Friday, March 11, 2011

Rift is the better WoW ...

That is called a contentious statement :)

But there is some truth to it. I played Rift for two more evenings and have a level 11 dwarfen priest at this point. I did a few smaller rifts, died in a big one and otherwise slaugthered a few hundred moving things.

The crafting seems as little fun as in WoW, so I learnt three gatherer professions. The texts .. sorry I don't read them. There are too many, too long names and if I wanted to read all texts and understand the lore I'd be level 3 or 4 at this point. Also, a game shouldn't be an exercise in reading.
Problem is: Once you stopped reading it's even harder to start reading again. There is no way to go back and read the quest texts again, after all. A bit of core-story telling shouldn't be too hard. Look at Bioware. Not 100% of a story has to be presented by walls of text!

Judging Rift for what it is, it is a really good game. Comparing it to WoW, I like the fact that itemlevels are not visible. I like the fact that I am free to quest and explore and kill rifts as I like. No silly Cataclysm stories told by streamlined quests. The open grouping is a success in my opinion.
Most importantly, it feels new, unexplored, less serious. Rift is a game for casuals and I enjoy playing it casually at this point. It was worth my money.

But it's not my dream MMORPG. It doesn't have trade, doesn't have meaningful PvP, has silly crafting, badly implemented lore, etc. But that's all WoW-like. Judging Rift for what it is: It is WoW, just better; while leveling.

Now, the long term success will be determined by the endgame. Especially so, since there are so few starting 'zones' that twinking is less fun compared to WoW.

I'm sure Rift will make a profit and I am sure it will have influence on the industry. On the one hand side it might encourage Blizzard to spend more of their $900 mio annual operating profit ($1200 mio annual revenue!) on their MMORPG(s). Competition is good for business, as they say.
On the other hand, however, it has proven that you can really make a profit with WoW clones. God help us all.


  1. Order my copy now, let's see how it plays.

    Wall of text should be a choice to be made, not a thing forced down your throat. You want to read a book on the history in game, then a wall of text is what you expect (and get). But if the npc's would talk to each other and talk about events, use turn of phrases and even react to the player inquiring about these things, now that would be something.

    But somehow I expected more from Rift at this point. Well, we will see soon enough.

  2. But if the npc's would talk to each other and talk about events, use turn of phrases and even react to the player inquiring about these things, now that would be something.

    They do this to some degree. It's really not too bad.
    Problem is that there is no character building in the story line. So you don't feel that any of this is important.

    The typical TV series spends at least one season on building characters, because only if you care for characters can a care for their story.

    Bioware knows that. WoW, as well as Rift ignore this most basic lesson of story telling.

    Telling the story without prior character building creates a bland experience, unless you, as a player, really set out and force yourself to read it all. Now, that can be fun. But who does it ?

  3. Hmm its the other way - playing Rift makes me want play wow. Rift is polished but it still missing parts, for me the only real attraction in wow'esque games are fun classes and arena combat . Both of which are better in wow imho

    I am probably a minority who thinks that arenas are the only good thing ever implemented pvp wise in wow.

    Instanced pvp in rift is plain atrocious (not in the least part because of major screw up with battlegroup balancing - matches are horribly one sided , no one likes that)

    If I stack vanilla wow vs rift imho wow is better. As rift already has all the bad parts from post BG wow (instarespawn guards, BGs itself) , and doesnt have any good yet (arena)

    To be fair rift has rifts which is something wow didnt have, but I so far they had rather negligible impact .

  4. Ohh and totally offtopic I was thinking much about the audience and different kind of players which play games in general and MMOs in particular and came about a very interesting set of articles:

    I used to think in terms of bartle classification (explorer, killer , socializer, achiever) but that articles shows other interesting ways to look at

    I personally think I fall into explorer/tourist (who likes to see new and interesting places, often off beaten path, that includes reading lore etc) paired with killer/skill drive and competitive attitude (thats why I like pvp of all sorts, ladders ,rankings etc, play FPS , and min/max everything in MMOs)

    Someone said "hell is other people". In he was damn right. There are many people, sometimes their playstyle is so different they might as well be aliens to each other, but we do play same game -mucho grief comes out it. Accommodating all those different kind of players without alienating them to each other is imho holy grail of mmos.

    something like better social pairing could be a first step in solving this problem. LFD puts me together with random people- but I want be playing with people like myself, not the other 99% of population.