Why did Rift Fail?

So yesterday I said I would release a nutcracker, and on this Boxing Day I am.  I’ve been building up this article for six months and have been following the progress of one of my favorite games, Rift.  And so today I cover, Why did Rift Fail?

Within six months before launch Rift when from being one of the most unknown games on the planet to one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year.  However after it released it suddenly transformed into one of the biggest trainwrecks of the year.  People perceived it as doing insanely well because the developers were always making new content and working on the game.  In truth it was doing terribly.  After six months they broke 300,000 active subscribers.  That is less than Lineage 2.  Rift fell off the face of the Earth and was largely ignored.  So how did this happen?

1. People didn’t Buy Into the Game Concept

The name of the game is Rift and so rifting was intended to be a major part of the game.  It seemed no matter how much they tried to encourage people to go rifting it was not something people wanted to do.  There was something fundamentally wrong with rifts, and I know what it is.

Unfortunately for rifts, rift grinding is just formalized group mob killing.  It is no different from killing 100 pigs over and over.  The only difference was you were supposed to get predictable gear upgrades and bonus to XP.  But once you hit level cap what’s the advantage to do rifts?  As people found out…. reputation.  But you could grind out those reputations in a more profitable way (dungeon grind for gear/dailies for money).

At late game with the planar atunement system rifting transformed into another grind, grinding experience, grinding planarite, grinding inscribed.  The epic of this was thrown out the window in favor of making it into a grind.  This is largely because of massive grind requirements to gain very small things.  Events attracted at least 100 people per server not because they wanted to do it, but because they had to do it.

On launch everyone was doing rifts to grind out their reputation, that is the hardcores.  But as the game started moving along, no one did rifts.  Eventually people started moving away from the game and the only people doing rifts are those that were grinding them for XP or inscribed.

Trion did release Zone Events.  These are world bosses that would require 3-4 20-man groups to kill and came after doing a number of objectives.  But all of these got boring and repetitive.  None of these world bosses required any organization, you just joined a bulk group and spammed your DPS or heal button.  I would go as a bard and sneakily leach off of peoples efforts by only buff spamming so not to risk aggroing mobs.

The main focus of the game inevitably failed and represented a side activity for when you were not raiding.  They added in holiday and lore related events that all revolved around just grinding out rifts.  Not only did these make rifts suck, they also made holidays suck.  While holidays in most games are well orchestrated quest lines with fun stuff.  Instead you’re just burning through rifts.  This was a cheap content creation model that made bland boring content.

Most people who joined this game came from World of Warcraft.  Because of this they wanted something a little bit different from the WoW grind, Rift could not offer it.

2. Designers Abandoned the Game

Within the first year they released six raid dungeons (three 10-man and three 20-man), four world events, 6 major patches, and created a brand new zone.  There is also a new one coming out after the holidays.

And yet I say the designers abandoned the game.

It’s not a statement of opinion or thought, it’s a matter of fact.  Only a month after releasing Rift, Trion Worlds purchased a share in End of Nations.  Only a couple of weeks later they announced a partnership with Syfy to develop a science fiction multi-platform (joined game play) MMO.  This new MMO is promised to be bank specifically because it is being promoted by a Syfy television show (Syfy is huge in the US).  They moved the developers from Rift to these new projects and put a new team in charge of making content for Rift.

This means that Rift is just a cash ship that they have to milk as much as possible.  Something you want to milk out means you give it as little maintenance while still performing maximum results.

To that end a completely different design team was ‘trained’ on Rift.  They were trained in a content creation model that would allow them to easily design dungeons, rift events, warfronts, minor edits and game balance.  It felt like a gamer’s dream, game content all the time.

I mean just look at these renderings of new content coming out in 1.6/1.7:

Now look at Deepstrike Mines:

And for the sake of argument, look at Darkening Deeps:

It’s all sort of the same thing.  It is all in fact very lazy programming.  The same dungeon designs over and over and over ad infinitum.

But the player base was happy doing these feeling like it was unique content.  It felt like with this model Rift could actually survive and make expansions.

And then it happened.

The beginning of the end.

