Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Fake escape

Let's play a little game, a small quiz: I'll give you a list of 5 games, and you tell me which 2 of those 5 resemble each other the most. Ready? Here we go:

{Call of Duty Modern Warfare - World of Warcraft - Pro Evolution Soccer - Shogun 2 Total War - Rift}

Too easy? Maybe try a harder list:

{Rift - Puzzle Pirates - World of Warcraft - Ultima Online - EVE Online}

Hmm, still everybody giving the same answer. But even if further narrow down our list to lets say {Lord of the Rings Online - Age of Conan - Warhammer Online - World of Warcraft - Rift}, most people would still pick out WoW and Rift as being the most similar games on that list. In fact it is kind of hard to come up with a list containing WoW, Rift, and three other games and have the majority of the answers pick WoW and another game but Rift.

That is not to say that Rift is a "WoW Clone", or that there aren't significant differences between Rift and WoW. But it is hard to deny that there are also significant similarities between the two games. Fortunately the MMO blogosphere is full of masters of denial; and so it isn't uncommon to find blogs in which a blogger who spent considerable time to tell his audience that World of Warcraft is fundamentally flawed as a game concept now praises Rift as being the greatest game ever. That has more to do with some people's need to rationalize their game choices than with any real fundamental differences between World of Warcraft and Rift.

Therefore I am highly sceptical of the advice often repeated in the comment section of the Cataclysm replayability thread: Combatting World of Warcraft burnout by switching to Rift. Not because I don't believe that Rift isn't a good game, or that I'd deny that by nature a new game has more fresh content than a 6-year old game. But because I doubt that Rift is *sufficiently* different from World of Warcraft to not have the same burnout reappear in a few months. Or in other words: If Rift is the solution, then the problem with World of Warcraft can't have been all that fundamental.

I am reluctant to switch to Rift, because I'm afraid that will quickly turn out to be a fake escape. It won't take long before the same social patterns evolve in Rift that I dislike in World of Warcraft: The "leet" complaining about the "morons & slackers". The virtual idolatry of the purple pixel e-peen. The fundamental belief that somebody who advances faster and further in a video game is a better human being than somebody who doesn't. Of course in a new game these old attitudes might take on new forms and express themselves in new vocabularies. But I seriously doubt that Rift somehow magically managed to solve all the social problems of the MMORPG genre. People might still be too busy with the new shiny, but very quickly they will fall back into the bad old habits.

I think I'll play more single-player and browser games in the coming months, instead of another MMORPG. I'll play WoW when I feel like it, and will unsubscribe when my weekly playtime naturally dwindled to nothingness. I'll certainly try out Star Wars: The Old Republic later this year, which is probably slightly less similar to World of Warcraft than Rift is. But I'm not holding my breath hoping for any miracle.
Rift is absolutely not fundamentally different from WoW; and personally I don't know how long it will keep me interested as I am really not looking to play anything like WoW all over.

I don't think Rift is a wow 'clone' either, but it's deep in the currently predominant MMO tradition that Blizzard has shaped, and there's no denying that. I can see why they would follow that strategy, too.

what I enjoy about it the most for the time being, is that it's simply something fresh and undiscovered. together with a few other aspects that I personally prefer over WoW (such as graphics or the class system). I'm playing it as if it was a classic RPG at the moment and that works for me.
but my next big MMO interest (if I ever have one again) will have to deviate a lot more from the common path and dare to play at new concepts, that's for sure. Here's to GW2 hoping.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
There's a difference between "burned out on WoW" and "burned out on MMOs".

I find that most people that switched to Rift did so for the following reasons:

a) It's familiar. Most people will include this on their Cons list, but the truth is that being able to log in and not having to figure everything out from scratch is a relief for a lot of people (casual gamers in particular).

b) It kinda forces you to mingle and socialise with other people. Considering WoW is turning into a lobby game fast (queue for everything from the capital and idle/chat), venturing out into the world and participating again in world events is refreshing. The world might be smaller but it certainly feels more... "alive" I guess.

c) As you mentioned in an earlier post, the phasing kills the expansion's replayability with alts.

d) A lot of people finally got turned off by Blizzard's constant content-rehash and just switched games.
You can see numerous decisions in Cataclysm that just reak of lazy design. I'm talking about the mostly bland boss design of BoT (excluding Chogal), Nef and Onyxia coming back, rutallus revisiting us in BH, KJ being reskinned for the Sinestra encounter, the Descent trash being copies of BWL bosses and now ZG and ZA 2.0 .

Rift may not be groundbreaking, but at least is new and pushes people to participate in the community which is a breath of fresh air for a lot of people.
I don't know if Rift would be a fake escape for you or not. I don't even know if a real escape is a good idea considering the popularity of this blog with WoW players.

But I do know Rift is such an enjoyable experience for this burnt-out WoW player. I am getting flashbacks to my experiences in vanilla WoW. I know that in time and expansions, I might feel the same way about Rift that I do currently about WoW. But I don't see that as a negative as I still hold WoW in high regard regardless of the fact I personally cannot stand to play it ever again.

Also, what other game engenders feelings like this one?

