Monday, March 21, 2011

Rift: Final Thoughts

I've decided that Rift is not for me, and have cancelled and uninstalled it. Here are my reasons. Please note that Rift is still a good game, and if you are enjoying it, more power to you. It just wasn't for me.
  1. No Dungeon Finder. I don't think I can play an MMO without automatic group creation for PvE anymore. I just can't take having a half-formed group spamming the chat channels with "LF Tank" or "LF Healer", hoping that someone takes pity on you. Group PvE content (real content, not rift zergs) is my favorite part of these games, and I find it just too hard to start up. To be fair, this is not just a Rift thing. The last time I played Age of Conan, I gave up on that because it was too hard for me to form groups for the group quests and dungeons.

  2. Terrible armor design. Yeah, this is pretty shallow of me. And maybe it's my fault for rolling a female warrior instead of some other gender/class combination. But in 25 levels or so, my character has looked worse and worse with each new piece of armor. And that in turn has made me less and less interested in playing Rift.

  3. Excessive macro system. The Rift macro system is excessive. For all that various people are crowing that Rift is "no-mods", their macro system does way more than any mod. What happens in a Rift macro is that if the first spell cannot be cast, the macro attempts to cast the second spell and so far down the list. So if your class mainly uses cooldown or reactive spells, as is the case for most non-casters, you can pretty much reduce your entire class down to one or two buttons. For example, my warrior's combo-point builder macro looks like:

    cast Reactive Ability 1
    cast Reactive Ability 2
    cast range-dependant Charge
    cast cooldown Debuff
    cast cooldown Attack Ability 1
    cast cooldown Attack Ability 2
    cast default Attack Ability

    Then you just spam that one button until you get to 3 combo points, and then spam a different macro for finishers. This just seems excessive to me.

  4. Spell ranks. Spell ranks just don't work with the free-form soul design. You gain 3 levels using one spec, then switch to a different spec to tank something, and all your abilities are a few ranks behind. Or you put a new point in your second soul, gain a new ability, and have to train 5 or 6 ranks to get it up to par. Combine this with the fact that you have to ride a fair distance to get back to town to train, and it's just an all-around annoyance.

  5. Vestigial tertiary soul. There's something about that third soul that just doesn't feel right to me. It's mostly useless, but somehow manages to make builds feel less "crisp" than they should be. I can't shake the suspicion that Rift builds would be far more interesting and defined if they only had two souls.

Anyways, those are the main reasons I'm just not feeling the love for Rift. But Rift is a good, well-polished game that a lot of people are having fun with, and it is well worth playing for a month or two to see if you like it.


  1. I agree with all those points.

    LFD, don't really care, I generally can't stand the people in LFD, at least in WOW, would have been nice to try it in a different game. I think they are working on it though. I'm not as much of a dungeon rat anymore, may b/c WoW turned me off to it.

    The armor, I agree.

    The macro system I wholy agree, when I started reading about it, I was like what, you can just create a priority macro system, how lame.

    The souls are sort all over the place, in a way I think they made it too customizable.

    I got hacked with all the crap that was going on this week too, the issue that a player uncovered. I may come back to WoW, but I'm giving it the 1 month treatment for now.

  2. Holy smokes. Hey, thanks for giving it 20 days. Sheesh.

    1. LFD is coming. Trion said so. Thanks for being patient.

    2. ?

    3. Shrug, it works.

    4. So set your hearth for the main city. When you level, hearth back, train up. Switch to your 2nd spec, place the point and train. Don't be so lazy.

    5. That's the part about choice. You have to make conscience decisons, you just can't have it all. Nor do you get the over simplification of WoW. It's a good design. Too bad you don't understand. Did you try a pvp soul in your third spec?

    You're one dedicated gamer.

  3. That description of the macro system is scary. It reinforces my feeling that the parts of Rift which were copied from WoW were copied from the WoW of 2004, not the WoW of 2011. Blizzard made exactly that same mistake with macros and Lua being able to automate far too much - they corrected it in the 2.0 patch, more than four years ago, by heavily locking down capabilities in combat.

    You have to learn from Blizzard's mistakes, not just copy the bad as well as the good.

  4. Re: armor.

    One thing that I didn't notice at first is that armor can be dyed. My 20-ish rogues armor was dull and drab, and then I noticed a Dye seller in town. The armor looked a bit nicer once I put some red dye on his chest and boot armor.

    I'm not trying to change your mind, just posting this here in case the information helps others who come across this comment. (And yes the rogue is male. I haven't gotten female toons very high, so don't know if there will be a bikini-chainmail effect.)

  5. Regarding LFD - If this ever gets implemented in RIFT, it may a big enough reason for me to quit. It's (IMO) the 2nd weakest aspect of WOW currently . I think it encourages all the "bad" aspects of MMOs while simultaneously discouraging the "good" aspects.

    Regarding macros (et al) - I'm not 100% sure I like RIFT's way of doing "rotations" yet, but I think it's better than aspects of other MMOs. If I had to choose between the 2, I think id prefer the 2 button spamming of RIFT's Warrior Calling over the carpal tunnel inducing of WoW's HS/Cleave spamming Warrior class. Personal preference, etc.