And it came with players high praise and screaming for joy.

Trion invented the atunement system.

Atunement is post-level cap leveling.  You gain experience and invest into stats.  Some stats included 1 dexterity, 0.1% weapon’s dmg, dmg against a certain element and movement speed.  It seemed like a perfect idea.  Until it dawned upon people, Rift will never be able to have an expansion.  It’s actually impossible.  The second you make post level cap leveling is the second that you make an expansion impossible.  The other side is that if they do expand, you’d lose a tonne of post level cap stats.

Eventually there will come a point that the game will become grossly unfriendly to new players.  It is potentially already happening now with Rank 8 PvP being indestructible and T2 raid DPS being double that of T1 raid DPS.

The development model doesn’t work because as Blizzard realized so many years ago, at some point, gear becomes ridiculous and you need to reset things.

If this game has an expansion it will destroy the existing community.  The game went on sale for $3 for a month and then it went free during Black Friday sales.  There is no surer sign that they are just trying to milk out their subscriptions while they still can.

Keep in mind the game sold for $59.99 then $49.99, $39.99, $29.99, $3, $0.

Free to play is not a terrible payment model.  But when a game goes free to play it is a surefire sign that it is sinking in value.

3. Failure to Launch

The game was insanely hyped up because it was introducing a lot of world content.  In truth world content was in a high demand from a niche crowd.  This is because EQ, EQ2, and World of Warcraft all started with non-instanced world content.  These same people have always demanded world bosses.  The problem with world bosses has always been the problem of the mass.  Either you have so many people in your group that the fun factor moves away to a mass people factor or because there are so many people available to screw you up on killing them these bosses become almost unkillable.

Blizzard’s last world boss was in Burning Crusade, Doom Lord Kazak.  Kazak was a re-make of a vanilla boss and was actually very unpopular.  The boss had the exact same problem as previous ones, too hard in a PvP world.

Rift developers created a stupid number of out door bosses.  But at the lowest of levels people who bought the collectors edition had a massive advantage, speed.  This caused the rifting thing to only catch on with people who bought collector’s edition or people who just ignored rifts and stayed loyal to something they did not enjoy.

When people hit level cap (Level 50) they were stuck with very little to do.  The game launched without a dungeon finding tool.  This is a problem if you are trying to find a group since you have to basically stay online for hours looking at Level 50 chat for a group.  This social system is supposed to create bonds, what it does instead is create guild elitism.

Guild elitism exists when raid guilds maintain control of a rare resource.  A rare resource in the game might be… tanks.  Tanks really only want to raid and will only pug until they are geared.  There is no reason to continue afterwards.  This meant that the second wave of 50s were… screwed.

A dungeon finder was introduced again for a third wave of levelers after their first discount sale.  This dungeon finder was actually worse than the social method.  it was only server wide and it forced you to get four types in the group: Tank, DPS (2), Support and Healer.  In any MMO DPS is going to be very common.  This is why 3/5 of a party is generally supposed to be made of DPS.  By making it 2/5 and adding in a new role this makes dungeon matchmaking very hard.  Worst part is in most groups the support role just DPSes, so it’s sort of another way for people to ‘cheat’ their way ahead of the queue.

That is of course… if it ever popped.

The dungeon finder was awful.  The non-epic dungeons (Charmer’s Caldera and Abysal Precipe) would never pop.  Your only choice was to get gear by crafting/PvP and then queue up for the T1 dungeons and then after a long time of grinding T1 dungeons queue for T2 dungeons.  T1 dungeons did not have a very good queue either.  The T2 queues were really the only ones that ever had any one in their queue.  It was awkward because you had stat requirements you had to meet to queue up.  So you spent a stupid amount of game grinding.

When one grind ended another grind would begin, then another and another and another. It was a game that just grinded out stuff.  Some people like grinding.  This game attracted a lot of grinders.  There are people who capped out their achievement points and were waiting on the next patch just to cap them out again.

