FFXIV – 4.2 Rise of a New Sun Completed (Spoilers)

I put off FFXIV for a couple of weeks while I finished my Fallout 4 obsession, then I jumped in and completed the Main Scenario Quest for the 4.2 Patch. It took two whole days, maybe three total hours. I’m glad to have finished it. I had basically zero interest in playing it, to be honest, but I know from experience that no matter how much one doesn’t feel like playing the MSQ, it’s far better to stay up-to-date than to have to catch back up later. (Ask anyone who’s come back to FFXIV after any kind of absence, like, say, me. Go play the MSQ immediately!! Drop everything!! Do it now!! It’s the one inescapable dependency from which literally every other feature of the game inherits.)

I put a spoiler warning on this post even though there really isn’t anything too spoilery here, and I think everyone already predicted the “big reveal” since the end of Stormblood anyway. (I predicted it in my 4.1 post, actually, because they really hung a lantern on it.)

The short version of my review is: I was a bit disappointed. Not that there was anything particularly bad about the story, it’s just that nothing really happened (another reason there isn’t much spoilery stuff in here). It had that “middle book” feel to it–there was no real story here, just setup for the next story.

It was a big let down from the Fordola story in Patch 4.1, which I thought was fantastic character development (and voice acting) and a good little short story that stood on its own. (The other half of Patch 4.1 with Raubahn and the Sultana was more meh to me, for reasons I think I already wrote about.)

By contrast, I’m not sure we saw any character development in this patch. We met one new character, a kid from the Empire whose name I’ve already forgotten, who–shockingly!–turned out to be less friendly than he appeared. These Empire folks are nothing if not consistent with their cartoon villainy.

I do think they’ve setup a very good moral dilemma with Tsuyu, and I’m going to be very disappointed if (when?) she gets her memory back and returns to said cartoon villain status. (Although she was a better villain than Zenos by far, imo.)

But then if she gets her memory back, which is the entire purpose of the mirror, villainy is the only logical choice for her character, isn’t it? She can either double-down on the evil schtick, or try to beg forgiveness and atone for her mistakes, and obviously nobody is going to buy that last one. She’ll be shipped back to the Empire and … then what? Probably punishment, and some desperate scheme to get back in their good graces.

The more interesting thing for me is the moral problem for Gosetsu if Yotsuyu regains her memory. Lord Hien assigned him responsibility for her care, and one would assume that includes holding Gosetsu responsible should she become an enemy again. Will he dispatch her immediately as his honor might demand? And if he does, will that ruin the prisoner exchange and sign the death warrants of an unknown number of helpless Domans?

As you can see, speculating about the future is more interesting than contemplating what happened in this part of the story. Because, to reiterate, nothing really happened.

P. S. I had contemplated letting my subscription run out on the 18th since I wasn’t playing very much, but I decided to get another 3 months after all. I’ve been having some fun leveling a few alts. I did cancel all my extra retainers, though, so no crafting for me in the foreseeable future. (The only thing I need to make is glamour crystals anyway hehe.)

MMO News Reactions 5

A series of short reactions to the week’s MMORPG stories, otherwise known as “just about giving up on blogging” because I can’t be bothered to write long posts lately.

Sorry about last week’s post. I was scrolling through Twitter last Friday and much to my own surprise I found that I’d posted something to my blog without even looking at it or setting a header image or anything. This time I will refrain from scheduling this to post right after creating the draft!

Camelot Unchained to announce beta date. An announcement to announce an upcoming announcement… funny stuff. The beta date will have been released by the time this post publishes, but I’m not going to include it just to be spiteful. It’s unlikely I will be playing the beta anyway. I’m curious to see the game but it’s obviously not a game meant for people like me, who don’t want other people to be the main content in their games.

Ashes of Creation released some alpha gameplay video. My first draft of this post had a whole lot more negative words here, but I’m editing it way down to just this: I didn’t think the game looked very good, and I’m shocked that they released that video. (I watched it with the sound off, so that the streamers’ enthusiasm wouldn’t influence me–take that, influencers!)