"One thing I love about this game and leading parties through instances, is how it almost feels like some kind of card game where you choose your deck before the fight. I love having a group full of people with 3+ instance-specific roles, and being able to decide what role I want each person in to beat a specific encounter. Making everyone go aoe dps for the trash, some bosses with a mix of aoe and single target, and archon here and a bard there, it forces you to learn every soul in the game so you know exactly what you want to optimize your chances."
The fundamental belief that somebody who advances faster and further in a video game is a better human being than somebody who doesn't.
No, just a better player. Shockingly enough, people enjoy spending their time with others on their own level.
@Chris K

"Rift may not be groundbreaking, but at least is new"

Absolutely agree and this is enough for jaded-WoWers needing a holiday. There's nothing wrong with offering WoW plus some tweaks.

I will be very interested to see how Blizzard approach talent trees in 5.0. If Rift can keep stealing subscribers up until then, it wouldn't be out of the question to see more WoW classes become hybrids...
Shockingly enough, people enjoy spending their time with others on their own level.

And it is exactly this which then leads to somebody else complaining how WoW has become a "lobby game".

Also, while people enjoy to separate themselves into "us" and "them", that is a neverending process, because you can always subdivide the "us" into smaller sub-groups. Ultimately that leads to the solo MMORPG.
Rift is about as similar to WoW as 2004 WoW was to EQ2. Similar cores, but one game just does everything better.

That's assuming you don't find nameless pugging of faceroll content and pop culture 'humor' thrown in your face 24/7 the apex of MMO gaming. If you do, WoW is awesome.

But for you personally, every game since 2004 has been a fake escape, you always come back to WoW whenever Blizzard re-releases some content. That however says a lot more about you than it does about those MMOs.

Considering the cost is not a barrier, and you claim to be so bored with WoW atm, I do wonder why you are working so hard to avoid Rift?
"Rift may not be groundbreaking, but at least is new and pushes people to participate in the community which is a breath of fresh air for a lot of people."


the world of Rift does feel a lot more alive than the world of WoW. but then, that's not hard is it.

I also agree you should at least look into Rift for a week or two, Tobold; who knows, you might find it to be a lot more satisfying than you can imagine. :)
If you like WoW, and think WoW and Rift are similar, you SHOULD play Rift. Consider it another WoW-expansion, with new content.

But if you want to get away from the social problems, I'd suggest something else: start an anonymous lvl1 or transfer one of the unrecognizable alts to my guild and see a very different social group from the inside. You might get surprised.

If not, you'll have enough personal experience to criticize this terrible den of elitism!
'But I seriously doubt that Rift somehow magically managed to solve all the social problems of the MMORPG genre. '

Actually, it does seem to have avoided, perhaps by accident, the trifecta of WoW-specific social problems:

1. permanent arena teams
2. required raid team > allowed raid size
3. system-made groups containing strangers who have solid incentives not to want to group with each other

Coupled with what looks to be a faster delivery rate of content (no doubt enabled by a better game engine and tools), then it does look like it has a good chance of having a much higher top-end retention rate than WoW.
Interestingly, I may have moved from WoW to RIFT even if RIFT were absolutely identical to WoW. What really torqued me about Cataclysm is not primarily the current state of the game, but that the devs moved the game from a state I liked to one I did not. This history dependence destroyed the trust I had in them to do the right thing.
That's assuming you don't find nameless pugging of faceroll content and pop culture 'humor' thrown in your face 24/7 the apex of MMO gaming.

I played Rift in beta, and I was facerolling the content, so I don't see where the difference between WoW and Rift is supposed to be here. Actually WoW's biggest problem right now is that pickup groups *don't* faceroll heroics content any more. Leeching rift invasion groups doesn't look like the solution of all WoW's social problems to me.

If your only problem with WoW is the pop-culture references (which I'm easily able to ignore), then the difference between these games is really just minor. Wouldn't you agree that for example Darkfall is far more different from WoW than Rift is?
I haven't played Rift yet, but from what I read I suspect that in some ways it is not so much a substitute or a clone as it is "the real WoW experience" which WoW somehow lost along the way...
Ugh, Blogger just ate my reply.

Short version: Rift is easy in the first zone, as it should be. Invasions and such get more complex/difficult as you go. Questing is easy, no surprise. Instances are overall slightly harder, PUGs actually fail.

I've yet to see someone who has gotten well into Rift say it's a WoW clone of no value. Like 2004 WoW showed, a lot of little things done better add up to a superior experience. (And that's a general view compared to themepark MMOs, which does not include what WoW has become since 2004 and it's continual progress towards a paid single player game with a lobby endgame.)
Indeed the games are very similar. Sometimes it's even absurd, like the color title system; red for aggressive mobs and yellow for non-aggressive mobs instead of copying the IMHO superior rainbow color system used in e.g. EQ2 and LOTRO.

But there is one big difference that was very important to me; the graphics. WoW really annoyed me in the end with its low count of polygons, the comic art, and the LEGO colors. Gameplay is king, but graphics are also important to me.

I had posted a similar observation a while back on the rift boards. Using the roles in an instances is a bit like playing a hand of poker where instead of being dealt 5 cards, you deal 5 people 2-4 cards each and then after talking about what cards they have, each player throws in a card to make a the best hand of 5 cards you can to play against the dealer.

