Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 18, 2011
Rifting through some misconceptions

Lately my blog has been invaded by proselytizing Rift fans, which in their eagerness to spread their religious cause said a lot of things that were simply false. That didn't exactly endear them to me. But I'll try to correct some of those misconceptions, and establish some ground rules in this post.

Misconception 1: "Tobold doesn't know Rift". I already played Rift during the beta for several days. Of course there is the eternal discussion how many hours exactly one has to play a MMORPG to fully "get it". But I certainly played it sufficiently long to have experienced the two factions, different archetypes, the soul system, the rifts, and many hours of the general gameplay. Don't pretend I don't know what I am talking about.

Misconception 2: "Tobold hates Rift". I never said that, in fact I said a lot of nice things about Rift. It is a fun enough game, and far more polished at release than most MMORPGs. It is *not* the best MMORPG I've ever played, but certainly ranks up somewhere in the top 10. The top 10 are full of MMORPGs I can't find the time to play, like Lord of the Rings Online, and for LotRO I actually have a lifetime subscription.

Misconception 3: "Everybody should play Rift". I'm not convinced of that. And what is absolutely certain is that if you think everybody should play Rift, you are doing a lousy job of promoting it here. Sorry, but this is not a soccer stadium with some sort of contest whose fans can cheer the loudest. This is a rather intellectual blog discussing the merits of various features of all possible MMORPGs. The majority of pro-Rift comments I've seen completely failed to address even the most basic question of *why* Rift is a good game in your opinion. I would be very much interested in hearing your opinion about that: What exactly makes Rift better than other MMORPGs in your eyes? Up to now I've mostly seen mindless cheering, garbage arguments like "Rift is better because it doesn't have a Dungeon Finder - Oh, wait, they are just adding one - In that case Rift is better because of it's superior Dungeon Finder", or the eternal "Rift is the best game evah, because everybody who plays something else sucks". Sorry, you are unlikely to convince me or anybody else with arguments like that.

I've played Rift for hours, and during those hours I was mostly occupied doing "kill 10 foozles" quests, and moving from one quest hub to the next. That is exactly the kind of gameplay I've grown bored of from other games. I also battled in some rifts, but from my experience with WAR and reports from blogs like Kill Ten Rats I still have questions about the long-term viability of such public quest features once the initial bulk of players passed through a zone. I have a long list of other games which I would like to play, which don't play like the standard generic fantasy quest-based themepark MMORPG. So right now I just can't justify spending the 50 bucks and the time to play Rift. I have a intellectual interest in discussing what features "work" for you in Rift, but I am under no obligation whatsoever to play Rift, or to support the crusade mindlessly promoting that game.
In that case I have 2 suggestions for you:

a) Guild Wars 2, mostly for the whole "participate in content without quests" style of play they're trying to promote and

b) The Secret World because it is completely different that your average theme-park MMO.

If you're so set to avoid themeparks anymore then I doubt there is anything else coming "soon" that will satisfy you.

Other than that... go single player, especially if WoW keeps you covered in the whole 'socializing and being part of a community' level.
I was surprised I like Rift as much as I do as I had dismissed it as a WoW clone months ago. I agree the questing is same-ole-same-ole. I do like the graphical style and its nice to explore new places when I know every nook and cranny in WoW/EQ etc now. I've had fun in PvP which I never really enjoyed in WoW or other games. I like how major invasions can make an area truly dangerous to cross. I like how duoing while levelling(how I roll) feels worth it and I really like how they have added some neat touches like shinies collecting (loved that from Eq2) and rewards for exploring.

In the end I don't see Rift as anything new overall, but its done what WoW did all those years ago and taken the best bits of other games, polished them up, enhanced them and make it all work together well.

This is of course my own opinion and no one should play a game they aren't interested in. Its been entertaining enough for me to cancel my WoW sub, but I expect endgame will kill Rift for me as I don't raid. Still waiting for a game that offers something long term for casual players that isn't a faction grind. Mainly I expect to play new MMO's for 2-3months these days, unlike the 5 years I played EQ1, which is a bit of a shame.

Oh and one other reason I play, a lot of my friends are here and thats always pretty important.
I believe if you had just pointed out in big capital letters that you indeed tried Rift during the beta, most people wouldn't be so ardent for you to try it out.

Now that we know you've experienced it first-hand, we'll just leave you to your well-deserved opinion and toddle off elsewhere.

Most likely to play Rift.
One of Rift's design strengths is paradoxically also one of its shortcomings; gameplay in Rift is progressive. The game begins with a tutorial zone that is completely unrepresentative of gameplay. This is followed by a large zone that features representative but simplified gameplay.

This takes the average player to about level 20, by which time they will have seen a lot of fairly generic MMO quests and simple rush-and-hope rift events. It's fast-paced and fortunately a lot of players find it absorbing and keep playing.

