Category Archives: RIFT

Rift: Game Is In Great Shape, Announcement Coming (+ Gaming Stock Commentary)

In response to player concerns today about the future of Rift, community manager Ocho had this to say in the forums:

“So let’s get to some facts:

  • The RIFT Dev team is the largest Dev team I’ve ever worked with in almost a decade of working on triple A MMOs.
  • The team has grown over the last year and a half, and hiring for the team continues.
  • Population in RIFT is strong, lots of people play RIFT and lots of new people continue to start to play RIFT.
  • Profits from RIFT are certainly reinvested in RIFT. AA took 0 devs from RIFT. None, nada, zilch.
  • RIFT is in zero danger. We’re really excited about the future, right now is a great time to be playing or working on RIFT. …
  • We’re not only reusing old content, we’re also developing new content. Keep your eyes out over the next couple weeks, we might be announcing something.”

– Ocho

This is great news, since this kitty has also been a little worried.

This week I capped my rogue alt, and I continue close to picking up a few pieces of raid gear earned for my main by weeklies and dailies instead of raiding. I’m also enjoying the creative and quirky nightmare saga story.

The second act released yesterday. The return of old classic characters doesn’t bring much life to them (so far), and we mostly see them as generic quest-advancers. The third act of the saga also supposedly forces you to do a lot of PvP and NTE dungeons.

I disagree with this design, even if it’s to justify the epic weapon you can theoretically get when it’s all over. There are two main types of players:

  • Players for whom this is just same-old grinding to pad out the saga.
  • Players for whom this is horrible and will spend an entire weekend trying to queue for PUG DPS and beat five dungeons, or queuing PvP and hating Trion the entire time.

Just doesn’t seem like a winning scheme to me.


Video Game Stocks


Electronic Arts (EA) and Microsoft (MSFT) both had solid earnings reports this week, so hopefully these will be long term for my paltry little portfolio, and I can ease up on my nine-month quest (right before the stock market goes off a cliff, possibly.)

How can Microsoft compete with Apple and Google? By uniting your PC in an ecosystem with your other devices and monetizing by applying what they’ve learned from Free-To-Play video games. I plan to buy a Lumia soon. My Samsung tablet completely fails to recognize my Windows 7 PC.

You’ll also be able to stream XBOX to PC with Windows 10, or stream console-quality games to your PC without an XBOX using the cloud, which Microsoft demonstrated yesterday.

If you need any more good news for Microsoft, China announced this week that it will now allow game consoles to be sold in China after a 15 year ban. This is probably more better for Sony and Nintendo.

My third tech pick is still Equinix (EQIX), a cloud pipeline and data center owner. They are allied with Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, which I hope will eventually win against Amazon’s huge cloud. Who wants to trust Amazon with their entire corporate business and security if the other choice is the Microsoft on your PCs?

I also still hold AT&T (T), which is now FCC-approved to merge with DirectTV, with an expectation of leveraging their scale to produce their own competitive over-the-top video streaming service like everyone else.

Nvidia’s (NVDA) stock continues to head into the abyss with PCs and chips, although the stock is super tempting as it dips below $20. The future of virtual reality in video games and in general might see Nvidia as a big player.

As TAGN reported, Blizzard (ATVI) announces results next week on 8/4, followed by an announcement of a new expansion a few days later on 8/6. Interesting.

In the last two quarters, Blizzard reported strong results and the stock popped. Both times I sold and took small profits. The stock might pop again, but right now Wall Street seems to be in a mood to sell any stocks after their results hit print.

Especially if a stock ran up into its earnings announcement.

I would not be betting on Blizzard’s stock to be higher the day after it reports. If ATVI sells off hard, it might be a buying opportunity, especially if the Wall Street boys aren’t completely up to speed with the expansion deal.

Also, if Blizzard is announcing their expansion earlier than normal at Gamescom, then maybe they are saving something even bigger for Blizzcon in November?

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Rift Update 3.3 Today: A Casual Bonanza (And Some Stock Market Commentary)

Last week I jumped back into Rift, and I’ve had a good time running dungeons and doing warfronts. I earned the Arch General title for PvP last weekend almost too easily. The old rank 50 is probably trivial these days.

Rift’s 3.3 patch launched today and nose-dived into a crash though. The servers have been down for hours. The silver lining is a 50% compensation bonus to XP, PA, Favor, and Prestige through Sunday.

I’ve never used the word “bonanza” before, but I’m super impressed by this update. Trion is even focusing more on characters and story, bringing that all-important focus to both the new storyline and the new Tarken Instant Adventures.