It’s not to say that there was nothing non-grindy in this game.  There were tones of cool puzzles that required intelligence to do them.  But they were organized in such a way that they were not all that fun.  Bejeweled is a fun puzzle game.  Plants vs. Zombies is a fun puzzle game.  I’ll even go and say that Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath is a fun puzzle game.  Tetris is a fun puzzle game.  But what Rift offered us in puzzles is not fun.  They were just things you did to grind out.  So the game was obviously not going to interest people who solve puzzles to keep playing.

There was also lore.  There are people (like myself) who love lore.  They thrive on reading the books that become collections.  They love reading quest text and figuring out the story arch.  They enjoy watching events or videos telling stories.  But the developers at Rift were not really all that into story telling, nor are most MMO developers.

A good story arch is going to do the following (in this order):

  1. Introduce main and supporting characters
  2. Create a conflict
  3. Develop main and supporting characters showing their strengths and their weakness
  4. Create tragedy (tragedy involves a downfall based on one of the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, sloth, greed, wrath, envy, pride)
  5. Have main characters accept their weaknesses and recognize their sin (character flaw).
  6. Become stronger because of that.
  7. Defeat evil
  8. PLOT TWIST (Good guy becomes bad guy, bad guy is actually a good guy, bad guy has relations to someone, etc.)

These elements create a fantastic story arch that is exciting and nail bitingly interesting.  But… this game does not have it.  You really do not have any connection to any of the characters and you do not see any reason to hate your enemies.  This was something WoW was also weak at.  I mean if you follow the stories of Illidan, Lady Vashj, Prince Kael’thas, King Arthas, and Neber’ak you should simply not want to kill them.

The main problem is that both of these games are trying to build the story through the people you are trying to kill.  Villains are designed in a story to create a challenge for a hero.  A hero-villain has become popular because they are the ultimate tragic figure.  But by telling a story through the villain all you end up doing is demonizing your own side and thus making the gaming experience unfun and disinteresting.

The game just stunk of a blandness that had something missing.  When Age of Conan launched with 1M purchases in the first month it did so without any quests for 30 levels.  It did so with insanely powerful PvP.  Then why is it that after one month Rift didn’t even break 100,000 copies?

well the first part of it that they probably gave out too many free copies.  The second part is there was just nothing special about it.  It felt like a game that was not going anywhere.  And this was the feeling people got as they left the game en mass.  The server I was on when I played was one of the highest populated in the game and it only had two guilds doing content.  Do you know how sad that is?  WoW had problems with that but their content was vastly inaccessible, unfriendly to casuals, and had a rigorous skill cap.  Rift has none of that.

4. Steep Learning Curve

When IGN reviewed this game originally they said “quality compensates for lack of originality.”  What they felt was that this game was a lot like World of Warcraft with one fundamental problem, a very steep learning curve.

A game has to be noobie friendly.  Every time I do a review I like to stress this factor weighted very strongly.  The game did not have the tools available for people to figure things out so easily.

Simple question, what is more important for a support to do, deal DPS or provide buffs/debuffs.

After you finish leveling as a DPS your answer might be, do DPS.

The actual answer is provide buffs/debuffs.

It’s simply not all that clear what exactly represents a support spec when you choose it.  The description tree tells you enough that it is a support class that goes with a group of adventurers but nothing you do can tank damage, heal or DPS.  it doesn’t make a lot of sense in a group of adventurers to have some fruity minstrel following you around singing songs to you.

It’s not even the fact that support classes are awkward as crap and don’t really scale well or get that much better.

The problem might even be the infinitism of specs.  I had found out some time ago that there are 56 possible pairings of the 8 different trees available in the game.  This means you can be anything, but also tells you that what you should be is not obvious.  You might not know where to turn in points and different or what spells to use.  There is even an odd part where you are not sure what buffs/debuffs you should use.

When the developers of Rift showed us the trees for the first time he bragged about how he enjoyed playing a rogue because he made a spec that was primarily melee but had ranged abilities so he could kill opponents as they ran away.  That sounds cool but then you try out that spec and find out it actually sucks pretty bad.

I remember the first time I hit Level 50 and did not have a clue what to do.  There were no quick quest lines leading you into doing any raids, there were no quick quest lines to lead you into grinding out reputations and Port Scion was bloody complicated with no direction to it.

