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.