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Really… That’s It?

Update: Actually, as of 6PM PST the entire thing is over. No warning, nothing.

That’s it? Really? We’re into Phase 3?

Let me just say how disappointed I am right now. If you’ve been following RIFT at all, you probably know about this big world event they’re having. That’s great. I’ve been following it and loved that it added a sense of danger to the land. Phase 1 went on for two weeks. Today, the game moved ahead into Phase 2. They didn’t give a specific time, just a window 1-3PM PST. The event happened and lasted for under a half an hour on Sunrest, the server I play on.

I didn’t know that until I texted Jeremy this afternoon asking him what he thought of it. I texted Ferrel asking him the same. He didn’t know. He hadn’t been on in time and the event was over.

“Over?” I asked. “Like, over over?!”

“Yeah,” he replied. “It’s into Phase Three.”

Which according to the devs on the RIFT podcast is the wind-down, aftermath part of it.

So we go from two weeks of infinitely respawning zone events into a one-shot, hit it or miss it finale? And on top of that, no one expected their to be queues when planning this? There are reports of queues over a thousand players long on the forums. Sorry?

The amount of planning that went into this over the last two weeks and no one said, “hey, maybe we should let more people see this?” That kind of flies in the face of getting people into the lore. Here’s the beginning. Here’s the end. Sorry, someone will have to tell you about the most important part.

It also kind of undoes a lot of that tricksy-ness of releasing an event timed perfectly to keep people subbed, don’t you think? I have to think that the majority of players who missed their 20-minute window are going to feel pretty cheated. And by something they should have walked away from thinking “Oh, cool. I want more of this.”

I find myself so disappointed less because of missing the event as it was and more because it seems like such an incredible oversight for Trion. I mean, these are the people that delivered on every expectation we had. This is the dream team of MMO developers whose experience showed in all the little, quality of life, polished-to-a-sheen details that so elevated RIFT over nearly every major release in the last few years.

So… really, that’s it?

Time to hit YouTube.

15 comments

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  1. Andrew

    Isn’t an event more special – more memorable in terms of lore – if not everyone gets to see it? I mean, we want virtual worlds, right? Because if so…. then we need to accept that we cannot participate in everything and still have it be a meaningful and coherent WORLD.

    Just a differing line of thinking for you to ponder…..
    Andrew recently posted..Whiplash

    1. Chris

      I would say so, but it’s still a fine line to walk between being “exclusively cool” and “exclusionarily botched.” It would have helped if they announced a specific time and at least had the thing repeat a couple of times.

  2. Green Armadillo

    “That kind of flies in the face of getting people into the lore. Here’s the beginning. Here’s the end. Sorry, someone will have to tell you about the most important part….Time to hit YouTube.”

    This is vaguely what it feels like to be a solo player in a game where all the best lore is reserved for raids. Blizzard actually went so far as to install a YouTube statue in the middle of Dalaran for us non-raiders to see how the all Arthas, all the time story of the last expansion ends. :P

    The closest parallel I’ve been through compared to this event is the AQ gate opening. That was also a massive cooperative effort that led up to a brief story scene followed by an eight hour world-wide invasion. The servers queued, the main zone involved crashed repeatedly, those of us who were online found it unplayable, and many players missed the event altogether because the final trigger was decided solely by an individual raid player who had completed the pre-requisites. (On my server, Fires of Heaven chose to trigger the event late at night to keep the masses away. I heard of one server where the top raid guilds had agreed to ring the gong at a reasonable time, but someone decided it would be funny to ninja ring it at like 4 AM before server maintenance day so that their entire server would miss the event.)

