Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Rift Rant

Since the last two posts are probably too difficult for most to understand, here's just a rant :).

As much as I liked the classic feel of Rift while leveling, I cannot get myself to play my max level character. Neither can I motivate myself to play through the leveling again. The role system just makes me switch back and forth without giving my character any identity I could emotionally connect to. As a Firemage he is impressive and, of course, totally over the top when left untouched. But if forced to move around or hit he is annoying to play.

As a chloromancer/warlock he is a hyper-optimized war machine that cannot die in non-elite PvE ever, was repeatedly insulted in PvP for the overpowered nature of the specc, and generally is most effective if he aoe's everything to death with instant aoe dots while keeping himself healthy due to the damage he does. Did I mention that this is one of the most effective mage-healing speccs while also killing PvE mobs the fastest?

As a Stormcaller he is about 10x as good at destroying stuff with lighting as Zeus and rather fucked up if somebody shoots back at him.
As an Archon he is only good in raids and then only if there isn't another Archon already. .. Yeah. Exactly.

Fun thing is, I am pretty sure I could enjoy each of these roles. But the possibility to switch on the fly somehow makes me switch back and forth without really liking anything, always focusing on the negative side of each specc. I think that it would have been much better if I had had to work for each of the speccs. But, obviously, that is not compatible with the WoW-like architecture of the leveling game.

Oh, and before I make another post out of it: I don't get why collecting the millions of artifacts is fun. If there had been a few hundred hidden in the basements of some of the impressive caves and castles in the game, it could have been great. But to find one every step of the way .. I stopped dismounting for them quite a time ago, because it felt utterly pointless. Minipets, my ass.

This development isn't really a big surprise. And I will not go back to WoW, because this time, for once, there just isn't anything I would look forward to be doing. Sorry, Michael. It's just unfortunate. Rift is too much like WoW to be able to support good open-world content. And the explicit focus on "rewards" in the game is really, really, really going on my nerves. If they at least had the dignity to hide the fact that it's "just rewards".

To say it bluntly, I think the best way to encourage me to kill mobs right now is to threaten me to give me rewards if I don't.


  1. TooDifficult != tl;dr ;)

    I'm guessing you don't like the new LFG tool either?

  2. I think the LFD is ok, but I don't play Rift to do instanced dungeon runs. I've done that the last few years already and it became boring over time. I'm there for the open world.

  3. This reminds me of an experiment I once read about, wish I could provide a link but essentially:

    Two groups of photography students took pictures during a workshop. At the end, the first group was allowed to pick only one to take home, and the other group got to take one home now, but could also get a different one if they changed their minds.

    On average, the people who only got to choose one remained happy with their choice a couple of weeks later, whereas the ones who were allowed to change were generally less happy with their choice - whether or not they changed their picture.

    The very presence of choice causes more, and more frequent, evaluation of what you've got - whereas if you have just the one thing you ended up with, you make the best of it and actually end up happier.

    Seems like what's happening with you at the moment doesn't it?


    (Blogger is being an arse and won't let me sign in on my WoW account.)

  4. Thanks, Nat. This is exactly what's at work here, I think.
    It doesn't automatically mean that choice is bad. It just means that as a game designer you must consider all aspects of choice.

  5. For me the novelty factor got me only as far as Searing ... errh ... Scarlet Gorge. Did try another toon that got to Dusk ... errh ... Gloamwood though on the strength of giving the soul system a try.

    The game isn't sufficiently different to reset my burnout timer from previous games and although the artwork is technically competent it's too generic to create the feeling of being in a world. Similarly, with the story, which, even if it wasn't the usual big foozle drivel, is presented with walls of text that have little real relevance and soon become excruciatingly dull.

    It seems like the Rift designers just lifted the essential bits from other games and arranged them in a block pattern, like Milton Keynes. It appears to have been designed by the soulless bureaucrats of Kafka's castle, to tick all boxes on some investor public relations form, rather than by people who have played and loved the role playing games of the past.

  6. Which is exactly why most games just slap out some classes for us to pick from, while the blogosphere goes on about how awesome it would be to "finally ditch those classes and levels, man", isn't it?

    On one hand, I feel similar, I love being a Champion, but get these frequent urges of "oh, would it not be more awesome to be a Paragon", and then as a Paragon I want to be a Champion again. On the other hand, personally, all things considered, I think I'm rather pleased and comforted by having the choice.

    Re: artefacts, what I quite specifically like about artefacts is that they are found by looking at the actual world - not at my minimap. I absolutely and utterly don't care about minipets, the only reason I'm hunting artefacts is for the process of hunting artefacts itself.

    The blatant focus on rewards is really annoying. I wish the game / a game would dare to say "play me because I'm fun" rather than "play me for shinies". But that's a whole topic in itself.

    Unrelated: since 1.2 improved the tooltips, specifically added functional information (like "banker") for NPCs, I was finally able to turn off all floating names. That's how I always preferred playing, and it's really great in RIFT. Much more immersive than anything I played since LotRO.