It’s just dull

I’ve given Rift what I think is a fair attempt at grabbing me, but it has failed to do so. Unlike some bloggers, I am completely burned out on the themepark design. Whereas long ago I talked about how I was done with PvE games, I think now it has evolved into just being done with themeparks (no, really?). I could maybe play a PvE game in a sandbox, but would probably find it more difficult without the freedom of attacking another player – because at this point the artificial restriction would feel jarring in what should be an open world. I’m not in any way regretting my purchase, because I feel like the money I gave to Trion helped to reinforce what they did right, and what the entire genre should emulate – functionality and stability. It’s not the studio’s fault that I find their design choice to be less entertaining than a presentation on the various methods of mixing paint.

Really, I just find the paradigm, well, dull. So much so, that at this point, I’m having a hard time remembering what it is I like about the set-up to begin with.

In the early days, there was EQ (and now again in the new-days). I found that entertaining, and the progression server shows that I still do. Some say the world is more sandbox than themepark, I say it falls in an “in-between” place. It’s clearly a linear progression game, with levels, spells, skills and improvements all focused around advancement in levels. The “goal” is to go from A to B and get more powerful. However, it’s placed in a full world. There are a plethora of options to do that trek, and the areas for newbies often have dangers and sidebits for veterans. Intermingled content helps to give the game a greater immersion. In Rift, there are very clear delineations between the level brackets and the zones, just as in most other themepark games.

Of course, at the time of the original EQ choices were slim, but I was young, so other interests took up more time. So when EQ2 came out, I dove into that fiercely. I loved the original EQ2 of exploring the game, finding groups and doing dungeon crawls through Runneyeye. Finding competent players to go deep into the bowls of a shared dungeon was fun. Other players presence provided a kind of competition, as well as made the location feel inhabited. Where EQ2 started was, compared to the original EQ, more themepark, less sandbox – and sadly that split has increased further as time has progressed. But at least there’s housing. Then there is WoW, that refined the themepark, point A to B, hand-holding each step of the way, style of gameplay. I was so averse to it when I first tried it, that I stayed away from it. (EDIT: of course, until my RL friends conned me into playing with them)

Of course, I played WAR for a couple of years as well. What was interesting about WAR was that, while the leveling aspect adhered to the traditional questing tropes, the main activity of the game was very new and different. WAR is largely what introduced me to PvP in MMOs. So, while it followed the “standard” for the leveling game, what the aim of the gameplay was supposed to be, was far more dynamic, and fell more into the “in-between” place similar to EQ. So, while the game was directed in an overarching sense, the reality  of the gameplay was dynamic and unscripted due to the live nature of PvP play.

So, that’s a lot of preamble and over-explaining on my part to say that when I play Rift. I’m just bored. I can sit down in my computer chair, unlock the pivot, lean way back, and mindlessly make my way through the levels and zones of the game. Sometimes needing to use nothing other than my N52te, “Look ma! One hand!”. To some people, that sounds amazing. What they seek in their MMO is maybe some social interaction, and mindless gameplay. Chugging through rifts and quests with little planning or forethought in it. Quickly jumping into the game and just doing.

Which leads me to a second complaint that is specific to Rift. The soul system. I LOVE the concept. I applaud the diversity and inter-mutable shifting of what you can do and how you do it depending on how many points you put towards each soul. The root/tree division was brilliant. However, as far as the leveling game goes, it doesn’t seem to matter what choice I make. Play a Reaver/Champion felt a lot like playing a Paladin/Riftblade. Time to kill, and difficulty of completion was about exactly the same. Some of the styles of finishing them felt somewhat different, but overall, there was little shift in playstyle.

The game is undeniably smooth, polished, pretty, functional, and stable. It’s what EVERY game should be on release. But it doesn’t entertain me, and that’s the most important thing.

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About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

13 Responses to It’s just dull

  1. Slurms says:

    Just goes to show you how diverse each of us are and how you should never assume your own play style to be the best way. While you find Rift very polished yet dull/boring. I find EVE to be very interesting yet dull/boring. It, like LotRO, has put me to sleep on occasion. But I absolutely love that it exists, and I love hearing stories from the game. Just as I’d think/hope (assuming here) that you appreciate Rift’s existence.

    • Shadow says:

      God yes. It does what it does great. Hell, I appreciate it’s existence if, for nothing else, that the game is physical evidence of the ability to release a highly functional, highly polished, day-1 product in the genre.

      My only complaints with it are the style of game it is, and that, at the must fundamental level, is a personal preference and opinion.

  2. SynCaine says:

    “WAR is largely what introduced me to PvP in MMOs”

    Ouch. Sorry.

    Oh, and worst attempt at a FBW post ever. Literally nothing to go on here…

    • Shadow says:

      I’ve never been good that the inflammatory stuff. Need to get more vitriol in my system so I can be edgy and controversial!

    • Mr. Meh says:


      “WAR is largely what introduced me to PvP in MMOs”

      Ouch. Sorry.”

      WAR introduced me to the concept of balanced PVP. I never understood the term ‘fair fight,’ before WAR. It wasn’t until WAR that I saw zerg/blobbing as a negative thing.

      6v6? Why, is this a tournament?

      Though WAR wasn’t my first PVP experience, it definitely influenced my experience on understanding small time skirmish and stategy over what I see in most games.

      I can see that now in RIFT with all the WoWers. When you say nice “Zerg,” they think its a compliment. But you wouldn’t know that, would you? Mr. I’m OUT.

  3. Mr. Meh says:

    Interest is based on the time and place. E.G. She is cute now, but only because you’re drunk.

    As well, I really only enjoy my guild. And RIFT is where we are. But each night, when everyone takes breaks or logs, or we don’t have enough people. I’m back into Shogun 2, immediately (awesome game FYI). RIFT is themepark, and very shallow PvP. Am I stomping out yet? Not quite. I am really really torn on whether to continue the sub on April 1st.

    Communities tend to keep people in things that they are nuetral to. I think that’s why on startups, companies are so willing to give big guild leaders everything they want. Whole different subject.

    Anyways. I don’t disagree with any of your points, they are basically all of mine. Which only can mean you hacked my account and have been in my draft folder. THIEF!

    And it’s also hard for me (emphasis) to insult Trion because they really did make a smooth game as well. It’s like it has everything we wanted, but nothing we actually dream of. You just made what we have with better graphics and smoothing gameplay. So Kodus on the great launch and decent game. I hope it only goes to show how better running MMOs can be built, and hopefully actual new ideas will hit. You have me for a couple more days.

    I think it came down to Trion’s main goal was to make an Engine Platform that outperformed (not speculation, its from the CEO’s interview http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/33232/Interview_Trion_CEO__Rift_Launch_To_Go_Well_Games_To_Be_Revolutionized.php). And I think they did. The basis for a uniquely awesome game? Not so much. Use what we know will sell and test the engine. That was the idea. Of course it was going to be yawn.

    Now …. say a new game is coming out with awesome ideas. Great. Now say you see that they are contracting and using the Trion engine. Based on my experience here, that would make me happy. I take the experience for what it is. I don’t chalk this $65 spent as a failed investment. I got see and experience a gaming engine that worked awesomely and should make other game engines envious.

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