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Gaming To Hell In A Handbasket

The trials, tribulations and musings of an MMO veteran trying to find the next holy grail.

Author: Strayfe

Rift: Planes of Azeroth

Posted by Strayfe Wednesday March 2 2011 at 7:36AM
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I never intended to write this blog. 

I had come to terms with the $50 I spent on Rift in a fit of peer pressure.  I had come to terms with the knowledge that, yes, there are people who are playing Rift right now, and they are happy as pigs wallowing in a vat of feces.

I had come to terms with my buyer's remorse, and another divet on my "Lost faith in the industry." wall.

Then I opened up a certain website today.  It's called mmorpg.com, and happily splayed across my screen in epic sized, proprietary font were these words;

"Rift: We're not in Azeroth anymore."

I lost it.  I've been going through some stress at my job recently, and seeing that, after I had spent most of last night playing the game in a state of utter disbelief brought my mind crashing into an abyss from which I still have not recovered. 

I sat there, and I stared at the ad, and I cackled like a raving lunatic.  I snickered, giggled, sputtered, laughed, hooted, hollared, and made so much noise, that my cat looked as though she might leap into a box and mail herself to Australia to get the hell away from me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Trion Worlds has done everything but drop down and lick between the toes of Blizzard Entertainment.  I have been a part of this community for several years, and I have seen many, many new releases pointed at and ridiculed for being "another WoW clone."

If Warhammer and Aion are WoW clones, then Rift is a genetically engineered creature, carved painstakingly one sub-atomic particle at a time from the very quarks and quantum-makeup of World of Warcraft.

When I tell you that everything is copied, I mean, quite literally, everything.

Keybinds, interface options, UI, movement, camera controls, chat, chat options, combat text, the macro system, the macro commands themselves, action verbs, cast bars, audio options, display settings, the colors of gear and items, the crafting professions, battlegrounds and pvp, the questing system, quest tracking, the maps, waypointing, node tracking, hotbars, icon locking, training, tutorials and tips... the list goes on...

Everything is... exactly... exactly... exactly... exactly THE SAME.

Not slightly the same.  Not similar.  Not reminiscent of. 

A complete and utter duplicate.  A 100% accurate laser-copy.

If I didn't have my bank statement to look at with the -$49.99 for the purchase of Rift: Planes of Telara and NOT World of Warcraft staring me directly in the face, I would have thought I had gone mad.

I still think I might be mad.  Did this game actually take years to make?  Did someone sit around a table at a production meeting and actually hash out the design for this game as their own idea?  Did the design document consist of a series of covert black-ops missions into Blizzard headquarters to steal their code?  To steal the brains from Chris Metzen and Jeff Kaplan themselves?

I am appalled.  I am so utterly baffled that it's difficult for me to put into words how utterly baffled I am.

I can't believe that the executive producer of this game, Scott Hartsman, could have worked on my all-time favorite virtual world, Gemstone III.  Could someone who helped shape one of the most innovative games ever released also be responsible for the most derivative swill I have ever seen? 

Apparently, the answer is yes.  The sole reason I bought Rift, was because of the background of the developers and lead designers of Trion Worlds.

Bad show, guys.  Bad, bad show.