The game on launch just did not have enough resources available to tell people exactly what to do.  Open ended sand boxing games with no real direction are fun if the core mechanics of the game are fun… Rift did not have that.

5. Because It Didn’t Succeed Enough

On the topic of failure.  A game can succeed in many ways.  The first way is that it has such amazing gameplay that the game almost becomes legendary.  Half Life for example is actually a pretty crappy game but has become legendary for it’s amazing online play (Counter Strike).  A game can succeed with sure volume of numbers.  World of Warcraft and League of Legends both host over 12M players.  A game can be a success for having mildly good results on a company’s first launch.

Rift was successful in this final way.  It is the first launch of Trion Worlds and because of this it was not really expected to have amazing results.  As a matter of fact, no one really had heard of this game before the Open Beta was released a summer ago.  Many could say this game was amazingly successful and has done better than a lot of gaming companies on launch.  Trion was able to earn enough money to purchase a share in another MMO and begin work on another far more popular MMO.

But Rift in every single other way, failed.

It did not reach the numbers that anyone expected.  I remember posting an article claiming they had sold less than 100,00 copies in their first month.  People were scouring at me claiming hearsay and treason.  But sales records confirmed that it was not selling all that well.  One of the main reasons for poor retention was lack of casual friendliness.  This is not a game you can just pick up, it requires a tone of time.  Every MMO has slowly moved down to being casual friendly.  Rift requires too much of your time and the rifting system lead it to that if you idle for too long eventually invasions will come along and kill you.

Rift failed in amazing game play.  The game play was average.  It was designed by programmers who were struggling for funding and had to make cuts where they were.  The game jumped in ‘finish’ when pre-orders became available and every time they did a promotion of this the game’s polish came closer and closer.  But when it launched it was not really a finished product.

One of the weaker points of the lacking amazing game play was in how all specs basically played the same.  For warriors you were building up your Attack points and spending them.  Even tanking was like this.  For rogues you were building up attack points and spending them.  Even tanking was like this.  Mages rotated spells.  Clerics hit the healing button on people.  The only trees that offered any difference were support which ended up not being all that fun in practice.

When people like playing games they like to play them in different ways.  The fact that you were sort of always doing the same thing was a huge limit on the replayability of the game.  In truth people were willing to wait on Guild Wars 2, The Old Republic or Warhammer 40,000 Online before picking up this game.

Rift was released before it was polished which cost them in sales.  What it did do is keep Trion Worlds alive and allow them to acquire End of Nations and start work on their next larger project.

In the end Rift failed because Trion killed their own game.

30 thoughts on “Why did Rift Fail?

  1. I played this game for 3 months, enjoying PvE and PvP for a short while but then got bored. There’s just nothing to do and the game feels very slow paced. I tried streaming it but everyone said it looked so dull and made them asleep. My guildies were laughing at me for playing it. I played on a high-pop server named Riptalon.

  2. Have you ever seen Rift criticism after it launched? It was mostly Rift did this, but when SWTOR launches it will do this. Trust me I read the forums for lots of Rift sites and blogs and that is how I found this very article.

    How about well Rift tried to do what GW2 does? You mean the same GW2 that is not even released yet and most of the game is theorycrafting on whether it will even work?

    If you really want to put Hammerknell up against Firelands and tell me what comes out on top. Not sure if you know this OP, but some EXTREMELY hardcore WoW raiders moonlight in Rift quite often. They compare Hammerknell to C’thun or Ulduar some of the best WoW greats.

    Subs were more around 800k at peak in my estimate. You also use a image I datamined and claim it is recycling from previous content, but if you want me to I can datamine WoW frameworks or TOR frameworks and prove every dev does the same thing, so that does seem very biased.

    Your final line is quite hilarious after watching TOR’s launch and then telling anyone “Rifts launch was not polished”. Go read the TOR forums for entertainment because I know I do for fun. It puts a smile on my face having to watch TOR fans double down on all that talking they did before launch about how TOR would kill Rift on launch date and WoW along with every other mmo would die out.

