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Why WoW players should stay away from Rift.

Posted by on January 7, 2011

World of Warcraft players, Rift isn’t made for you.

Now that you know that, you can stop telling me how much Rift is like WoW. Maybe that it’s an inferior copy. That if you compare it to WoW, Rift comes off really, really crappy. It fills you with ‘meh’. 7/10.

I get it. But you’re off the hook; just log in to Azeroth and forget Rift exists. PLEASE.

Rift, at this stage, is more or less a blank slate. We know the general brushstrokes — each zone gets an instance that you can run at level, or an epic version of it when you’re at max level. Extraplanar rifts provide random content and commensurate rewards. Quests for people who like doing quests. Solo rifts for people who like grinding stuff alone. Zone-wide raid events which provide even better rewards. An extensible talent system that allows any of the four classes to take on different party roles — tanking, healing, dps or support — effectively making every class a hybrid class. (Rogues have no healing role, but everyone expects action on this front). World PvP, including the invasion and capture of enemy outposts on their own turf. Planar raiding through the other side of a rift.

Clearly the game is NOT a copy of WoW. But that’s fine. You hear the hype, and all you’re hearing is “not as good as WoW.”

It’s been two years since I suggested people who complain how modern MMOs don’t stack up to the first MMO they played decide to just pick a new MMO — ANY MMO — and just PLAY it. Play it as their number one game. Be there every night as the game finds its groove and just be part of something new.

Taking my own advice, I dived into Dream of Mirror Online, Star Trek Online, Wizard101, EVE Online and others, and every single time, I eventually “got it”, became part of the community, and made some great friends and good memories.

I plan on doing the same thing with Rift. There’s going to be a few months before the min-maxers tell me how crappy I play, before websites spoil every quest and dungeon, before add-ons tell me the best way to do absolutely everything, before gearscore let the world know how gimp I am. It’s going to be a time when everything is a new experience. It’ll be a hell of a lot of fun.

And clogging the newbie zones will be a crowd of World of Warcraft tourists who are just checking out the game and validating their preconception that Rift is just a poor clone of their game. And each one will drift back to WoW.

That’s fine. That’s what I WANT you to do.

*I* want to play with the people who go ALL IN. I know no better way to enjoy a game.

So come March 1, it’s just going to be Rift for awhile. You’ll read about it here. I’ll read about all your WoW adventures, if you write about them. We’ll each be able to enjoy our games.

Just one favor: If you don’t play the game, don’t expect me to think much of your opinions regarding the game.

(I expect Trion Worlds really DOES want WoW players to play Rift. Clearly, they will not approve this message!)

21 Responses to Why WoW players should stay away from Rift.

  1. Zygwen

    Rogues have Bards that are the best buff bot EVA! Ok, maybe not but they can heal.

    I fully agree with you that beta to 6 or 12 months is sometimes the best time to experience a game.

    Controversy can be almost as good as good hype. In fact I think Rifts has gotten more coverage due to controversy than hype. This is why the Massively “impressions” is a “good thing”. :P

  2. Genda

    This post reminds me of the prelaunch days of Vanguard where “go back to WoW” was a frequent retort when anyone (wow player or no) dared to question the canon.

    As I recall, people dutifully did.

  3. ffox

    QOTD: “I plan on doing the same thing with Rift. There’s going to be a few months before the min-maxers tell me how crappy I play, before websites spoil every quest and dungeon, before add-ons tell me the best way to do absolutely everything, before gearscore let the world know how gimp I am. It’s going to be a time when everything is a new experience. It’ll be a hell of a lot of fun.”

    i don’t share your sentiment for RIFT, but props for that quote.

  4. spinks

    I really do think you play a game differently when you know you are committed to it from the outset.

  5. Longasc

    There is a strong tendency among MMO players to look for something innovative and new that strangely enough plays and is at the core the same as their first or favorite MMO.

    Now comes Wowcutus of Worg. He does not know anything but the WoW collective. At least Rift has enough similarities that he does not have to deal with impossible odds like the inventory hotkey being “I” instead of “B”.

    The problem is that there are so many WoW players that many companies feels the need to assimilate them, and Rift is quite going for WoW players. The danger is that the opposite happens.

