[Rift] Defeating the Defeatist

Jaradcel writes up another in-depth guest post on Rift PvP. Enjoy! –Ravious

Lately with the amount of PvP I have been doing, it feels like my brain is beginning to bleed “learn2play” attitudes. I have caught myself replying to obvious troll bait yells or even doing so myself.

Upon consideration, I feel like one of the root causes of this, which is far less prevalent in a PvE aspect, is because of the way developers tend to design for PvP. There are several reasons, but to start the ball rolling: Developers tend to cater to the defeatist.

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[GW2] Space for Failure?

I’ve been mulling this for a little bit. It’s an evolution of The Essential Scatter found in Rift. Is there room in the design for player failure in the event system in Guild Wars 2?

Let’s point a finer point on it. We know that events can fork when there is failure. If centaurs are attacking a fort and there is no player defense, then the system is set up so that the fort will fall. There is also the scenario of an elite event occurring with only one or two active players. Those occurrences are more like branching scenarios than actual failure. What I am talking about is an occasion where the players are simply too ragtag, unskilled, uncooperative, or not lucid enough to beat the event. Is ArenaNet ready to punish them?

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[Rift] We All Fall Down

Jaradcel writes up another in-depth guest post on Rift news. Enjoy! –Ravious

This week marks a massive riot in the world of Rift. The proverbial straw came in the form of news of another new change to PvP, one that was implemented not two days after its announcement. With only a few hours of test realm testing before it was pushed live, many feel like the choice was rushed, sloppy, and a band-aid. Is it true?  Continue reading [Rift] We All Fall Down

[Rift] To Make Us Feel Epic

Jaradcel writes up a guest post on Rift news. Enjoy! –Ravious

Rift has released its state of the union address on the game. Some additional info slipped out from a conference call to journalists, and the most intriguing information is below.

The two biggest highlights include Chronicles, a form of solo to small-group content focusing on the lore of the world, and the possibility of Alternate advancement experience sometime in the near future. A lot of what I’ll be talking about is theorycrafting based on available information (of which there really isn’t a lot of)

First off, Chronicles. These are listed as instances for players from one to three, and are meant to be finished relatively quickly. They will do things such as have players interact, fight alongside or work against famous in-game non-player characters. It will also allegedly flesh out the lore for players who prefer that, rather than loot or bashing heads in. Unfortunately, there is very little beyond the bullet point information to go on. Serrain at RiftJunkies reflects a lot of my concerns regarding this introduction, such as whether it’s for max-level characters only, how it will be implemented et al.

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[Rift] Valor Be My Shield!

Jaradcel writes up a guest post on the upcoming update for Rift. Enjoy! –Ravious

Rift is to have its third major update in 1.3 come June 22nd, and besides a new raid in Hamerknell, also features major revamps to warriors and mages. Of note however, was the originally planned overhaul to PvP as well, which was scrapped after a massive outcry from the forums. I’ll skip the first two, and look at the results and issues of the third since I happen to be PvPing alot lately.

As in other MMO’s, Rift has its own special stat for PvP players – Valor. The more you have the less damage you take from other players. There are six ranks to gain at level 50, called prestige ranks, which subsequently unlock better valor gear as players rank up.
Initially, patch 1.3 was slated to drastically readjust how Valor worked.

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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.


Sentence of the Weekend

Once a MMO embarks upon the “new expansion, gear reset, more love for raiders” road, the danger is that the game becomes so linear and focused on the end game that players new to the game may feel they can never catch up — and that even if they have the desire, the largely unpopulated lands between them and the bulk of the playerbase could be very discouraging.

[Rift] Character Transfers and Old Marketing Plays

I don’t know whether Trion Worlds has been holding this ace-up-the-sleeve for the perfect time or whether the serendipitous moment just fell in to their lap, but the result has been very effective. Basically, Rift will give players free server transfers to characters to try and hook up with friends, get away from a busier server, or change to a different rule set. Fans are happy. Cynics are cynical. And, business goes on, much as usual.

Two heavyweight MMO bloggers, looked at it from differing perspectives regarding the marketing approach. Tobold noted that the inclusion of some weasel words could turn this amazing feature into what every other struggling MMO has done at the three-month mark: merge underpopulated servers. Wilhelm at TAGN takes the same premise, but broadens the focus a little to remark on server architectures and Blizzard’s premium service allowing subscribers to do the same thing for a price.

Continue reading [Rift] Character Transfers and Old Marketing Plays