Project Gorgon will only be playable through Steam. Bummer. Still waiting to hear the price.

Hawaii congressman talks about regulating loot boxes. This news seems to be generating some excitement in the blogosphere. My reaction is as before. It’s either a) feel-good legislation that has no impact (labels, which puts the enforcement burden on parents, where it should already be), or b) unenforceable laws that have no impact (can’t sell loot boxes to minors–publishers will simply add an “are you over 21?” checkbox to the purchase page to absolve themselves of liability).

RIFT Leveling Anew

With all the buzz about RIFT Prime, I wondered if I could recreate a nostalgic experience for free just by starting a new character on plain old RIFT Normal. I wanted to check two things: To see if experience points were withheld from free players at the beginning of the game just like at level 68, leading to hard road blocks that could only be made up by endless grinding or spending cash. Secondly, I wanted to speculate on what RIFT Prime might deliver to me that would be superior to what I was experiencing completely for free.

After this experiment of starting over with my own self-imposed nostalgia tour, I’m more puzzled than ever about RIFT Prime. I’m not sure how a RIFT Prime subscription experience will differ from a plain RIFT subscription experience, or even a free experience. Methinks there is a bit of marketing handwaving hijinks and social engineering going on here.

It turned out that I already had a level 2 Guardian Cleric, so I went forward with that one. I have a level 60 cleric but honestly I have zero memory of it–I have no idea which soul(s) I used to level. This new one is a Druid/Shaman/Inquisitor, which was apparently the preset I picked whenever I made this character. For my test, I didn’t use any of the perks I’d accumulated over the years, with the sole exception of a 110% horse I pulled out of my veteran rewards around level 10 (I just got tired of running–it turned out I could almost have bought a 60% horse around that time anyway, and definitely could have bought a 90% mount a few levels later, because you get crazy gold drops now). I did not use any daily rewards, gifts, or whatever. I did not use any boost potions. I tried not to use anything that wouldn’t have been available to someone starting their first character on a brand new free account (except the horse). In other words, I tried to play exactly the same way I played at launch in 2011.

Now that I think about it, I had a 60% collector’s turtle mount at launch in 2011. Oh well.

If you have not leveled a character from the beginning since “vanilla” RIFT, you will be in for a massive shock because it is almost nothing like the original game anymore. This is not new–it happened many years ago, I think even before the free-to-play conversion. The maps are the same, but they cut down on the number of quests by about two-thirds, and there is almost no chance of dying anymore. Basically everything is done for you now. You don’t have to learn the soul system, you don’t have to find class trainers, you don’t really have to do much of anything but run to the next quest giver, collect your experience points, mash the “auto spend soul points” button, and move on.

This is where I first pondered RIFT Prime. Will it be different in RIFT Prime? Will they restore the “vanilla” experience before everything was handed to us on a silver platter? The obvious answer and my personal prediction is: Nope. The new player experience in RIFT Prime will be exactly the same as it is today, because that is the code base they are running now. They’re not going to roll back the code to 2011 and dump it on a new server. That would be insane. So I don’t think it’s going to be accurate to call RIFT Prime a “nostalgia” or “classic” or “vanilla” experience. It’s going to be today’s experience, with a level cap of 50, on a new server. That doesn’t sound particularly noteworthy to me, considering I can have that exact same experience for free on one of their existing servers. I just did it (at least up to level 22). I predict that as we start to learn more about RIFT Prime, or more likely as people start dropping money on it and playing it, people are going to be disappointed to find out what it actually is–a marketing gimmick.

Anyway, back to my new cleric and the RIFT Normal experience.

At first I simply followed the story quests, and ignored all of the carnage quests and side quests. I didn’t do any rifts (they would have been solo efforts anyway, as much as they were ignored), and I barely interacted with any of the numerous zone events. I ran into my first road block at level 12. I could not accept any more of the story quests at Highglades Lookout, the hub near the Realm of the Fae in Silverwood.