    This is the first time I can think of where Trion squarely failed to learn from past MMO mistakes – something they’ve generally been good at because they have so many people who have worked on other games in the past.
    Green Armadillo recently posted..PAX Prime Questions

  3. jim

    They told us in advance when it would start, what to expect, where it would end and what that would lead to. Many, many players on my shard (including almost my entire guild) were online throughout the entire event, participated in every stage (more than once sometimes!) and had a quick peek in the new raid to get a feel for it. So, we knew everything in advance. I’m not entirely sure what you’re complaining about other than missing it which isn’t exactly Trion’s fault is it? And let’s not forget that this was the first event, there will be many many more to participate in, just make sure you’re online or you’ll miss it ;)

    1. Chris

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for the comment! They didn’t say when exactly the event would take place. Their quote is “1-3p PST” with varying start times across the servers. Add into that the free trial weekend (good in theory, bad in practice for a major event — at least this time), bringing down servers right before, and you wind up with massive queues. Sunrest had a queue timer of 8 hours and the whole of phase two was done in 20 minutes. They also never said that this was a single, one-time showing of the phase two event. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the event to repeat itself for a little while considering phase one was a series of repeatable events for two solid weeks. On our server, the whole things boils down to a time scheme like this for the phases: two weeks, twenty minutes, twenty more, and done. There’s no logic in that. It really sounds like it was great on paper and botched in practice.

      I’m glad you were able to take part. What server do you play on? I talked to people that were there and from what I heard, Sunrest was almost unplayable due to lag. There was also a graphics glitch which made the boss invisible for the first couple minutes — and multiple people supported it, so it wasn’t just a one-person thing.

      Anyways, don’t get me wrong. I hear what you’re saying, I really do. To be clear, I was disappointed because Trion has done everything else so well and this was their first real mess-up (account hacks not included). I think it’s awesome that they’re doing events already. Who does that?! So good for them. I just wish they finale to the last two weeks could have gone off as strongly as phase one and for more people.

      1. Jim

        I play on Blightweald (EU server). Fair enough with your comments, perfectly valid reasons to feel disappointed. The event itself however certainly did not go smoothly, lag wasn’t too bad for me but each phase did reset several times, but we eventually got there and there was a general feeling of positive participation rather than players being blown away by some amazing technical feat, but enjoyable nonetheless. Having said that, I wouldn’t be too hard on Trion, they are clearly trying to improve the experience as a whole for everyone involved and are doing an excellent job of regularly communicating and listening to the playerbase and if nothing else that has definitely taken the world of MMOs forward a step or two.

  4. João Carlos

    Correcting what jim said above:

    “And let’s not forget that this was the first event, there will be many many more to participate in, just make sure you’re PLAYING RIFT or you’ll miss it ;)”

    By the way, I was saying to my guildmates that the phases II and II from the event were to be fast, they were fast at alpha server.

    By the way, the event was great. Bosses all over the land. I helped to kill 4, and two where just at Sanctum bridge. I gained a box with a quest from a drop.

    They changed phase III: at alpha server was a 6 boss fight to deat of every player there, at live server it was a meeting of NPCs. My guess is that Trion found that all server population at one place no greater than a theatre for an epic battle is not good idea. But we had all server population at one place yesterday anyway…

    I forgot to get the “Defiant” title, but a lot of people get it. But I get the 3 achievements.

    For the people that lost it and are saying “meh!” now, I just need to say: Sorry, but it is YOUR FAULT!

    But Trion is trying to be good, so you will receive a mail in game with the rewards. Just remember that some rewards are random (the mounts, for example), so there is a change you will never get it when you open the box you will receive from mail.

    For the next events…

  5. Barrista

    Sorry but I agree that phase 2 and 3 were too fast… and that is in comparison to phase 1 mainly.

    As I have said on the Rift forums, this whole thing reminded me of many of my ex-boyfriends: lots of talking up to the end, and then 5 minutes and it’s over.

    I honestly don’t care about the rewards that much, but having an in-game event was nice. At least they are expanding the dailies from it and the time you have to purchase items.

  6. Mojeaux

    You know, I find it “funny” that some folks can’t admit that for a lot of folks, The Event, was a non-event. Not only that, but they come up with some really odd ways of validating their rationale.

    An event is more special because less people got to experience it? Really?

    And on Bio Break post, some guy had the nerve to call it “a win” for Trion… Really? If it was such a WIN why did Hartsman come out and publicly apologize for the way it went down?

    Come on folks. They stepped in it, and they know it. How about you guys with the “Trion can do no wrong” attitude just accept it as well and move on instead of coming up with some dubious justifications?