    Rift was larger then Trion expected and noone can deny that even if your article makes a vain attempt at re writing history.

    Tl’DR: Be more critcal and look-up facts that are clearly posted.

    • To be fair in the first month Rift sold less than 30,000 copies SWTOR has sold a little under 2M copies. Trion gave a lot of games away for free, pretty much anyone who played the beta got a free copy of the game. When you have an audience difference that size you are likely to see a lot more complaints.

      Think of this, how many people complain about free to play games, not many. Because they’re free people are less critical of them than they ought to be. Since Rift was free for its audience people were less critical. I estimated 500,000 you are estimating 700,000. That would mean in the first month they gave away 670,000 free copies.

      Everyone always says every game will kill off WoW. WoW is a pretty comfortable staple now. Many people were reporting that Rift guilds were breaking up even before ToR was launched. ToR has been so popular that every single server is maxed out and the digital download is “temporarily unavailable.” I can’t be too critical of SWToR mostly because I won’t be playing it until the server madness dies down.

      I’m aware that the owner of TankSpot.com was REALLY into Rift and was REALLY championing this game like crazy. This is a pretty common occurrence. When Age of Conan came out there were tones of WoW hardcores who would still log on even though they were still doing WoW content. It happens all the time, it’s not because the game was particularly good but instead because people have time on their hands.

      My main indisputable argument is that they have designed this game to end, no sequel that makes sense. It is entirely a game they will be milking until their ‘real’ title comes out in 3-4 years.

      • lol TORtanic the “charts” show it’s lost 1/2 of its subs already. GG. Rift is currently best sub based MMO on the market. For a small developer that came out of no where they put BW and Blizzard to shame. Just saying.

  3. Rift failed cause it was just a horrible copy of WoW & wasn’t fun. Plain & simple, why would a player from WoW move over to a new game and start fresh when they could continue to play WoW and not have to restart. “Not in Azeroth anymore” was a bad idea on Trion’s part they attacked WoW and suffered from it. I rather be in Azeroth in the first place.

  4. Just one thing…

    “It’s not a statement of opinion or thought, it’s a matter of fact. Only a month after releasing Rift, Trion Worlds purchased a share in End of Nations. Only a couple of weeks later they announced a partnership with Syfy to develop a science fiction multi-platform (joined game play) MMO. This new MMO is promised to be bank specifically because it is being promoted by a Syfy television show (Syfy is huge in the US). They moved the developers from Rift to these new projects and put a new team in charge of making content for Rift.”

    Here is the Trion website almost a year before Rift launched, and what’s this? All three games are posted….you’re talking without knowing what you’re talking about. Not to be harsh but if you’re going to post something at least get it right.


    • My apologies it seems I may have misrepresented the facts. What I was referring to was the unveiling of Defiance at E3 of this year (2011). It was announced only a month after the release of Rift that the entire Rift development team was being split up between End of Nations and Defiance.

      Despite this project being organized 3 years ago it doesn’t change the fact that the developers have abandoned Rift, hired on a new team to manage the game and are working on another MMO to replace it.

      • If Rift was abandoned then can you explain the current job listing? Yup, looks like the game is dead and failed…

        Redwood Shores, Calif.

        Senior Environment Artist
        Senior UI Artist
        Senior Character Artist
        Character Technical Director
        Lead VFX Artist

        Game Designer
        Senior Game Designer
        Senior Systems Designer

        Senior Software Engineer
        Software Engineer
        UI Engineer
        Senior Web Designer
        Web Developer
        Senior Java Engineer
        Human Resources
        Contract Recruiter

        French Localization Tester
        German Localization Editor
        French Localization Translator
        Chinese Producer
        Spanish Translator
        Localization Test Lead
        German Localization Translator
        German Localization Tester
        Polish Translator

        Vice President, Business Development
        Visual Designer

      • Two counter thoughts.

        First note that Redwood Studios is their main studio and it is for development. I’m sure some of these are for Rift but not all of these. They’re building two new games so obviously they will need more staff to get them out in time. Very little of the content in Rift is developed outside of their content creation model. To date the only real content added is the attunement system and looking for group dungeon. I’m sure there might be a few more that I might miss but they don’t take a lot of programming time (like the vet rewards).