I like that alot. It means you can take virtually any 5 people and be able to make a functioning group. It further means that you don't simply throw it in if you find that you brought the wrong 5 people for a particular boss fight. You don't have to swap people, you may be able to just swap roles. I have been in fights where the rogue swapped into a bard role because it was so healing intense. There was another fight in a different instance where another rogue swapped into a tanking role so he could of tank two adds.

It is great to be able to hit a new boss, get wiped because of something unexpected and then see a group sit back and figure out how to over come it with what they have.

I think this is the essence of what makes the soul based class system with up to 4 roles so compelling. It is not just that it is a bit different but they way that difference plays into the game is huge.
To follow on, you say that Rift is basically not enough different and so if you are burnt out on one you will burn out very fast on the other.

But this assumes that a game that is only 5% different will only feel novel 5% of the time. I think you underestimate how much impact a little bit of change can have.

It only takes a little bit of carbon to turn iron into steel.

I think the rift event and the soul systems have the same effect on Rift. Yes the game is at least 90% similar to WoW and at least another 5-8% is similar to the other wow like games that Rift borrowed from like EQ2 and Warhammer and such.

But the impact of rift events on how the game plays and feels is astounding. Having most of the players in a zone come together on the fly to defend a town is a lot of fun. To be headed down a road and see a death rift active just a ways off draws you to it because you know it wont be their in 10 minutes. So you head for it and find a few people already there and you join them and take care of it. That breaks of the quest grinding monotony. Not that you wont get back to your questing or don't want to get back to it but you have these short interludes scattered all about as well as much larger zone wide events that you can get into.

I don't know how long this novelty will last but I do know for now that I am having lots of fun. It is very much like being able to continue playing in a visually upgraded WoW that has a significant twist added to it with the rift events. Familiar yet totally different. yeah, I know, not totally but it feels that way at times.

You sound like you are working very hard to not want to try the game out to any great extent. Not a knock, just an observation.

As for TOR being more different from WoW than Rift I am not so sure. I had been thinking for some time now that TOR sounds like it will be just more of the same. Bigger, better, with voices and lightsabers but otherwise just WoW in space. Which wont be a bad thing at all. Of course what may be significantly different may be the how they handle dialog and how that impacts your characters direction. I think that could be their major point of innovation. So I expect that to be the question. rift dynamics vs permanent impact of dialog choices. Both add elements of the dynamic to the game play. But it remains to be seen which will be more similar to WoW.
Brilliant, and true as well. The similarities were so striking during beta that I couldn't get past them.

WoW is already the best WoW out there, so that's why I'm not buying.
it's a WoW clone of no value

Where did I ever say that?

As Cataclysm showed, changing WoW to a "PuGs actually fail" mode solves nothing. So not only is that not a difference between WoW and Rift, it also wouldn't be a solution if it was.

Wasn't it you who had some far more fundamental criticism of WoW's way of guiding people through zones by holding their hands through quests? That was exactly my experience of Rift. Yes, there were the rifts and invasions added on top of that, but that didn't really change much. See a rift, join the people fighting there, hit the loot pinata. Nobody would be surprised if WoW added that as a feature in an upcoming patch or expansion, there are already some holiday events which work similar to that.

Thus the question is not whether Rift is a "clone", but whether the similarities in gameplay won't cause us to get bored of Rift in 6 months.
Here's why I left WoW for Rift:

1) Talent trees - Rift's system for Talents is much more exciting than WoW's, especially after the talent constriction in Cataclysm. In my opinion WoW really took a risk and failed with the Talent tree in Cataclysm. The options in Rift are endless and much more interesting.

2) I really like the Ulduar and ICC model of raiding. Start off with a few very easy bosses, then a few moderately challenging bosses, then some very challenging bosses. That makes it easy to get your foot in the door. Looking at Halfus for example, not that difficult of an encounter if you are a decent raider. If you are sliding to the more M&S side of the scale it is quite complex. It makes it impossible to raid with your friends and family who have no interest in managing bosses with multiple complex abilities. With Rift for example, we can form a 10man raid, open a tear, and my wife can come along outside of group, and help out a little, be a part of the action. Even if she can't loot she still feels involved.

3)Pugging with LFG - When LFG was introduced players were already fairly stratified by iLvl, T9 I believe. Which meant If you were over ilvl 250 then later 265 that if you used LFG you avoided most of the M&S due to the finder grouping by ilvl when possible. Within a few days of Cata release the entire WoW population went from stratified by ilvl to iLvl 330ish. This put the entire WoW population in one big pool for Cata Heroics. Add to that raid boss level of complexity on 5 man bosses and you have a recipe for disaster.

4) The Org (or SW) effect. I know you have beaten this one to death. But I just got tired of sitting in Org waiting to do something. It got to the point where I would just rather log off and do something else than sit in Org any longer.

5) Rated BG's. I had hoped these would be more popular. But the majority of the player base seems to not really be into it. I guess the reward for the effort is low, but I am not really certain why there not taking off.

