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RIFT blew its first shot, will it blow its second?

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 likeĀ  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.

10 comments

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  1. Starseeker

    So while I agree Rift has not taken the chances that I thought it would, hoped it would, or wished it would, and I do think that Rift is a great game, I still play it regularly, I think it comes down to what is new.

    When Rift came out everyone was like I’m never going back to wow,eq2, whatever…that this is so great with the class system and dynamic content blah blah And in the beginning it was great. Then as you stated you relaxed, slowed the pace and eventually dropped out.

    I don’t think there was anything Rift could have done to stem the TOR tide, they could have launched a brand new game/expansion, and still not have made a dent, it is the most favorite IP out there. However, everyone I know, isn’t jumping in with both feet, and several haven’t been sold that they are doing anything special besides voice acting.

    The majority of people I game with, are staying in Rift, they purchased TOR to play on the side. So I don’t really think it’s fair to say Rift blew it. For a lot of us, they are doing the right things, and no game could possibly stop people from at least checking out TOR.

    IMO, ToR while it’s a great IP, will eventually become like every other MMO, an end game gear/faction grind. Story is great, but what happens when it runs out and you have to wait for the next update? What happens when that update doesn’t focus on your story, but on game updates? It becomes just like every other MMO, except in the Star Wars universe.

    1. Chris "Syeric" Coke

      A lot of RIFT players I know are doing the same. TOR seems like a great diversion for a while but pretty standard as far as MMOs go. I just wonder how many will actually come back to RIFT when they’re done leveling. I don’t see that RIFT offers anything substantially different, no? When they go there, spend a hundred hours leveling up, making new friends, connecting with their character, will their be anything other than you and I to draw them back to RIFT?

      If there’s anything I can say for SWTOR, it’s hard to step back into “normal” MMOs after having played one with voicing that so well done. Trion could, and I believe should, have done something to slow down the amount of people jumping ship. Losing players was inevitable, but saying “here guys, grind some PA while your friends play something else” isn’t really putting your game face on.

      I love RIFT. Don’t get me wrong. As the big competitor on the market, it’s pretty lazy of them to not have something prepared. That’s why I think they need to be ready to pull those players back when they get tired in 60 or 90 days.

      1. Paul

        I’ve come back to Rift after three days. SWTOR was much less impressive than I expected, and my expectations weren’t all that high.

        1. Paul

          oops, I already replied below. Darn memory problems.

  2. Green Armadillo

    It remains to be seen whether Bioware’s model is more sticky, or, indeed, whether it needs to be more sticky. If they can sell several million boxes, which all indications say they can, and get people to resubscribe twice a year for a month to do content patches, they’ll likely be the number 2 MMO worldwide in terms of revenue.

    My take on Rift is that it’s the best MMO that I have no particular interest in playing. It’s a very solid game, and there’s nothing that I can intellectually come up with to explain why I’m not playing it, it just never gets to the top of my very crowded playlist. (Also, having not paid a dime since the $48 for the box and gained 12 levels during welcome back weekends, I feel like I should hold out for one more promo just so I can say that I capped out for under $1/level. ;))

    1. Chris "Syeric" Coke

      I don’t doubt that TOR will be the #2 MMO. Dumping in tons upon tons of development dollars will do that. You don’t think it will be sticky, though? To me, I find games stickiest when they’re quality, polished, have engaging combat, and offer something fresh. TOR has all of that in spades. IMO, I think the fluid combat and IP would have been enough to make it as sticky as anything else, add in the full voicing and Bioware brand, and you have six-month super glue.

      Which I guess would make the next big game (GW2?) industrial solvent.

    2. Paul

      For me, SWTOR is proving to be about as sticky as teflon. Three days in and it’s already a struggle to get myself to log in again. The game is just rubbing me the wrong way.

  3. Stabs

    I think Rift’s very real polish and quality has done what from a corporate perspective must have been the most important thing – it’s put Trion on the map. For me from now on, even though I’m unlikely to ever go back to Rift, I’ll be almost as interested in a new Trion game as I would be in a new Blizzard game.

    Regarding SWTOR I think we more or less know it will be really engaging if played to a limited extent. It has probably the best leveling experience since 2004. Whether end game will hold people is an unknown but just because we don’t know doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I can see myself really liking 2006-style WoW raids with Rancors and Sarlaccs as the main bosses.

    1. Chris "Syeric" Coke

      Oh yeah. I’m with you 100% there. I’m paying more attention to Trion’s other games than I ever would have if I hadn’t played RIFT. It’s a good, fun game that’s supplanted WoW for me as a “home game.” I didn’t think that would ever happen and yet they did it. Plus, I love the creative team behind the game. Trion rocks. To be honest, I don’t think it much matters what else I’m playing, when the first expansion for RIFT comes out, I’m buying it.

  4. Jay

    Short and sweet, Wow had a horrible start, rift had a horrible start, wow killed Everquest after BC came out, rift is having an X-pac that looks amazing In my opinion.
    I know i will resub. lets all get some popcorn stop debating and let time tell its tale.

    ~jay

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