Friday, September 2, 2011

Rift: Fun and Disillusionment

There has been a lot of discussion about fun lately and I wonder if part of it might be due to the type 1 activity that was Rift.  And if you don't want to go to the link, type 1 is simply any activity that we think we enjoy, but don't actually enjoy.

Rift should have been the perfect mmo for me.  Everything they promised and subsequently delivered was pretty much what I had thought I wanted.  I participated in most of the beta events, participated in the headstart launch and played daily for almost 3 months afterward, the whole time thinking that I was there to stay.

SynCaine does a good job of explaining some of my disillusionment with the game, and I agree with his statement that: The game pitched as “not Azeroth” very quickly started to mirror exactly that.  However, looking back, I think my disappointment started on day one and it took me 3 months to realize I had been lying to myself about liking the game.

I know I'm not the only one.  I had several discussions with other players during the beta and soon after launch that went something along the lines of:

Me: So how are you liking Rift so far?
Rifter: I'm not sure yet.  It seems awesome enough but ...
Me: I know what you mean.  Its incredibly polished, has some unique features, but...
Rifter: Yeah, there's nothing not to like but there's something indefinable missing from it.
Me: Yeah...

So three months in I was going along happily ignoring all the signs of impending emptiness, and then rather overnight I simply stopped playing.  There was no hatred, no rage-quitting, nothing like that at all.  Just sudden overwhelming apathy.

And now I want to know why.  I know I'm most definitely not burnt out on themepark mmos -- I've returned to LOTRO now and am really loving it.  That doubt I had during my entire Rift experience just isn't there.  LOTRO is fun and Rift wasn't -- even though I thought it was.  So now I'm left wondering what happened.  And I'm finding myself questioning the nature of fun itself.

Being disillusioned sucks.


  1. Was there something left you wanted to achieve in Rift and it turned out to be not enough fun to bother. Or did you just stop wanting to achieve anything?

  2. My personal experience is that after WoW it's just (almost) impossible to find the same mixture of feelings, emotion and overall "epicness". And if you are interested in Lore, I guess that's a dead shot, as no one (so far) can beat Blizzard.

    The question is: what would it be Rift without WoW? Perfect, maybe?

    I am not interested in MMO's anymore. If anything, I will go back to WoW the day they will revamp the engine, luring me to reroll a level 1 to discover awesome places with new graphics. Other than that, that's game over for me.

    Diablo III on the other hand... should be the "final" title before I quit my gaming career (if I will ever do, but so far I just run Terraria from time to time and that's all).

  3. @Nils -- Definitely the latter. I suddenly (overnight) lost interest in the goals I had been working towards. I had 5 alts (no main to speak of), all approaching but none at max level. I had all of the crafting professions covered and was working on maxing them all, but wasn't that close. I was mostly concentrating on PvP achievements and was making excellent progress there.

    And then I think what happened is that I saw the end of the tunnel -- perhaps a month away, but still there. I knew I didn't want to spend time doing dailies (of any sort) indefinitely, I detest pugs, my guild was mostly at max level already (as were many of the bloggers I was reading) and many were already mentioning frustration at the lack of anything to do.

    But I sill don't think that explains it because Trion is doing an excellent job with updates, and there's no reason to assume that they won't cater to my type of player -- I pretty much fall into the group that most companies are catering to these days.

    Somehow, my goals in Rift went from feeling important to feeling like a pointless waste of my time.

    @Loque -- I agree that there's no way to recapture the feeling of one's first mmo, but I would claim I'm not being quite that unreasonable. I've lowered my expectations and I've still had many wonderful experiences in mmos outside of WoW. I'm still of the opinion that there's something specific lacking in Rift that is a necessary ingredient for my personal enjoyment of an mmo. If I keep reading my own thoughts on the matter, I'll probably pin it down eventually.

  4. I know, bit of a necro but you summed up my feelings on Rift perfectly. However, after my 3 month stint in Rift I quit for another 3 or so and then came back in 1.5. I LOVED it! Getting up early to play again, staying up late, researching builds in my free time, etc etc.

    Then I hit 50. I kept reading about all the stuff to do but none of it seemed/seems compelling like stuff I did at 60 in wow. Maybe I am smarter now? Why farm herbs when I can just blow cash on them? Money is pointless in Rift. At least in wow you were saving for the 1k gold epic mount, which took forever!

    I don't think Rift is lacking any one thing, I just think we've rode that rodeo before. Whether it's wow or eq or whatever game, Rift isn't doing anything they didn't. And some might argue they did the bad things of those games (Ie. Dungeon finder, nerfing dungeon difficulty, lack of resist fights, token system instead of gear drops, etc etc).

    Rift gives you less and less reasons to actually PLAY the game. You really just need to log on once and hour to check events and then log out once you have your sourcestones =/ At least that's how I feel about it.

  5. Hey Beerhead -- thanks for the comment. Given my rather random and infrequent blogging pattern at the moment, any comments are good, late or otherwise.

    Incidentally I'm still playing LOTRO and still enjoying it but I am at least realistic about where the end of the motivational line will be for me.

    LOTRO has several grinds at max level -- the gear grind, reputation grinds, crafting guild grinds, and deed grinds (which do slowly improve your stats). And if people are interested, there are cosmetic-related grinds.

    Intuitively, adding even more grind at endgame seems like the wrong way to go, but in practice it means that there really is enough variety of activity at the end to keep my interest.

    Now, once I've maxed characters of at least a tank, heal, dps, and support class, and once I've gotten max reputation in each crafting guild, and once I've obtained all the cute bells, whistles, and titles that catch my interest, then I'm sure I'll be rather suddenly on to the next great thing. Perhaps it will be Diablo 3.