Can Rift Really Be Fading Away?

TAGN wrote* that the Happy Time for Rift is over. Meaning that its resurgence in popularity after it went F2P is over, and now it has nowhere to go but down. It’s hard to disagree since when I last logged into Hailol up in the Dendrome, it was a ghost town.

He also had a fair number of negative things to say about Rift going F2P, saying that he immediately unsubscribed when he heard about it. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I think it’s pretty naive to think that AAA MMOs aren’t going to have cash shops from now on. Anyway, I hadn’t been playing Rift for a while, so it was nice to have an excuse to get back into it. At the time, I remember a lot of people were offended that every vendor suddenly had a huge interface window and direct access to the cash shop. I just shrugged and said, “Whatever.” I can’t remember ever being in an MMO and thinking, “Gosh, I really love this vendor window, I hope it never changes.” Honestly most of the time I think, “This vendor window sucks, can’t anyone ever spend some development time to make buying and selling a pleasant experience?” (They did not in FFXIV btw, the vendor interface sucks, as usual.)

Personally I like Rift a lot. It just “clicked” with me for some reason. I think it is the best MMO in the style of WoW. It’s the peak of that evolutionary line. It takes everything WoW did and does it better, and adds a few new things too. It’s a great MMO for someone new to the genre–you can play it simply, or get really complicated. (Sadly, it doesn’t have nearly as much content as WoW, but nobody is ever going to have that much content.)

It’s just that when I log in with my level 60 mage, there’s really nothing for me to do except “dailies.” (Even Summerfest was not new to me.) And I have no particular reason to do them. I’ve already got more gear than I need. This is the problem that all MMOs face. Once you reach the max level, there isn’t much left for a mostly-solo player to do, and you have to turn to groups and guilds and dungeons and raids, and that is a treacherous road fraught with peril. Usually when I run out of things to do with one character, I jump onto another one. But in Rift, I’ve already done that many times. To its credit, Rift was awesome at giving you many different playstyles to work with. And technically I still have three other characters that I could level from 50 to 60, but that’s a long slog through content I’ve already seen once, with very little payoff at the end.

TAGN said, “The upside for an MMO going free to play is… or generally has been… a surge in players.” I always thought the upside from a business perspective was making more money. That’s what Turbine said, anyway. I guess the two go hand in hand. But even if that tripling of revenue was a temporary surge, it seems Turbine is still doing okay, since LoTRO is still going strong, as far as I can tell. Hopefully Rift can keep going for a while too, even if it’s just on a couple of servers.

Hrm. I miss LoTRO. I should play that again. FFXIV is getting a bit routine so maybe I’ll fire up Middle Earth again. I don’t even remember what my main character was. A hobbit archer I think. I think I also had a dwarven rune-keeper I liked.

* Since I just dumped a bunch of MMO bloggers into my feed reader, I’ll probably be referencing other blogs a lot more.

3 thoughts on “Can Rift Really Be Fading Away?”

  1. The thing with the upsurge in income is that the comparison is always between the low ebb of the subscription model… after the company has already decided to swap over and has announced it is going free to play… and with the excitement of the new business model which, by its nature, brings in a lot of players both old and new.

    And in the free to play model, more players is a requirement for more revenue. That the game is more alive is a side benefit.

    I am not sure how strong LOTRO is going. That quote about “triple” is two and a half years old now. They haven’t been making any happy statements on that topic and when I was playing over the summer it seemed clear that they were working hard on finding new ways to make money from the game with their new mithril coin sub-economy giving players a way to spend money on things like travel. The option is up on your quest tracked to jump right back to the quest give for just a single mithril coin.

    That is where I start to grumble about F2P, when the monetization takes over and is in every dialog and pop-up. Things are always a compromise I suppose, but in LOTRO it has gone from the store interface on to infect just about every bit of the game interface. It’s everywhere, that crass commercialism!

    And, to your last point, if you start linking out to more blogs, then cranks like me will start showing up more often, and who knows where that will lead!

  2. I guess I figured LotRO was still okay since they had another expansion coming out. I just logged back in again tonight for the first time in a long time and you’re definitely right about more F2P-related buttons and options around than I remembered. Still, it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever seen (Neverwinter has that honor). Maybe I’m just resigned to the F2P/DLC model taking over for the foreseeable future. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Well, it is one of those things where I couldn’t tell you for certain LOTRO was doing well or not really, it is just a sense I get. The fact that they seem to have take another step in the direction of getting the “buy it now” even more in people’s faces, something that has not been popular in the forums. But Turbine has been awfully quiet.

    I think expansions are a given, as they do bring in money. They do the cosmetic, in game, create one/copy indefinitely addons to get the most out of it. And I am I fine with them making money and keeping the game alive. But sometimes the making money gets out in front of the game, and it can rankle.

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