I made a silly mistake today and renewed RIFT. I’ve been playing it a lot lately and having fun leveling my rogue through PvP. (Admit it Assassins, we’re overpowered). When I got the email reminding me that until I paid up my characters would be sold into slavery, I didn’t even consider that TOR comes out this week. Not a second thought was cast, I renewed that subscription and logged in just to be sure I could. Then it hit me, as much fun as I’ve had in RIFT lately, will I even bother to login again after TOR is out?
That I’m asking this question, that’s it just seems like a question the majority of RIFT players must be also be pondering, doesn’t bode well for the game’s immediate future. Like a lot of people, I hit the game pretty hard in the beginning and then eased back into a relaxed play style. More relaxed than most people I know, even, only logging in for an hour here or there (until the last two weeks). It wasn’t that I’d gotten bored, it was that I’d experienced everything I was able to and gotten comfortable with the systems. I feel like I know RIFT pretty intricately, so I feel confident in saying, RIFT offers very, very little that TOR does not, and what it does (rifts) have been played out. Once you’ve leveled one zone, you’ve leveled them all. Once you’ve done one rift, you’ve done them all. The one competitive factor RIFT has is its class system. You can mix and match souls, but let’s be frank here, you were pretty much one soul with stat boosts from the others. The only benefit is that you can change that class on a whim.
The main counter-point to all that is in the potential of the dynamic event system. Unfortunately, it’s too late. RIFT blew it’s first shot to stem the tide to TOR. If they were going to do something exciting with it all, given us a taste of what’s to come if we stick around, they should have done it over the last two months. Instead, they delivered rehashed concept after rehashed concept (speaking to the rift/dynamic content system here) that just works to drive players to something they haven’t experienced yet. TOR is that thing.
Now, I’m not saying RIFT is doomed. I don’t think so at all, but losing a big chunk of your players to a game that’s arguably just as “sticky” isn’t a good thing. Rather, I think they’ll experience a drop in subscriptions, players will shout about servers being empty and the game dying out, and then in three months they’ll see some of those lost players come back.
RIFT had better have something big planned to lure players back once the 90-day realization sets in (this game isn’t perfect!). If they blow their second chance, RIFT’s time in the limelight may have already passed. I hear there’s an empty seat by LotRO.