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Working As Intended

William Murphy Posted:
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The NDA has been lifted on Rift. Lo and behold people seem honestly surprised that the game plays like other games before it. We’ve reported on Rift much before, from several different play-testing sessions and each time I’m fairly certain we made it clear that Rift was looking to be a polished but familiar experience. So I was surprised when I began reading comments on yesterday’s beta preview article and found so many folks that seemed taken aback by this very fact. Let me put it out there again: Rift is a fully-featured classical take on the fantasy MMORPG formula. In that much, it succeeds with great aplomb.

But what’s disconcerting to me, more than the folks who are sorely disappointed by a game that seems confident in its ability to carry on a the traditional MMO design (this is a viewpoint I can sympathize with even if I don’t wholly agree), is that so many folks seem absolutely shattered by the notion that Rift didn’t come out of its NDA with wings on its back, a harp in its hand, a halo on its head, and free tickets to the Golden Gates for everybody. All along, since the very first unveiling back in spring of last year, we’ve been talking about how Trion was seeking to deliver a solid traditional MMO with some interesting technology, beautiful HD visuals, and some interesting and novel ideas on the class and dynamic events systems.

That’s what they gave us. And, while it’s certainly not going to be what everyone wanted, I’m finding it to be a great experience. The thing is I knew what to expect, and perhaps this is where I was lucky to have played it at PAX and E3. Rift is a perfect game for folks who want more of the EQ2, WAR, WoW, LotRO, style but are sick of the previously mentioned games and would like to see a new take on the tried and true model.

What’s wrong with that?

Not everything has to push the envelope as far as other games on the horizon. Take into account that some gamers really do just want the familiar. And again, take into account that there’s nothing wrong with that. You may not like Rift. You may hate that it’s only real unique selling points come in the form of a novel class system and some trippy Rift mechanics. And that’s fine. If you try the game and find it lacking, move along. Really, that’s the way you should approach pretty much all games when it comes to speaking out on forums, blogs, etc.

What good is being done by stomping around and complaining about something you obviously aren’t the market for? I know what you’re going to say: “But Bill, only by complaining that we don’t like one thing will we eventually get something we like.” I can dig that. Honestly, I can. You have to let companies know what you want. But do you honestly think that the folks at Trion did their marketing research and said “There really isn’t anybody who wants this kind of game… let’s make it anyway.”

I think we here at MMORPG.com often forget that we’re kind of/sort of/really the minority in this market anymore. We’re the vocal ones, absolutely. But we’re not the only ones. Still, all this is really just a moot point and a way for me to vent. I appreciate it if you’ve read this far, and I’m cool with it if you want to slam me and tell me how off base or moronic I am, because honestly… that’s why I love it here. But just remember that Trion always said exactly what they planned Rift to be, and we always did our best to convey that to you, our reader. You may like the game, and you may not. Just try to keep in mind that the wool was never pulled over your eyes, unless you yourself did the pulling.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.