    I do agree with your views regarding spell ranks overall, I feel there are too many (Why do I have to train 5 ranks of a spell that requires level 45 when I just hit level 45?). Although I think you may be embelishing a tiny bit. In WoW if you don't visit a trainer every other level or so, you'll be short spells aswell. This requires a visit to a caplial city as trainers are not found at quest hubs. As others have said, your "hearthstone" can be set near trainers making this moot.

    Agree 110% on the 3rd Soul thing. Although I hear it makes more sense toward the level cap. I'm only level 31 now, so I'll have to wait and see.

  6. "Holy smokes. Hey, thanks for giving it 20 days. Sheesh."

    Um, if I can't determine whether I want to play a game in 20 days, I'm not sure I want to bother.

    And apparently Blizzard, Trion, et al agree, as there's a reason why all these games come with a free 30 day subscription.

  7. Did you see how you can make a macro target a certain mark, so that the raid lead can focus fire everyone with a few macros of his own? On one hand, if people bother, it will be nice for pugs, but where I'm on the fence about priority macros, the targeting capabilities leave me with a sour taste.

  8. So basically you're saying everything in Rift isn't ezmode instant gratification like in WoW... Interesting, might have to check it out since that's *exactly* the problem with WoW now.

  9. So basically you're saying everything in Rift isn't ezmode instant gratification like in WoW...

    Eh, if preferring to "run dungeons" rather than "sit around waiting to run dungeons" is ezmode instant gratification, then I plead guilty.

  10. I agree with all of those things! Exactly why I don't like Rift so much.

  11. In my opinion 20 days is plenty of time to figure out whether you like a game or not.

    Eh, if preferring to "run dungeons" rather than "sit around waiting to run dungeons" is ezmode instant gratification, then I plead guilty.

    I'd have to plead guilty to that as well. That and Rifts macro system sounds like the epitome of ezmode to me.

  12. The macros issue is worse in a vacuum than it is in practice, at least in my experience. I play a melee cleric, and I definitely reduced my rotation to a single macro. But I've also found that I have a pretty full action bar, and it's because three souls give you a lot of different random abilities that don't all fit into the macro. I can't imagine keeping track of all of the available abilities without macros. Or rather, I think it would add a lot of physical challenge to my class without significantly expanding the depth of play. So yeah, fighting an even-level non-elite mob while out questing is often reduced to a single button. But since that even-level non-elite mob doesn't have a chance in hell of killing me even if I'm rolling my forehead across my keyboard, I don't really see the issue.

    I agree with respect to the LFD tool, though I feel like at least an LFG channel or a intra-server LFD tool would work decently well without suffering some of Wow's LFD issues. Obviously if the queue times didn't support that, though, Trion would need to respond with cross-server LFD.

    I completely agree about the spell ranks. Outdated mechanics are outdated, and frankly a little embarrassing.

    If I had to put my finger on my biggest issue with Rift, it's that the most fun I have is outside the game. The soul system is much more clever than any other AAA MMO released lately. It's really fun coming up with combinations. But you don't need a subscription for that, and in fact, a lot of the apparent synergies aren't supported in game (usually due to how random buffs stack with each other - the buff system is anything but systemic and definitely needs more polish). When I don't need to have the game installed to play the best part of the game, I think there's a problem.

  13. @Juz, actually, one neat thing is that those reactive abilities that "pop up", that popup is actually clickable. So you don't need to have reactives on your bar. I found that saved a fair amount of space and got the bar down to a manageable size, without making it "ezmode mode", to quote our anonymous friend.

    Of course, the macro system completely obsoletes that.

  14. The armor, oh god the armor... I also made the mistake of rolling a female warrior. By the time I was level 15 I gave up on her and rerolled male, I was sick of seeing my backside hanging out of something that looked like it had been rejected by Jabba the Hutt's slave girls.

    Got to give credit to WoW for moving away from the plate bikini thing. Bizarely in Rift, it seems the more heavily armored your character, the more skin she exposes.

  15. Good points.

    1) LFD. Yes, absolutely it seems very primitive now to be spamming LF1M (tank). However do you not think the cross-server LFD has made WoW somewhat soulless? Even when I made friends I'd never see them again. And enough people were jerks/ninjas/overnukers that I gave up tanking completely and mainly dpsed as the path of least resistance in WoW's 5 mans.

    2) Armour, yup. Personally I don't particularly care, historically mercenaries didn't look like their outfits had been designed by Christian Dior.

    3) I've got into the macro system and am using it exactly as you described. It used to be like this in WoW. The reason it changed in WoW was because of botters not playstyle. I still remember my Warrior macro: cast Execute, cast Overpower, cast Mortal Strike exactly as you describe here. Also aren't addons like DBM just as bad?

    4) Spell ranks. Not something I care one way or the other.

