends. It will soften the blow of the big numbers leaving April 3, when the first free month expired.

    I agree with and support your post.

  • In the latest Quarterly Economic Newsletter, CCP stated they had 357,000 accounts at the end of 2010. I don’t know how many actual players that equates to.

    And if Rift has over 500k subscribers, that’s really good, especially if they can stay at that level after 6 months.

  • The 1.3 million number was an April Fools Day joke someone on the Rift forum posted, that kept going way to far before the CM locked the thread. As far as I can find, there has been no official announcement of actual live accounts.

    Trion really has done nothing different with Rift then Blizzard did when they released WOW. Look at the MMO genre and take what works. They were even fairly vocal about that being their intent. Their other in development MMOs are fairly ‘revolutionary’, with being one is an MMORTS, and the other that will evolve alongside a SyFy TV show.

    That to me comes off as looking like Rifts marketing department are geniuses, make a game they knew would be a burst success to fill the coffers, and help fund the other projects. There is nothing in Rift people hasn’t done before, but Trion managed to get it all come together fairly solid and have one of the smoothest releases in MMO history.

    Trion has proven they can take a 50 million dollar investor deposit and make it count. When their other games get to that same point, investors will most likely be much more likely to invest again.

    Of course there are issues with Rift, that are already effecting customer retention rate. Wide nerf bat swings (1.1 patch), fast leveling curve with little end game content (At least it works however which is a major point versus many newer releases), boring and repetitive events, ect. Now a good number of people are willing to forgive a lot of those, but for the more hardcore people, drop off has already began.

    Now of course other games on the horizon will hurt Rift *to a degree*, but the simple fact that every game released thus far has bee the ‘killer’ of some other previous MMO, and yet almost every one of those MMOs are still around, not sure why people keep using this as a means of escape. Rift will survive healthy enough to see End of Nations and the currently unnamed SyFy MMO released.

    At the end of the day, why is Rift getting so much attention? Simply because it was the first MMO in recent history to not come across as being half-assed and broken. Quiet frankly it is a sad state for the genre when that’s all it takes for people to be awed by a game.

  • “”At the end of the day, why is Rift getting so much attention? Simply because it was the first MMO in recent history to not come across as being half-assed and broken. Quiet frankly it is a sad state for the genre when that’s all it takes for people to be awed by a game.””

    This.^ There have been a few OK games like Fallen Earth, Darkfall, Global Agenda and so on but beyond that we have been getting a steady diet of WoW and half baked crap for well over half a decade now.

    That CNN article was really pathetic…

    Trion servers are broken down by function, unlike other games in which servers are devoted to particular locations in the game. For example, they use a set of servers to handle non-player character functions in the world, a different set of servers to handle encounters with “bosses,” and another set that handles functions directly involving the players’ characters.

    BULLSHIT! Bullshit topped with rancid pig excrement, served with a side order of yak testicals! FPS’s obviously use one server per map but MMOs? I do not know of a single mmo in EXISTENCE that dosen’t use different servers for loot, chatting, inventory, NPCs, ect, ect.

  • As I believe I said before in another post by Keen, I’ve completely given up on the MMO genre in general. IMO the first four MMORPG’s, UO, EQ, AC & DAoC were the best and we haven’t gotten anything better or even remotely pushing the genre forward.

    Again, IMO, of the four original MMO’s, EQ was by far the worst of the bunch but because it was the most popular at the time and Blizzard hired a bunch of their Devs, the MMO genre pushed forward with the worst desgined MMO as it’s template.

    I played my first MMO’s for years and now it pretty much comes down to playing for a month or two before I get completely board with whatever new MMO is out. Gear treadmill/inflation is for the birds. Raiding is by far the WORST thing that happened to the genre and now it’s just a giant crappy raiding treadmill we go through.

    I also highly doubt GW2, TERA or SWToR will be anything different. Sadly the one game that was as far from the genre as night/day, Darkfall, turned out to be a big pile of steaming poo when it was released. It might be much better now but who wants to start a PvP MMO when your opponent will have all their skills maxed at 100 and their stats over 100 and for you to even think about getting there will take a year of you being pummeled into the ground by them.

  • Keen if you stopped being an early adopter maybe these fits of your would stop also.

  • @Damage I’d would also like to play Darkfall but I’d have to give up farming and live on welfare to have a hope of ever being PvP viable in that grindfest.

  • Stop the pres-I mean- streaming! Since when is CNN a respected news agency in regards to games or let alone… er… News? Any “traditional” medium is a penny late and a dollar short on anything that has to do with technology.

    Behind the pomp and circumstance I get a hint of muffled desperation.

    “We are here too, pay attention to us… Please? I hate you WoW, but you are so popular.