I had to find a way to level up before I could continue, which I accomplished by backtracking to do some of the side quests and carnage quests I skipped. I also found a quest from Bahralt in Sanctum which sent me to a library in Moonshade Highlands that I had never seen before. (Will that be in RIFT Prime? It shouldn’t be.)

From then onward I picked up every quest I saw, not just the story quests. I still ignored carnage quests, though, unless I accidentally initiated them. The next road block occurred at level 14, when I could not accept the next story quest from Thelliam Bedstraw in Quicksilver College. I was able to head back to that Moonshade Highlands library and level up. I also completed a single instant adventure in Shimmersand, which rained crazy experience points on me, and gained another level. (Will those be in RIFT Prime? They shouldn’t be.)

The next road block occurred at level 16, at the little hub outside Overwatch Keep near the Marsh House. I couldn’t accept the next story quest there. I believe I leveled up by going back to Quicksilver College to find more side quests, and I found a variety of scavenger hunt quests that took me into Overwatch Keep.

The myriad quests around Overwatch Keep at the end of the zone gave out enough experience that I had no more issues completing the zone and heading to Gloamwood. I was level 18 when I defeated Kongegoran and completed the Silverwood zone. The quest levels indicate you’re supposed to be level 19 as you head over to Gloamwood.

I did not run into any experience point road blocks in completing the Gloamwood zone, where I reached level 22. I was able to go from story quest to story quest without hindrance, however I did pick up and complete many of the optional side quests along the way, and some carnage quests, too. The last zone quest is level 24, and the mobs at the end are level 25 and occasionally 26. The area up around the final Hag encounter was fairly challenging if you don’t take it slow and easy (which is exactly how I remember it from vanilla RIFT, actually–but back then it was for different reasons).

I concluded that while I wasn’t thwarted from playing for free, as I am at level 68, there were a couple of times when I came up short on experience points playing the way I wanted to play. Fortunately it was reasonably quick to “grind” and make up the experience gap at the low levels, but I’m dubious about it being so quick and easy going forward. After level 50, for example. At level 68, it would take hours of grinding in instant adventures or zone events for me to reach level 69, a process that does not appeal to me in the slightest. I guess I could do some dungeons, too, but I’m not geared for dungeons, plus I’m not anxious to see the state of PUGs after so many years of free-to-play.

After my experiment, I concluded that RIFT does, in fact, shortchange free players from the very beginning, but perhaps not as bad as they do at level 68. I wasn’t surprised to find this out. They have to have an incentive to subscribe (or at least buy the Patron status), and to be honest that’s the best incentive for it.

Getting back to RIFT Prime, I think that’s what they are trying to do: Find another way to nudge people into subscribing. But I’m not seeing why I should play on a “progression” server after subscribing instead of the live server.

P.S. I never realized until writing this post that RIFT is supposed to be all caps.

MMO News Reactions 4

A series of short reactions to the week’s MMORPG stories, otherwise known as “just about giving up on blogging” because I can’t be bothered to write long posts lately.

Nexon laid off some people. I don’t think I play any Nexon games.

Forbes interview on WoW Classic. I don’t think I mentioned this at the time, but while Blizzcon made it sound like WoW Classic was right around the corner, I secretly thought it sounded like they hadn’t even started on it yet. This confirms that it sounds like they haven’t even gotten out of the “memos around the office” phase of this project yet. How many years away will this thing be? Will Star Citizen be out before WoW Classic?

There is more talk of “official” classifications of gaming addiction. My only comment here is that I find it a bit ironic that gamers quickly rush to decry gaming addiction as made-up out of thin air, and simultaneously crusade against predatory loot boxes.

MMO News Reactions 3

Gloamwood. I played a new character through the first two zones in Rift to imagine what Rift Prime might be like.

A series of short reactions to the week’s MMORPG stories, otherwise known as “just about giving up on blogging” because I can’t be bothered to write long posts lately.