In my opinion, questing doesn't begin to show its quality until the first 20+ zone (Gloamwood in my experience as a Guardian). From this point on the stories become more interesting and the first signs of the rewarding visual and mechanical tricks, which feature widely in higher levels, begin to make themselves known. Here you also begin to see the first signs that Rifts offer more than giant playground fights.

My highest character is now 42nd. The basic gameplay hasn't really change, but the content certainly has. The questing has been the big surprise. Some of the quests have been among the most interesting and intriguing I've done for years.

For example, last night something happened as I was passing through Gloamwood on my way to Scarlet Gorge. It related to something my character had done many levels ago, it appeared apparently spontaneously, in an area I'd been through many time since, and it led into a small but wonderful event that I thought was one of the most amusing things that's happened to a character of mine in any MMO.

This kind of thing is not exceptional in Rift. The longer you play, the further into the game you get, the more complex and recursive the gameplay becomes. The sense of an actual, virtual place, where things actually, virtually happen, can become quite intense.

This depth of involvement and complexity of gameplay is not, unfortunately, something that is, or probably could be, experienced in the early part of the game. It relies on accretive experience that cannot just be handed out. Consequently Rift suffers much more than most MMOs I have played from requiring a significant investment of time by the player before a meaningful assessment can be made.

The great majority of the commentary I've read about Rift to date, both positive and negative, has been based around people's experiences in Freemarch and Silverwood, the two level 1-20 zones. There has been some discussion of the two following zones, but so far we are not really hearing much from the players who have pushed on beyond that.

I am not suggesting that Rift is hiding some amazing new gameplay, hitherto unseen in MMOs, in its mid and upper levels. That's not the case, as far as I've seen. What it does have is pretty much the full range of all gameplay offered in other MMOs, done with great verve and wit.

What I am suggesting is that, even more so than most MMOs, even a few days playing Rift in beta will not be adequate to appreciate what it is about this game that raises it above the norm.

In the end, though, the game will stand or fall on word-of-mouth. I don't believe people are coming to this and other blogs to use Rift as a stick to beat other MMOs with; I think many of us playing Rift are just enjoying it so much we feel we really shouldn't be selfish and keep so much fun to ourselves.
Rift is a lot like WOW, there are some things that are new or better and there are some things that are absent or worse. It's not completely bug free but from what I have seen it is very polished.

I'm playing Rift because I'm bored of WOW and I'm waiting for either SWTOR or GW2, in the mean time it's keeping me entertained.
lvl 38 now ;)

Rift is wow with more classes, a slightly more interesting craft system, and on the other side a harder soloing curve, no addons (which makes the AH painful to use), and no flying, which makes crossing mobs zones dangerous again (total EQ-like pain imo).

So far, i play rift exactly like i played wow Vanilla :)
@Chris K

Why are you suggesting games that does not exist? Kind of pointless methinks. History have shown that what the developers tell us in their little dev diaries rarely becomes reality or rarely works as intended.

Anyway as for RIFT , the only reason i can think of "why rift" , considering i've blown through Cataclysm [and burned out for the 10th time] is

a] It looks good

b] It's new content. If Blizzard could do this every month, adding new zones and graphics , then it would be hard to say why one should play Rift over WoW

c] It is active in the "leveling curve" . So it makes the "leveling game" more interactive, you see players, you interact with players continuously. People are grouping up and the game is very streamlined to allow this in the "leveling game" world. Unlike WoW, where everyone sits at the levelcap all decked , RIFT does not feel like a single player RPG as much as WoW Azeroth Levelin does.

d] The soul system is the most dynamic "class change" i've seen in an MMO. This is probably my favorite part of the game. If i get tired playing as a ranged casting healer, no problemo, find the spec that turns you into a dual wielding dps machine or a sneaky-stealth backstabber can literally "change your game" on the fly.

Either way

RIFT is WoW with everyone starting at lvl 0, no alts, no stored infinite gold, nothing. That is most likely the biggest attractive thing for alot of players and the least attractive thing for WoW veterans that are sitting on a pile of gold...

There is definitely an expiry date to RIFT. If you're not playing it while the wave is rolling, pitching up when everyone is at end-game, i fully believe it will be 100% identical to WoW leveling. You will be alone, no rifts or invasions [that you can handle] and you're left to kill 10 foozles as fast as possible.
Didn't people meantion all their reason of playing rift already?

1) Rift is new (yeah, that doesn't make it a better game, but it makes it a better game for some people).

2) Rift has a different style

3) Rift has much more open world group content

4) Rift has a much more flexible character customization

5) Rift doesn't have a teleporting anonymous dungeon finder (yet)

6) Rift doesn't have phasing

There are probably even more reasons. But these are mine. I hope this satisfies your intellectual curiosity.

Should you buy Rift? I don't really care that much.