    5) I think you're assuming that the tertiary soul has to be vestigial, as if every build is 51/15/0. That's really not the case. Most recently I've made a shaman-based build that had someone on the other faction on a pvp server come up to me and ask what my build is after he saw me taking on mobs 6 at a time. It's 12/11/37. There are viable 22/22/22 builds around. It's just complexity; reminds me very much of Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding.

  16. Rift is just another flavor of the month, albeit a bit tastier than other offerings. I think SWTOR and GW2 won't be able to pull the masses from WoW either.

    It's nearly impossible for anyone to beat the steak and potatoes goodness that Blizzard has cooked up in World of Warcraft. It remains the best, most popular MMORPG out there -- and probably will be for many, many years to come -- because Blizzard is constantly improving their secret recipe.

  17. I mostly play WoW and have no desire to leave it behind, ulike most of the people in my Guild in Rift.

    I've levelled my Cleric to mid 30s and the armour issue goes away 9at least for chain) by late 20s. I had commented to my wife about the 'typiclly MMO' dress-sense prior to that.

    I'll probably keep the Rift sub going to play in between raiding in WoW.

  18. People who complains about LFD are quick to forget how hard it was to get a group going for dungeons before it.

    Rift is all new and shiny, but at the end, the typical problems will show up and it will be same old same old just like Wow. The hardest thing to do is balancing the end game.

    Star wars the old republic will at least have an interesting setting, so it may have more chance of success than anything else.

  19. Very good observations.

    I think I am going to give Rift a month or so and go back to it. Right now it seems to be lacking the critical mass that WoW has. When you buy/play an MMO, you are paying for the community that comes along with it.

    I wanted to tank an instance last night and spammed in the level bracket channel for a couple hours and only got about two people to respond.

    The rifts were really fun from 10-20, but after that there is nobody around to chain closing rifts. Dungeons are new and interesting but lose their shine after a few times through. Questing is not very fun at all. You chain the same Kill X mobs, collect Y things in the same area over and over again.

    I'm curious to see what endgame is like, but I don't have it in me to grind 12 more levels.

  20. @Stabs, the 3rd soul thing is a little hard to explain. Perhaps the best way is an example. I had a shaman/druid/warden character. Basically, melee damage with a pet and some healing. No matter how you distributed the points, or which trees you emphasized, the build was kind of the same.

    But if it was only two souls, then it would be druid/warden (melee with pet plus healing), shaman/warden (melee without pet plus healing), or shaman/druid (focused melee with pet). Each build would be more "distinct" from the others.

    Basically, I think that with three souls, it felt like a single build covered "too much" of the available spectrum for the class. With only two souls, each build would cover a smaller portion of the spectrum and feel more distinct from other builds of the same class.

  21. I am enjoying RIFT a lot, although I hardly think it is the WoW-killer or the pinnacle of MMO design or anything. It does some things well, and other things not well at all.

    However, I totally disagree with you about the LFD! To my mind, the LFD was the beginning of the end of the WoW community. There were no more consequences for anti-social behavior beyond MAYBE a 15 minute wait.

    Back in the day, running pugs was a great way to recruit for a guild, but after LFD no one cared where you were from. The only communication was "gogogogo".

    Okay, yes, I am kind of bitter about the slow death of server communities in WoW, but LFD has a lot to answer for in that department. I will take some additional difficulties in finding groups in exchange for a viable shard culture.

  22. Rohan "With only two souls, each build would cover a smaller portion of the spectrum and feel more distinct from other builds of the same class."

    Very interesting because that's another similarity from Magic. Most tournament decks were two colours. You could make three work but generally people felt uncomfortable with it.

  23. Rift is not a WoW-killer; Cataclysm is a WoW-killer for non-raiders, that is why so many people have cancelled their subs.
    Until Blizzard gives level 85s something interesting to do outside Heroics/Raids, casual players are not going to go back to WoW, whether they stay with Rift or not.

    Whether Trion make decent raids for Rift isn't the issue here; I think most WoW raiders are happy with Cataclysm, so those people are unlikely to cancel their subs and switch to raiding on Rift.
    The focus should be more on what Rift has to offer the casual player once he hits level cap and has levelled a couple of alts; that is WoW's problem right now, and it will be just the same for Rift a few months down the line.

  24. No LFD issues for me in Rift... guild has over 300 members and always can find group when I ask

  25. I am really surprised to see comments on the chainmail bikini armor. Rift is actually really good about it, yes the lower level armors are a bit skimpy, but really almost all of them cover the character up after a while.

    I'm really on the fence about LFG. I really miss knowing people on my server better. I kind of wish LFG was just for the server, yeah the low level instances don't get covered as well, but I'd be much happier knowing other people to chat with. It's something I really miss with WoW.

    I don't know what to tell you about not being able to maintain a good network of people to group with. How do you maintain friends outside of gaming? Those pretty much seemed to be the same to me.

  26. So far I am enjoying healing in Rift, at lvl 35 now. But REALLY missing dungeon finder of sorts. Even with a tank+healer combo with my bf, it's still terrible to find dps for some dungeons.