Sea of Thieves was in closed beta. This is a game on my radar, but the more I see, the less I’m interested. For starters, I’m one of the rare people in the world who has never had a “thing” for pirates, so the gameplay loop itself must attract me. But a) it’s clearly not an MMORPG and b) it’s clearly designed to be played by a group of real-life friends manning a ship, a la Guns of Icarus, with their interpersonal socializing being the biggest part of the game’s fun. Dragonchaser bravely tried to play solo, which is how I would have played it, but it’s fairly obvious from his narrative that the developers don’t want you to play like that. $60 saved.

Blah blah Sentator investigating lockboxes blah blah. Controversy time! I have a long post about lockboxes, gambling, and regulation in draft form but I can’t seem to chisel it down to a publishable form. The short version of my outrageous pragmatism is that I don’t see regulation happening anytime soon, unless it is regulation to maintain today’s status quo. Casual observations suggest lockboxes are very popular with both studios and consumers. The only people who don’t like lockboxes are old-school purists who grew up without them, and we are a minority now, as far as I can tell. On this particular story, regulating Internet games at the state level sounds ludicrous, and trying to force parents to monitor their kids’ gaming habits by adding a disclaimer sounds even more ludicrous.

H1Z1 nerfs ENAS. I had never heard of “ENAS” (East North American Strafe) but I am almost positive that some variation of the “move mouse, strafe, jump, run” exploit existed in (at least) Quake 2, 3, and the original Tribes. It is not surprising to hear about an exploit like this surfacing in H1Z1, the game whose entire reputation is built on how buggy it is. :)

Final Fantasy XIV Patch 4.2, Rise of a New Sun is out. I tried the Glamour Dresser. It’s not that great. :) I mean, compared to how glamours used to work in FFXIV, it’s fantastic. But compared to wardrobe systems in other games, it’s not that easy to use. It’s a bit like WoW’s “improved” transmog system a while back: Great for WoW, but not so great compared to other games.

Something Something Crowfall Crafting. No comment, except that I recently won a 2017 Crowfall Backer package thingy in a voiceover contest. Unfortunately I have no idea whether I can play this game or not. It says I get Beta 1 and Beta 2 access but I think it’s still in Pre-Alpha? I can’t make any sense of it. I get the impression you have to immerse yourself completely in that community to really understand what’s going on. The point is that eventually I will be giving a full report on Crowfall, something I didn’t expect I would ever do.

Something Something Mortal Online Weather. No comment, except a reminder that Mortal Online is one of the best old school-style virtual world MMORPGs that nobody plays, because of the full loot PvP. Sadly I don’t have the time to dedicate to this kind of game (it’s the kind where you have to be able to drop everything in real life to spend hours dealing with things in the game).

Truthfully I haven’t read much news this week because I’ve been too busy playing Fallout 4. It’s entirely possible I’ve missed a huge story that everyone else is talking about.

FFXIV – 4.2 Rise of a New Sun Patch Notes

They aren’t too concerned about spoiling things from the previous patch, are they?

Roughly 75% of the 4.2 patch doesn’t interest me, but there’s a few cool things in there.

This cracked me up: You won’t be able to skip the cut scenes in Castrum Meridianum and the Praetorium anymore. If I were a new player, I’d be glad about that, because I’d hate to miss them (I honestly don’t remember if I watched them the first time or not, or if I ever have). I don’t understand why they didn’t do the same in other Main Scenario instances though. The social pressure to skip cut scenes in instances is immense (even if nobody asks you to), and to this day I can’t understand why they keep putting cut scenes, even very short ones, into group instances.

There are some changes to the Bard Perform thingy, but I still think it’s an underwhelming feature. I thought I was going to be able to program elaborate sequenced performances with it–to just press a button and have my character play a song. But no, unless I completely missed something, you plunk out notes on your keyboard in real-time. What’s the point of that?

No changes to Bard actions as far as I can tell (the only job I care about hehe).

One new dungeon Hells’ Lid at item level 310. I presume the Main Scenario will go through it. My item level is 321 so I’m ready. (“Players must first complete the main scenario quest ???”–so yeah, it’s a main scenario dungeon.)

Second new dungeon Fractal Continuum (Hard) at item level 310. Appears to be optional. I have no memory whatsoever of Fractal Continuum. If it wasn’t part of the Main Scenario Quest, I probably haven’t done it, so I won’t be able to do this one.