I think of it like this, if you have an old bike that still works, and someone gives you a new bike for your birthday. Do you keep riding the old bike til it falls apart and then use the new bike, or just jump on the new bike now?
Gevlon has a point. Can't remember where I saw it but I remember someone posting that...

"Rift is the bestest WoW expansion evar"

That made me chuckle
My bet is that in a few months, after the "new" factor has passed, people will be dumping Rift en-masse, just like it has happened in the past. The launch of Aion sounded similar and we know how it ended.

And when I read phrases like "I am getting flashbacks to my experiences in vanilla WoW." it just confirms my interpretation: finding the same "new" factor which was present early in WoW. Problem is, this is not something which can work on the long term, it's just the initial feeling until you become familiar with the system.
I like WoW raiding, but just about everything else is boring me to tears.

So, in between raid nights I play Rift.

To me, it's not so much that Rift is better than WoW, but it is DIFFERENT. A new game world to explore, and new game system to play with. It's not boring - at least not for me yet. And it definitely does not suck. So, the majority of my weekly gaming hours have been devoted to Rift, but I still log into WoW on raid nights.

I really don't think I will drop WoW for Rift. But I will eventually drop WoW for some other game (can't wait to try Guild Wars 2) if they don't get in gear and add some interesting things to do in WoW. WoW is just too damn boring right now.
It's an escape. I'll give you that. Fake? No.

Was WoW a fake escape from Everquest?

MMO's are like books. I read the WoW book and put it down. I've picked up the Rift book and I'm quite enjoying it.

It's a shame you're going to miss out on such a good book because you have fear.

I may pickup the WoW book later and reread it for fun.

I'm currently waiting for the Guild Wars 2 book.

I enjoy reading.

I can't predict the future. I can only speak from experience and my experience has been a great one so far. I'm very excited to see the future content coming down the road from Trion whereas at this point in time with WAR, AOC, and Aion, I was trying very hard to justify continuing past the first month.
As far as similarities between the games are concerned:

There are only so many ways to push pixels across a computer screen. The limits of input tech, and limited ability to derive feedback from the game, means there are a limited number of ways to control and interact with the game world. Because of this, all games of a given genre are basically the same.

WoW is like Rift is like LoR is like AOC is like Warhammer is like EQ2 is like Aion is like FF11 is like FF14 is like...

Pick one.

Or pick three.

Whatever. The criteria for any choice will be highly subjective.
I am curious as to why you left EQ2 out of your lists. Anyone who has played WoW and Eq2 for more than just a free month will probably see more EQ2 similarities if they play rift. The quest system is similar to WoW, yes, but it is also similar to EQ2, LotRO, AoC, etc.

As for Rifts being rinse and repeat loot pinatas, I guess that depends. Many have objectives to complete. I also love seeing the earth underneath it go from a sandy beach or green pasture to a coral reef or molten lava.

I left WoW 6+ months ago, so I honestly didn't want this game based on all the WoW talk surrounding it. Now that I have had a chance to play it, I am glad my hubby surprised me with it. I see more of EQ2 which I reluctantly quit, than WoW, which I gladly quit.

I can't say for a fact that this will hold my interest for years, but you couldnt say the same about WoW when you started playing it either. You didnt know you would be playing it years later, you just wanted to see what it was like.
"In fact it is kind of hard to come up with a list containing WoW, Rift, and three other games and have the majority of the answers pick WoW and another game but Rift."

I had no trouble at all:

WOW, WAR, Rift, LOTRO and Runes of Magic.

And when I read phrases like "I am getting flashbacks to my experiences in vanilla WoW." it just confirms my interpretation: finding the same "new" factor which was present early in WoW. Problem is, this is not something which can work on the long term, it's just the initial feeling until you become familiar with the system.

But it did work for WoW and I haven't heard a valid argument why it wouldn't for Rift. I think this argument about Rift replacing WoW or players getting bored with Rift quickly and going back to WoW is a bit misguided. Ideally we should hope for a more balanced scenaorio in which Rift, WoW and some other newcomers share the market. WoW blazed the trail by significantly increasing MMO market so there is potential for multiple valid competitors co-existing this space. Ultimately it will benefit the customers (players) as it will bring back innovation back to MMOs.

When I realized in Beta what impact an open-ended soul system with the ability to have up to 4 different specs would have on grouping dynamics, I just boggled at the possibilities.

So gratifying to see the possibilities manifest themselves in realities at release.
no offense syncaine but you must be a crap player if you struggled after the first zone in rift. The only time i died (not counting afk deaths )was trying a group quest solo.

So you criticise wow for its ease yet rift is exactly the same. You criticise WoWs combat with wasd 1, 1, 1, 2, 1 ..... Rift is the same. You criticise wow for its boring quests and bread crumb hubs ...... Umm rift is the same. Whats it to be chief ? Cant have it both ways. Or is it 'Im playing it so its awesome syndrome'.

Oh and lastly I heard rift was adding a dungeon finder. If that happens then I cannot wait to see what you have to say about that.
This is really tricky. 95% of Rift is a copy/paste. But the remaining 5% (character progression, rifts) shape the leveling drastically. I find myself fighting off invasions and closing rifts all the time. Looking at it this way, what I do in Rift has nothing to do with what I do in WoW.
In my opinion Rift is closer to LotRO than WoW, both from an artisitic and a gameplay point of view. The graphics and the combat always remind me of LotRO when playing Rift, graphics in a good but the combat in a bad way. WoW combat feels more polished and responsive in that regard.

