Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stop talking about Rift already

It was really difficult for me to write this post. I feel like talk about Rift is everywhere, and I actually don't want to become yet another post about that haussed up game (which might or might not be awesome, I don't have a clue and I don't want to know. Yet). Whether I like it or not, something about Rift is being poked into my consciousness several times a day. I supposed that is how the internet works. It's difficult to hide from the things that interest people even if they don't interest you the slightest (another good example are talks about new expansions). At least some 5ish of the WoW bloggers I'm currently subscribing to talk about nothing but Rift at the moment, while at least 10-15 others talk about it on a regular basis. Even Wowhead has Rift-commercial! I don't mind people talking about other games than WoW now and then. In fact I love reading some thoughts/review on a game that someone has played. I write these posts myself occasionally. But I didn't subscribe to a Rift-blog! People can (and should) do whatever they like with their blogs. My point is not really to tell people to stop talking about Rift. I also realize that by writing this post I am actually doing the very same thing - talking about Rift. But my reaction to all the talk about Rift, and everyone elses reaction to Rift overall, got me thinking. Why is Rift in particular so interesting? So I decided to make a post not about Rift (not really anyway), but more about WoW vs other games in general.

I'll be honest. Although my first attitude towards Rift was exactly the same as it has been towards any new mmorpg the last years, which is modest curiousity, this was quickly turned to annoyance when people didn't seem to be able to talk about anything other than Rift. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those people who thinks stuff are uncool just because everyone else thinks it cool. You'll never hear me say "I liked that when it was still underground". But I couldn't help like feeling like there could only be two reasons for the overwhelming reaction to Rift. Either it really is an awesome game, or people just grasp for it because it is not WoW. When I read peoples blogsposts about Rift they can say stuff like "Rift is great because I don't feel like I have to be someone. There are new areas to explore. I don't know my class like the back of my hand, and neither does anyone else. When I join up with people we just play our way through, and it works. I feel so much more relaxed".

This is how it works in any new game. Rift is hardly unique in being able to offer a world that is unexplored and a gameplay system of which the gamers yet know nothing. In Rift, the leet-people are yet very, very few. You can run around with shit-gear and not a clue, and no one will give a damn. I can definitely see the fun in that. But this is also exactly what got people hooked to WoW 6 years ago. Although I never played Ultima myself, or EQ or all those other mmorpgs out there, I can only imagine that veteran mmorpgsers were saying the very same thing when they took their first steps in Azeroth all those years ago. WoW also managed to grasp all the new mmorpg gamers, people like me. People who had played a modest amount of computer games (in my case because I had a shitty mac) and who thought that a game like WoW was all they had been looking for. Easy yet compelling.

Between the dawn of WoW and the dawn of Rift there have been a heckload of good mmorpgs. None of them were shit (ok maybe some of them were shit), and they all could've been alot bigger if it wasn't for the fact that WoW had already snagged the market. People needed alot of incentive to leave the community that WoW had become, in most cases people chose the other game because it was not WoW. Personally I would've loved to play games like Warhammer, GW, LotrO and a bunch of other games alot more than I have, but I just couldn't pay for two games and WoW is where all my friends were. If the gameplays were equal between the two games, the community will be the tipping factor for most of us. And WoW has definitely built up a strong community.

So why has Rift suddenly become so insanely interesting and popular? Is it really that much better than the abovementioned games and all the other ones that I haven't mentioned? Like I said, I don't have a clue because I haven't tried it yet. My guess would be that it is a competent game with its strengths and weakness, just as any other game released the last 6 years. Just as WoW. Yet people seem to greet it like Messiah.

It might just be. It might just be that what really differs Rift from all the abovementioned games, and really any mmorpg released between WoW and now, is the timing. Rift might've managed to enter the scene exactly when people start thinking - "maybe I am done with WoW? Do I really enjoy this anylonger or do I just log on because I've always have?". We thought things would be better after the end-wrath chaos that broke up many big and small guilds and had many people "take a break" ie quit WoW alltogether. We thought Cataclysm would give us that joy of exploration and ignorance yet again. Yet the trend continues. People are still weary. I read blog post after blog post about guilds that are falling apart. About guilds that are having trouble getting their raids on the road because people don't sign. My guild is only one of many that recently has had a couple of its best members leave because they wanted to try something else.

