Just when I thought I was breaking from Rift, today I logged back in, and I’m running dungeons.
In the past, I would be taking a break from an MMO now, so this is a testament to Rift’s endgame allure.
Today I found out in the forums that mages can slot heavier armors in their wardrobes, which wasn’t true originally. I’m going for an Aribeth look (image at the left), and I can even transform my staff into a two-handed sword in Rift using a transfig bauble.
Aribeth is from Neverwinter Nights (2002), which was a good example of Bioware’s use of strong characters both to tell their story and to market their game. Aribeth is an elven paladin, which makes her beautiful, noble, and perfect – at least by any standard that accepts plate armor as elven attire (full image here).
Blizzard also understands the importance of characters, which is how they built one of the most successful and popular new games of 2014–Hearthstone.
Characters > All
Any good fiction writer will tell you. I have six Rift boxes on my living room floor right now (60-day time cards bought on fire sale from Best Buy). All of the boxes show a defiant Asha Catari on the front.
Where is Asha Catari in the game now? What characters in Rift are the beloved, heroic leaders?
There are big differences between WoW’s success and Rift’s success, and this is echoed in the use of characters. The first two sentences of the Warlords of Draenor advertising blurb are all about characters and factions:
The Iron Horde must be stopped. Garrosh Hellscream has escaped to the past and united with his father Grommash, fierce leader of Warsong clan.
There is also a goal statement (stop the Iron Horde) and a story. Rift has weaker characters and factions, so they focus on setting to market their Nightmare Tide expansion, not characters. Here are the first two sentences of the Rift expansion advertising blurb:
The currents of fate hasten through Telara, sweeping you toward the Infinity Gate – and the abyssal realm that waits beyond. From colossal glaciers to cities that curl under ceiling-seas, the Plane of Water is home to the living dreams of sleeping beings.
Setting is a solid, commendable strategy, especially for Rift’s unique appeal, but characters are more important than setting. The Nightmare Tide blurb concedes that Rift has no characters worth mentioning, and it’s a mistake.
And today, Rift announced patch 3.1, Storm At Sea. In the third paragraph, the writer employs the phrase “lays in waiting”, which is not a phrase in any civilized English. Try googling it. You can’t.
Patch 3.1: The Livestream: Chronicle And Lots Of Goodness
Yesterday afternoon, I watched the Rift official livestream. Daglar and company talked about Rift to an audience of at least 880 viewers at one point, and here are the kitty’s takeaways.
3.1 will feature a new raid, a new island, and a new Chronicle, the Rhen of Fate. The new chronicle is a two-person instance that allows non-raiders to see the current T1 raid from a story perspective, which until now has only been seen by raiders. This is a truly fabulous design by Trion, and I already have a sidekick lined up to run this one.
Daglar strongly reinforced the concept of just “gear” in the livestream, not PvE or PvP gear, even when the other Rift devs kept slipping with their verbiage.
The Rift devs want to make sure that everyone in the game has some sort of progression path going forward, and you aren’t stopped with nigh-impossibility if you can’t participate in raids. The goal is for something to always be waiting for you if you keep playing, no matter what your playstyle.
Daglar said the mentality of (raid or just go away) really needed to die even in products he’s seen in the distant past, and seems committed to this inclusive focus in Rift.
Most things in the second gear tier may soon be reduced in cost to upgrade based on player feedback. This includes crafting upgrades and the PvP gear route. So I’m personally holding off on any upgrades for now.
Daglar also commented that directly selling items in the Rift store is less profitable than lock boxes. The Trion number crunching shows lock boxes are more profitable. On the other hand, the Black Dire Riding Squirrel was a lockbox item last year, and it just showed up in the store this week. So who knows.
That’s all for this week. Happy gaming!