DCUO is the only MMO I recently tried that really feels very different in a lot of aspects, and would therefore be an example of a non fake escape.
"Me" brings up a very good point. I think WoW, EQ2 and LotRO are all more similar to each other than any of the three are to Rift. All have different worlds. All have different feature sets but are still 95% similar. But the first three all play the same. leveling with quest hubs to a raid based end game that has pvp as an alternative. Not so sure on LotRO having PvP. Never played it that far. But the leveling game of all three is vitually identical in its feel. Rift has the same as a foundation but simply adding Rifts on top of that changes how it feels and plays out dramatically.

Also the class system for the first three is largely the same. The soul system is definitly the odd one out between the four.
Something hasn't been said yet:
Although Rift has copied almost everything from WoW, including cross-realm PvP battlegrounds, they skipped a LFD functionality completely.

Now, maybe that is due to time constrains, but maybe it is because they considered the Dungeon Finder a mistake. Anyway, I am happy that there is no Dunfeon Finder in Rift; very happy!

In many ways Rift feels like classic WoW. And yes, Tobold. That is good ;)
Doesn't mstter if Rift burnout appears "in a few months". A few months enjoyable play is a great return on investment.

Even better, you then have two MMOs to ping-pong between, moving from one to another for a few months, then back again, by which time there will be new things to do.

Put enough MMOs into a rotation like this and you can have new stuff all the time.
Trying to post a reply, blogger failing. Might do a full response tomorrow.
According to Rift's producer, (see recent interview on Massively) they are currently working on an Looking For Group tool. Looking for Dungeon functionality is supposed to be one part of it. At first it is planned to be shard (server/realm/etc.) only, with the possibility of adding cross shard functionality later.
I really hope they hit the nail with that. I have yet to see any useful and popular LFG tool in EQ2, WoW, LotRO or WAR.
Rulez, I feared as much. Anyway, right now I am happy that there is no incentive to teleport, ae, loot. And that there is no feeling of hurry once you made it into a dungeon.
For some bizarre region I think you would enjoy Magicka.

It is certainly different from World of Warcraft!
I think TB made some good points:
WoW was derivative from EQ and others
Rift is closer to clone of WoW
Being a clone is not a bad thing.

One could go eastern philosophy and say Rift's closeness to WoW is its biggest strength (time-tested ideas with easy transition for the 13m) and biggest weakness (does not really address the bored of this type of MMO burnout)

I do think all the poor design choices in Cata give Rift a far better chance for success than I ever would have thought.

#3 I thought the LK LfG worked the exact opposite of what you said. It tried to pair undergeared players with overgeared to increase their chance of success.

#5 My opinion is the failure of rated BGs was a priori quite predictable - premades. The advantage that BGs had over arena/raids is they were spontaneous. You could do one spur of the moment. No drama on raid times; whose on the team; attendance, calendar invites ...
Hardcore PvPers will continue to do their arenas. The PvE and casual PvP who are going for that much structure will raid.

The target market of people who want to non-casually PvP with considerablely (10 much harder to assembler than 2,3,5) more structural overhead who don't want to arena is unsurprisingly small.
Haha, that's what I was thinking when I read all the comments in the previous posting. Really, I figure that the majority of people here are just basking in that new car smell, but when they reach the end of their content level, they'll be at the same place they were before with WoW. I wonder how many people here are even max level.
How is it a "fake escape" if you jump on the current bandwagon and enjoy a few months (with perhaps a low probability of longer) of a fresh new world before it inevitably goes down some unpleasant road?

Likely the reason people are raving about Rift is that it's merely social baggage that makes WoW so socially unpleasant.

Last night I ran a low level random (in WoW) that went smoothly, although someone was kicked for an unknown reason (I voted no). I died 2 seconds before the final boss went down. The healer stayed in the group at least 45 seconds before dropping without resurrecting me. I was puzzled (and miffed).

A new and fresh world without the social baggage, and likely I would have gotten the res, or not getting it wouldn't have bugged me so much. I have developed social standards in WoW, and the behavior of others impacts me more than it did when I first started playing.

A fresh new world is looking pretty good to me right now. And one that won't take 10 hours to figure out is definitely a bonus.

MMO social problems are created by the players, not the games. A new game, during it's newness, is when players will be most focused on learning and playing the game. The longer they play, very likely the more they will feel like they "pwn" the gameplay and will turn to asshattery.

But if they're asshats right now, I probably won't even notice.
What really surprises me, Tobold, is the logic fail in the post. You're worried about losing interest in Rift within the next 6 months, so your solution is to go and play single-player games (majority of which have 4hrs-4days gameplay value at best) or browser games of no depth?

It's like the guy whose long-term girlfriend turns into a raging hosebeast, so he decides to write off women forever and just play with himself.

No, man. Get back on that horse, start dating again. 3-6 months, the relationship might crash and burn, but you'll be having fun in that time.
Oh, @Nils:

Read the interview with the Rift dev Scott Hartsman during PAX East on Massively.

