Friday, March 18, 2011

Rifting through some misconceptions

Lately my blog has been invaded by proselytizing Rift fans, which in their eagerness to spread their religious cause said a lot of things that were simply false. That didn't exactly endear them to me. But I'll try to correct some of those misconceptions, and establish some ground rules in this post.

Misconception 1: "Tobold doesn't know Rift". I already played Rift during the beta for several days. Of course there is the eternal discussion how many hours exactly one has to play a MMORPG to fully "get it". But I certainly played it sufficiently long to have experienced the two factions, different archetypes, the soul system, the rifts, and many hours of the general gameplay. Don't pretend I don't know what I am talking about.

Misconception 2: "Tobold hates Rift". I never said that, in fact I said a lot of nice things about Rift. It is a fun enough game, and far more polished at release than most MMORPGs. It is *not* the best MMORPG I've ever played, but certainly ranks up somewhere in the top 10. The top 10 are full of MMORPGs I can't find the time to play, like Lord of the Rings Online, and for LotRO I actually have a lifetime subscription.

Misconception 3: "Everybody should play Rift". I'm not convinced of that. And what is absolutely certain is that if you think everybody should play Rift, you are doing a lousy job of promoting it here. Sorry, but this is not a soccer stadium with some sort of contest whose fans can cheer the loudest. This is a rather intellectual blog discussing the merits of various features of all possible MMORPGs. The majority of pro-Rift comments I've seen completely failed to address even the most basic question of *why* Rift is a good game in your opinion. I would be very much interested in hearing your opinion about that: What exactly makes Rift better than other MMORPGs in your eyes? Up to now I've mostly seen mindless cheering, garbage arguments like "Rift is better because it doesn't have a Dungeon Finder - Oh, wait, they are just adding one - In that case Rift is better because of it's superior Dungeon Finder", or the eternal "Rift is the best game evah, because everybody who plays something else sucks". Sorry, you are unlikely to convince me or anybody else with arguments like that.

I've played Rift for hours, and during those hours I was mostly occupied doing "kill 10 foozles" quests, and moving from one quest hub to the next. That is exactly the kind of gameplay I've grown bored of from other games. I also battled in some rifts, but from my experience with WAR and reports from blogs like Kill Ten Rats I still have questions about the long-term viability of such public quest features once the initial bulk of players passed through a zone. I have a long list of other games which I would like to play, which don't play like the standard generic fantasy quest-based themepark MMORPG. So right now I just can't justify spending the 50 bucks and the time to play Rift. I have a intellectual interest in discussing what features "work" for you in Rift, but I am under no obligation whatsoever to play Rift, or to support the crusade mindlessly promoting that game.

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