        Second, Cryptic Studios was hiring people up until their final month of operation and they pulled their hiring list at that point. Failing studios and failing games often need to hire large crews to help make the game better or re-market it. Looking at this particular job listing it looks like they need people to re-adapt this game for the foreign market to milk them some more monies.

        It is naive to think that just because a company is hiring that it is doing so well. Star Wars Galaxies was running for 9 years straight in the red. 3D Realms was making Duke Nukem Forever when it declared bankrupcy suddenly and unexpectedly some 3 years ago. It’s just good business practice to expand when you are in a slump. Trion worlds looks at plummeting subscriptions in North America and now turns to a foreign language market in hopes of grabbing a share of the French, Polish, German, Chinese and Spanish markets. It’s a great tactic, but it doesn’t change the fact that the developers have abandoned the Rift franchise by removing the option for expansions and will inevitably replace Rift with a new brand.

    • That’s an opinion. Blizzard is currently “the best” as far as subs go, SWTOR is ‘best’ as far as graphics go. Rift to me is a lot like Eve Online. It has a steady community, but a small one. The difference between Eve Online and Rift might be that gaming websites who were paid off never hyped up Eve to the point of no return. MMORPG.com (which I visit quite often) has a banner that envelops the website for whatever game they are actively hyping up.

  5. Where’s your “why did swtor fail” post?

    I knew that swtor would be CRAP. swg was hyped up just like swtor was, and that game was CRAP. swtor is WORSE

    • It was almost a year after launch before I called Rift a “failure.” Out of the series Rift was the youngest to get criticized. I have notes oh why SWTOR is failing but I like to give a game the benefit of a doubt. In other news I’m working on another Rift oriented article. This one compares Trion Worlds with a well known MMORPG gaming studio.

  6. RIFT was one of the few MMOs that I loved. So I might be a bit biased.
    I recently knew that the devs left it few months after release, but what did the reviews say right after the initial release? They said that RIFT is one of few mmos that was Complete at release date! Very few bugs compared with any other mmo.
    WoW had BIG bugs at launch (Warrior charging underwater makes game crash, Falling into the infinity).
    SWTOR had low frame rate when you run while opening your inventory.
    Those two games were hyped at release and both are from HUGE companies compared to Trion which was only founded 5yrs before release of RIFT.
    Also comparing RIFT to those two games is a bit unjust, because WoW relied on the great lore of Warcraft3 and SWTOR had both lore from StarWars and gameplay from Mass Effect.
    I know WoW is still the most successful MMO, but SWTOR had no excuse to fail being from huge companies and combining good lore and good gameplay mechanics. RIFT imho beats SWTOR by far.
    A new company that gave world content better than WoW while maintaining raiding experience of WoW.

    Simply put, if RIFT main dev team did not leave the game it would be a LOT more successful. Sorry for wall of text :)

    • I feel mostly what you do. Few mods though. SWTOR has a stable pop of 1.3 million players. That’s 5x that of Rift. SWTOR succeeded in a lot of ways because it I’d only the second MMO in NA to maintain over 1M subs.

      As well Trion is working on an expac so some of the devs are back on Rift.

      Rift does have some of the hardest working devs. I was *shock* alpha testing End of Nations from the beginning and working with their devs to make the game work. I still maintain the opinion that Trion has great devs. That is unfortunately not enough to make people play a game.

  7. Why RIFT sucks imo

    1. Characters visually suck. no real difference between them
    “ooh its same guy just skinnier uglier and brown. got it”

    2. No story. Player has no personal connection to anything

    3. Too intense, no peace time, always rifts rifts rifts rifts rifts rifts.
    It’s like watching a war movie that takes place on battlefield all the time and bombs exploding repeatedly for the full movie run.

    4. Flat environment in every sense

    5. No sense of purpose

  8. It could have been an awesome and very interesting and informative post. But it was not. Rift succeeded in some areas, and failed in others but you’re not quite putting the nail in the right spot OP.

  9. “And yet I say the designers abandoned the game.