    You wear short-skirts,
    I wear T-shirts,
    you’re Cheer captain and
    I’m on the bleachers
    Drearing bout the day when you wake up and find
    That what you’re playing’s been the same this whole time

    If you could see that I’m the one who copycats you
    while lying all along so why can’t you see?
    I want you to like meeeeee
    you belong with meeeee
    you belong with meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

    Even if they did not get paid for the plug, CNN would not know to ask any proper questions.

  • I personally just think you’re looking for something to knit-pick about with Rift at this point. It’s PR spin. We all know it’s dribble. Who cares what they say? The game speaks volumes. It’ll either stand on it’s own two feet, or it won’t. Why does it matter anymore than that? If you’re enjoying it, then it’s served it’s purpose. If you’re not then move on. I hate to be so blunt about it, but it’s the truth.

    We all know it has shortcomings. Continuing on about something we’ve known since beta is getting tired.

  • Thank you! I’ve been saying the emperor has no clothes since early beta, and no one wanted to hear it. Every time I brought it up I would get shouted down by the faithful. It’s just not revolutionary, and more importantly doesn’t have much replay value.

    Saying things that don’t make sense hurt what is still a pretty good game, because they are in denial about what they are. For me, it’s just another FOTM that I’m not going to waste my money on.

  • Why do you care Keen?

    Rift has launched, the game is there and it is pretty much “done”. Blizzard will say the exact stuff if they felt more open to discuss these things with the public. I bet people like Ghostcrawler will also spout a ton of “Revolutionary” BS if they had to market their game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Starcraft 2 marketing was filled with these kinds of BS , despite the game being EXACTLY like the original!

    WoW is NOT going to change, Rift is NOT going to change. Both games are now in a state of “incremental streamlining”. Cataclysm was marketed as some sort of “upheaval” and “game breaking” change, it was not, it was streamlining of existing content. That was marketing BS right there, maybe you should be critical about that?

    So i don’t quite understand why you bother about being critical over this? Rift is out there. Play the game or don’t play the game.

    If Bioware told me how “revolutionary” and “best selling” Dragon Age 2 is, i’m not THAT stupid to know what they are trying to do.

    At least Trion is talking about a game that exists and actually has survived the first month very well, so much so that they can focus on NEW stuff instead of playing catchup due to launching with unfinished content.

    As for competing with WoW, well duh. It’s like saying Toyota is not competing with GM/Ford in car sales. I bet Toyota also said they’re just checking out the USA market and not really competing directly and GM sat there laughing……the rest is history.

  • Oh just another note on the factions.

    I’ve had more neutral interaction with Defiant vs. Guardian in Rift, than i ever had in WoW’s Horde vs. Alliance.

    I’m specifically talking about the Rifts and Invasions. I can’t remember when i’ve EVER cooperated with the opposing faction in WoW..EVER. In Rift you do it daily….yes you might kill and attack them in a Warfront or whenever you encounter them in a weak position, but during a big invasion you pretty much cooperate and fight the same enemies.

    I don’t recall anything like this in WoW? It might seem a little trivial , but it is enough to turn it into marketing.

  • @Keen, by “create” I just mean “build” not “innovate”. They built an MMO engine which works solidly – more than many developers can manage! – but then they had no ideas as to what to do with it.

  • @stan: I’m well aware that I’ve been waiting for the Next Big Thing since Wrath; what’s your point? That I should stop hoping because it’ll never ever happen ever again and we should be resigned to shitty knock-offs and boastful, hyperbolic and downright dishonest (i.e. Trion) devs?

    I know this may be an inconceivable notion, but I don’t play MMOs to have fun for a few hours and then quit. Do I admire people who can do that? Yes, in a sense. But I also don’t think I’d get any satisfaction out of it. Mayhaps if we keep trying for a new game, a good game, an immersive, deep, polished and above all amazing game, then perhaps it’ll some day come about. I’d rather live in hope that somewhere there’s a game that’ll be as great as I think MMOs can be, rather than sit there and go “well, gee, there’s no point in playing games anymore. Might as well give up, since giving up is the best way to get what you want.” Once (if) that game releases, then, then I’ll have my fun, and lots of it for a long time. But now? I might as well complain, since I only really have negative thoughts for RIFT in everything but its polish.

  • I think Trion simple forgot that they game is out and everyone can try is and see the Lie. They step in front of u and keep saying ‘dynamic content’ and ‘innovation’ and etc, and u cant say “Hey i played it and its not truu, its pure lie” coz they dont care.

    Trion forget to turn off the hype machine after release, thats all.

  • Keen: ‘It takes 2 minutes to realize the souls are talent trees.’

    Although most of the points you raise are valid, I’d like to pick this and point that in this case Rift has done something clearly new and innovative.

    Souls in itself are not anything special but combined with roles you have new mechanic which makes gameplay really different when compared to other games. Where else you can be tank, healer and dps in same dungeon and do this several times according to the situation. I worked over 8 and half years in patent industry and at least to my reckoning this is clearly something that has needed ‘inventive step’ so that it distinguish it from earlier products.

