Friday, March 18, 2011

The Rift Train

I sort of side stepped Rift for several reasons. First off I didn't feel the need to get going in another fantasy MMO. I have toons up and running in WoW, EQ II, LoTRO, DDO, and Wizard 101 after all. As long as I keep paying my WoW sub I can visit them whenever I want, since most of those games are FtP. I was also utterly and thoroughly addicted to WoW during the beta events. I hadn't played the WoW much since the LoTRO open beta (three years ago?), and I decided to start over from scratch when Cataclysm launched. I was smack dab in the middle of Cataclysm during the beta events, and that's some of the best content in modern WoW. Finally, due to my newfound enjoyment of PvP, the endgame of WoW hasn't immediately face planted for me like it usually does. Both when the cap was 60 and when it was 70, WoW ceased being remotely fun within a week or two of hitting the cap. This time, ranked battlegrounds are actually keeping me entertained.

Still, Rift launched almost three weeks ago, and the buzz around it is still overwhelmingly positive. I have to admit I'm starting to get curious. If the most widely followed MMO blogger is defensive because he's not playing it, and another that spends most of his time trolling the internet is gushing about it, Rift must have something going for it. At the very least it's sending out big ripples in the MMO blogosphere.

On top of that, I have seen my future in WoW. It's me running out of goals I can reach with any sort of reasonable time investment in about a month. I will have my super big glowey dragon mount in about another week if I keep going at my current pace. I could also get a glowey ghost horse that says "I've spent way too much time grinding in Tol Barad" to show off in battlegrounds a week or two after that. I'm also starting to run out of PvP gear to buy. I have a nice cloak coming tonight (win or lose I'm one battleground away from it), and a ring I will likely get early next week. After that there's no gear left I'm particularly excited about. A necklace and a trinket or two are all I'll have left to earn. That's not more than three more weeks of PvP.

There is another set of gear you can get with conquest points, but you only get 25 of them a night doing ranked battlegrounds. Even getting up the 2000+ I'd need for my staff would be a fool's errand at that rate. You can get them faster from the Arena, however I don't have much interest in Arena matches. They are pretty much straight up fights with little strategy to them apart from knowing the ins and outs of every class intimately. By itself no small thing, I will allow, but not an amount of study I'm willing to put in for a game. It's only one step removed from dueling, a form of PvP I utterly despise. "Hey, let's fight solely to see who's e-peen is bigger!" No thanks . . .

And now I come to the point of this wandering post. One day soon, I may actually be getting on board the Rift train. It will depend on a few things. First off, is the game still going strong a few weeks from now? It's already pretty clear Rift is not an AoC/ WAR style disaster launch. However, it remains to be seen whether the servers will stay well populated in month two, when the really quick players start hitting the endgame and everyone has to pay a sub fee to keep playing. It also remains to be seen how well the rift mechanic will stand up to sparsely populated mid level zones.

Second, either the price for the client would have to come down (unlikely imo) or a demo would need to be released. My PC hits or slightly exceeds the recommended specs from their FAQ, but you never know. Sometimes a game hates something random about your rig, and sometimes even the recommended specs are really too low to run a game well. I'm not very keen on the idea of spending $50 on a client to find out whether it's playable and pretty on my PC.

Finally, will some new or old shiny distract me before I get around to Rift? LoTRO has a lot of new content coming at the end of the month, it may suck me back in. I may also have a further attack of insanity [PvP munchkin is far from my usual MMO playstyle, I'm still a bit shocked I'm digging BGs so much] and take up arenas or raiding in WoW. I've also been meaning to try World of Tanks again. Then there's Star Trek Online and Champions Online. I'm a bit curious to know whether they will still melt my rig now that I have a much bigger power supply.


  1. Rift is something that I might try eventually, but same as you I am curious to how the game experience will be after some months if you start out then.

    For the moment I have plenty of other distractions through games I already play to some extent - STO, Fallen Earth (new update just released), CoH (soon 7 year anniversary), Black Prophecy (prologue part was great, interesting to see how the rest will be), spend some tokens in CO perhaps (they are piling up), doing a bit more Guild Wars, Battlestar Galactica Online etc.

    And that is just the MMOish stuff.

  2. There are definitely a lot of choices out there now. Personally I'm enjoying Rift quite a bit, although my obsessive phase has been so intense I wonder if I'll burnout sooner or not. Hopefully not, but I guess we'll see.

  3. The good thing with Rift is that you can be pretty confident that it will still be here when you do have the time to try it. I suspect it will be around for a while.

  4. @Sente: Black Prophecy was not on my radar at all. I googled it, an it looks pretty good. Thanks for the heads up :-)

    @Blue Kae: it's hard to know whether obsessing out on something new means "new long term awesome" or "delightful but shallow (i.e., you'll quickly burn out)." I see it most clearly in music. Some albums you immediately like, but you get sick of them quickly. Others you seem mediocre at first, but once you "get" them you can listen to them 100x.

    @Anjin: it does seem to be doing quite well. I'm hoping it will turn out to be the first post WoW million+ steady subs MMO, mainly because I think Blizzard needs some competition.

  5. I suspect Rift is a little more resilient as well and will still be going strong, longer than say, AoC or WAR managed.

    There are too many games on the market right now, I've gotten a little more choosy myself. I've given myself a new goal recently, to get to max level in any new game I sub to (hence F2Ps are excepted). It's to help me commit to a game as well as to make me choose my MMO purchases more carefully. That said, I wouldn't have gotten Rift if I didn't think it was going to be worth it. I will be playing for a while yet, and if you ever do decide to come aboard, be sure to let me know! :)

  6. I can identify with your experiences with WoW. I think that I'll be saved from boredom by the next upgrade to LotRO which is due out soon.

    I have to go see if I can still play my LotRO toons before that happens.

    If I had more time I'd look at Battlestar, but it's unlikely for me in the near future

  7. @mmogamerchick: I'm still in "wait and see" mode with Rift, but if I do get going with it you'll be among the first to know. I'm glad you are still digging it.

    @Jomar: I won't say I'm completely done, but I see the end in sight. I'd like to at least finish out my PvP gear and get the TB dragon mount.

  8. I suspect Rift is more fun now than it will be later.

    Looking at other games I know I had a blast in the early days of SWG being the only Medic in a raid or in the jungles of Stranglethorn when level 40 was the highest on the server and it was gank or be ganked against the best of the best.

    Rift has that freshness now, I do see the case for waiting - and wish I had done so with AoC - but Rift is good enough now that the exhilerating game experience makes up for the small faults.

  9. I'm taking RIFT slowly, so as to avoid the risk of burnout. You also want to stay in more populated zones, which penalizes rushing ahead of everyone else. It's an interesting mechanic that acts to regulate the overall rate of progression of the "herd".