[RIFT] Soothing Subscription

Anybody who has read a mere handful of my blog posts since I started writing here knows that I am a zealot in the war against subscription MMOs. I hate subscribing for content. This is a highly debatable subject, but my belief is that most subscription MMOs barely qualify as a service anymore than say a working single-player game. I feel that my subscription fees should pay for reaction and growth in a sustained manner. Yet, there are so many differing opinions on what the customer is owed when paying the monthly fee. Some people are simply happy to shell out a subscription fee as an access fee regardless of the stagnation of the game’s content (until a buyable expansion releases, anyway). If that’s how they want their money to talk… more power to ’em.

Initially I had written off Rift because it was a subscription game, and, once again, I didn’t want to pay a monthly fee for a theme-park ride of content. I decided to play in the beta because it was a free sneak peek, and first impressions were “more of the same.” There was a fervor in the MMO community that had me come back to try it in a different light, and the result was glorious. Now, I am really looking forward to picking Rift up in March, and I am looking forward to paying them a subscription fee.

There is one big reason (besides, of course, having a fun game), Trion Worlds is so far showing potential customers that they intend to provide a Service. They will respond in a timely fashion to players’ feedback, and continue to expand the content. They will not simply collect a monthly access fee to pay for bandwidth and servers. Rift now has a public grouping system, a streamlined character sheet, itemization changes, and so much more. It’s like a breath of fresh air to actually see change during the beta when so many betas before simply accepted the feedback. I’ve also noticed that they are continuing to refine and expand the invasion content, and they are hinting that invasion events are just the start of their dynamic content features.

I know that what they have done in this beta crunch time may not be indicative of the level of service Trion Worlds will provide at launch, but they have a customer right now. Keep it up Trion!


14 thoughts on “[RIFT] Soothing Subscription”

  1. I agree that Trion has shown great promise. I’m with you on the subscription issue. It didn’t used to bother me but now I generally avoid games with subs. New games that make me buy a box for $50 and sub for $15? You better knock my socks off.

    Rift is still a no-go for me at this time, but the devs are winning me over so far. Time will tell.

    Edit: I plan to have my wife try Rift out tonight and how she feels about the game could change everything. I’d gladly see her money switch from WoW to Rift.

  2. Exactly!!!

    Everyone going ON and ON about the whole “It feels like…”. Yet, it does NOT feel like those other games for this sole reason.

    Attentiveness and customer satisfaction and the willingness to FIX their game, constantly. Not only in the bug fixing department. Their responsiveness on the forums, their willingness to treat beta customers like real ones in support tickets is even incredible (I know, as I have been handled well by their online support system, with a ticket I did).

    This is not more of the same…this is a whole new ballgame in customer service for MMO’s.

  3. I just wish that character creation didn’t result in such ugly faces and deformed body structure. Have you seen a beardless dwarf? Take a look at the dwarves hands in relation to their body. Is minor elephantiasis an epidemic on Telara or what?

  4. While I agree that to this point, they have done a great job, it is after all beta. Hell even WoW was getting semi-regular updates in it’s first six months, patching in all the stuff that did not quite make it into release.

    That said, if Trion DOES keep this pace (or even something close to it) after 6+ months, then yea, that’s going to make them stand out, and more than justify $15 a month.

  5. I do have to give Trion a ton of credit. They’ve run a responsive, fun, and engaged beta so far. The fixes have been great, the communication has been great (even taking the time to joke around with the players when announcing an unexpected server restart), the stability has been great, and the game itself is clearly a product of passionate, clever developers.

    That said, RIFT simply isn’t the game for me, due to its fundamental nature as a level-grind-into-raiding MMO, which I just don’t enjoy anymore. Even so, I find myself compelled to come back for more and keep playing the beta.

    I certainly think it’s much more deserving of people’s time and money than Cataclysm…

  6. While I don’t have money to waste and I very much appreciate the expanding range of no-sub MMOs, I do actually quite like to pay a subscription. It feels like paying dues to belong to a club, which is a good feeling. I don’t expect anything more than access for the fee, either.

    We’ll see how Rift goes in the medium term. I’ve always felt, and still feel, that players are the last people you want to listen to when designing an MMO. The changes they’ve made so far have worked, but I’d rather they had a clear vision of the game they want to offer us and the will and ability to deliver it.

    And in apractical sense, there’s no way the level of response can continue ad infinitum. After a point everything will be as good as it’s going to be and further tinkering will make it worse.

  7. Most of the new games I get are kind of depending on GW 2. I am hoping that it is released soon. I know they got some work still to do but I just hope it is. I played the betas in this game and it is pretty epic. But I might not pay for it yet until I get a new graphics card to make the game run smoother. We shall see.

  8. As I’ll write in my post later today or tomorrow, I’ve had 50% luck with their C/S staff. There was a bug that was impacting everyone in the zone, and it lasted for ~7 hours, and everyone who petitioned got an email that basically said “it’s your UI”. Only after pressing them, did they reply that it was a known issue and they were trying to fix it.

    I’ve done a LOT of Beta and Alphas on games. Rift’s response is slower than many I’ve done recently. Another Beta I’m doing currently has a dev riding the main channels, looking for issues, and broadcasting those issues so others don’t run into the wall.

  9. Rav..you and the first few comments are coming off a bit fanboish..its in beta so there should be no surprise that they are adding fixes and updates fairly rapidly. I heard that the public group system was acutally already there having been removed earlier and they just activated an artifact of it for this beta to test the waters.

    I’ve found Rift to be lacking depth and soul..which leads me to my next conclusion – I feel some business person proposed “lets make an MMO launch” as a business. Lets produce a generic platform and just base our whole development on creating a positive Disneyland launch experience and rake in the investments and preorders..we’ll add the game later.

    1. Dude, I don’t think you understand how good a game has to be to overcome my huge subscription hurdle. It amazes me that Rift has sucked me in.

      When I wrote Rift Away, I had turned down Rift keys because I thought the game was fail on sight. That’s how impressed I have been in beta.

  10. “I heard that the public group system was acutally already there having been removed earlier and they just activated an artifact of it for this beta to test the waters.”

    Nope, built from scratch in about 2 weeks.

  11. I agree Ravious. My issues with RIFT involve the type of game it is. If you like that type of game, Trion is definitely delivering the best of them.

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