    Unfortunately rest of the game comes down to that McMMO-format which has been discussed here lots of times. Launch has been very polished with little problems but when main gameplay is a close copy of any other fantasy MMORPG on the market, then you start to crave something different quite soon. I already have some cravings and at least for me time to move on to next game is already visible on the horizon…

  • Phasing makes the world (arguably) more dynamic than rifts. Yeah, the change is scripted, but at least the world changes durably thanks to your actions. Rifts are nothing but random spawning mob spawn points, once they are gone, the world is exactly like it was before.

  • Even while I agree with both sides of the debate. I don’t see how anyone could go back to WoW after Rift. Yes it’s nothing new in terms of innovation, but at least it gets me out into the world exploring and changing things up a bit when I play.

    The thought of doing nothing but sitting in Orgrimmar queuing up heroic dailies to group with “joe schmoe” from (insert random server) is something I will never go back to.

  • I think the souls and the roles are one of the best ideas to come along in a while. Five of us in our guild were running a dungeon last night for the first time. No one had ever been in this dungeon before either. So the plan was to just go and see what happens. Good times were had as we made our way to the end. The last boss slapped us silly and all were dead in seconds. Hmmm. We noticed something about the way he worked so we changed our game plan. End result dead again. Healer changed his role and we got further. Mage changed his role, step backwards. In the end we died a few times, adjusted our tactics to the boss, and changed our roles to suit. End result boss down, happy group, good times.

  • @Spidubic

    That’s really cool. I think the point here is that it’s not revolutionary. It didn’t require cool new sekrit “systems” that no one else had. It’s just a good game. That was kinda my point, that the marketing and hyperbole turned me off where it obviously turned a lot of others on.

    PS that kind of experience has happened to me in several other games, including WoW.

  • I think your responses were a little short on balanced judgement.

    Yes, the two sides are very much pitted against each other as in WoW but in addition there is also the third faction which both sides are pitted against which they must cooperate to defeat so the claim that the two sides “aren’t necessarily battling each other” is true when you take that into consideration and the rest of the quote is supported by the backstory / in game fiction though somewhat irrelevant to the gameplay.

    I don’t know much about MMO server architecture but I don’t think that was really the point of the second quote. I think the core of that was “… big events that start up and shut down on their own. A world that is truly alive” which Rift has clearly made an attempt to achieve through the implementation of the rifts and invasions which do start and stop on their own and does make the world more ‘alive’ than any of the current MMO competitors.

    Revolutionary? maybe yes, maybe no but it is terribly dismissive to simply state ‘No’ without any support. Revolutionary is something I think will be decided one way or the other a few years down the road.

    Rift is far more dynamic than any of the standard MMO’s and certainly more Dynamic than WoW. Nothing else that I have played has pseudo random events that can be as small as a single encounter or as large as a zone wide invasion complete w/ raid boss encounters. That said I think there is much more that can be done to make this sort of dynamic content more meaningful and interesting. Your statement that “Rift is just as static if not more static than WoW ” is demonstrably false.

    And well, of course the two games are in direct competition. I really don’t know what Hartsman was trying to get at there.

    I’ve been playing rift for a while now and I find it enjoyable though not perhaps for the reasons talked about in the above mentioned article. What I find most compelling about the game is the great flexibility the game offers for creating characters and the immense versatility of each class.

    In one dungeon session on my rogue I can fulfill multiple roles w/in the group as dictated by my personal preferences or as may be required to overcome a specific encounter. I can go from all out single target dps to support healer to tank or off tank to ranged or aoe dps and the click of a button. Being able to change how the character plays and what function it performs so easily and with such a degree of customization is what really brings me back to the game day after day and will likely hold my attention for many days to come.

  • “Rift is far more dynamic than any of the standard MMO’s and certainly more Dynamic than WoW.”
    I have a hard time calling random monster spawns that leave the world EXACTLY as it was before it appeared “dynamic”. Both WoW’s phasing and LOTRO’s rare usage of a similar technology are way more dynamic than any random mob spawn.
    “Your statement that “Rift is just as static if not more static than WoW ” is demonstrably false.”
    All depends on what you call dynamic. Some are easily satisfied. For others, a dynamic MMORPG world is a bit more than events that don’t affect the world at all on long term.

  • The technology point is true. Before Hartsman came in, the game was set to be nearly 100% dynamic. Like, there would be bandits outside town one day only to be beaten back by a rebel militia the next, who then controls that territory. From what I’ve read, they discovered that didn’t make for a very fun game so they’ve scaled it all back to what we see today. They started talking about their technology before they really started talking about the game.

  • Well the Rift World Event went into overdrive today and looks to have been a big flop. So Keen, if you want to criticize something, there you go….