    It’s not a statement of opinion or thought, it’s a matter of fact.”

    One could say the same about Blizzard. They have Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft. Just because Trion is working on other projects doesn’t mean that they abandoned the game. They release new patches and updates ALL the time.

    “Trion invented the atunement system. It seemed like a perfect idea. Until it dawned upon people, Rift will never be able to have an expansion. It’s actually impossible.”

    Um, Storm Legion? Introduced a whole new CONTINENT, new classes, and loads more to do. Also gave you another 10 levels to level up, just like any WoW expansion.

    “There was also lore. There are people (like myself) who love lore. But the developers at Rift were not really all that into story telling, nor are most MMO developers.”

    You play MMO’s for the history? Sorry but nobody watches PORN for the story, either.

    “A game has to be noobie friendly. ”

    No it doesn’t. That’s like saying that they should change the rules of Chess and scale it down to Checkers so anybody could play. Sorry but no. Rift also has introduced a new soul suggestion system that helps you build dynamic and effective characters (but you haven’t played it long enough to know that). And this learning curve is easily remedied via some actual online research. There are plenty of forums with plenty of advice on how to succeed at the game. Sorry if you’re unwilling to do that, but as you were taught in school, life is a continual learning process and Rift is certainly not any exception.

    “I remember the first time I hit Level 50 and did not have a clue what to do.”

    Do whatever the hell you want! Go PvP, go craft something, roll a new character, explore more of the map, run dungeons and deck your hero out in legendary gear!! It’s an open world, you’re free to do whatever you like! You are obviously the kind of person that needs his hand held and for ‘Mommy’ to tell him what to do.

    “It [Rift] is the first launch of Trion Worlds and because of this it was not really expected to have amazing results.”

    You really are a special kind of stupid, aren’t you? Launching a failed first product often-time spells doom for a fledgling company. And no company would spend 4 years developing a mediocre game. Unless you count the 10 years that Duke Nukem Forever was in development (that would be a one-off exception, not the rule).

    I’m sorry but I feel that you didn’t honestly give this game a chance. You might have played it a few months but you mercilessly judged & condemned the game even though 90% of your arguments are invalid and just prove your ignorance. Your “facts” are opinions, and your opinions are just pure bullsh*t. Rift wouldn’t have gotten an expansion or had all the great content added to it if the game truly had “failed” as you say it did. Most of your qualms against the game (substandard dungeon finder, learning curve on building characters etc) have been addressed via updates. You don’t like Rift? Fine. Everybody is entitled to an opinion, but that in no way means that Rift failed. Rift lasted for 2 years on the subscription model before it went free to play. 2 years. Looking at Star Wars: Old Republic that game didn’t even make it 6 months before it was forced to go free to play. The only reason I stopped playing Rift was because I have too much work & school & family going on right now that paying $15/month only to be able to play a few hours a month wasn’t worth it. Now that Rift is going free to play, guess who will be roaming Telara again?

    • Thanks for the response, however make sure to note the publication date. When I Wrote this article some two years ago Rift had just finished off a mediocre patch and there were no updates being announced for the game. In fact the only announcements for the game were ones indicating new titles of which one failed to launch and the other was met with mediocre reviews.

      It could not be forseen that Trion would try and rejuvinate their game by adding in an expansion and revamping a large number of systems from their game. I enjoy working with Trion Worlds but anyone can see their game was a collosal failure when compared to juggernauts like SWTOR.

      SWTOR didn’t go free to play because they were doing poorly, they had over 1M subs after six months…. to compare Rift was done to under 200,000 after two months. SWTOR went F2P because it was a better profit model for them. A little over a year later they’re now up to 2.4M players with 500,000 on premium subscription model.

      Rift went free to play because subscription based play wasn’t sustainable. Just like your situation in which you weren’t willing to pay $15/month… neither was the vast majority of the mature player base that enjoyed their game.

      • “Thanks for the response, however make sure to note the publication date.”

        An article that isn’t updated by its author? And you accuse Trion of abandoning its offspring?