  6. Scopique

    Unfortunately, the “You’rre not in Azeroth anymore tagline — while “bold in an eye-rolling way, has issued the challenge. I think Trion has opened themselves to the WoW hordes (!) by throwing down the official gauntlet in this case.

    With so many WoW players, though, there’s always bound to be a percentage of them who are simply playing on automatic pilot, waiting for something else to at least try. The stats are probably too great for there not to be. I think any new MMO company realizes that there’s always going to be a segment that they will be able to entice away from WoW, so they almost HAVE to target them, at least to get their game on their radar.

    But for the contrarians who know nothing other then CoD and WoW…they’re like mosquitos. We just haven’t developed the proper scent of WoWie citronela that’ll keep them away from the porch.

  7. Tipa

    To be honest, I’d rather dabblers of all stripes just sit back and either enjoy Rift or enjoy their main game and just stop trying to make points with how superior their main game is v Rift.

    More games make a healthier genre.

  8. Bhagpuss

    Tipa is absolutely right about being in at the start. An MMO is rarely as much fun again as it was in the first few weeks or, if you really get into it, months. The fun is in learning the new systems and the new world, and in learning them all together with everyone else.

    I wish Rift would launch today. I would happily play it while they build it around me and pay for the opportunity. Even so, it is not going to be my only MMO, not by a long chalk.

    I’ve almost never played just one MMO at a time. Within a few months of starting Everquest, even though I was playing EQ something like 60 hours a week and nailed into Norrath, I still bought and tried Ultima Online, then The Realm. Then I began applying to beta-test any MMO that I heard of, like Anarchy Online, and Endless Ages.

    The idea of playing just one MMO seems as weird as just reading one novel or watching one movie, day in, day out. So, while I can hardly wait to play Rift, and while I expect it to be the MMO I spend most time in this year, I’ll also be buying DCUO and EQ2′s Velious expansion and I expect to play those alongside Rift. And I’ll be trying Champions F2P and LotRO F2P, and of course I’ll still be popping in and out of the dozen or more other MMOs I stil have on my desktop.

    Yes, I’ll make some comparisons between them because I’m interested in the genre in an academic sense. But will I make bold statements about how one MMO is “better” than another just because? No, of course I won’t. Are apples “better” than oranges? I’ll just enjoy them all. And ignore those who aren’t able to have that much fun.

  9. Jesse

    Three cheers for Tipa! She’s enthusiastic about playing this genre of MMO’s, and to the Plane of Hate(ers) for people who think that WoW is the only game in the genre and all other genre games are just clones. Fly safe Tipa o/

  10. Drew

    Well said, Tipa. I won’t be playing RIFT, but as I’ve mentioned here and on my own blog, I’m happy with people playing what makes them happy. Clearly, Fallen Earth doesn’t appeal to the masses, but I enjoy it. WoW is too ‘mainstream’ for others, but I enjoy the camaraderie there with my friends and doing fun things together. People simply have different tastes, and what I’ve seen and heard about RIFT just doesn’t appeal to me.

    I saw the problem Genda speaks of when AION launched in the US (I played for several months). The reply to any complaint was “go back to WoW”. It’s okay to criticize a game while you play it – feedback is good for developers. I don’t understand that need for players to defend imperfections – you certainly won’t see me defend Tol Barad (WoW) or the economy of FE.

    No game will be perfect at launch – and people will inevitably compare it to WoW, especially with Trion’s potential misstep of waking the sleeping giant, if you will. I hope those who play RIFT enjoy it, just like I wish the same of people playing LOTRO (which I did not enjoy and would never play again – but that’s my choice, and not something I would push on someone who does).

  11. pasmith

    I’m still trying to decide if that “Not in Azeroth any more” was their biggest mistake or the smartest move ever.

    In a way it almost dares the WoW players to check out Rift so that they can point out how inferior it is. If they do that during beta then Trion has gained nothing. But if half a million WoW players spend $50 to play the game and criticize it, Trion gets a nice influx of capital. :) And y’know, some tiny percentage will actually look at Rift objectively, and some proportion of them will like what they see and stay.

    Personally though, I really cringed. I’m already kinda sorta looking forward to April 1st when the free month runs out and the haters move on to somewhere else, secure in their opinion that Rift is an inferior product, thanks to them spending 10 levels of doing nothing but quests.

