Go Quietly in to the Night

Tobold has an interesting post up mostly about Star Wars: The Old Republic fortune telling. I must say I did laugh at his response to the financial analyst not understanding the MMO genre because “MMORPG’s release date is independent of their state of readiness.” Tobold had another thought buried at the end, more about Rift:

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Rift is doing well, but not quite as spectacularly as the initial hype suggested. Bloggers like syncaine pulled a Keen and now post mostly critical things about Rift, or have just silently dropped the game.

I think that this is a two-part problem. First, the only reason Tobold seems to expect some announcement is because Rift, like many other MMOs, is a subscription game. It has an end point where a gamer can definitively say “I am no longer playing this game because I am not subscribed.” Compare that to any other game, which a gamer can have installed, and the line gets much more hazy. I have not played Guild Wars for a few weeks, but I feel I am still active with the game’s community and ready to jump back on anytime. I am definitely not going to write a good-bye post on a game I have played actively for 6 years!

Second, even though subscription games have this definitive line, I do not think it is a blogger’s duty to announce un-subscribing. I did not announce my unsubscription to Rift (as opposed to when I did for Warhammer Online) because I unsubscribed as a happy customer. I got what I came for. Now I have other games to play. It isn’t like Rift failed; it’s just not what I subjectively need right now. I am happy right now with Trackmania and Team Fortress 2, while I still dabble in some other MMOs.

Is it some evidence of MMO success when a blogger goes to other pastures? By all means if the crystal ball is already out, might as well go the distance. Rift, objectively, seems to be chugging along quite nicely even if it’s press honeymoon is now over.

–Ravious

14 thoughts on “Go Quietly in to the Night”

  1. “I do not think it is a blogger’s duty to announce un-subscribing”

    I absolutely agree. However…We are talking about games which contain a very large community mechanic. People are used to interrelating their MMO experiences with one another outside the game, moreso I think then in single-player titles. When someone stops playing Mass Effect or Witcher 2, they don’t say anything because there was never any interaction with anyone else during the time they were playing.

    Contrast that to the opportunity players have to converse with people in-game. Maybe those people in-game learn that there are several bloggers around them, and they take up reading their blogs as a result. Maybe they meet up on Twitter. The conversation continues, so when someone suddenly stops logging in, they can let people know that they stopped playing after they’ve stopped logging in. It’s like sending an email to people telling everyone that your phone number has changed.

    But I think that for a lot of people, it’s more about the “junkie factor”. Some people seem to like to announce that they’re no longer playing Game-Du-Jour and announce it like they just kicked a 3 year crack habit: they’re proud to be clean, and are now born again. They have to take remaining users to task for their ignorance of how great life can be without that crap in their lives.

  2. although i perfectly understand your sentiment and intention when you say:

    “I did not announce my unsubscription to Rift (as opposed to when I did for Warhammer Online) because I unsubscribed as a happy customer. I got what I came for. Now I have other games to play. It isn’t like Rift failed; it’s just not what I subjectively need right now.”

    i would argue that Rift in fact _did_ fail, precisely because no one (in this day and age) doesn’t subjectively need that type of game any more (and even if they do – this game exists and is called WoW)

    1. We also didn’t need WoW when it came out because a game like it already existed, called Everquest or Asheron’s Call or Dark Age of Camelot. MMO’s begin to lose people not because they are no good but more because new ones come out with better visuals, more appealing features, and updated mechanics. Time is the only WoW killer out there, that said I do believe Rift will be the first game to start pulling people from WoW but it will last a long long time because of the huge player base and the fact people won’t leave a game they put so much time into very easily. That’s why Everquest is still around and people are still playing it.

  3. It also depends on the game. My last in-game Rift post was long before my actual in-game time went down (post-1.2). The ‘problem’ from a blogging perspective is very few “blog worthy” things happen in a themepark. Everyone goes through the same paces, and for the most part, the design is no mystery or of serious interest. That, and one can only write so many “oh look, accessible patch…” posts, and I’m about 10 posts over that limit.

    In contrast, people know exactly when I actively play DarkFall, because just about every few days something happens that really stands out and prompts a post.

    In a funny way, sandbox MMOs like EVE/DF not only retain customers longer, but they also retain bloggers as well.

    1. EVE Online has one of the strongest blogging communities – exactly because of what you’re saying. The game itself is much more about the people you play with, what they’re doing, and the “world’ being shaped by their actions – all which make for good reads. In contrast, nobody is shaping anything in Rift – it’s the same static content night, after night, after night. “Hey guys, we wiped on Greenscale – again!”