    I think the problems were too many players, combined with too many invasions , and no one’s PC,Connection or Server can handle it. I suppose Trion wanted to go all out because phase 1 of the event was almost very low key… hopefully they figure out something next time.

  • Obvious plug is obvious jokes aside, for every evolutionary improvement Rift has brought to the table, there are as many stagnant and regressionary feature implementations compared to the parade of games that have come before it. The end result is a stable, but average mmo.

    I see too many people settling for average. Oh, WAR and Age of Conan sucked because of features and stability issues so if a game that does the same stuff that has been done to death launches but it is stable that somehow magically makes it ok and we should praise and go easy on it lest we hurt the fanbois’ precious feelings, boo hooo!

    We are living the age of MMO inflation. Reminds me of the .com bubble. I believe it is to the detriment of gaming in general just because the big corporation economics want to milk recurring revenue from a single product release.

    That is a fun sucking venture for us. Hopefully when the dust settles something decent may come of it, but I am not holding my breath.

    I sincerely hope that reputable game developers who are taking the plunge to MMOs will either make it, or hopefully survive a failure so they can continue making QUALITY games that made them reputable in the first place. It would be horrible not to see another game from BIOWARE if SWTOR doesnt make the budget.

    To my fellow gamers: If you have friends, they are the best fun multiplier whether it is a guild raid a five man at the heroic/expert dungeon or at the pub. They can compensate for most of the game’s shortcomings. Play the game as if it is a single player will extended content. Move on and experience other games to avoid the grindy nature that will inevitably come. You should not get attached to things too much in life, let alone a game.

    Do not settle for average crap. Vote with your dollars and with constructive feedback on forums.

    The gaming State of America can be made strong again. Together we can make change we can all believe in!

    This message was brought to you by the Play better Sh*t foundation (PBS) the McArthur foundation and sensible, emo, and trolling posters like you. Thank you!

  • I’m really enjoying Rift.

    I don’t care that it’s not innovative or revolutionary. Everything innovative in this genre since SWG has bombed. And even with SWG they panicked and took out the innovative stuff to make it just like everyone else (which drove off everyone).

    Lots of products we buy aren’t innovative. My bed isn’t innovative. Nor is my desk. My phone is, but I wish it wasn’t because I don’t know how to work any of its innovative features.

    The priority for a game should be that it’s good.

  • Trion made a quality WoW knock off. No more , no less. I left after my first month because .. well… Its like WoW , worse in some areas, and not significantly better in other

    I think the dev team is very responsive and they churn out patches and fixes at record speed. The main problem is imho that they dont know themselves what they trying to accomplish, beyound “make it good just like that game with 13 mill subs”. Uninspired clone.

    Fallen Earth was great game , of a good quality too. Imho they failed to capitlize on sandbox aspect and provide good lasting world pvp (only type of content which is relatively inexpensive to develop)- without it FE just had no end game. They went more “wow’esque” way -more instances, more “raids”. They failed.

  • It’s CNN ladies – a publicity piece for CNN; look at the audience for that article – it ain’t us! All marketing is 90% BS.

    Do your collective panties get bunched in knots when Bioware releases marketing “developer” videos? How about how revolutionary GW2 is going to be?

    Rift is the first MMO launch we’ve had in a long while that went smoothly, shipped polished, and is enjoying some moderate success.

    Rift does not invalidate your investment in WoW (your hemorrhoids do).

    Any success Rift achieves it deserves, despite the market dominance of Blizzard. Competition breeds innovation; we all should be giving eachother high-fives and not spinning some bullsh*t post responding to some other bullish*t CNN marketing fluff piece.

  • Oh my. I thought the honeymoon period would last a little longer.

    How many times will people hype the hell out of a game, then talk about how lame it really is two months later? Honestly. It’s so predictable.

  • @Toxic: Whew, good thing we never hyped it.

    @We Fly Spitfires: All true, but that doesn’t mean we can’t call them on it.

  • In my mind it’s now a Warhammer or an Aoin. It had a few cool things that kept me intrested for a few months of free beta play and about 3 weeks of live. Still waiting…

  • Sorry to hop back in so late, but regarding Noizy’s “In the latest Quarterly Economic Newsletter, CCP stated they had 357,000 accounts at the end of 2010. I don’t know how many actual players that equates to.”

    To get back to Keen’s question about it; I haven’t verified this, but it doesn’t strike me as a fallacy. The thing to take away from this though is how many are actually online daily. For instance at 11pm PDT, there are 30k people logged in. One server. A massive universe, of course, but still it is just one server. I believe their record was somewhere around 60k accounts logged in. They keep a tight record of it, and publicize it constantly. It is an event for them.