Should you write as much about rift as you do without buying it? I don't think so.
I don't understand the concept of "my MMO is better than your MMO".

All enjoyment and likes/dislikes are based on opinions and the person giving the opinion. This is like saying "my rock band is better than your rock band". It's silly since we all have this thing called "taste".

As for the 10 kill foozles quests? I have toons in both factions and I honestly do get that same feeling, but only with the Guardian quest line. I can't believe the gods brought me, a hero, back to life just to have me turn some students into sheep. On the defiant side of quests, I always feel I'm working towards some goal and greater purpose, even when I am just killing 10 foozles.

So, I've never said it was "better" because I think this is a silly statement to begin with. I like it better than WoW, but I also like LotRO better than WoW.

What I'm enjoying in Rift is the earth changing rifts. You say it's a "loot pinata" and maybe it was in beta, but I've seen about 4 different types of invasions and each has a different objective. You can hit the various "loot pinata" across the map all you want, but it won't necessarily complete the objective. If you don't complete the objective, you don't get the purplez!

I didn't get to experience EQ and when people described the open world PVE and how much fun it was, I really had no concept of it. Now I do and they are right, I am having fun with this.

And the rifts aren't the only changes that happen. There are vendors that come and go and are not set. Their items aren't set either. My highest toon is level 16, so I'm assuming there are more dynamic changes that I just haven't experienced at further levels.

Is this sustainable? I think they will really have to nerf the invasions and completely change the way in which they spawn for it to be sustainable. Apparently, invasions are cued by zone population. So, when the zone population drops, it sounds to me as if there will be NO invasions and just small rifts. They will have to change the population requirement for invasions as well as the objectives when they do if they want people joining later to experience this.

Like I said in a previous comment, I actually had decided that I DID NOT want this game when I had read so many WoW comparisons. Why would I want to play a game that was like one I was sick of? Then I played and realized that the reason it is getting the WoW comparison is because WoW has had up to 11 million subscribers and many of them may have played no other MMO's. They are comparing it to what they know. I found it to be much more like EQ2 than WoW.

I think you are getting a lot of flak because when you wrote your original post a few days ago, you seemed to pass some judgement on this game. By doing so, you are also perceived as passing judgement on those playing it. Many of your posts come off this way actually. But like I said before, I can say that I'm not interested in a game due to my tastes and that I didn't enjoy it, but I rarely say "this game is bad". That is for the individual to decide.
The AH in RIFT could definitely use improving. There are many little details missing from it that WoW has added over the years.

Shard-only (or even guild- or friend-only) LFD would also help immensely.

Anyway, having fun playing a slow leveling game. Oddly, I feel much less of an impetus to rush to level cap than I did in WoW, perhaps because the lower level zones are fresh, or maybe because rushing ahead of a crowd reduces the quality of the game experience.
Tobold, you have to understand the Rift fanboy's psyche: It's a classic defense mechanism.

The love Rift, and therefore want to believe that Rift isn't going to go the way of WAR and AOC. But deep down, they know Rift isn't all that great, and probably will.

Therefore, anytime you bring up negative info about Rift, they will immediately seek to dismiss such info. The easiest way is to discredit and attack the source of the info. This allows them to keep pretending that Rift wont' have a total of 200k subs in 6 months.
Should you write as much about rift as you do without buying it? I don't think so.

And who are you that you can tell me what I am allowed to write about? Why don't you go and try to enforce this rule of yours to all those who write about WoW without currently playing it!

This allows them to keep pretending that Rift wont' have a total of 200k subs in 6 months.

Note that many of the reasons quoted here for playing Rift (it's new, it has a different style, it is similar enough to WoW) will very much also apply to Star Wars: The Old Republic. What happens if SWTOR comes out and doesn't suck?
What Silvertemplar and Nils said. The soul system with multiple roles is by far my favorite part. I have always loved tweaking my builds and with Rift I can do that a lot better. Right now at 37 I have all four roles. The first two are my main and main alternate roles. The other two I use for tweaking and trying out other builds.
If SWTOR comes out and is just as good as Rift is, well I played WoW, LotRO, and EQ2 all at the same time for a few months.

That still doesn't mean Rift is not a good game now.

@Thehamster: That is an argument that people who love Rift could make about people who love WoW as well. It's and easy and simple argument. It still doesn't mean we aren't enjoying it now. You sound like the defensive one.

I loved the movie When Harry Met Sally when I was in my early 20's. I would watch it about once a week I would say. Now I can't stand to watch it. Does that mean I didn't really enjoy it at the time? Uh, no.
Bhag covered (very well) what I was going to point out. Saying you 'know' Rift because you played a few character in the first zone is like saying you know AoC because you played Tortage, but in reverse. Tough to have an intellectual conversation about something when one side only glanced at the cover.