        “When I Wrote this article some two years ago…It could not be forseen that Trion would try and rejuvinate their game by adding in an expansion and revamping a large number of systems from their game.”

        Trion doesn’t abandon its offspring. Sure they had to focus on their other projects for awhile (Defiance, End of Nations, etc) but that doesn’t mean in any way/shape/form that they left Rift for dead. And yes, any MMO worth its salt will rejuvenate itself frequently if it wants to maintain a subscriber base & not lose them.

        Speaking of subscriber base,

        “SWTOR didn’t go free to play because they were doing poorly, they had over 1M subs after six months…. to compare Rift was done to under 200,000 after two months. SWTOR went F2P because it was a better profit model for them.”

        I’m sorry but I just about died laughing after I read this statement. If you look anywhere online, SWTOR had over 1M subscribers for only A SHORT TIME after launch. After that they were bleeding out subscribers by the gallon. In fact, at its lowest point SW:TOR had less than 1M subscribers. And like Trion, Bioware wasn’t content to have a game “break even” or be “just mediocre.” They had to go free to play in order to stay viable. SW:TOR had to revamp itself just like all the other MMO’s.


        “Rift went free to play because subscription based play wasn’t sustainable. Just like your situation in which you weren’t willing to pay $15/month.”

        The same could be said of other MMOs, especially SW:TOR. The sad truth is that nowadays most people except those that belong to the WoW tribe are unwilling to pay a monthly subscription.That doesn’t mean that a game is a failure. Quite the opposite. Not only do F2P games see a massive increase in player base, but revenues increase by several-fold as well. SW:TOR saw a 700% increase in profits after going free. Team Fortress 2 saw a 1200% increase in profits, while Aion and others saw AT LEAST a 500% rise in profits after going free.

        “…anyone can see their game [Rift] was a collosal failure when compared to juggernauts like SWTOR.”

        Hmm…Trion worlds is an upstart company that’s less than 4 yrs old. Bioware has been around since 1995 and has released great hits such as Baldurs Gate, Shattered Steel, Mass Effect, etc. Also, Bioware had the whole Star Wars franchise & Lucasarts behind them. The development budget for SW:TOR was a whopping $400 MILLION (which was its downfall by the way, as the developers needed to recoup that investment quickly which spurred the F2P decision much more rapidly). I’m certain that Rift didn’t have that large of a budget. Star Wars pretty much had an effectively unlimited development budget, Rift did not.

        In conclusion, you use a game’s subscription numbers to determine a game’s success which isn’t a fair comparison given Star War’s legacy & franchise history. I respect your opinion and am in no way knocking SW:TOR (although I dislike having to pay for almost everything in a game that’s “free”), it has its merits. My problem is that when I stumbled upon this article I initially thought it was unbiased and that the author gave Rift a fair chance. However I see that is not the case. The author is clearly a SW:TOR fan-boy that doesn’t give games with unlimited budgets a fair chance before condemning them. Rift is still alive and well, ask any of its 250K players if they think its a “colossal failure” and they will tell you otherwise. We have yet to see but if history is a good indicator, Rift’s player base will explode with the F2P transition and it will stand along the other great MMO’s of our generation.

      • If I were to edit the article two years after people would accuse me of lacking journalistic integrity. Sometimes I do updates in which I indicate a change of opinion based on new information but in truth I don’t follow Rift or Trion anymore, not after End of Nations failed.

      • Update: Rift F2P is now here, and holy cow the servers are FULL!! It’s literally a 2-3 hour queue time just to get into the game!! Trion is working to address the matter as quickly as they can, but even they weren’t prepared for the massive tidal wave of new/returning players. I know you’ve made it clear that you quit paying attention to Trion after End of Nations burned but that doesn’t mean that Rift still is the “horrible” game that you remember. Serious, give it another chance. If any MMO out there is worth a second chance it’s Rift. Or not, but I’m just saying that you’re missing out.

  10. You nailed it Trion killed their own game. It started off great and they made poor decision after poor decision nerfing stuff to dirt that didn’t need to be nerfed. I left after about the 6th nerf of the warrior who was already struggling at the time. I think they were trying to force people to be tanks.

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