What these people really want to do is save what is left of their enjoyment of the game. 6 years ago it was ok to spend 3 months and countless hours on downing a boss. Now people nerdrage after 2 weeks of failures. Remember when you had fun leveling a profession? When mining for 5 hours straight wasn't like pulling a tooth? The fun of many people in WoW today rests on a tiny, tiny thread and the slightest shake will have them give it all up. Personally I am still having as much fun as ever. I level my alts, I wipe my ass off in 25mans, I gear and regear and regear again, I do instances for the umptififth time. But even Love is starting to feel like he's lost some of the fun in WoW. He's playing less and less and has started looking for options (albeit not other mmorpgs yet). He's not alone, like I said I've seen this attitude among alot of guildies lately. At first they blame the guild, or the class changes, or the new expansion, then they move on and try to find their fun somewhere else in the game and when that doesn't work either (because they're really bored with the game) they decide to quit and look for something else. And who stands there waiting for them with open arms? Rift.


  1. I agree. I've heard or read nothing about Rift that seems fantastically new or thrilling (though the multiple souls idea IS a very good one). I think it's really only enjoying its large popularity spike due to the odd state WoW is in right now. Rift doesn't really seem any better than Conan, D&D Online, Warhammer etc, it just happens to have been released at a more fortunate time, when the Big Guy isn't on the top of his game.

    I'm also like you in that I've never been more content in the game. Raiding, check, leveling new 85s check. Lots of new zones I want to check out, check. Lots of other SERVERS with bloggy friends I'd like to hang out with, check! There's no shortage of things for me to do in WoW right now, and I love it.

    I don't really read anything Rift-related unless it's about gaming in general, comparing it to WoW, or if it's about aesthetic / artistic elements in the game (which, regardless of game, I would find fascinating.) As long as nobody starts talking to me directly about it, I'm content to let the Rift'ers do their thing unseen by my eyes.

  2. I agree, Zinn. I'm ok that folks are playing Rift, but its just not my interest. My blog is one of those rare Rift free zones.

    More irritating than the talk about Rift has been the waves of WoW bashing echoing across the blogosphere. I've got a post coming in a few days about the negativity.

    Good to know there are some people out there that still enjoy the game.

  3. Yes, it seems this shiny new game is creating quite a RIFT in the WoW community. Ba da boom.

    But in all seriousness, I am also still in love with WoW. I did participate in a Rift beta back in February and I can't say I didn't like the game; it was pretty cool. But it was just a curiosity thing for me and I knew instantly that I could never leave WoW for it and would not be paying to play both games. The whole time I was logged into Rift I wondered what my friends were doing in WoW. After about 8 hours over 3 days, I stopped participating in the beta and came back home. Where I belong.

  4. I tried Aion, AoC and Warhammer when they came out together with a few guildies - but never really caught onto either of them. This time around, I'm just not going to waste my money with another game.

    Time is hard to come by, and WoW is taking up all the time I'm willing to spend on gaming - so why would I look for another one?

    I guess if people are tired of WoW, yeah - they can go on and play another game. No one begrudges them that, but at the same time.. I'm sorry, I don't care enough about Rift to read your blog entries about it.

    Currently I just click past blog posts about Rift. I appreciate that it's a decent game, but I'm not really interested in reading about it.

    I always say that when I quit playing WoW - I don't really want to start another MMO. I would rather do other things with less computer time - or at least less time-consuming. I still enjoy WoW and I'm okay with the time I spend on it, but I wouldn't want to trade it for something else that's equally time-consuming.