Rift is not front-loaded like WoW/WAR/AoC, it slowly ramps up the complexity as you get more soul points, tougher invasions, more quest mechanics, etc. MMO vets will find the first zone too simple, but MMO newbies (the people who will expand the genre) will see it as a good ramp-up. It will also (hopefully) break some of the bad habits people have developed from playing WoW for too long (solo everything, don't talk to others, etc)
So Tobold I have a good question for you (that's not about Rift cause even though I'm playing I'm not here to recruit you into our Kool-aid cult) given that everyone, myself included, thinks SWG crafting was the pinnacle of crafting, why has nobody tried to duplicate it. I mean it's not like the MMO realm is bereft of copy cats (RIFT). Just seems odd to me that if the system is so good, why isn't somebody trying to rip it off...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

"Why are you suggesting games that does not exist? "

Because Tobold has played pretty much every other MMO on the market, including the niche ones (except maybe Darkfall?)

I don't know what he's looking for, but I'm pretty certain it's not on the market yet. Otherwise he'd be blogging about it.
For me, it's just a plain, boring reason: Rift is fun because it's different enough to be new and shiny, but familiar enough to feel safe. It's not 'better' than WoW. It's not 'worse' than WoW. It's a 'change' from WoW and after 4+ years, I'm ok with having a change. In short, a change is as good a a rest. How dull a reason is that?
@Quixotic: it's a very good reason. I'm playing LotRO in parallel with WoW, and even if it really feels like Lord of WoW, the fact that it's different is enough to keep me interested. At the same time, I know I won't be leveling another character through quests in LotRO unless it's with friends, since re-doing them would not be new, and they are horribly worse than the Cataclysm ones.
"[...] you seemed to pass some judgement on this game. By doing so, you are also perceived as passing judgement on those playing it."

With all due respect, that is crazy. I do not like canteloupe. If you do like canteloupe, my not liking canteloupe is not an implicit declaration on my part that you are a clueless idiot.

And if a person says "this game is bad," is it not implied that an "I think" comes before that? Is Tobold the father of a pantheon of game gods who pass judgment on games and whose judgment is final? No. He a man with an opinion. See item #1 in his Terms of Service.

Seriously, people. Someone disagreeing with you is not a personal attack.
I am playing Rift(just got it 2 days ago) and you know what? Overall, I think Wow is a better game. Not everybody should play Rift. Isn't it awesome though that the game doesn't suck? That so many people are having a good time with it? I think it's a good wake-up call that people don't want linear quest progression and people don't like that their choices got taken away on the talent trees. Of course a lot of Rift players love it for much more than those things. It's really good to know, though, that Blizzard can't squash all other MMOs like bugs. I'm at least going to play Rift through my 30 days I already get. If I had to choose now, I would choose not to subscribe. But maybe by the end of the 30 days, Rift will draw me in, who knows? I like that you keep posting about the game, even if it is in regards to misconceptions. The only thing people "should" do is what they already decided to do, on their own. Stealing a line from the movie "Sex, Lies, & Videotape", should you take my(or anybody's) advice? I wouldn't.
Hi Tobold!

Sorry to hear you're getting spammed by fanboys. I've never understood why people need to feel that they're hobby or game is better than some other hobby or game in order to enjoy it. Nor do I really understand why people assume you have to move from one mmo to another instead of just playing both. MMO's are so cheap in terms of hours of entertainment per dollar.

For my opinion, it's more enjoyable leveling a new char in Rift than leveling a third alt in WoW. In fact, I'd say level two Rift chars, one of each faction. Maybe even one of each calling. o.O

I do feel that the Rift leveling game is better than WoW leveling game. In Rift I often find that I'm chastising myself for 'wasting' time having fun running around closing rifts, fighting invasions, doing zone events, or even just looking for collectibles. I yell at myself for not being more productive and leveling more efficiently on quests. Then I blink and do a double take and go back to having fun. :P That's the difference between how WoW feels and how Rift feels. Of course, I could imagine people who are more into the lore of WoW or who find even the open grouping for rifts a bit of a chore, and instead prefer WoW's more solo-focused questing.

Personally, I raid in WoW twice a week, and spend the rest of my gaming time playing Rift. Maybe in 2-3 months Rift will lose its shininess and I'll move on, or maybe it'll turn out to be a keeper, but for now I'm having a lot of fun. XD
@griderrobot: No, that's not crazy. There's a difference between saying "I don't like cantaloupe" and "I don't like cantaloupe and it's not a real melon and I don't see how you can like cantaloupe."

Tobold's commentaries are never just "i don't like this". I find his critiques to be less the "i don't enjoy this" and more "this is bad". There is a difference between the two.

I personally don't care if people like the game I like. Especially if those people still play WoW. The last thing I need is another "chuck norris" or "anal" joke.
Tobold is a man with an opinion and a blog on the Internet and has no responsibility to you. Also, I reread his RIFT posts and found nothing stating the game is definitively bad. He simply says it's not for him.