    Which is amazing, if you think about it. Before you log on to EvE, you have a clear-cut no B.S. number of how many people are actually online. That is a ballsy move for CCP, but in my eyes it makes me respect them a hell of a lot. The fact that they keep actual numbers and records of this stuff and dole that info out to the public is amazing. It shows they actually have faith in their product. Something I think all future MMO companies should take note of. Stop tooting your own horns with useless dribble, and actually stand by some facts that will impress people.

    Also, CCP was no great burst of sunshine when EvE launched. They were a small independent company and the launch was rife with horrors. But, they got their crap together and pulled through. I think a lot of that came from actually having an innovative product and a clear cut idea of what THEY wanted. Instead of trying to cater to the masses.

    As an aside, I’m not some EvE pusher or anything. I actually cannot handle playing the game personally. Something about the spaceships and UI just makes me feel separated from everything, so I can never immerse myself into it. Regardless, I do recognize a fine product and company when I see it 😉

  • Regardless of whatever enjoyment folks may or may not have in Rift at the moment, it was a successful, polished launch of a AAA sub-based mmorpg.

    As a fan of the genre…the entire genre of sub-based mmorpg’s…I consider Rift a big win for the future of my hobby.

  • A big win? You haven’t thought this through.

    If all it takes to be successful in the MMORPG genre is to make a clone of the most successful game and make sure it’s polished, I don’t think there’s much hope for the genre itself.

  • @Cache: The genre itself has suffered stinging blows with AoC, W:AoR, Tabula Rasa…All big budget sub based games that innovated before they polished. So yes, I’ll take a successful clone at this point if only to ensure further games get the funding they need to get developed. The more virtual worlds get created, the more opportunities there are for growth.

  • There’s been one “successful” MMO launch in the past 12 months, and that MMO’s creators probably won’t even think of it as successful, because there haven’t been the retention they would have wanted.

    DCUO was, and is, fun. It’s just not fun for an MMO length of time, but for the time you played it, it was new and interesting. Bravo. Hopefully it turns into one of these games, like EVE, that just keeps on chugging.

  • @Rawblin – Yes, CCP does display the concurrency numbers of active characters when you log in. Heck, they even expose the API so that sites like Eve-Offline can keep track of the concurrency numbers. But that doesn’t mean that’s how many actual players the servers hold. I know I multi-box just about every time I play and that many players do the same. If you told me the average Eve player had 3 accounts, I’d believe it.

    And even though I have two accounts, I’m always leery of pushing Eve Online because it is so different from the rest. But is it significant that when people point to a game that is really different than WoW, they frequently point to a sci-fi game from an Icelandic indie studio that was first published 18 months before WoW?

    Sorry for the tangent, but in Rift I’m an Eve tourist whose just about ready to go back to New Eden. Rift is a nice game for what it is, but I’m just burned out on the whole DIKU MMO format. But I’d recommend it over WoW for someone just starting to play.

  • ACHTUNG! ARENANET PLEASE NOTE! *Scalable* dynamic events do not work (at least not the way Rift does it)!

    The illusion that Rifts and invasions are any persistent threat that requires group coordination lasts about 5 minutes, before everyone realizes that their intervention is irrelevant. After that Rifts are just another form of level/gear grind and your “companions” in Rift raids just part of the background.

    So the *central* problem with Rift is not that it uncritically copies ideas that Blizzard should have rejected 7 years ago, its that it’s central distinguishing feature doesn’t create a group dynamic or tension in the gameplay. If Rifts worked everything else would be forgiven and I think many here would be playing…

    QUESTION: Do Arenanet have the answer in their implementation of dynamic events? Nothing they’ve said suggests that they’ve recognized that scalable “events” will lead to everyone “being alone together” just as surely as instances do in the first Guild Wars.

  • In GW2, they say that the events would be “freezed” after their individual final stage is finished, thus leaving a temporary change to the world depending on the outcome of each event.

    Sounds good in theory. But I fear that in reality the world of GW2 will be filled with “finished events” that you simply can’t participate, or maybe most of the events aren’t active during your playtime. OR the events you want to do aren’t active during your playtime.

    All of above aren’t acceptable to me.

  • Yeah, well marketing stuff. Typical, so i´m not surprised.

    Overall i agree with you on everything you said, even though you can easily pick apart interviews by other companies like Blizzard as well *shrug*

    But, i disagree with one thing, because it´s simply not true, i don´t know on what toaster you play Rift but that engine is not clunky compared to WoW. That´s not true in any way. I have played both games, WoW´s crapy and graphicaly subpar engine can´t hold up any meaningful amount of players in one place without a breakin of fps. Rift does handle it better. Both game lag out after a certain amount, but that doesn´t change the fact that Rift handles it better.

  • But, i disagree with one thing, because it´s simply not true, i don´t know on what toaster you play Rift but that engine is not clunky compared to WoW. That´s not true in any way. I have played both games, WoW´s crapy and graphicaly subpar engine can´t hold up any meaningful amount of players in one place without a breakin of fps.