Cosmologist Mann even has a wonderfully written backstory woven into the update notes! Here are the high points of the update:

  1. New Nightmare Saga storyline starts (new chapters are planned bi-weekly.)
  2. New planar crafting with new crafting rifts.
  3. New featured instant adventures in Tarken Glacier.
  4. New daily rewards and partner-finder for Chronicles, just like for dungeons and warfronts.
  5. New PvP equipment bringing PvPers, like crafters, closer to T2 raid gear.
  6. New shared bank vault.
  7. New awesome dimension stuff (haven’t looked at this yet).
  8. More wardrobe stuff.
  9. Easy-mode tiers for raids.
  10. L60 boosts are now in the store, no need to buy a pack.
  11. Mysterious Travelers have begun appearing throughout Telara. Where did they come from? What do they want? Only time will tell. (A new expansion coming?)
  12. Lots of other stuff.

Full patch notes here.

Trion is clearly favoring casual players with this Rift update (unless the story is brutal and requires grouping, extreme soloing, or raiding, a kick to the face that’s still possible).

Trion is also living up to their mission statement before Nightmare Tide launched: of providing legitimate ways of advancement (almost to parity with raiders, at least close) for all play styles.

I hope it works for them, because it’s the ideal in this kitty’s opinion. While the Rift population seems a little thin, the morale around town is relatively good on the surface. Maybe the kids are off playing Hearthstone and Trove.

If you haven’t played Rift in quite a while, this week might be a good time to jump back in for the XP bonus. I just hope it stacks with my subscription bonus.

There is also a deal to get free patron time by logging in this weekend, but I’m not sure how that works.


Personal – Video Game Stocks


In the last couple weeks during the China crash and Greece fiasco, I bought back into gaming stocks with Electronic Arts, and that has already paid off very well.

I also bought Microsoft on speculation at the breakout from the bottom of the most recent three-month pullback, which started last April after a big jump on good results from Microsoft’s growing cloud business.

Microsoft is really risky, but Sony just plain crashed due to reasons related to debt and borrowing. I can’t get back into Sony. News can’t get worse right now for Microsoft, so maybe it will be better from here.

Why didn’t I get back into ATVI (Blizzard)? I might if it breaks out of its normal plateau pattern. I believe in Blizzard, but the problem is also its debt combined with stagnant revenues. It has a huge amount more debt than EA (due to the Vivendi deal I assume.)

I’m trying to nibble into a position in FXI Hong Kong during the China market collapse right now, which puts me into Tencent, which is a Blizzard investor. I think I said I’d never do Tencent or EA, so I’m officially a hypocrite supporting the evil F2P/cash shop empires in video games.

While I’m skeptical of EA’s sports franchises, in a climate of increasing game company competition combined with ease of entry, I have to like the lock on Star Wars and those sports.

According to Dow Jones Newswire, EA hired Jade Raymond from Ubisoft last week. She’s supposedly helping to develop a Star Wars game that’s different from Battlefront due out in November, as well as leading a team to create a new IP.


Weekly Wyrm: Feb. 21, 2015

Last week I wound up Rift for a while. I have a raid-ready set of gear. I joined a large guild full of really nice people. I also successfully healed several expert dungeons as a Chloromancer for the guild group. They said I was really good!

Those were all of my goals. It’s time to focus on the novels. In recent weeks, I polished off ten years of work on my first two manuscripts. My second book is even better than the first, I think. I brought in more thoughtfulness and philosophy. It’s up to the readers to give the final verdict.

Now I’m trying to finish my third book so I can publish the trilogy all at once. I can’t publish only the first two because the second book throws such a tragic ending and cliff-hanger in the reader’s lap. It’s The Empire Strikes Back on crack.

The third book resolves the main romance arc (not the overall main story arc, which ends in my manuscript for book five, concerning vampires), and also addresses big questions in my head about love and desire.

Is it a good idea to hold love above all things? What sorts of love exist, and how can fictional characters be properly tortured by these sorts of love? Fiction writers are sadists at heart.

I shy away from too much horror. It’s a fantasy, after all. I don’t like books to be too depressing. We have real life for that. We also have old school, when things were more grim, when we had plagues, wars, and fires that destroyed entire sections of cities.

Actually, my books have a stereotypical world-ending plague, lots of fires, and the greatest war of all, the one between good and evil, so never mind.

On that topic, I’m also wanting to get back to the elven spiritual path. I want to read poetry and spend more time in the woods. I’m house sitting out near the mountains in a few weeks. I might have to take a few long walks.

The motivation to make this post was to try Tumblr’s new “EMBED” feature for HTML and Javascript. Surely this can’t possibly work on this free WordPress blog, but if it does, then the GIF files will show below. The question in this kitty’s head is: Why hasn’t anyone done a cats and dogs MMO? Would it be so much more boring than pirates and wizards? You heard it first here on Kitty Kitty.

(Ok, it looks like they give you a link if the script fails. So there you go. As if boys needed more encouragement to act like animals.)

http://thinkthroughtheheart.tumblr.com/post/68887226991/10knotes-kiggor-what-if-your-friends-acted

Weekly Wyrm ~ The Case Of The Missing Muppet Bait

paladin kitty rift screenshotThis week I played the stock market again more than Rift.