I think you have taken his opinion personally, and are making things up to prove your point.
"People are biased to think of their choices as correct, despite any contrary evidence."


A reviewer should try to answer the question "would the reader like this".

If I like a game, then it is a "good" game by definition.


Most of the problems are caused by the nature of posters, but I think there is some imprecision in the language.

You blog about different aspects and people jumble them up.

1) Do you personally like this game? You are the world's only expert on what Tobold likes and are always 100%, irrefutably correct.

2) Will others like this game

3) Will this game be a financial/market size success

4) Is this game "well-designed"? This is one of the few places I read that talks about theory as opposed to #1.
Rift is not front-loaded like WoW/WAR/AoC

In the lifetime of any game there will be a huge number of new players who install the game, play it for some hours, and then decide whether they continue playing or whether they stop, because they didn't like what they saw up to that point. The number of people rejecting a game after a few hours of trying it is huge. Even a "front-loaded" game which tries to make the first hours as pleasant as possible to a new player, like WoW, has only a 30% retention rate beyond level 10.

How much retention rate then in your opinion will a game have in which you yourself say that the first 20 levels aren't the fun part yet? Tortage was brilliant marketing, because it got a lot of people to buy AoC. Reverse Tortage doesn't look like a good strategy to me.
Given the current success of Rift, and knowing how AoC turned out, I'm leaning towards starting slow and having a better game latter being a better strategy than having a great first 10 hours and lower quality or flawed design later.

(Plus, what does the above have to do with you only seeing the intro area yet discussing Rift as if you have actually seen the 'real' game?)
Plus, what does the above have to do with you only seeing the intro area yet discussing Rift as if you have actually seen the 'real' game?

All I say is that I personally played Rift for less than 20 levels, found it boring up to then, and thus decided not to buy it.

And you are hypocritical here, because you constantly write about World of Warcraft, but haven't played it for years. You don't have a clue about the difficulty level of Cataclysm heroics and raids, but that doesn't stop you from judging WoW. I could claim about you as well that you have never seen the real game and still are discussing WoW.
@grinderrobot: I think you are the one taking things personally. I never said I felt any of these things. In fact, I specifically said I don't care how he or anyone else feels about this.

Reading is FUNdamental!
So we have come to the conclusion that, at best, we are both hypocrites about Rift/WoW.

Only that while I dispute your claims that, for example, invasions are just show-up-and-collect loot pinatas 1-50, you don't dispute that 99% of WoW is currently faceroll easy, that the DF is a tool for might-as-well-be-bots grouping, and, as you yourself have confirmed, that extensive use of phasing is a horrible design choice for an MMO long-term, among whatever else I bash WoW for (hard to keep track, so many).

The problem is, Rift changes significantly after 20, and you have not seen that, while what has gone wrong in WoW since WotLK is not only easy to understand, it's been confirmed by numerous sources, this one included.

If I signed up for WoW right now, would you say I would come away from it in a few months with a totally different view than I have of it today? Because when you hit 50 in Rift, I know you will.
I think the crafting in SWG was so great because it was meant to be a game itself. Most games since are combat leveling games that have crafting added to it.
Sorry, I'm not interested in any game where I have to hit level 50 before I can get a good impression of it.

Anyway, it's too late now. I'm being told that now that most players are further advanced in the game, the rifts and invasions in the lower level zones are unused and useless.
If you are sick and tired of the standard MMO combat & leveling mechanics you wont find much to recommend in Rift. And i doubt you will find anything in the games which will be released in the near future. If you just want another environment to do your 'press 1-3-5-2-1-3-5-2' in, Rift does it well. It has better graphics (imho), more diverse class development options (as long as Trion do not strive for pin point class balance) and slightly better crafting. So imho it is an alternative for a well worn method of gameplay. Other than that it isnt groundbreaking.

Like you i totally do not understand people who care about what others think about a game or feel the need to be overly protective/abusive about it...

My recommendation would be not to consider time spent in (any) game an investment (which suggest an -imho completely misplaced- seriousness) and try some diversity. Do not play just one game to the point of utter boredom! Right now im playing Rift (casually, as if there is any other way) and lots of single player games (The Witcher (alchemy), Two Kingdoms (spells), Vampire Bloodlines (difficulty...), DA2 (best played as an adhd rogue i guess), Dead Space (creepy) and FM2011 (strategy).
Two Kingdoms = Two Worlds II ...
Anyway, it's too late now. I'm being told that now that most players are further advanced in the game, the rifts and invasions in the lower level zones are unused and useless.

Says who? I'm still in the teen levels and in the zones there are almost always rifts, invasions and events.
Oh right, sorry for the double posting

Tortage was brilliant marketing, because it got a lot of people to buy AoC. Reverse Tortage doesn't look like a good strategy to me.

