Tobold's Blog
Monday, January 16, 2012
Rift and SWTOR

Trion suddenly felt that their game Rift needed a lot more trial servers, and thus "encourages" the players to move from those 11 servers now designated as trial servers to other servers. Less charitable people call that a server merge, which is generally a sign of decreasing subscriber numbers.

I do believe that part of Rift's success was due to being a new game not totally different from World of Warcraft. And I do believe that Star Wars: The Old Republic is the current destination for people looking for a game that is new, but not totally different from World of Warcraft. Thus I would speculate that declining player numbers in Rift have a lot to do with SWTOR being released. What do you think?
Let's see how many drift back to Rift in a month or three. There are a lot of options now, though. Rift is making life hard for itself by insisting on sticking with the subscription model exclusively.

Rift opened with far too many servers anyway. The number they're at now is probably more in line with what they expected to have in the first place.
I agree because I am that ex-wow, ex-rift, happy SWTOR player :-)
There may be some SWTOR bleed in rift subs but really, I think the whole genre is very stale and needs something "outside of the box".

The Rift levelling game was great and fully grabbed my attention for about 2.1 months. Once I hit the end-game, I totally lost interest. Any game with only vertical gear progression to hold a player's interest with get boring after a while.
Oddly enough, in the last week or so, concurrency numbers in the EU, as measured by the admittedly broad statistics at riftstatus, are trending upwards - for the first time in a while. I mention EU serves in particular, because there was no merger/ trial sharding there, only on the US servers.

One of the regular posters dug up a quote from Trion in February last year, just prior to launch, where they had 17 NA and 12 EU servers identified. Now, after the latest round of trial-ising some NA servers, they will have... 16 NA and 20 EU servers. Although it is hard to avoid the likely explanation - 'Rift's population is growing' - the alternate explanation, that Rift is now approaching the long-term forecast population following the 1st year rush, is equally supportable.
gah, honestly.. my editing skills today have been terrible. i meant to say, the likely explanation is that 'Rift's population has been declining'..

and, because this is an edit, i'll add the URL for both the official server list announcement:

and Rift Status:
I completely agree with Shawnos comment, even the part with the Rift subscription could have been posted by me, but I would also have made some remark about the old and boring raid style approach in the end game. Are people really that interested in having a second job in their free time?
@Seanas: I definitely agree that Trion over-reacted to the initial launch queues. I have a screenshot from March 2nd showing that basically the only "full" servers the day after launch were the ones from headstart. Of that list, only Belmont (the least full), Shadefallen (RP) and Sunrest (RP-PVP - the only one) are "closed/trial-flagged" today.
Sending a +1 to Shawno also. Rift had a bit more staying power for me, but my warrior hasn't been played since it hit 50. I've got 2 clerics at 50, but one of them also hasn't been played since it hit 50. The other is in a far more active guild and so it's been played a bit, but never raided, and I've got it geared as far as I care to go, so unless there's a guild event or something it's more or less mothballed. I've got a Rogue and a Mage I'm still working up, but I know once they hit 50 I'd be pretty much done with Rift.

As it is, I'm now happily playing SWTOR, so I've let my Rift sub go. No idea if I'll go back or not.
Totally agree with Mr. Armadillo and Seanas. Trion waaaaaaaaaaaaaay overreacted to the initial launch queues and added far too many servers. And this is coming from a person who rolled on Faeblight. I had queues of an hour or two during the evenings for a while there. But the fact is RIFT has needed a server consolidation for months, long before SW:TOR hit primetime.

That said, I am doubtful that there are many "RIFT tourists" in SW:TOR right now. From my conversations with people in RIFT prior to leaving, there were many, many players who were in RIFT only to "bridge the gap" until SW:TOR (or GW2) was ready. I think Tobold is correct that RIFT positioned itself wonderfully as a "transitional" sort of MMO, familiar in all the important ways, but doesn't stand apart. For that reason I just don't see many "loyalists" returning to the game.
Rift has needed server mergers for a long time so I don't know if this really changed anything or not. If they did suffer a huge drop off I think they would wait until the free month from SWTOR was up.

Rift's a fantastic game with a world that somehow just comes off as "meh." We can only imagine what SWTOR would have been were the game as good as Rift and had the SW background.
My small casual raiding guild lost 3 members to TOR, or about 10%. I honestly saw more of a population impact when Skyrim released. We were unable to field a 10 person team for a month following that game.

What TOR did was push barely viable shards into the realm of not viable. GW2 remains the big threat to Rift. While TOR and Rift are both mmorpgs, one is an instanced science fiction game while the other is an open world fantasy game. I'd argue the games are in different genres while sharing mechanics and business models :)
@Numtini: That comes down to preferences. For me the Star Wars - Background is a major bummer, big enough that I won't touch that game with a 10 foot pole no matter how good people say it is. I overdosed on Star Wars when I was a teen and I'm not sure I will ever recover from that. Today I see SW as a kind of fairy tale for small children, but without the complexities and darkness of the Brothers Grimm.
You are most probably correct.
I've played:

- seven years WoW*
- 6 months Rift
- 1 weekend TOR

*with a brief foray into WAR and Aion

I had reached the end of my time in Wow in early 2011 (its still a good game, no hate there from me) and was greatly anticipating ToR. So tried a few MMOs (LoTRO, D&D, Aion) and setled on Rift.

When I took out my Rift sub, I saw it as a enjoyable game to transition between WoW/ToR.

Having said that, Rift is very fine example of a high-fantasy/theme-park MMO. Very well executed, polished and enjoyable. It kept me entertained, even though I have no level cap toons - just lots of alts. I play to relax, very much the casual gamer these days.

The lore and story is serviceable: I tried reading the quest texts when levelling, and got some idea of the world and story, but not enough to grab me.

ToR has me gripped with its story, and I'm enjoying a world with a sci-fi flavour. Not an elf in sight (although lots of blue/green humanoids... do they count as sci-fi's elves?).

As a much more casual player I'm looking for story, questing, exploration and some PvP and instances along the path to levelling. Not much to ask eh?

At this point, I feel ToR is going to deliver on that.

I can't help think if Trion had been the developers behind Warhammer rather than Mythic(or Trion had picked up some some other well established IP) then we would have had a wonderful addition to the MMO universe.

Imagine if the devs of Trion had done WAR or Conan or any other of the MMOs with established IP but had had disappointed us?

Very, very few Rift players will argue the game's back story is that engaging. Most players play because the game mechanics are solid. As Tobold said, its a slightly modified and polished version of WoW. Yes, it *really* is.

I play Rift on a medium population PVE oceanic server - I've really noticed since December a marked decline in population.

Indeed, before I started playing ToR this weekend I was leveling a Guardian rogue - between levels 25-35 not a single PvP war-front popped. Instances pop every 40 mins (I'm DPS). Capital cities feel underpopulated.

Still, I'm hoping the server merge... er, trial server moves help the population issues.

I give Rift a sold B+ in rating, as opposed to ToR which I'm rating A-

If BioWare can introduce a few quality of life mechanics and keep up the delivery of content, I'll have enough to keep me entertained for some time.
SWTOR in it's current state is worthless! If you play it and don't agree, then have fun playing it and please don't come to Rift or WoW. We don't need PvE fanboys who bitch about PvP and cry NURF everytime life gets rough for them. Stay with SWTOR and make it the new carebear mmo that is seems hell bent on becoming
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