    1. Jim

      Let’s not get carried away here, Hartsman did not ‘publicly apologize for the way it went down’. What he did do was post a very honest and very informative post explaining their ambitions and what was learnt from the first event. Working in software development myself I can tell you that the first event was very probably 50% for the player’s enjoyment and 50% for Trion to get a better understanding of server load balancing/performance, network load, player’s behaviour in and around the phases, software performance, database performance, etc, etc, etc. and from that perspective it was VERY successful as the phasing did (eventually) complete as planned with a high number of players online. And what Trion since has also done, i.e. compensating the players (such as Chris) who feel let down by the event for whatever reason, should be commended and used as a benchmark for other software developers who are in the very difficult world of MMO development.

      1. Mojeaux

        Ok perhaps a public apology is too strong a statement, however it’s as close to one as you’re going to get, I mean their offering consolation fluff ffs.

        However I still stand by my statement that they stepped in it. Even they acknowledge that. It’s no big deal, they’re a good company and will no doubt succeed on their next go round. I guess what irritates me is the rampant fanboism of some folks.

        1. jim

          I think we’ll have to agree to disagree here, it isn’t an apology or doesn’t come close to one. What it is is an attempt by Trion to explain to those players currently foaming at the mouth exactly what they set out to achieve, what they did achieve, what they failed to achieve and what they learnt from their mistakes. As for ‘consolation fluff’, it would appear to be the the quickest way to calm those players down and move on, not a bad strategy really is it?

          As for the fanboism, it always has and always will exist in every game, but it’s no better or worse than the raging players crying out on the various forums – best just to ignore both extremes and hope Trion do things better next time. Failing that, unsubscribing and waiting for the next MMO is an option every player has, foaming at the mouth or not :)

  7. Starseeker

    I was disappointed in the event, but mostly it was due to my own assumptions, and nothing on Trions part. When I first logged into phase 1, I expected to have death rifts everywhere, and invasions…and there really was nothing. The death rifts that were there died in record time as people tried to complete the dailies. Once I got over my own assumptions of how it was going to go, I enjoyed phase 1 for what it was, a simple live event.

    Phase 2, again I assumed it would be invasions everywhere, I had a few friends who did the alpha and said it was crazy hard. Then, when it happened, the named didn’t stay up longer than 30 seconds in the zone I was in, we got to the end, and alsbeth bugged out and couldn’t even be damaged, we poked her for 15 seconds and then the script continued…all in all 45 mins of wasting time.

    I agree with Jim, this was 50% for the players and 50% for them to discover the limits of their hardware. I also have to look at games like everquest 2, and the way they do live events…they have some quests (phase 1) and some GMs that come in and spice it up…thats it…so they really did try to think outside the box. I am glad that Trion is taking the extra step and compensating us for things we had no way of recieving in the phase 2 event. I think thats an extra step that says they want to work with their community, instead of just pushing something that may have been what they intended, but not what we expected and saying “sorry thats the way it is” like so many other game companies out there.
    Starseeker recently posted..The Rift- Podcast 39- Elrar- Abigale- 12 and World Events

  8. João Carlos

    I think the best comment about thsi event was made by syncaine (http://syncaine.com/2011/04/18/rift-grim-harvest-world-event-was-awesome/):

    “The sheer amount of ‘me me me’ sentiment, the outrageous levels of entitlement, and the total hypocrisy of it all (We want truly dynamic content! No I missed the dynamic content, wtf is this /wrist!) just shows how truly sad a large section of any MMO community really is.”

    If we want a dynamic world, we need too accept that that world will change and some events will be one time, if you miss it, you missed it.

    1. Mojeaux

      Ok, and I would agree with that (crazy that Syncaine is being touted as the voice of reason lol!) statement, but I think that had people missed it because they couldn’t be bothered to log in at a certain time or for whatever other reason of THEIR choice, then I would be espousing a similar belief.

      However, people were basically prevented from participating for reasons beyond their control and totally related to how TRION ran the event. I think people have a legitimate beef, one that TRION has acknowledged given that they are offering what can only amount to consolation prizes for those unhappy folks.

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