I'm not really convinced. Having a really strong start (low levels) and a mediocre finale is always bad for the following reason: there's no way in hell you can keep your would be players after the initial month. Sure, you'd sell a lot of boxes in the first week but then people would start talking about, say, the lack of content and polish and you'd see a severe drop in retention.

However, if you see an "ok" level 1-15 zone and learn from the powergamers and hardcore levellers that things only get better and better later on, you are motivated to play on and experience the good stuff yourself.

Besides, isn't it much more logical to have the best content saved for the the areas you'll be spending the majority of your time?

i.e. 30-50 zones (since it is usually there the levelling curve slows down) and of course the level cap - endgame content.
Your comment about the low level rifts is incorrect. The amount and level of rifts and invasions depends on the population of the zone. I recently started a new character and I play at off hours so the only rifts I see are minor rifts.

A minor rift can be soloed but if more people show up it will add a few bonus stages that require a group to complete instead of sealing. I was worried about this also but it is actually working great!

I can normally close two rifts an hour, which is a nice break from questing, or I can ignore them and they close after a set amount of time.

Anyway, it's too late now. I'm being told that now that most players are further advanced in the game, the rifts and invasions in the lower level zones are unused and useless.

This attitude is exactly why people become upset when they read what your texts. As if you were usually so easy to convince!
I just had three invasion silverwood (in the lowest level area). Each time several raid groups responded. Server is Firesand RP-PvP.

Are people like me really suspicious of being a Rift fanboy? As I see it a lot of players try to enjoy Rift for what it is. And it works.

Its not a revolution or anything I had hoped for over the last couple of years. But it is better than Cataclysm for me.

And generally I am happy that some WoW competitor seems to not fail for once. It is good for the market and good for the consumers.
Waiting for Godot?

Winged Nazgul
Bhagpuss (two thumbs up!)

you guys rock! (I wish I could say what Bhag said but he is too eloquent to be imitated)

@ Tobold
"Anyway, it's too late now. I'm being told that now that most players are further advanced in the game, the rifts and invasions in the lower level zones are unused and useless."

Er no that is not so at all.

You are bored with Fantasy kill 10 rats ok... but what do you do if that's the market is making?

What if that's what we (you know the non-tobolds) want to play?

what's left online poker?

Why not admit you are burned out on games and have done with it?

you KNOW you are going to kill 10 Sith/Ewoks repeatedly in SWTOR right? I'm in the beta(well alpha v0.001).

Why do you think I am so in the tank on Rift? Pretty easy to know the future when you have already seen it.

It's either Rift or Wow for as far as the Titan can see. Oh, and wow is getting de-resourced... so it's really only Rift.

But hey have fun waiting for Godot (er SWTOR)

I'm outa here.

If you cannot be moved by Bhag's post ... you cannot be moved.

Rift = Fun last time I checked that was enough for a good game. But hey maybe I missed the exitential importance of being entertained.
Challenge accepted on laying out why I chose to play rift without random fanboyism. Your rebuttal is welcomed.
Yes, dear Tobold, I am another apostate. Have run from the dear religion of Blizzard and have fallen for the new gods of Rift as well. I'll spare you the rampant colloquialisms and trite jabs of most of our brethren, and simply say that Rift satisfies my desire for a new world to explore, a new paradigm to contemplate while I transverse my more mundane duties in Real may be a temporary diversion, but it is a good one. It may be an illusion, but it is one that I gladly embrace, filling those empty spaces of entertainment with clashing swords, beasts to be slain and a new comradery of fellow minded MMO enthusiasts...we are all enjoying it here, and would certainly welcome you have you the proclivity to join us. If not, that is well, and I wish you the best on whatever virtual path that meets your inclination. Cheers!
I think many bloggers, blog commenters and forum posters are in a "can't-see-the-forest-for-the-trees" syndrome.

Back up a minute, change your perspective and see reality:

WoW is far from declining. In my opinion, it has yet to reach its zenith in quality and popularity. I recently created a character in one of the "new players" realms. The human starting zone was crowded beyond belief, and it was 1:00 a.m. server time. I whispered a couple dozen level 1-7 player-characters, and 80% of the players were brand new to WoW, many were brand new to the MMORPG genre. I think that for as many old veteran, tired-of-WoW players who are leaving the game, more are starting for the first time.

Among my five real-life friends who also play WoW, only one has even heard of Rift, and none of them care about it. None of them read WoW related forums or blogs or websites. (I'm the only one in our social circle who does that.) They just play the game. For the *vast* majority of players, I believe this represents reality. While some bloggers, blog commenters, and forum posters (which, keep in mind, represent a tiny, tiny fraction of the player base) opine about the death of WoW, most players are happily still playing the game and having tons of fun.
"Sorry, I'm not interested in any game where I have to hit level 50 before I can get a good impression of it."