Actually, screwit. Quote:

Any updates on a dungeon finder? How close are you to getting it put in game?

"It goes down to that low-friction/no-friction thing. People want to be in groups with other players, and we know this. But they don't want it to be a big pain. We are holding back until we get something good done. We are working internally and we'll launch it when it's ready.

Initially our LFG will be single server, and we can always add cross-server if we need to. I'd like to go along with the players who favor single-server, as long as it still remains usable. Since it's easier and faster to do a single server one anyway, it's one of those cases where it's the right thing to do, so we're trying to make an LFG that does more than just take you to dungeons and make it more about getting into groups."

When he says, 'go along with those players who prefer single-server', I'd like to think that includes tacit approval of the one main reason most single-server advocates cite: community-building and avoiding the faceless randoms of other servers who can act like ass-hats with no fear of blacklisting.
For a guy struggling with his Rift-envy you sure seem to bring it up a lot tobold...

"That has more to do with some people's need to rationalize their game choices than with any real fundamental differences between World of Warcraft and Rift."
Ha ha, heard a guy at netscape say just about the same thing back when they had more market share than Internet Explorer...
So... just a question was Internet Explorer different ENOUGH from Netscape to dominate the web browser biz????
Is Safari really different from Internet Explorer??? Hmmm being not different seems to have some advantages.

"But because I doubt that Rift is *sufficiently* different from World of Warcraft to not have the same burnout reappear in a few months"
Ok so all those people who quit EQ to play Wow were just fighting burnout for 6 years?... SOME FIGHT I'D SAY!

"If Rift is the solution, then the problem with World of Warcraft can't have been all that fundamental."
DING DING DING ---- we have a winner the man can be taught

Tobold, buddy Rift is just the latest incarnation of an ideal. They are the latest in a long generation of games to realize the ideal fantasy game.

Just like Oracle is the latest to realize the product concept of databases
just like Microsoft is the latest to realize the product concept of desktop Operating systems
Just like Apple is the latest to realize the product concept of palm top devices

Tobold, YOU - yes "you" really like fantasy games. What you want is the entertainment value from that product.

Are you so commited to Star Wars that after part 3 came out you will never ever see a science fiction movie again?
OF COURSE NOT! - So why are you commited to the same ol' game? Fear? Burned too many times? Guilt about two timing your wow girlfriend?

Seriously, you are an informed consumer. You want entertainment but like the last guy at yesterdays club. You can't leave the comfort of "your place" for the party next door.

Rift is just the inevitable category killer... just as Wow was when it came out.
You played EQ you played Wow

but like someone not observant of industry cycles you don't realize that the Wow killer has come.
Yes I know we all thought it would be Star Wars... but I am really sceptical of Star Wars' ability to get air.

Star Wars is going to compete against both Wow AND Rift when it comes out so...
Don't count on too many fireworks... Star Wars had it's window open this last fall and they blew it BIG

FYI - in product adoption cycles there is a bell curve effect. 1 million accounts represents about 5-10% or what is called
the "early adopters" that implies that Rift's ultimate account peak will be 10-20 million.

Where do they come from? Easy
-Think of all the would be wow players who don't want to start "in the middle or end of a story"
-Think of all the would be wow players who didn't want to do the long slog up to max level where "everyone else is"
-Think of all the would be wow players who don't want to play with jerks and left before level 10 (you know the ones cata was supposed to keep)
-Think of all the final fantasy frustrated that like the art of FF but hate the game play
-Think of all Star Wars tecies waiting WAITING ans just want to play something until SWTOR comes out
-Think of all the hangers on of EQ/EQ2 that didn't want to change due to "wow superiority" admission

Just think about this thing being BIGGER than Wow!

The Trion CEO has the vision... the product seems to reflect that vision of interactive online games replacing other media namely movies.

So why the wait... experience the future today!
Reading the overwhelming response and Angrygamer's in particular makes me feel like part of a really over-zealous peer-pressure conversion cult. c.c
Thanks for the quote, Cam. Nice to read that they see the wisdom in server identity and even better if they don't even plan to include teleports.

I am perfectly fine - and always have been - with a helpful tool to find other people on your server who also want to run a dungeon right now. It is ridiculous that people have to spam a channel.
Rift is fun and I will play it until it is not fun. Who cares if it is like WoW and I might burn out on it in 3 or 6 months? As long as I have fun for those months my money is well spent.
Sadly RIFT showed just how much I don't like the MMO genre as a whole anymore.
I just love playing around with different soul combinations, it just seems endless fun to me ... but I'm usually a min/maxer but I just like to have fun in rift. The pvp seems allot smoother even when you don't know what you're fighting.

Sure it's new and all shiney, but already i see myself prefering rift over WoW for the long terms.

Already I am only wow-raiding, when I used to roll alts all the time and level up and be a bit social, the replay value seems to have been totally lost in the new expansion for me and I just can't bring myself to level even a second 80 through the same content as my main.