    I know for a fact that WoW can handle more. Because I played both games at release with massive player battles. In WoW we had iron forge invasions at 2nd month of release, there was 4 raids on our side, and god knows how many alliance. It lagged a bit but was playable. That was back in 2004

    in Rift we had a stonefield pvp clash. with about 40 ppl on each side (that just 2 raids total in terms of wow ) . Whole zone came to crawl and server crashed shortly afterwards (that was 2nd week of release).

    Rift can handle ~60 ppl ok. Anything over 100 and it starts dying . Its not horrible , but in terms of performance can even hold a candle to wow

  • I play on an i-7, 8gigs ram, nvidia 460gtx 1.2gig, windows 7 64 bit. Rift runs, not even maxed settings, at 30fps. Games like WoW run at 135fps with better animations, smoother world interactions, and better performance in large battles.

    I’m not saying WoW is graphically superior, since that’s subjective.

    I run Rift nowhere near how well a game should run on my rig. I can play anything else on the market at 60fps or above.

  • I’ve not played Rift much since 1.1 because that patch wrecked the sounds (Melee anyway) and because my “playmate” is now playing the latest IL-2 game instead.
    When I do play it I am still impressed by what I see and for Rift runs at 60fps on Ultra settings with no issues in big battles.

    The Soul System is more than just a Talent Tree because with just 1 character I can play a greater variety of distinct roles not just different flavours of the same: my WoW Rogue was a Melee DPS character, in Rift my Rogue is Melee DPS; or Ranged DPS; or Tank or even support/healer.
    I just don’t need to make alts to play the game differently as there’s most options in one. I like that a lot and it is innovative compared to the MMOs I’ve played which tend to limit you far more.

    Regarding Guardian v Defiant: Plotwise you are working to the same goals from different angles and with the ability to talk to each other there’s opportunity to easily co-operate at times. On my server at least we’ve had plenty of battles in which the sides have yelled at each other (in character taunting) and agreed to work together to defeat a common NPC Invasion. Afterwards its interesting to see how many people honour the temporary truce and how many immediately start attacking the other faction….

    I’m not going to pay much attention to a marketing video but I am going to play the game awhile longer and probably drift away fully once my foot touches the treadmill…..

    Actually apart from the broken sound my biggest concern right now is that the Balance Dev (being the same guy who horrendously messed up WAR’s balance) has started sneaking Bright Wizard’s into Rift! I am hoping it’s all forum-hyperbole but I am deeply worried they let him near their classes after what he did!

  • I think everyone is bending the definition of ‘dynamic’ to fit what they think it should be. The rifts in Rift make the world dynamic, please stop trying to change the definition of dynamic to make your point… it just discredits your points. Rifts may not be as random as some people like, sure not going to argue that. They may lack a lasting impact on the world, again no argument here, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dynamic. Rifts add an extra “element” of randomness to the overall standard MMO world. It’s like WAR PQs but at slightly more random locations.

    I think Rift’s greatest feature really is the class structure and that is probably going to be one of those features that keeps people playing and other games try to adopt. Rift is pretty much like every other MMO just with more polish. I feel parts of WoW, Aion, EQ2 and WAR in it when I play.

    To be fair Rift isn’t in direct competition with WoW, that’s true. If you enjoy WoW there is absolutely no reason to play Rift. They are just too similar. If you enjoy the standard theme park style MMO and are tired of WoW then you will probably enjoy Rift… however after seeing so many MMOs launch over the last 3 years, regardless of polish, I really think that the MMO community simply can’t be pleased. I think the final proof of this will be after SW:TOR launches. People will finally realize we just can’t be pleased.

  • Right now I’m still enjoying Rift. To be honest Rift is just my bridge until SWTOR comes out. The one thing I do wish is that they had some ORVR areas, but other than that its been a pretty solid game so far.

  • Rift and WoW are my bridges until GW2/SWTOR. That does not imply that GW2 or SWTOR will be great — don’t jump the gun and accuse me of thinking they’ll be any different. I try to play everything in case something is a gem.

    Rift is a 3 monther. WoW is a 3 monther until 4.1 when the game picks up speed and becomes a 5-6 monther.

  • I don’t think the soul system will be copied since it has horrendous balance implications, particularly for PvP. Adjustment is made much harder because they can’t stuff abilities into some primary attribute that other souls can’t use. Consequently, some souls have to pay heavily for abilities that are irrelevant to their playstyle. If, for instance you are ranged marksman, why should you be gimped because you *could* make a build with stealth?

  • @Keen
    I’m not accusing you of anything. I would say you are very realistic about MMOs now, more so than you were a few years back. I just wonder if any MMO can ever be more than a 3 monther for most people now.