  12. Saylah

    I haven’t played Rift yet but I’m seriously considering giving it a try when it releases. I recently re-subbed to WOW and while the changes from Cata are great and I have a plethora of characters to choose from, I have NONE at the Wrath max level because I couldn’t be bothered to do Wrath. Already an expansion behind, if I don’t do it now then it’s unlikely I’ll ever be a long time subscriber again. I can see myself subbing for a little bit at a time to tinker with my boxed-characters or fiddle with my now level 72 or other level 70s.

    I mainly solo but soloing in empty zones it not what I enjoy. At some point there will be many more players in the 70 to 80 range but for now, it’s very dead and that’s on a high pop server. Rift can fill the gap for players that have not kept up with WOW for whatever reasons. It doesn’t mean they’re saying it’s better, it just suit their current needs better than WOW. Personally, I prefer being in a game at the start and moving along with the masses. It’s unfortunate that in most MMOs levels still stratify the player base and control what you can do and more importantly, who you can do it with in most cases.

  13. PeterD

    Well said Tipa. I think Rift will get a lot of bored WoW players to buy boxes. That’s not a bad thing right? I think a large percentage of them will go back to WoW within a week or two (if that). Those people can just go, please. It does seem like a vast majority of WoW players are incapable of appreciating any other MMO. WoW has a lot of things going for it to be sure, but it is far from the ultimate most perfect MMO ever. They’ve mastered the grind though, by sucking people into doing the same exact thing night after night for 2 years between expansions. I don’t know how they do it. I get bored after a month or two.

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure there will be a minority of WoW players that stick around and play Rift. By March most WoW players will have finished Cataclysm content several times, and some will be ready to try something new rather than leveling character number 7 to the cap to run heroics. I suspect none of them will be people for whom WoW was their first MMO. Something about WoW as a first MMO just injures the brain :P

  14. pasmith

    We should thank the WoW players for funding future development of Rift! :)

    I pre-ordered from Trion and indicated I wanted the 6-month Founder Sub (I can always change that if something awful happens between now and the end of my 30 days). My plan is to take up Tipa’s challenge and stick with one game for a while. It helps that I’ve found a guild full of people around my age (hard to do) though I haven’t actually *played* with them yet, but I’m at least hopeful.

  15. Kendricke

    “Written by Tipa about 9 hours ago. To be honest, I’d rather dabblers of all stripes just sit back and either enjoy Rift or enjoy their main game and just stop trying to make points with how superior their main game is v Rift.

    More games make a healthier genre.”

    More games make for a healthier genre, but only if the designers are truly and honestly learning from each other’s designs – only if the players are truly and honestly criticizing the designs intelligently based on comparisons. Having competition like this works out better for everyone in the end – players end up with better games in general when this occurs, so long as the correct lessons are learned.

    One danger, of course, is that players simply argue based on branding (Pepsi/Coke, Mac/PC, Mets/Yankees) as opposed to raising relevant, coherent points (or that such points get lost in piles of noise). Another danger is that developers take the wrong lessons from the experiences.

    Ultimately, I agree that (as a general rule) more games are better than less games. However, more games simply for the sake of more games isn’t any doing anyone any favors. Every time a game fails because it can’t draw and keep enough of a playerbase, it makes it that much harder for the next start-up to find funding for the idea of a new MMO.

  16. Tipa

    Can’t agree. The more choice we have, the more chance ambitious games have to find their niche. Bad games will always fail. More games means more GOOD games; Minecraft proved a good idea and solid vision doesn’t need to be cripplingly expensive to develop and become a wild success.

  17. Hudson

    Market is too bloated. I still cant believe 38 Studios will even attempt to do a fantasy game. There really isnt much they can surprise us with at this point.

  18. Taymar

    Well said. And as to RIFT, I’ll see you there.

  19. evaughn the catfish

    Tbh tipa is right. More games in a specific genre gives us a higher percentage of good games. Rift at a glance is a modern mmo. To everyone saying its a wow dupe theyre seriously wrong. Wow is a eq dupe then by that logic. Ive tried rift and im a former wowie and as long as you can keep yourself from comparing then you are going to enjoy yourself.

    Hopefully i will see some of you in rift.

    Btw were not in azeroth anymore