Monday 28 March 2011

It's not quite right, but then neither is the alternative

I find myself still enjoying RIFT a great deal, it is a very good game, but at the same time I’m not entirely comfortable. The problem for me is PvP and almost entirely for reasons I (and probably everyone else) had saw coming from the start.
Class balance is terrible. Of course with the soul system that should be no surprise to anyone. I love the soul system, it’s one of the most interesting steps forward in MMOs in a long time, but it was always going to be “interesting” to balance for PvP. The next patch has a raft of balance patches and we’ll see how that works out, but it’s important to remember RIFT is very much like WoW, it’s a PvE game with PvP bolted on and the focus of everything is always in that direction. I can’t see it ever being even close to balance for PvP.
Crowd control has gone mad. I’m not entirely sure what diminishing returns or immunity timers are meant to be in-game, but I do know they simply don’t work. There are options for breaking out of CC, but they generally have very long timers and with so much CC everywhere, it’s not uncommon to spend most of your time stunned, feared, etc before dying instantly to one of the souls with damage issues… Also not all souls have the break CC abilities and that unfortunately dramatically limits how viable some souls can be, which is a little dull.
Of course I recognise that almost every MMO ever has balance issues and this early on in a game’s life it’s really not worth getting all het up about, but its worth mentioning as it is something I’m finding myself quite aware of. The biggest thing for me causing the aforementioned lack of comfort is the PvP environment in a much more broad sense.
Whilst there have been some great openworld PvP battles, there hasn’t as of yet been enough and it’s not quite the right type for me. That frequency could change of course if guilds force the issue and start raiding the enemy more, however as there is no materialistic reward for doing so, I’m not convinced enough guilds will want to. PvE (and to a point warfronts) offer far, faaaaaaar more rewards. Again, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as RIFT follows the traditional theme park PvE centric MMO format. And it does it very well indeed, it’s very good at what it is trying to be, but that’s not the same type of game as the likes of WAR, DAoC and particularly EVE or Darkfall.
Now for me one of the major factors contributing to me playing WAR for so long is how “drop in and out” friendly the PvP is and to be fair, I’ve never really found that anywhere else… ok except for perhaps Planetside. EVE for example, is bloody brilliant, but it’s not that forgiving if you have to AFK suddenly for an indeterminate amount of time due to your daughter trying to paint the cat’s toenails. Whereas with WAR I can nip AFK constantly and just pick up an open group or roam however I fancy the moment I’m back at the keyboard. So in a snap I’m instantly back into the fighting and can contribute. RIFT is totally different in that regard, it’s mainly all about the instanced warfronts (scenarios, battlegrounds, whatever…) and the openworld stuff takes organising to be anything worthwhile. As I’m not a huge fan of instanced PvP scenarios that has meant I’ve ended up at a bit of a loss what to do on occasion.
There are of course masses of PvE things to do; from puzzles, collectables, achievements, raids, rifts and so many others things. All of which have been extremely well implemented, but on a personal note I’m just not that interested in doing that much PvE. I do like the rifts, world events, invasions and I particularly like the dungeons, but none of those are something I do casually. I like to do dungeons, etc when I have a set, known period of time online, so I’m not going AFK every 5 minutes. Which means on my couple of weekly pre-planned gaming nights I do dungeons and am really enjoying RIFT at those points; it’s just the rest of my general filler gaming time where it really isn’t working for me.
So I find myself pondering on how I’m going to spread my gaming time. I really do like the dungeons in RIFT, they’re very well made, a lot of fun and I’m enjoying the progression path. I definitely want to continue that experience. However when I don’t have those big chunks of spare time for dungeon runs, I get very grumpy milling around with nothing inspiring to do. My WAR account is still active and I’m sorely tempted to start splitting my time between the two games, but the problem is that all the reasons I quit WAR are still there; the watered down campaign, the disappointing Skaven implementation, small RvR lakes, wasted space and lack of new things to look at.  Plus I can’t be arsed to deal with all those RR90-100 players beating you with their immense gear/level crutch (and if it wasn’t a crutch they wouldn’t cry all over the forums at the suggestion of nerfing it).
If only WAR could increase the frequency of their patching…


  1. Bootae, incoming nerf for the RR 90 & 100 sets. The gap seems less brutal now that many of the high RR players are spread over more and smaller guilds. Having said that, this is from the perspective of a post RR 90 player playing with others of similar RR although my class SH is a pretty squishy one. Dip your toe back in the water, what have you got to lose?