    @Roq
    We will see. Rift is going to have to figure out alot of balancing tricks to make the system work. Assuming they are even slightly successful it will make it that much easier for another company to adopt and build on the system. I love the Soul system though, which is interesting because I made fun of it prior to playing. As a cleric I can do ANYTHING. If I level 4 characters I can they play every class in the game. I made a Warrior Priest cleric which is just as fun to play a the WP was in WAR.

  • @Epiny: That’s a very accurate conclusion. No game will EVER compare to your first. Period. We spend the rest of our lives looking for a feeling that will never come again, and we scrutinize based on this feeling. We all do it. It’s no foreign concept to us. Rift isn’t a good game because it’s a WoW alternative. It’s a good game, because, well, it’s a good game. It’s polished and enjoying a fairly decent success at the moment. What more could you ask for?

    Innovation? Where? Give me an idea of “innovation” that isn’t just a rehashed idea from games past. I don’t think there’s an idea I could ever come up with that would be truly “new and innovative” to the genre. It’s not about what a game does differently. It’s about what a game does right. Did it interest you? Good. It didn’t? Then keep looking. That’s about as far as it should go these days.

  • @Roq: I’m leveling a Marksman right now, actually. Though, I’m not sure where you’re going with the stealth comment. Marksman is quite possibly the highest DPS soul for a Rogue Calling right now. The game will ALWAYS attempt to balance itself around all possibilities. Does it mean it will do so? Almost assuredly not. No game is ever truly balanced. Though, I do agree. The soul system makes for an awful mess with balance, but it’s a nice system all the same.

    Maybe they could do something with more PvP souls. Aside from just the “basic assortment of PvP tools” souls they have right now. Keep those, but souls designed for damage dealing/healing/tanking, what have you. Yet, they’re PvP souls. So they would be strictly balanced/geared towards PvP. I think it could truly seperate the two. However, it would require restrictions on soul usage. Namely, PvE and PvP souls could not be used in conjunction.

  • @Shadrah
    I agree no MMO ever compares to your first but that isn’t entirely what I meant. EQ was my first MMO and I played it for years. WoW was my 2nd long term MMO, which again I played for years. I’ve played nearly every MMO in the last 10 years but those are the only two that could really hold me past the 3 month mark. WAR and DAoC are the only other 2 MMOs that made it past 3 months but never like WoW or EQ.

    I started playing WoW at the end of Vanilla and all the way through TBC. I played for 3 months when Wrath came out, then a few months off and on until Cata came out, and now again about 3 months. Since TBC I’ve really only been able to play WoW for 3 months at a time before I get bored. Maybe it’s me but I just feel like MMOs get boring faster than they use to.

  • “I can play anything else on the market at 60fps or above.” Including LOTRO which is graphically superior to Rift.

  • @Epiny: That feeling is mostly because MMOs are less time involved now than they used to be. The sheer time it took to do anything in EQ made it last longer than three months. Despite it being a good game or not. Now MMOs are made for the casual crowd. Which, can be good, but is mostly bad. There needs to be a balance. EQ is to an extreme just like WoW is. They need to find a middle ground. Something with enough content to invest yourself to, but not with too much that it feels like that’s ALL you do.

  • It makes obtaining gear easier. For me, if I can log in and get gear without having to grind it so much then it gives me incentive to get gear from one place and go to the next.

    Mind you, getting gear to get gear sucks but it sucks less when it’s less of a grind.

  • @Epiny: I made a cleric too – She’s a one babe holy tankette that can melee, damage at range and has a menu of heals that would shame a hospital.

    Try making my first choice (marksman) though and its not much fun trying to stay alive, never mind doing any damage to anything – really leeching is the only PvP playstyle in which that toon might be competitive and even if I did try that (I don’t of course) she might catch a cold or something.

    So just about the most unbalanced game ATM. No doubt they’ll try and fix that if they get too much QQ, but I don’t reckon they’ll ever really be able to balance a system with so many variables.

  • I would be fine with a game like EverQuest again where it took months, or years to reach max level. The focus in EQ was always on grouping. Even at max level you had to run groups to maintain exp lost from raids. If the game is focused around the “experience” of leveling up then I’m on board. I started following Brenda Brathwaithe’s blog a few months back and she said something that really struck a chord in me…

    “Focus on second-to-second play first. Nail it. Move on to minute-to-minute, then session-to-session, then day-to-day, then month-to-month (and so on). If your second-to-second play doesn’t work, nothing else matters. Along these lines, if your day-to-day fails, no one will care about month-to-month, either.”

    The game has to be fun. The combat has to be fun. If being in a group with your friends just out killing monsters is fun then the game CAN work. If that simple task is boring then it can’t work. Grinding can be good if it is fun. The only other problem I have is that with a game so focused on leveling it is harder to stay with your friends. If the end isn’t the point we need a better leveling system that allows us to continue to play with our friends and feel rewarded regardless of character power level.