  5. Some really good points Zinn. I, too, am pretty sick of Rift being pushed in my face every-which way I turn.

    I've got no problem with it being another option for disillusioned players (WHY MY GUILD, WHY?!) in fact I'm sure it'll be a pretty fun game (BOO HOO HOO) before the theorycrafters work out what the cookie-cutter specs are at endgame and it becomes a fully-fledged WoW clone. Maybe better, maybe worse, the point is I Don't Care and I don't particularly want to read about it.

    Inspired by posts like this, I've just posted a little badge people can use on their blogs to certify them a Rift Free Zone. Feel free to get involved if you like:


  6. I am one of those people playing Rift and doing the occasional post about it.

    While I do like the game I do not think it is going to be a WoW killer. I will leave that distinction to WoW.

    The only reason Rift is as popular as it is now is because Cataclysm is basically unplayable on an endgame level by 95% of the player base.

    Rift appeared in the right place at the right time. Some ideas from Rift are great and I would love to see them in WoW. However, on its own merits I do not think I would have ever even started to play it if I where happy with WoW.

    Blame Blizzard for every customer that Rift has. Rift did not earn it on their own merits, WoW sent the players over there.

    Three days into Cataclysm's release I was raid ready. Three months into it and I was still waiting for the rest of my server to catch up to me.

    I got bored, I looked for something to do, I started playing Rift because it was the new kid on the block. That is the only reason I am playing it.

    While most of the "raiding" guilds on my server are still only 3/12 at best I will continue to play Rift and only raid in guild 1 or 2 nights a week. (we are a casual guild)

    With all the babble gone, sorry, I'll get to the point.

    Whenever you see a Rift post it is not really a Rift post. It is someone talking about WoW by talking about Rift because if it where not for WoW they would not even be playing Rift.

    Most likely it is people feeling they have to justify the reason they started to play it.

  7. I have never played Rift and for now do not intend to sink any money into it. I am not unsatisfied by WoW enough to change over.

    Now I have looked at multiple reviews, screenshots, and even studied teh races/classes on Rift home page. Reviews were form both player and magazine, and it is an interesting game.

    If you have looked at it either video or screenshot you will notice it is basically a WoW clone GUI wise. Its the new game feel thast still in your comfort zone so to speak.

    The game is not ground breaking in combat, professions or spell casting. Its single greatest attraction outside of being a new flavor, is the actual rifts that happen in game.

    Seriously, they have the ability to change the very terrain. Therefore even if you are making a new toon you dont have to feel like you have been through teh same area umpteen times could all be different.

    Now with that said, the land mass is smaller than WoW at this point, but again teh rifts lend to this not being a big issue.

    Aside form that I oput Rift in the same category at this time as War Hammer, Aion, Connan, and multiple others. They will all gathered a pbase of thier own from teh WoW community, but none of them ever were enough to keep all those players from migrating back to WoW.

    It remains to be seen with Rift. I agree with posters above i that the biggest danger to WoW at this point is Blizzard and its jerky, back and forth way of handling things in Cata.

    This coupled with the news that Blizzard has Titan being worked on leaves many players thinking we are now being used as seed money for the new Blizzard MMO. Rift is not a abd game, but its made stronger by the very fact that as Grumpy said, WoW is in its own way driving away its own players.

    I am content in WoW, but content only. I dont feel the need to leave as I have RL friends and internet buddies that I have known now fro about 5 years. I think that is teh thread that is still tieing a large amount of fence sitters to WoW. Once you get a large enough pbase on Rifts and/or the social aspect of the game in WoW is no longer worth the effort in ppls eye's, I think you will see a larger chunk start to leave.

    Hopefully you all buy my Power Torrent enchants off the AH before you go!

  8. I tried out Rift during Beta testing and it was a lot of fun. There were elements to it that I found very refreshing and there were elements that I wasn't sure I would really grow to like or that I would ever get used to.

    Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who tends to not jump out of a plan unless I have a parachute and I didn't feel I had enough to cause to believe Rift would become that for me.

