Come June 12th Rift will be going free to play. Those who are in touch with the industry have been predicting this for quite some time. Nowadays an MMO going F2P is, quite frankly, as unexpected as an ice cube melting in the hot sun. In actual fact I was more surprised at how long it took Trion to get here. The publisher/developer is claiming that this move was instigated by the players themselves who have been clamoring for Trion to change Rift’s payment model. That may very well be part of the story – the other part being that the game was not making enough money with a subscription model.
Before taking a long blogging hiatus I was in quite an exciting spot. Riders of Rohan had just been released and Storm Legion was about to hit stores. Both games formed a large part of my MMO diet at the time and I was equally excited for both releases. Now that the dust has settled I feel confident enough putting my thoughts on each expansion on electronic paper. Before I proceed its important to note that I have not reached max level in either game so I am not going to comment much on end game (which is a facet of MMO games which I am not particularly enamored with). These thoughts and opinions reflect what I enjoy in an MMO ie. Story, exploration and the leveling process.
Xfire is a gamer centric program (I refuse to use the word app) used primarily for instant messaging. It has a variety of other uses my favorite being its ability to track which games you are playing and how many hours you have spent playing said game. I have a strange fascination with the amount of hours I have actually spent on each game. It feels very much like a metagame to me where I see which game manages to grab my attention for longest any given week. It has also opened my eyes to the fact that my perceived game time and my actual game time are usually at odds with each other.
I have been using Xfire for a few years now and here is what my gaming history looks like:
Disclaimer: After re-reading this post I realized it sounded like some commercial for Rift. It’s not.
After a lot of deliberation I have decided to go for it. I accepted Trion’s offer to subscribe for a year of Rift. Truth be told they made it really hard to resist. First and foremost by paying a full year in advance I got to save money – 48€ less than what I would have paid if I decided to subscribe for the whole year but pay month by month. Secondly I get the Storm Legion expansion for free when it is released in November. That’s another 25€ saved. last but not least I got the Landslide mount. As far as mounts go the Landslide is as cool as it gets. Freud would have something to say about the joy I get from having such a lumbering beast huffing and puffing between my legs. There are other minor rewards too (a special cape, an exclusive title, early access to some instance and immediate veteran rewards). Nothing to write home about really but getting extra goodies is always a good thing.
Ding 80 in Guild Wars 2 and I was met with an almighty ‘now what?’. Over at GuildWars2Hub there is this list of 80 things to do when you reach level 80 in GW2. Some of them don’t really interest me (Fill every collection slot in the bank with at least one item? I think not). Others, such as finishing my personal story, are obvious choices. I am very tempted to start a new character (something which is also on the list), but I have not grown tired of the Warrior class yet. Levels are not so meaningful in GW2 anyways, at least not as much as they are in other MMOs. Focusing on the World Vs World Vs World aspect of the game is also something I have been meaning to do. Plus: I have yet to get into a dungeon. I feel it is quite a daunting task to be trying that with complete strangers. This game seems to require more coordination than most due to the lack of specific role each party member has. From what I have read about instances in Guild Wars 2 they can be brutally hard. However I am quite sure I can get enough real life friends to set up a decent party.
For the record I am having trouble finding too many faults in Rift. I am not in any way implying that it’s the perfect MMO but it’s hard to be overly critical of a game I’m enjoying so much. It does most things well enough and any significant criticism that comes to mind could be directed at the mmo genre as a whole rather than at this particular game. Hence I decided to drop my previous format of discussing pros and cons and just share my general thoughts about different facets of the game as I experience them.
And so my adventure in Telara continues…
Towards the start of the year Trion Worlds released Rift Lite which allows you to get two characters to level 20. This is basically a trial version of the game. It does not need a separate client or account since I have been playing the version I installed off my original dvds and using my old account details. Clearly this is the right way to do this sort of promotion so hats off. Despite not being able to play as much as I would have liked (what with having to follow E3 and all) I almost reached level 21, meaning now I have to decide whether I want to pay for a subscription or just move on to a different game. It took me all of three seconds to decide in favor of subscribing. Continue reading
I thought long and hard about the best way to share my opinions on Rift as I experience it a second time. Initially I decided to do a running commentary of events as they happen but that would ruin my play experience since I’d have to regularly stop and write details down. I’m not actually a hamster but I definitely got the memory of one so taking notes is a must for me. What I decided to do instead is to outline briefly what I am doing in-game, for the sake of context, and then discuss both one positive and one negative aspect of the game with each blog post. I believe this approach will prevent this from becoming one big rant. So, here it goes:
A year ago I played on the Defiant side and hated the story so this time I went with the Guardians instead. I rolled a dwarf mage. Call me what you will but I have an affinity for short stout men with beards and big noses. I guess shooting electricity from the tip of your fingers is a nifty party trick so I selected Stormcaller as my primary calling with Elementalist as my secondary since they seem to complement each other. Three days of casual play got me to level 14. Continue reading
Now that my excitement for Diablo III has started to subside I decided to go back to something different but at the same time familiar. I want to take a break from Lord of the Rings Online so I won’t go back to it just yet. I rummaged my games collection and unearthed Rift. I had bought this game on impulse (and I don’t mean the digital download service) and played it on release. During that period I was burning out on World of Warcraft and Rift looked like the perfect distraction. I remember being quite impressed at the time. It did not do anything particularly better or worse than WoW and this, to me, was a huge achievement for Trion Worlds. While it did not turn out to be the WoW killer that it was made out to be prior to release, start-up developer Trion had to be applauded for releasing a game which in many aspects matched the behemoth that was WoW. The fact that they managed a near flawless launch also helped considerably.
Alas, Rift did not keep my interest for long. It was too similar to WoW, I found the lore and story to be beyond boring and I was put off by the complexity of the class system. Nevertheless I always had in mind to someday get back into Telara. Installing and updating the game was a breeze and it took less than an hour using my original dvds. Rift is one of those games which allows you to play while it updates all the files in the background. Since it had been so long since I logged into the game Trion Worlds asked me to make some adjustments to my account security (such as changing the password, verifying my e-mail and creating new security questions). I got awarded 3 days of free playtime for making the necessary changes, which meant that the game was instantly accessible without me paying any money. Very generous indeed and a hell of a good start.
Expect a few blog posts related to Rift in the coming weeks as I share my thoughts on the game.
*Apologies for the corny title. I could not help myself.