Wasn't this the knock on AION? And how much flak did that game take for it?

A lot of double-standards seem to be applied to RIFT vs. other perceived WoW-clones, and to be frank, I think you hit on the major point a few blogs posts ago - the lack of Cataclysm replayability. I believe the 'tourists' have moved on and want to make a new home for good this time, so the defense is more rampant.

Like SynCaine claims that WoW came during a perfect storm, the same could be said for RIFT, I think. Blizzard borked up WoW pretty good with Cataclysm, and TRION put out a solid, polished product in time to pull the masses over.
Simply put, I don't think people are mindlessly crusading for Rift. It's just that many of the blog readers who are enjoying Rift felt that they have played (to their minds at least) the best MMO/MMOs and like Rift better.

So to many of us Rift is simply the best MMO at the moment and is thusly the best usage of many a gamer's time. It's not for everyone, but for many of us it is the best MMO.

Also, I think it it's really unfair to say that by playing a beta you can claim to know the end product that won't be known for at least a couple months into full release.
So to many of us Rift is simply the best MMO at the moment and is thusly the best usage of many a gamer's time. It's not for everyone, but for many of us it is the best MMO.

Also, I think it it's really unfair to say that by playing a beta you can claim to know the end product that won't be known for at least a couple months into full release.

If A) Rift is the best MMO out there, and B) you need to play a MMO for some weeks to know whether it is good, I must presume that you played EVERY SINGLE MMORPG OUT THERE for several weeks. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to make the statement that Rift is the best. :)
Back up a minute, change your perspective and see reality:

WoW is far from declining. In my opinion, it has yet to reach its zenith in quality and popularity.

Huh? WoW had 11.5 million subscribers in December 2008. It peaked at 12 million in October 2010 after WotLK was released in China. No new numbers were released after Cata (nor servers opened), which is a good indication that the number of subscribers didn't grow. It is also very eye-opening that for the first time in WoW history a new expansion (even so massive and overhyped as Cataclysm) has failed to bring new subscribers.

I think it is safe to say that WoW has been on decline in US and EU since 2008.

Of course if you play and like WoW, this shouldn't bother you much as WoW will likely still be around in 10 years just like UO and EQ are still online now.
Bit disappointed to hear after weeks, months even, of posting occasionally that my opinion and that of numerous regulars has been relegated to that of sudden invader and proselytizing zealot.

Honestly, the first time this big flood of RIFT-fandom came gushing in was around the point that Tobold expressed WoW-ennui.

Those of us who have played RIFT and found it a solution to our WoW-ennui could relate, and helpfully offered a solution that worked for us.

I can understand the frustration when that solution works for so many people, but doesn't work for you. I experience this frequently in tech-support forums.
Bit disappointed to hear after weeks, months even, of posting occasionally that my opinion and that of numerous regulars has been relegated to that of sudden invader and proselytizing zealot.

I must say that I am a bit disappointed too, that your opinion and that of numerous regulars is only expressed in the form of "Try Rift! It's the best game evah!!!". I would have hoped that people would put more intellectual effort into explaining why e.g. Rift works for them while WoW won't.

As it is, I am left very much with the impression that Rift is great because it was released with perfect timing between Cataclysm ennui and waiting for SWTOR, and that it's main attraction is being new, and somewhat but not too much different from WoW. Is that it?
I would have hoped that people would put more intellectual effort into explaining why e.g. Rift works for them while WoW won't.

I fear you are a victim to selective reading. Not the first time, certainly ;)

There were quite a few commenters that explained in detail why they like Rift. Also, a lot who said that Rift is certainly not the best MMORPG ever, but just better than Cata for them, right now. Of course there also were few trolls. There always are.

Me, I have already stopped playing Rift after I have 4 chars in the mid-20ies now. Many aspects of Rift are better than Cata, but not all and while I won't re-subscribe to WoW anytime soon, I don't think that Rift is going to beat WoW at the raiding (end)game. Only at the leveling game. And even at the leveling game, Rift is still nothing more than an endless series of meaningless quests. I don't like that in WoW and I don't like that in Rift.

However, Rift is worth a try for every MMORPG player. It is a nice distraction.
Allods Online is an exampe of a boring game. Every map you must kill X monsters of a type, you must kill X monsters to open a portal, you must collect X itens from the ground, you must find X stones hidden, you must to do everything you already did before...etc.

This type of game becomes so fucking boring. They should be more criative when creating the quests, instead of thinking only to release their game ASAP for making money. This is why I like Blizzard. One of the true games companies that really care about their games, about the player's fun and the game balance.

No kidding on the selective reading.

And to Tobold...

All the intellectual reasoning you want isn't going to help for something so highly subjective. Can you explain the unnatural power that BACON (mmm, bacon) has, with an intellectual rationale behind your persuasive argument? There isn't one. You just tell someone to try it.

