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Rift at level 50 (end game): not bad, but it’s just more of the same.

September 13, 2011

Well… I pulled the plug on Rift today. The short version: it’s not Guild Wars 2. It’s just more of the same old schtick. Where it’s not like WoW, it’s like Warhammer. Where it’s not like Warhammer, it’s like EQ2. And so on…

Mind you, it is NOT a bad game, in fact of all the MMOs currently available, this is my favorite, next to WoW. Yet, I can’t stomach either game right now.

I have been level 50 for some time now. But I find myself playing for a few hours a week right now, at most. I feel that the game is worth the subscription fee, I just don’t play the game enough to justify spending any money on it.

PvP in Rift is a total loss to me. I haven’t even tried it at level 50, but I did ask if Gear > Skill in Rift, and overwhelmingly players responded: YES!!! So, it’s the same situation as it was in WoW. I would have to “grind” in order to just enjoy the game. Screw that, especially with queues. That’s another issue – queues. I don’t want to have to wait to play the game, and in Rift / WoW, PvP queues longer than 5 minutes are inexcusable.

PvE is much the same, in terms of requiring a grind in order to do anything fun. The “Tier” content (the 3 hour long, “fun” part of the game) requires far too much preparation for me to want to get involved, especially after I learned that players are required to play the game in 2 to 4 hour chunks once you get to that point.

Raiding has been a loss to me since shortly before TBC (late 2006). The INSANE drama of raids along with the massive chunk of time that is require has made me despise raiding. Since then I have dabbled a little in raiding whenever I got bored with WoW, a little bit of WoTLK (2008 and 2009) and Cata, but each time it felt like a freaking job, where my boss (guild master) was some pissed off 40-year-old guy and his overly flirty wife, or a 15-year-old shut-in that doesn’t know how to talk without cussing. Other than having to put up with terrible leadership, all of the group movements and memorized patterns remind me of a really bad line dance, without the great looking country gals.

So, anyway. There’s not much for me to enjoy in Rift. I’ll continue to log into the game when possible between now and when my account expires. My guild is pretty cool, but I don’t know any of them /at all/. They say that they have a GW2 and SWTOR voice chat channel, so it looks like they will expand into those games. But, my experience with multi-MMO guilds is that they are really just /entirely/ different guilds that only share a name, with little, if anything in common. Multi-game guilds just doesn’t make sense. Most people play *one* MMO, two at most. It’s not like guilds are companies and have the ability to redistribute resources from one MMO-based guild to another. It’s just a tag for players to wear in the case of multi-MMO guilds. And most of the time, it just restricts players from joining larger, more useful guilds that are focused on one game.

RIP Rift. RIP WoW.

UPDATE: I’m pretty bored with games right now and waiting, very anxiously, for my new job to start… so, rather than play games I’m bored with, I will write boring blogs about boring games. Heh.

I logged into Rift, there were a bunch of people online in my guild – about 20 or so. Yet, no one was grouped, no one was talking. It was “just another chat channel”. That sucks.

I also checked out my old WoW realm’s forum. The funny thing is, it’s the same old players talking (and complaining) about the same old junk. At a glance anyone can tell that WoW is a /lifestyle/, and not just a game. The people that post on those forums have been posting there for the past 5 or 6 years, and will probably continue to do so for another 5 or 6 years. Maybe more. I really, really don’t want to be part of that. The fact that I was even compelled to /check the forum/ is a bad sign.

Out of curiosity, I also checked my old guild forum from WoW, to see if the guild was alive, or if my toon was even still in it. Sure enough the guild still exists and my toon is still there. The last posts were from the former GM, just prior to the guild almost dissolving (it transitioned from a +25 man raiding guild to a small PvP guild almost overnight due to drama and greed).

It’s shocking to read the old posts again, to see what level of personal drama people put up with just to play that game… and what level of BOREDOM people will tolerate in order to play raid content. The old GM was literally being harassed by another player on the server, yet she put up with it because she liked the game. She was in tears about it… absolutely torn up, and this went on for weeks. Yet, she kept playing. She eventually changed servers, but she still put up with all kinds of REAL LIFE harassment because of her love for the game. Wow.

In the same post, she talked about how the guild may need to recruit 5 – 10 standby raiders. I had completely forgotten about “standby raiders”, and I had forgotten what kind of horrible purgatory it is to be a standby raider. Let me explain to you what it means to be a “standby raider” by putting it into context of how a “Raid guild” operates in an MMO. I will use a business as an analogy, since businesses and raid guilds are more similar than dissimilar. The boss is the Raid Leader – as in a business, the boss deals with conflict, training, and assigns the raid hours. Raid hours are basically the equivalent of Open Business Hours – it’s when the real business is conducted, and it’s critical for all staff (or raiders) to show up during these hours. A “raid standby” is basically the equivalent of an on-call employee. Just like most on-call employees, they don’t receive any pay or compensation for being on-call. Likewise a raid standby must make himself available during raid hours and cannot make any other plans. MMO / WoW-ish raids are designed such that a full compliment of players is required to enjoy the best content the game has to offer (and in the past it was the MAJORITY of the content too). Often times, 23 or 24 players out of 25 will not get the job done, and the business needs to “close its doors” if there was a shortage of staff – so on-call, standby players are required, because it never fails that one or two guildies won’t show to a scheduled raid.

So, in order to get the most out of an MMO, players not only need to be obsessive about playing the game (often requiring +20 hours a week), they also need to schedule their life around the raid hours. Beyond that, it’s common for 3 – 10 players to end up on standby. That is to say: they are required to schedule time out of their life in order to do nothing, so that other people can play the game.

Holy damn. Looking back on that, I’m not sure why I ever wanted to be part of that. I’ve both raided and been on standby. And just the /notion/ of “standby gaming” makes me realize that I never want a hobby like that again.

Someone might respond with: “Well, sports have standby players, as do a number of other hobbies”. True, however in an MMO raid you can’t even watch the game from the bench and cheer your team on, Instead, you listen to one player giving orders in voice chat, hoping that someone loses their internet connection or has an emergency so that you can _actually enjoy the game you are paying for_. Moreover, sports and other team hobbies that have standby players almost always rotate in standby players during the match – something NOT possible with MMO raiding.  Yuck. I guess I really, really dislike raiding.

I really hope Guild Wars 2 helps remedy some of these issues!

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