  2. I could smugly quote myself on all my predictions and warnings about Rift's class balance, PvP and it's PvE aim, but I won't. (See what I did there, you can't say I did but I did!)

    I could see most of what players are finding about only just now, coming from playing the beta. I'm not saying that trying a new MMO is bad or wrong, I was simply trying to mitigate the disappointment of many players. At the same time, I wish fun to those who are enjoying it.

    I was planning on returning to WAR as soon as they fix the power disparity, because it's still the only viable option for good open world PvP. It seems that I won't, but as Nulf says, it wouldn't cost you anything to give the game another go. You can always abort the experiment. :D

  3. I find myself in a similar situation. I like rift alot but due to a combination of factors I have only managed 20 game hours. The pvp is so so and RvR nor there for me yet and even that's pretty vague. So I find myself PvEing which is well done but not entirely me. But before WAR players get to gleeful ;) about the lay of the land rift could quite clearly change focus adding more pvp content without too much retooling. We already have pvp souls so what is currently quite a wide and unbalanced system can be balanced more quickly by simply restricting which souls you can actually pvp with. Compare this with war which has not only unbalanced careers but these are locked by race. There is no way your SW will ever become a BW. In rift all careers are open according to your archetype. So FoM syndrome will atleast mean peeps are not stuck with a gimped class for 2 years.

  4. "I love the soul system, it’s one of the most interesting steps forward in MMOs in a long time"

    Except it wasn't. It's simply a constricted form of Star Wars Galaxies original Skill Point system. Trion restricts you to an archetype and 3 souls, but you can mix and match just like the original SWG. At least with SWG, you literally had access to everything anyone else could do.

    I feel like I'm watching a re-run in terms of the class balance comments so far. We'll see how they handle it.

  5. I feel you, but im not going back to WAR if they dont drastically change the impact gear have on the fights.

    So for now im staying with Rift while waiting for GW2 and Swtor.


  6. Gaar, well in that respect UO did it first :P The difference with RIFT though is that we can switch our entire class on the fly by switching role. I don't think anything else ha let me change between Tank, healer, MDPS and RDPS mid instance before.

    Argolo, yeah that is my big issue with it. Supposedly that is coming now, but Mythic are so slow to patch out problems, it could be months away.

  7. Like Bootae said, the dynamics of the variable roles in Rift is a world of Difference from what SWG offered. Changing careers in SWG was not a task undertaken lightly, as I recall having been a Master BH, Ranger, TKA, and I can't recall what else (damn holicrons).

    That said, hearing talks about the PvP balancing of Rift very much holds to the, "This has all been done before, and will be done again" concept.

  8. I think the difference with the balancing between previous games and rift is that the devs have a rapid response to issues. plus the rift devs are working on the balancing with a desired output guideline in hand.

    so while classes which can pick n' mix will never be truely balanced, having a clear and well defined idea of maximum output of damage which works with the class' function is a great step forward in my book

  9. [Shakrah]
    There is no real game out there at the moment, which is unsettling, but it is for me a good occasion to catch up with something else and re-consider what I expect from gaming, which should be "fun".
    1.4 is nowhere near PvP, RvR or even PvE, its a tame grind. Rift, well, forums tone and the recent discovery of our old friend the BW dont really convince me either.
    I think most MMO companies are totally forgotten that players for 2-3 a day actually bring them as much money (or more) as the 24/7 crew as they pay as well monthly subs and hence turn their games to grinds more than anything.

  10. I was hoping to read about how all my takes on the RIFT beta were completely off and how the game is fun and meaningful but, meh, not the case I suppose. Oh well, guild wars 2 before too long!


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Half man half pixel. Music obsessive, likes a drink, occasional bastard.