Don't get me wrong, I like wow, I like the hardcore modes (actually challenging) and I enjoy playing it with my friends, but Rift for now takes most of my time.
@Nils and honestly, Tobold and anyone else who wants to see behind the curtain a BIG part of the difference between WoW and Rift:

That interview is refreshingly candid, open, honest and relaxed and an indicator of one of the major differences I've detected between Rift and WoW: community engagement.

It took YEARS for Blizz to trot out Ghostcrawler to actively engage with the community to provide what the masses had been clamouring for: information that wasn't wrapped up in PR BS. Instead of 'we cannot confirm or deny what the devs are up to and only hint at changes on the horizon', GC was suddenly telling the forums what they were seeing, what they were planning, and their reasoning behind those plans. Best thing that ever happened for them, but it took them long enough.

Now you read, straight after launch, an interview with a Rift dev and what you see is no PR, no BS, no evasion or equivocation: just straight-shooting, cautious optimism, comparitively humble confidence and some well-justified pride in his team.

I've never seen this kind of discussion about launch day trials from Blizzard. It makes it real, it makes the devs human. And from the tone, you can tell it's not excuses - it's reasons. Good read. Highly recommend.
Hm. Interesting discussion, if a bit overheated.

For me, I am not currently playing RIFT, but I am tempted. Primarily I'm tempted because I really loved WoW:Classic and WoW:BC, was less fond of WoW:Wrath and am utterly disappointed in WoW:Cata. The changes put in by Ghostcrawler and the "B-team" (such as, for example, cutting the customization for the talent trees) have rendered WoW to a state where I'm mostly considering what to jump to, not if I want to jump.

If RIFT is a WoW-clone, I think it is a WoW-clone of flavors of WoW that I still like, and still wish were about.

The *real* problem, the *fundamental* issue, the reason that RIFT may succeed where so many have tried and failed, is that WoW:Cata is a poor WoW-clone. Strange but true: RIFT to me looks more like WoW than Cataclysm does.
I think you might have a few months of fun with Rift and then succumb to MMO burnout. Personally I hit the wall after a week, but I am in total MMO burnout mode. More or less got my money's worth out of that week, which was less than I was hoping but better than I feared.

If you would enjoy playing for a month or two, and you are bored with WoW, why not do it? Get a bit of time running around in the new world, investigate the class system and Rift's take on PQs, enjoy the different graphics and feel.

I'm not sure what makes that a "fake escape." Heck, maybe you could shift between games and avoid burnout in either. In this post I see an hint of something often evident at other MMO blogs, the need for MMOs to advance somewhere or achieve some societal goal. Perhaps I've just become cynical in giving up on that goal.

Will SWTOR be a fake escape too? It's going to be WoW with a new coat of paint and choose-your-own-adventure dialog. All I'm hoping for is that the better writing motivates me to hit max level.
"Have you ever dreamed of a city at the end of time?"

or you don't know when things end except... when they do.

As I have revealed I work in technology strategic planning. In all of my experience the best teachers on what happens in the future.

1) Science Fiction (star trek communicators = cell phones anyone?)
2) prior business blunders (as in Bill Gates saying the iPod was no big deal because cell phones would soon play music... er yeah right on that but you forgot about Steve's plans AGAIN Bill)

I really have enjoyed this blog a great deal. I do business with so many people who "get" the future that it's refreshing to NOT talk with people worried about the tablet platform wars. (you know it's coming right?)

Anyway... what is interesting is I really think that none of you have actually witnessed 1st hand a company, technology, country in the ENDING process.

I mean the sack of Rome ending.
I mean Microsoft giving the browser away free killing Netscape ending.

And with that lack of experience you all don't know what to look for.

Let me help you a bit. A doomed company does the following:

1) They take their customers for granted.

self edit... blah blah
stuff people in the business starting zones would not get...
end self edit

And this is the kicker -
***) A credible competitive threat appears that impacts core product lines that the company/product has NO USEFUL marketing/technical response to.

You see this is the killer to Blizz. For Blizz/Acti to respond effectively to Rift will require Kotick and Blizz to be on same page. Kotick has SOLD Wall Street on big bucks out of untapped Brazil... so guess what focuses Blizz attention right when Rift starts it's palace revolt in the US and EU customer base?


So you guys can just keep saying "same stuff". What you guys don't see is the bigger picture. And I know most of you never will get out of the career starter zones. But if you want to play in the big leagues you start to think in markets NOT individual buyers.
Ok I feel generous tonight so I'll add a bit more. (short, promise)

The reason why core product challenges are SO detrimental to companies, is because a COMPETITOR CAN CHANGE PRODUCT EXPECTATIONS while you are not looking.

Imagine Blizzards surprise when they come up for air after their Brazilian Carnival and find out that D&D like MMOs are REQUIRED to have constant dynamic content to keep players attention.

Dynamic Battlegrounds
Dynamic Raids
Dynamic PvP

new world no?
Hey AngryGamer... You'd be surprised how well a market-dominating monopoly can hold on to power, long past the inception of competitors who do just what they do, only better and cheaper. Look at the telecoms industry in Australia, for example. Especially in the realm of broadband internet.

