The official Rift
forums are a wealth of information, a hotbed of knowledge and a great
communication tool between members of the development team and the
community. They are also a bridge. Not the idyllic metaphorical bridge
that brings two divergent sides together though. No, they are a bridge
that act as a virtual home, a covering that even the most cursory
glance at reveals its seedy occupants trolls. There is an old saying
in the MMOG community; those that can do, those that cant go to the
forums and whine about it (perhaps Im paraphrasing a bit, but you get
the point). The forums have become a place where no good deed
goes unpunished and despite the best efforts from community managers,
seeds of snarkiness and underhanded jabs of contempt are sown and
Of course these places of semi-anonymous discourse arent all bad and
even the most obnoxious and overly dramatic rants can sometimes spawn
great discussions with solid ideas and suggestions. This week we take a
look at 3 of the more common themes of contention that probably should
Truth be told, I dont feel that any two faction PvE game with PvP
overtones can ever truly be balanced, but there are some issues that
should be addressed in Rift.
Trying to balance classes in a game that has as many combinations as style="font-style: italic;">Rift does is really
a fools errand, it simply cant be done so we wont even open that
can of worms in this discussion. Instead what we will focus on is the
PvP ranking system that allows players to purchase higher quality gear
based on their rank and banked favor points.
Most of the vocal opponents of the current system would like to see a
split between players of different PvP ranks, segregating the haves
from the have nots so to speak. While that sounds great in theory it
creates more issues than it solves when put into practice. By further
reducing the pool of available players from which the system can draw
from the Warfront queues will become increasingly worse.
Besides, once you have the entry level of PvP gear you have the same
amount of damage reduction as the highest level players.
One possible solution would be to take a page out of the book of the
new kid on the block; Star
Wars: The Old Republic. SWTOR uses a method of
normalization that allows players of all levels to play in the same
instanced PvP encounters.
Rift could adopt this methodology for all unranked
players and all players under the level cap put them in a huge pool
and normalize their stats and abilities to help queue times and
increase participation. The more dedicated PvP players would then go on
in their own group.
Even before the release of SWTOR it was obvious that
style="font-style: italic;">Rift was showing
some signs of attrition. While subscription numbers may be stable and
the game still in fine shape, its time to merge some of the smaller
population shards and foster community.
Opponents of this may see it as a sign of weakness with the game being
relatively young, fearing that doing so would be admitting defeat and
pronouncing the death of the game. Nothing could be farther from the
has had phenomenal success based on expectations and based on the
performance of other AAA titles released in the post-WoW era.
Add to that the fact that no other game can release polished and
meaningful content at such a high rate and it becomes clear that style="font-style: italic;">Rift still has
plenty of years left in the tank.
Another upside to shard mergers is that queue times will be reduced as
more players are funneled in. Faster queue times will increase player
satisfaction and enhance Rifts
reputation as the premier load and go theme park MMOG.
One of the few true flaws in Rift
is its implementation of tradeskills in the world economy. Very few
crafters in Rift
are able to sustain them as a profitable enterprise and the demand for
crafted goods drops off quickly for nearly every profession besides
Player immersion isnt always predicated on raiding or PvP, some
players enjoy the economic aspects of a game as much or more than any
other facet. A revamp of the tradeskill system would not only
benefit the crafters but everyone on the shard if the items
were made useful. Trion needs to reduce material costs or increase
their availability, introduce some useful items into all professions in
the system and create crafter interdependence to help boost the system.
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