One new trial The Jade Stoa at item level 325. Sadly it appears to be part of the Main Scenario as well (“must first complete the main scenario quest ???”), so I guess I will need 4 more points of item level from somewhere.

Thankfully the weekly restrictions on alliance raid The Royal City of Rabanastre will be removed so I can spam it to get new gear at my leisure. (If I’m not mistaken I’ve only gotten one or two Bard drops since it came out.) Presumably that will allow me to get over 325 for the new trial.

For the cutting-edge treadmill crowd, Allagan Tomestones of Mendacity will be added as the new top-tier 450-per-week currency, replacing Tomestones of Creation. We won’t be able to get Tomestones of Verity anymore.

Interestingly, the Expert Duty Roulette is changing into a whole new thing that includes the new Hells’ Lid and Fractal Continuum (Hard). Presumably I’ll have to familiarize myself with Hells’ Lid for the main scenario, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a Fractal Continuum before, and I’m not anxious to start now. What used to be the Expert Duty Roulette will be called the Level 70 Duty Roulette, and probably not worth doing anymore, unless you’re one of those people who has nothing better to do than to run ten different roulettes every day to squeeze out every last tomestone from the game to gear up all 15 jobs for raid-readiness.

I will probably be getting the majority of my Mendacity from the Alliance Roulette Duty, if I get them at all. Although if I get used to the new dungeons, it would probably be less tedious to run an Expert Roulette every day. (It’s not clear to me if any of the dungeons will reward non-bonus Mendacity tomestones or not.)

I have no problem with removing elemental resistance. I never once gave that a single thought while playing.

The item stack size increasing from 99 to 999 is the greatest news ever. It won’t save me much space though because I rarely kept more than one stack of 99 materials anyway. It begs the question though: Why stop there? Arbitrary numerical limits in computer software annoy me. The only inescapable limiting factor that’s apparent to me is the number of digits you can display at the bottom of the icon, and it looks to me like you could easily get five digits in there.

Not letting you discard something if you haven’t already unlocked it is a nice feature for people like me who tend to discard things when I don’t know what it is. I’m quite sure I’ve thrown away things I could have used numerous times before. This feature won’t help with knowing whether to roll on something or not, though.

I’m very interested in trying out the new Glamour Dresser thingy, but I have a feeling it’s not going to work as effortlessly as I’d want it to, which means I will probably just continue to wear whatever mismatched gear I last picked up. For example, I anticipate it will be a pain to get the required number of “glamour prisms,” a step which seems arbitrary and pointless and designed to annoy me specifically. I am not looking forward to the tedium of clicking “yes” on every “are you sure” dialog as I throw truckloads of saved gear into this Dresser. And I see that there’s a hard, arbitrary limit of 200 glamours you can put into the Dresser, which I expect most people will run into on the first day, because who doesn’t already have 200 gear pieces already sitting on their retainers?

The Duty Recorder, if it is anything like what I think it is, looks like one of the coolest things ever put into an MMORPG. It’s Quake Demos all over again!! Except everyone in the group has to consent before you can record the instance!? Ugh! And it only works on the new trial The Jade Stoa. I would literally use that every single time I was in an instance if I could. (Or at least the first time I was in an instance.) People making video guides are going to love that. Next they need to add it into the PvP matches.

The Chocobo saddlebag looks cool I guess, but I doubt I’ll use it except in emergencies. It doesn’t seem like it would be functionally useful unless you could automatically put things into it. Like if you could direct all of your loot drops to the saddlebags. But more inventory space is always nice, I guess. Still, it makes me revisit my long-standing gripe, why is there any limit at all on my inventory? Especially in a subscription-only game. It should be unlimited, right? An endless, bottomless inventory? Auto-sorted, filterable, and searchable? It’s 2018 last I checked. Nobody is trying for immersion and realism with their inventory system anymore. The game industry is firmly in “well that’s the only way I’ve ever seen an inventory so let’s keep doing it that way” and it annoys me.