Telstra has been choking off any new developments for as long as humanly possible, squeezing every last drop out of the infrastructure that they maintain the monopoly on, artificially inflating pricing and knowing that people will buy into it because they have always held the market share and the infrastructure and have the brand recognition that goes with it. Australia is several years behind most other developed nations in the world in terms of broadband delivery. This is intentional. The longer Telstra can keep us on the copper cables they control, the longer they can delay fibre/cable/wireless by strangling the prices, the longer they can avoid wasting profits on reinvesting into new technology.

Understand this: The class of service Telstra provides is high, but it is FAR from being the best. A handful of smaller start-ups have stepped a cut above the rabble to provide far more competitive pricing (damn near an order of magnitude cheaper), more generous data caps, and faster, more competent customer service.

Does this sound familiar?

Never underestimate the power of the status quo.

All WoW has to do to stay in front is string folks along for as long as they can, wringing as much out of the current DIKU MMO paradigm as they can before the market starts to turn... Then come out in front of it with a new paradigm that they've had plenty of time to see coming and engineer for with their immense capital.

The lumbering dreadnought of Blizzard only has to see which way the wind is blowing and steer into it, letting its massive momentum/market share do the rest. In the field of dynamic content, Rift may just be an ice-breaker, clearing a path for Blizzard to take advantage of.
I found something different that I like in World of Tanks :)It is in open beta right now and hopefully released next month.
If trying out RIFT were free, it would be a great idea for anybody the slightest bit disenchanted with WoW to give it a try. The only question for you, and for anybody, is if it is worth 50 bucks to try it out. Well, how much money you got? I tried it, and was disappointed I had to turn all the graphics all the way down for my computer. So I'm wishing I had my 50 bucks back. But it seems like it would be great for somebody with a better computer.
Add Aion to the list and the look-a-like isn't quite such an obvious pairing.

Graphically Rift is closer to Aion than it is to WoW. The crafting systems are almost identical.

The two factions with one origin is very similar too.
If you're burned out on quest-driven level-based fantasy MMOs then Rift is not going to be a good choice. This has nothing to do with WoW, except insofar as WoW is also a quest-driven level-based fantasy MMO (as are EQ2, AoC, Aion, WAR, Runes of Magic, etc etc.).

Essentially, if you're tired of the genre, Rift isn't going to help.

If you're just tired of WoW (rather than the genre as a whole), then there's really no reason NOT to try Rift. Rift isn't WoW. The things that have burned you out in WoW will not necessarily have any impact on your gameplay in Rift.

It's an important distinction that you're glossing over here. If you have MMO burnout, Rift isn't going to help. It's an MMO in the traditional style. If you have WoW burnout, Rift might suit you just fine. It's certainly worked for me. I dropped WoW shortly after Cata release in favor of the Rift beta.
It certainly is an odd collection of comments.

I really like Rift and I'm having great fun. It's very similar to the fun I had in WoW a long time ago. However I haven't had that fun there for a very long time.

At its core Rift is simply a good game. The challenges puzzles and situations it puts you in are interesting and fun to solve.

It's like other classic games - Civilization, Chess, Football - there's a certain "rightness" to the feel of it that makes it fun in a way that something which could be structurally identical is not.

I loved leveling in WoW and my early days of raiding and the early battlegrounds. But I can't get that in WoW now. The Cata attempt to rejuvenate the leveling process was a failure. (The 85 game has some good points but the 1-79 game really wasn't re-invigorated).

Rift is a real improvement in the actual play experience because the dynamic content means that when you're in your Kill Ten Rats groove you frequently get offered an exciting and rather frantic alternative. It may not be to everyone's taste but I love dropping what I'm doing and haring off to fight a raid boss in the middle of solo questing. It's the casual drop-in raid experience WoW sought but never found.
Tobold just go and play some Rift. Even if it lasts only a couple of months its no big deal and you can have some fun.

You're just spinning the wheels in WoW anyway - multiple alts, farming gold, etc etc. You don't raid so I am surprised you are even still wanting to play WoW.

On the other hand if you suffer from obsessive compulsive behavior (I do to a certain degree) then I can understand why you keep wanting to do the same thing in WoW ad infinitum.
Tobold just go and play some Rift.

I did, when it was free. I wasn't impressed. I didn't enjoy it any more than I enjoy playing any of the other games I am already subscribed to or can play for free. So why exactly should I spend 50 bucks on this?
I'm looking foward to Heroes of Might and Magic 6.

Good times ahead !
If a game is similar to something you enjoyed in the past, with a few new things to perk your interest, that sounds like a great reason to try it to me.

The things that perked my interested were 1) spontaneous open-world raids, 2) potential world PvP hotspots created by the same, and 3) they have Bards. :)

That's it, really. No drama, no big commitment, just trying out a game that seems interesting. I'm having a great time so far.

Isn't that how it's supposed to be?
uhhhhh in that list of wow rift warhammer conan etc... wow and rift alike couldn't be farther from the truth... at all.

if anything, its Rift and Warhammer since they use the same engine. I'm interested how everything is a "wow clone".... why? because it has dungeons, a starting zone and pvp? when wow came out everyone was saying "it's basically a newer everquest". WoW has really done very little in the way of originality, almost everything in that game is taken from other games and improved upon. The core MMO gameplay isn't a "WoW" creation...
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