Aug 5, 2011

The Drift from Rift

I love Rift, as a MMO, it’s fantastic.  It works, has loads of features that usually only appear in other MMOs a few expansions in, the graphics are great and the Soul system is really good (still not seeing any really dominant specs, which is very surprising).

But…

There is a serious lack of content.

There. I said it.  It’s a real shame too.

Also, there is a massive gulf at level 50 between doing Abyssal Precipice and Charmers Caldera on normal difficulty, and moving up to Tier 1 instances, and an even bigger gap between Tier 1 and Tier 2.  As I’m not a raider, I can’t really comment on the gap from Tier 2 to the raid instances, but I have been told it’s rather large indeed.

I don’t know if it was intentional, but there is a very defined path to the level cap if you go about it through questing.  This has really killed replayability, with there only being 2 ways through it, Defiant and Guardian.  If you level through PvP or Rifts, you’ll have even less variety, but to be fair, it is a viable option, and kudos to Trion Worlds for making it possible.

I have began looking elsewhere for my MMO fix.  The Old Republic is looking to be that, with it’s promise of hours of unique and meaningful questing for each class, which would really help in removing the feeling that you’re just running on the leveling treadmill.

If I’ve learned anything from Rift, it’s that Themepark MMOs, with a very “crafted” experience, will always play second fiddle to Sandbox MMOs which give you an open world and let you loose to find your own fun.

3 Comments

  • This is very much a personal op.

    I do NOT find an issue with things to do in Rift. Content is there, just using it to play the way you want may be the concern. A good guild makes the game work. Our guild is doing so much with the content as it is, we barely have time to breathe…and that is all at 50.

    I do not understand this "gap" you speak of for Regular and Tier dungeons. Heck, get some crafted pieces on once you hit 50, and BOOM you can run Tier 1…and at times, may even be Tier 2 ready. Are you talking skill? That is a whole other story then. That requires teamwork, and goes back to the "guild" aspect. Good teammates work together to learn and progress.

    I WILL agree with the trip to 50. Do it once, and each run after becomes more droll. Luckily, I have made it through 3 times for Mage, Cleric and Rogue..so, it must be the way I did it (just do what I wanted, avoid questing, rift a lot, maybe a little pvp)…adds up to a more fun experience…and almost feels sandbox in that way.

    As to Sandbox MMO's, I have yet to see one really make a splash (except EVE… being different, yet so niche, it is hard to look at it as anything but made for "geeks"). Until it is proven that Sandbox MMO's are the way to go (specifically success wise…there are a ton of EMPTY sandbox MMO's people could be playing I guess)…then I do not see the Sandbox as the nirvana the MMO player wants.

    I hope your next game is what you want. As to counting on the Old Republic….oh man…I feel sorry for you. Themepark Central.

    Cheers mate!

  • I don't mind TOR being a bit themepark, I loved KoTOR, so I'm expecting more, but with a chat channel and multiplayer. Although it sounds like the games hype, I really do believe that lore and the games story always take a backseat to game mechanics. In Rift, or 99% of the MMOs out there, you get the story from quest dialogue boxes and the games website, when the promotional videos make the game out to be about some massive conflict or some such, and it turns out it's about as exciting as reading a sign about some awesome battle that you didn't see happen at some point previously, so now don't actually care about it. It's a little jarring to say the least. Besides, it's not bloody axes and magic for once!

    The "Gap" I talk about is a major jump in the learning curve from normal to expert. It's nice to see the game is a lot more player skill than character skill, but this is still an MMO, and it's been more about stats until you hit expert, somewhat misleading to those players who only play MMOs.

    Content wise, I stand by my post. I've hit 50, and I've done the instances enough times to be bored of the grind, it's mostly about doing daily quests before the current world event ends. Running an alt comes against the issue that I've done it before. It is more apparent in Rift because of the very high level of polish, you want there to be more, but there simply isn't.

    Regarding sandbox MMOs, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is the best MMO going, were it not for SOEs complete disregard for the game. They should sell it to someone like PWI or some other F2P developer to fix up and re-release with a fluff item cash shop. With Sandbox MMOs, you get the impression from very early on that you can shape the world, with Themepark MMOs, it's very nice to play through, but you get the feeling that you should "keep off the grass."

    You don't see Sandbox games being developed much nowadays, simply because they take too long to make, are too complex and actually need a team of GMs policing them at all times. It all boils down to "too much risk."

  • I'm a tremendous advocate of the sandbox game. Unfortunately, finding a Sandbox MMO is more difficult than playing the game itself. There are no AAA sandbox titles at the moment, which leaves titles like Wurm Online and Tale in the Desert to fill the gap. Which…well, they don't do that very well.

    It's the difference between a world and a game really. Some people want a world and are bored by being constrained by the game to extremely specific paths. Others are fine with it and enjoy it because, well, they wanted to play a game.

    Wodge has got it right though. "You don’t see Sandbox games being developed much nowadays, simply because they take too long to make, are too complex and actually need a team of GMs policing them at all times."

    That said, I find myself hoping Titan will be a sandbox game. Blizzard does have the cash and financial security to pull it off, if they dare.

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