I'd suggest that the recommendations you've received were not objective sales pitches, listing known quantities as either positive or negative selling points. The spirit in which recommendations were offered was that of a friend suggesting another try this new ice-cream flavour because it's awesome.

They did not sit down and explain how the chocolate chips have x value of awesomeosity because they contain dairy-milk instead of carob, or y levels of cocoa content compared to the leading brand. Who does that? They just told you to try it because they like it as a replacement for a flavour that they know you have both enjoyed. (WoW)
Sorry, not interested in another flavor of icecream. I'm interested in two other things:

A) You said you hated icecream when that new brand wasn't available yet. You particularly complained about icecream being cold and sticky, but now you praise the new flavor icecream in spite of it still being cold and sticky. I want to know why!

B) And for myself I want pizza, not another flavor of icecream.
Ok, well this is progress at least. :) Also, I'm going to really run with the allegory here, and I hope you'll forgive that because I suspect you enjoy allegory almost as much as I do. ;)

B) first: I think a big part of the reason you got so many ice-cream responses was because we hadn't really picked up on that you were looking for pizza or something savory. Heh. That's pretty-well understood now.

A) OK, I have always been a big ice-cream fan, and there's not a lot that I've complained about in WoW-flavour that I didn't like in RIFT-flavour. Let's extend the analogy/allegory. Rift isn't ice-cream. It's Gelato. That's right. So there's a slightly different texture to the slippery/sliminess that some folks who were eating ice-cream complained about, but because it's less fatty and not filled with air from being whipped, it's not giving them gas anymore (making it perfect for dates and sharing with friends and strangers). A lot of folks don't know this about the differences in dessert composition, or understand how it affects the flavour... but they can taste it and feel it. Where ice-cream melts too fast, it's expected in gelato and the container is slightly different to suit.

(To satisfy your requests for actual explanations, I'll refer you to my previous post about community engagement in RIFT via Scott Harstman's PAX East interview with Massively and the website's executive producer's letter, and add the point that everyone else has been making about the cooperative nature of public questing - not only by way of rifts, but also by simply being able to click a 'join this person's group' button when you realize you are both trying to kill the same ten foozles, instead of competing with each other for them - that simple difference is the difference between the air bubbles in ice-cream giving you gas.)

In Australia, at least, there's also a perception of ice-cream as the mainstream dessert, compared to the johnny-come-lately lah-de-dah airs of the folks who choose Gelato, like they're something special.

Gelato has a tendency to lose its flavour in storage faster than ice-cream does. Is this an appropriate analog? It might be. Especially when SWTOR Sorbet comes out. (Sorbet might not be a fair comparison, since it's really almost watered-down gelato, but we'll just have to see how rich and enduring they can make it, swapping dynamic grouping for engrossing story.)
Rule #1 of Marketing. Thank you for promoting Rift, Tobold :)
Why shouldn't I promote Rift? It's a good game. It's just that personally I agree with Tipa that I don't want to run errands for NPCs any more.
I found the thoughts of this high profile blogger interesting:

"Rift: Final Thoughts"
Tobold, its news to me that you have become so tired of WoW-like MMORPGs.

And I'd love to see a (superficial) description of MMORPGs you would like to play. ;)
It seems there's a great deal of cognitive dissonance on both sides.

I like Rift. I really like Rift. Partly for the holistic feel to it that Bhagpuss describes partly for things that WoW used to do but doesn't do any more.

I was reading Bartle last night, an old article on why MMOs are designed by newbies.

He makes the point that people will always gravitate to the same type of MMO even if it has poor design features.

Since most people's main MMO has been WoW, following Bartle, it makes sense that someone designs a game that plays very much like WoW. It's actually essential because players weaned on WoW find it difficult to like non-WoW design.

Interestingly it plays like retro WoW, with no LFD, no addons (remember the days we played WoW before addons were about/we realised addons were good), play based in the world not in lobbies and so forth.

There's also some clever innovation.

I particularly like guild quests. As a guild leader they're a wonderful tool for me to help bring the guild together in an era when MMOs are played primarily solo. The way they work is we have a collective quest (eg kill 50 enemy players) and anyone in the guild can advance the quest by performing one of the objectives. I get to thank them, tell them they're doing a wonderful job and promise wonderful guild perks when they get it done. I've also had people volunteer to come help me close down rifts when we had that for our guild quest.

As for the soul system it feels very much like deckbuilding in Magic: The Gathering. I was a tournament level player in the 90s and this is one of the first times since I've felt the same level of pre-fight decision making and strategising. (I understand GW is a bit like this once you have most of the abilities).

But I am sorry that things have become so bitter and I certainly think you're entitled to your opinion after playing beta and getting close to 20. I'm 47 now and I don't think there's much I'm doing now that's different or better than what I was doing at 17 (quests, rifts, warfronts, dungeons).
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