Rift: Feeding the Trolls - The Top 3 Rants that Should Become Reality

Posted Thu, Dec 29, 2011 by Medawky

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 can’t go to the forums and whine about it (perhaps I’m 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 thrown.

Of course these places of semi-anonymous discourse aren’t 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 become reality.

PvP Balance

Rift PvP

Truth be told, I don’t 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 Rift does is really a fool’s errand, it simply can’t be done – so we won’t 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 have’s from the have not’s 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.

Shard Mergers

Rift shard mergers

Even before the release of SWTOR it was obvious that Rift was showing some signs of attrition. While subscription numbers may be stable and the game still in fine shape, it’s 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 truth. Rift 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 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 Rift’s reputation as the premier load and go theme park MMOG.


Rift TS

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 runecrafting.

Player immersion isn’t 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.

Take a loot at SWTOR's forums about their PvP before saying Rift should take a plunge into the same thing. The only thing holding back Rift's WF ranking system is population which bring me on to your shard merge idea... Let me remind you that, unlike some other games, transfers between shards are free. If people are unhappy then they're welcome to transfer. I have witnessed community efforts to maxx transfer from one server to the next without dev intervention. Check the forums where shards have been banding together to all move to another shard.

Tradeskills are fine in Rift. The most powerful consumables are crafted and are needed on a daily basis. Every tradeskill can make something that is needed... whether people actually use them or not is a different issue. Take a deeper look into the crafting system and you'll see everyone is able to make considerable profits no matter which profession they have.

When there are enough people in the queue they already do have ranked PVP matching. I know I've seen Rank 4-7 and 5-8, as well as just open to all. I think my R8 got stuck in a 1-4 the other day somehow, because every single person on my team was low rank or not even in PVP gear and I got 20KB's with 0 deaths. I barely took any damage at all. I'm not sure what happened to the match system or if it was just an open warfront and randomness is random, but it was hilarious (I'm sure not for them).

Server merges needed to happen 2 months ago. They currently have 27 NA servers... but 11 of them are so low they don't ever even come out of low status, 2 more are on the way there, plus 7 more that spend more time in low status than medium (and 1 server that is so full you can't do zone events because there are so many people you get 4 second ability lag). They need to cut it down to 10 servers in 2 5 server battle groups (or all together if they can mange it with their infrastructure). 2 PVP, 1 PVE-RP, 7 PVE.

I also think trade skills are fine and make piles of cash with mine if I work at it.


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