I like the inventory grid changes (from 5×5, 6 tabs to 5×7, 4 tabs). But … I still want more. :) Next, can we arrange it however we want? See above, where I mentioned it’s 2018. It would be great if I could expand the window so it’s all on one tab. I imagine the FFXIV game engine is probably a creaky old thing that will break at the slightest touch by now but surely somebody over there can manage resizable windows?

Maximum retainers increasing to nine would have been awesome if I hadn’t just cut out all of my retainer subscriptions. :)

Still waiting on improvements to the Retainer UI. If they haven’t changed it by now, I imagine they can’t, and I’ll have to wait until the next Final Fantasy MMORPG. Speaking of creaky old engines, when I look at the FFXIV UI and ponder what they have and haven’t changed, I imagine the code behind it all is a bit of a mess. The UI layer is by far the biggest problem in FFXIV. I get the impression that they slapped it together very quickly for the 2.0 re-launch, and I suspect they are now paying the price for that. I hope they are working on the next iteration of a flagship MMORPG already because this one is already showing signs of age. :)

MMO News Roundup 2

I found this Moonshade Highlands library in Rift for, I think, the very first time this week. Weirdly I got to it from Sanctum. I have no idea what it’s for, except to give me a little bit more experience as I level up.

Final Fantasy XIV 4.2 releases January 30. Yay! The nostalgia part of this patch means nothing to me, as I’ve never played any other Final Fantasy game. But I’m looking forward to continuing the story. I don’t care much about any of the “progression” aspects, though. I have the gear I need to do the Main Scenario and that’s pretty much all I care about right now.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, since I’ve repeatedly said FFXIV is the best subscription game to subscribe to, I’m thinking about cancelling my FFXIV sub before it renews on February 18. I’ve already cancelled all my extra retainers (I was paying for 4 extra over the 2 included). I haven’t played regularly in a while, so that money is about 99% wasted. I’m pretty sure I’ll be done with the new content in 4.2 before the 18th. I can just re-sub for a month every quarter when the new patches arrive. I might once have fretted about losing out on the Veteran rewards but I’ll be honest, I haven’t used a single one of those rewards, like, ever. Certainly not the longer-term ones, which are exclusively costume items.

Devilion is closing. It’s probably my fault. I only played about 45 minutes of the open beta and never returned. On a more serious note, it’s very classy of them to enable bonus events as long as the game remains running.

Conan Exiles will be launching May 8. This is the first time I’ve heard a launch date. I’ll give them points for at least getting within six months of their projected one-year early access period. Most interesting to me is their decision to completely revamp the combat system right before launching. That sort of suggests the game will continue with frequent bug fixes long after launching. :)

Fragmented is in maintenance mode. I actually bought The Repopulation on Steam so I also got a free copy of Fragmented. I played it for a few hours once. It actually wasn’t bad. Better than a whole lot of other survival games. Kind of a shame to see it dying out.

Age of Conan is getting a progression server? Well, it’s not the game I would have picked for a nostalgia server, but okay. It still plays much the same now that it played at launch, last time I checked, so what’s the point of a progression server (besides publicity)? My highest-level AoC character is around 50 I think, though it’s possible I used a level boost of some kind recently–I don’t have it installed right now so I can’t check. I’ve always liked AoC. The only problem I ever had with AoC is the unrelenting onslaught of quickly respawning mobs you have to kill to get to and from quest objectives, making every little quest an hour-long marathon. I said “AoC” repeatedly by the way to make the point that Age of Conan is the game that was on the market long before Ashes of Creation.

Speaking of Ashes of Creation, they revealed a preview video of the UnderWorld. I wasn’t going to include this news, but it dovetailed nicely with the previous paragraph. The video looks fine I guess, but it didn’t blow me away, because it continues to illustrate my personal belief that the folks at Intrepid have never played an MMORPG before. “The UnderWorld” looks quite a lot like Rift’s Goboro Reef, and I would swear there is at least one place in WoW that looks similar, too. Maybe one of those Night Elf zones? I can’t remember.