  4. I like hearing the good, and bad, from bloggers about the MMOs they’re playing. It’s almost a … “crowdsourcing”, if you will, about any given game that I can rely. If you read enough gaming blogs, and they’re all starting to sour on a game – chances are, something’s going on.

    That being said, Rift was an interesting game. On first blush, it FELT different than other games – better and more refined, and personally – I initially felt like I could play it for a long time. But the veneer quickly faded, and it became obvious that, despite how much fun it was to level in and explore, Rift’s endgame was as stale and boring as the games it was modeled from.

    I think that’s why you saw (and are seeing) people sour on it.

  5. Sure, if you leave in a tiff blog about it! That is blog worthy stuff, but if you just stop playing without a reason worthy of a post, that’s okay too.

  6. I didn’t announce my departure from Rift either, for similar reasons. To the level I played it, there wasn’t anything major wrong with it. It’s a polished competent game, and I had fun with it for a couple of months. I just didn’t have the urge to log anymore.

  7. I just posted over on Tobold’s thread. I haven’t unsubscribed from Rift. I’m still playing every day and thoroughly enjoying it. I will almost certainly re-subscribe for another 6 months when this sub expires.

    It is not, however, a religion. If I do decide to stop playing, it would have about the same significance as if I decided to stop having cereal for breakfast and have toast instead. It wouldn’t mean I now hate cereal and wish I’d never eaten the damn stuff. Neither would it mean I’d have to tell everyone else not to waste their money on cereal, or call them idiots if they claimed to enjoy it. It certainly wouldn’t mean I’d never eat cereal again.

    These are trivial decisions. They may have some minor interest as gossip, but that’s all. The degree of importance which sometimes gets attached to who’s playing which computer game is out of all proportion to the significance of the choice made.

  8. If we leave the question of whether or not Rifts is a good game or blog-worthy or the like off to the side for the moment. To my mind (and I don’t read Syncaine’s blog – sorry – so I can’ comment on it specifically) a blog attracts a readership due to who writes it and the content that is on it. If a number of readers are there specifically for Rifts content then it makes sense to highlight, as a blogger, that you no longer play the game and wont be posting about it anymore. I have no problem with that.

    Also I read a blog as much for the personality of the poster(s) as the content – the choice on the interwebs is vast – so if the blogger does the whole “rage-quit” thing then if that’s the ‘personality’ of the blogger then I’d be interested in reading it. As a player, knowing why authors whom I like to read get angry about a game is of interest.

    What I do not appreciate is if the blogger (and I have read several that have done this for various games) does a ‘look at me’ rage quit – by that I mean a pointless attempt to protest some perceived injustice in the game, whilst playing up to a perceived readership/cult of personality. It is done with some expectation of entitlement , or with some kind of weird expectation that those in control of the game will somehow notice them leaving and why and go “we are so very sorry to have upset you! Please come back we promise to make it all better”. Those bloggers just get removed from my feed.

  9. I wish I could have played Rift untill I got sick of it like you guys.
    Unfortunately my real life got in the way of my MMO habits… Playing Rift was impacting my work performance and I couldn’t keep with work, gym 4/5 times a week and Rift besides all the usual social activities with friends and gf.

    :(

    Anyway, from what I’ve been reading in the forums and form my perception I think they should stop focusing so much on releasing raid content.
    They should look at ArcheAge and try to do something like it. If they expanded the game territory to another continent dedicated exclusively to sandbox content and added naval warfare the game would be perfect.

    Or at least just make the PvP more decent.

  10. Blog “I quit” posts are no different than the ones in forums, except less people read them.

  11. I’m at a point with my main (actually, I have been at this point with my main for quite a while) where I’m hitting the limit of improving myself on my own. So I gotta find a raid group.

    Which is not big deal, as I’ve done it in the past. Problem is this time I simply don’t have the time to commit to a raiding schedule. Not even a casual one.

    So I welcome the LFG tool. Problem is, it’s not cross-shard, so I end up waiting, and waiting and waiting some more. Which has caused me to basically shelf the game because my only two realistic options are:

    a) Get on the character I want to play… and wait for eons.
    b) Play alts which I don’t necessarily want to play and go through the dregs of lvl30 on.

    So it’s shelf until I can get into dungeons with a reasonable wait time. Will check it back when it’s implemented.

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