Imagine a 24/7 live national cable channel dedicated to favorite MMORPG. The channel features panels of expert commentators and pro players chatting endlessly about the latest patch, the best ways to make money crafting, or the newest builds for PvP or raiding.

That’s CNBC. The stock market is the game, and I’ve watched the channel 5-6 hours a day this week. Yesterday Alibaba, China’s biggest company, made a slew of negative headlines, sending its stock and that of Yahoo (Alibaba’s biggest stakeholder) plummeting.

A commentator (Dan Nathan) today called Alibaba “muppet bait”, meaning a hot new investment vehicle that lures lots of less savvy investors and “dumb money” to buy it, while the professionals are selling.

This is a rather wild accusation in this kitty’s opinion, but maybe I’m bitter because I was one of those muppets. No, not so much.

I could go on for several more paragraphs on this, but the point is that Rift’s patch 3:1 “Storm At Sea” went live yesterday, and it’s got a little bit of everything – except muppet bait.

Sure, there are a few hardly-noticeable buttons on the minion panel for shuffling cards (unlike LotRO’s more aggressive UI store-festooning). There is also the Molten Thresher mount and a few new cool items for your personal housing: bank access and a raid combat dummy.

But overall, there is just a ton of good, free stuff, including a new challenging Chronicle that mirrors the T1 raid, complete with nail-biting boss battles – but in solo/duo mode. I can’t wait to jump in and play this.

Sometimes you feel like a muppet in a Free-To-Play MMO. Sometimes you don’t, and this is one of those times. I’m taking this as a good sign for the continued health of Rift on the downside of the Nightmare Tide financial cycle. I hope Elder Scrolls going F2P doesn’t hurt Rift.

This week I haven’t played quite so much, but I’m leveling my rogue alt a little bit, and I put together a cheap outfit using auction house items and some tangerine dye, which I crafted using my savant Apothecary skills. It’s an arcane paladin look, crossed with a tabby cat. Or maybe a tiger.

I also finally got an awesome dungeon drop: a purple healing trinket! This is the trinket that shoots beams of light to your party and raid to heal them while the combat is raging. I’ve always wanted to feel this special and healy, and now I do!

So thanks Trion for a great patch and for keeping it classy. Happy gaming, whatever you’re playing!


Rift Writing Woes – A Short English Grammar Lesson

rift text box imageWhy can’t MMOs hire people who can write properly. Every professional writer should know how to use the words lie and lay, or at least the game’s lead editor, for goddess’ sake.

I almost took screenshots of text glitches at Nightmare Tide launch, but I figured there was no point.

The emote text error in the picture at left has apparently been in the game since launch. The emote is wrong (should be /liedown, not /laydown). Nearly four years have passed, and no member of the Rift team has managed to fix this.

Ironically, my crassness and tactless lack of compassion for failure is one the main reasons I have a lousy job. Managers want to hire and promote nice, charismatic people, not cranky kitties.

If American culture were a game, the most important stats are Charisma and Bullshit Artistry. I lack both of those stats. Even my redeeming feature–an abiding interest in helping people–is a desire to educate, organize, and spread the often-missing truth, and only sometimes from a sense of charity and compassion.

So please know that “were a game” is proper grammar here. It’s called a contrary-to-fact subjunctive, yet most people will incorrectly write “was“.

Tonight, I calculated that I need to complete like 50 weekly quests in Rift to earn enough currency to buy like one piece of T1 gear from the store, or I can pay like $15. So I figure I might get a gear piece sometime next summer.

I’ve lost every possible roll in the last three weeks, including two sparkle tank gears, almost nothing from chests, and a loss of the BiS staff from Nightmare Iron Tomb. The sparkle quest gave me no DPS, so I truly feel I’m even further behind than before in both PvP and my chosen PvE role.

Here “further” is correct grammar because the distance is not physical, and the difference between the words “roll” and “role” could also be noted.

I haven’t participated this much in endgame since vanilla LotRO. I hope I’m not running out of steam, but I need to get thrown a nice bone at some point to keep going. I’m currently grinding my one allowed random dungeon charge each night, and also running Iron Tomb for another chance at the staff if it doesn’t come up on the random.

In the above sentence, I’ve used a vague pronoun reference with the pronoun “it“. So that’s exciting.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be involved in the Rift endgame, especially with classes starting. This week I’m doing a final proofread on my second novel, so I’ll have the first two manuscripts of my trilogy ready to publish soon. The cover art is also two-thirds painted. I’m stuck on the lettering scheme.

Gosh, this is another half-cranky post, but I owe it all to Justin Olivetti and his at-swordpoint review of H1Z1 this morning. Angry Joe has lost his edge a bit lately, so Justin is my favorite MMO/game writer once again. Congrats to Justin for being slightly more awesome than Angry Joe, and also to Massively for boldly publishing real, honest journalism.