Rift Prime – Too Late?

Looking longingly at the place where level 69 players–or patrons–can go.

I suppose the announcement of RIFT Prime deserves its own blog post, rather than an offhand remark in a news summary.

Like most of the other reactions I’ve read, I’m tentatively interested, but I’m certainly not jumping on the hype train yet.

See, here’s the thing. I’m probably only going to subscribe to one game at a time. Historically the main reason is that there are precious few games out there worth subscribing to. But in more practical terms right now I have drastically reduced disposable income and it would be pretty reckless to throw money away on something that isn’t amazing. I’m no longer working at a job where an hour of cubicle work time offsets months of subscriptions on mediocre games I forget to even play.

Right now, the undisputed king of games deserving my subscription dollars is FFXIV. In second place would be WoW. And that would be the end of the list, as far as I’m concerned. EVE could be in there but I’m just not interested in long-term market-driven gameplay.

So from my perspective, the question is not whether I think Rift Prime is a good idea or not. Obviously subscription business models are the best idea, and it’s been proven over and over again that subscription games are the best games to play. I mean, if the studio wants to create an immersive game experience, that is. If the studio wants to, you know, stay in business, or make a big advertisement for a cash shop, that’s a whole different story.

The question for me is: If I’m only going to pay one subscription at a time, is Rift Prime worth supplanting FFXIV and/or WoW? We don’t really know yet, but I’m going to guess probably not. If this was 2011 and we were talking about Vanilla Rift then the decision would be very easy: Yes, obviously I would and did subscribe to Rift over WoW, and FFXIV didn’t exist. Rift in 2011 was quite clearly better at being WoW than WoW was. Presumably Trion now wants us to think of Rift Prime as that great old nostalgic Vanilla Rift (2011 doesn’t seem old enough to qualify for “nostalgia” though).

Another way to look at this is: Do I want to pay a subscription to play old content in Rift–a game I’ve already played to death–or pay a subscription to play new content in FFXIV or WoW. And oh by the way, as an additional factor, I can play that old content just fine right now for free. There’s nothing at all stopping me from leveling a brand new Rift character from 1 to 50 to recapture that good old Vanilla Rift feeling, more-or-less.

The answer seems really easy if you have a budget. No, obviously I’m not going to waste my one precious subscription on a game I’ve already played. I’ve leveled every class to at least 60 once already. I’ve played a million different builds already, back in Vanilla Rift. I have no need to experience that again. It’s not going to be any different now. It’s not like they’re going to add new classes or builds or anything.

Or are they? One wonders if they will unlock all the new souls or not. Presumably not, if they want to preserve the old experience.

Now if you haven’t already played Rift, then I might recommend that you run, don’t walk, to Rift Prime and subscribe and play it, and I’m very jealous of anyone who still has their first experience of pre-free-to-play Rift still ahead of them. Vanilla Rift was awesome.

Just beware that Rift Prime isn’t Vanilla Rift. It’s going to be a new thing.

In the Spring of 2018, we will launch a new server, RIFT Prime.

Our goal for RIFT Prime is to provide the experience that many of you have requested: no lockboxes, a significantly reduced store with more of the current store-based items obtained through gameplay (or removed entirely) – plus the excitement of sequential progression through RIFT’s content with monthly milestones and achievements.

As a small teaser of what’s to come, dynamically matching characters to their current zone’s level, dungeons dropping loot specific to your character’s true level, caps on the number of professions available to a single character, and participation awards that carry over to your characters on existing servers.

No part of that last paragraph above was ever in Vanilla Rift (except the profession caps I guess). “Significantly reduced” store, but not eliminated. I imagine it will be somewhat akin to the cash shop that also exists in WoW and FFXIV, where you can buy all kinds of cosmetic items.

So no, not much hype from me. I am moderately interested in the “spectacular ending” referenced–mainly if one could experience as a solo player. I am also curious to know if subscribing to Rift Prime will also provide subscription benefits to your non-Prime characters.

UPDATE

I originally wrote that Rift came out in 2013. It was actually 2011.