    I would be lying if I said I weren't a little bored with WoW or that I felt like I wasn't feeling particularly challenged lately. But the truth is that I've fallen for this pitch before. I was convinced "Aion" would be my out and it wasn't. I tried Champions Online and that was a bust.

    If I knew that the next thing I went to could give me half of what I was getting in WoW, I would probably take advantage of it. Rift just came out. Of course everyone is going to be enjoying it. If it shows signs of longevity and signs of strong end game content and progression, I may give it a second look.

    Until then, I think I will stay in my airplane and enjoy the view from up here.


  9. Like I wrote in my post, it's not the fact that people write about Rift that annoys me, but rather that all they have to say in some way ends in "and that is why it is so much better than WoW". This could be true (although none of the arguments I've heard so far are compelling), and it is impossible to write about a mmorpg without some comparison to WoW, but I'd like to read more about Rift in itself. It's kinda like reading a review about a Mac that only talks about how it's awesome in that it is not a PC. That still highlights the PC.

    Like I said, I am interested in all new mmorpgs, and I don't doubt that there are many things about Rift that truly are great. I hope, and think, they've taken the opportunity to learn from other game developers mistakes and managed to go one step further. If it truly is good it should deserve recognition for this, and not for being "the game that I like because I am currently bored with WoW". Or maybe I'm just whiny :P

  10. Hey Zinn,

    Let me start by saying that I never heard about rift before I read about it on your blog.

    So I went to take a look at some rift videos with some comments on "look this is a rift opening, every player in the area should join and try to seal that rift", "rifts are opened randomly so you don't know when and where they're gonna appear". When you start killing monsters, you'll get harder and harder monsters in the rift until the end, + there's a time race. If rifts are left unchecked they'll get bigger and bigger and will take larger and larger portions of an area.

    Ok, well that may be a good idea, I find it true that the content in Wow is way too static (go in this area and kill 20 bears), and adding some form of randomness will probably add something.

    Apart from that, it looks just like Wow (the action bars, the cooldowns, the spells, the weapons, the classes...) with some enhancements.

    The graphics are much more detailed, you can actually see some grass moving which is always nice. The animations seem better too, the character moves seem more real for example.

    You seem to be able to specialize character a lot more than in wow (not sure that's such a good idea), but the souls thing looks like an enhanced version of dual-talent spec. Looks like a 4 talent spec but every class gets a chance to be a druid (prot/heal/dps)

  11. Fortunately the Rift-mania isn't too bad on my blog roll, but I do get where you're coming from. What bores me about many of the Rift posts is that the features that they praise as being so great about the game are actually things that sound off-putting to me. For example I don't think that the graphics look particularly nice (*cough* plate bikinis *cough*) and having to spend time sorting out complex talent combinations has always been my least favourite part of any RPG (including pen and paper ones). I can only shake my head in confusion, try to be happy for the writers because they are clearly having fun, and move on.

  12. To be fair, in every new game that launches there are a ton of people from wow in the forums, on fan sites, and in the game complaining about how much better wow is. Some people just seem to take it personally when other people don't prefer their game. The only thing that makes this difference than the other new games is that there is still enough excitement over rift that wow is seeing some minor amount of what other games have had to deal with.

  13. Yeah, I don't necessarily disagree with your points (new game != old game), but I don't really understand this "stop talking about Rift" movement I've seen lately.

    Like, I'm not just being flippant, but if one sees a post about RIFT and one isn't interested, don't read the article! And if the blog talks about RIFT all the time, then don't read the blog! I am not interested in RP, for example, so when one of the blogs I regularly read started talking almost entirely about RP stuff I stopped reading it. No harm, no foul. Saying that, as one of the commenters here did, it's "being pushed in my face every-which way I turn" seems like some pretty hefty hyperbole.

    I don't think you mean this, but all the "stop talking about RIFT" stuff just comes across to me as "Stop having so much fun in RIFT that you want to talk about it!" pouting. It seems a little selfish to complain about someone enjoying their new hobby so much that they want to write about it, just because it doesn't interest you. Stop reading, and move on!