    In most MMOs I fall behind because I have more responsibilities than my friends. Now I understand that time should be rewarded, I don’t want the leveling system to give me a handicap because of my other responsibilities. I just want the ability to play with them at some point other than racing to the end game… which is why I race to the end. To catch my friends.

    Ps plugging her blog: http://bbrathwaite.wordpress.com/

  • The whole lagging issue has to do with the never ending visual arms race where “realistic” is bandied about as a goal and marketing point. This problem has existed since the near beginning of 3D gaming. The consequences are herky jerky visuals because bad coding or hardware can not keep up with the demands of the game. You see this in single player games. CCP is brilliant in that its in space and the major rendering issues consist of ships, weapon effects, stations, explosions. How ambitious is Dust 514 and station walking? Will you be to see battles outside a station or over your planet raging?

    Companies need to look at sales numbers of all the computer hardware being sold in a market for the past 10 years. Then conceive and code for the lower end equipment, just like Blizzard did. However, go for the hundreds upon hundreds of avatars in one location, while using combat effects all at once, and run smoothly for your goal. Just as CCP strives for and often accomplishes.

    Phasing is does not work if you are trying not to solo. If one person is not complete with one quest line then out of sync phased areas occurs between you and the other person. Depending on how far behind the other person is to “catch up” you just work on that alt till it happens. This goes to Keen’s accurate description of how blizzard, as others do, do not add content. Instead they create hurdles to slow you down.

    I am with Damage in sentiment regarding GW2,SWTOR, and Tera at this point. I am not that enthusiastic and expect slightly from them. Tera seems to be an attempt at introducing an MMO with soft-core porn to the American market. The type I would read about existing in other markets. If I ever wanted porn there are plenty of sites for that viewing. I want porn separate from my games.

    And as far as levels go. How about no more than 20 real levels. No semi-levels as you would see in DnD with a level divided in quarters. Then use the time you would have to take on spreading out at what level I get that spell or ability at. Then hold the line from increasing the level cap and just add more content to the game.

    As far as pvp goes. As it has been said by others before: Make a decision whether pvp will be included regardless of a server type. It you decide pvp will be a part of it then design the game around pvp and make pve a light part of the game.

  • Rift is a decent game but generic and certainly not addressing -any- “shortcomings that this genre still has.”

    The very best sentiment about Rift I have heard. When I read this article the one thing I latched onto was not all the blatant exaggerations but the simple idea that Trion went about designing the technology before deciding to make an MMO.

    The simple fact that Trion’s development team fell into so many of the same obvious traps that other MMO developers (Blizzard included) have fallen pray to doesn’t bode well for the overall future of the game.

    Trion has a good PR department for sure, but it can not help but to solve the in game problems inherent in the overall structure of the game.

    You pointed out that even Hartsman does not understand the role PvP and factions have in his game. This lack of understanding is more and more apparent as you get farther a long in Rift. At levels 1-25 things are all sunshine and roses, at levels 35-50 things turn into something very different.

    One can only hope that someday we see an MMO developer understand that the definition of the word “Content” is not rehashed and reused art with different names associated with it. It is actual engaging game play. It is story and it is a difference in the status quo.

    One day we can hope to see a return to the old, where exploration, social interaction and plain old hard work become more represented in the MMO genre once again. Where the “end game” is not an amusement park of 5mans and 10/20/25 man “raid” content. An end game with many different types of gameplay that matters. We had that once… its too bad that Blizzard stole it from us so completely.

  • As I’ve said in a previous blog comment over the past few weeks. Blizzard didn’t cause the current state of games. They offered a choice. We as gamers decided to be complacent with that choice. The market doesn’t evolve based on it’s own decisions. The market evolves based on what we’re okay with. If, in our hearts, we truly disliked the state of the market.. it would change. It would be FORCED to change.

    The blame isn’t on the evil corporations, folks. The blame is on us. We’re the consumers. We CHOOSE to buy the product. As long as we do, the product won’t change. Innovation is born through the need for something better. Until that need is truly generated, it won’t happen. We can blame companies all we want, but until we stop giving them money for mediocrity.. they’ll keep giving it to us.

  • How does one force change when the status quo is such as it is. When there is nothing but the same paradigm across most of the games on the market there is not much in the way of choices but to not choose at all.

    When the current product is not inherently bad, but it is inherently “less than” what we want, how do you force innovation or change in that product? How do you force change without saying “the hell with everything” and moving away from the genre as a whole til it is more than it is?

  • @ Shadrah

    I agree with what you’re saying in principal. But, the fallacy is, of course, that not everyone agrees about what is bad or not. There are millions of people playing WoW that are perfectly happy with it or, at the least, believe it to be the best product of its kind available.

    A small sub-set of gamers standing on the outside chanting the innovation mantra or the “return to your roots” mantra is not, in my opinion, an effective means by which to effect change.

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