What would you change about… Rift?
We are checking out Rift, the fantasy-based MMORPG from Trion Worlds, in our next What Would You Change About… series. Initially released in 2011 the game has just seen its newest expansion Nightmare Tide, the second expansion for the title.
Every MMORPG has its issues; sometimes with these articles the hardest part is pinpointing the ones that bother us the most and we typically have a long list to choose from, surprisingly when we took a closer look at Rift we actually struggled to pick up that many things that we really didn’t like.
Overall the game itself is pretty good, still one of the best F2P MMORPGs on the market and its only with a little experience and a closer look at some of the features that we start to see a few cracks that we’d personally like to fill in.
Bad optimisation stops players getting the most from their game. This is a pretty common issue, as can be seen from the other WWYCA… articles that we’ve done, typically being an issue for older games that are starting to struggle. In the case of Rift it is a bit of a catchall ranging from lagging low FPS gameplay, regular server crashes (which typically go unexplained to the community) and an ongoing set of unstable gameplay issues. More damaging is the graphical optimisation, at its top end Rift actually looks amazing with its high attention to detail, quality textures and beautifully rendered special effects, the problem is that due to the bad optimisation a regular complaint is that players struggle to play with the game on its highest settings even though they have no issues with other more graphically superior games. When the core of your game has poor optimisation that we can see them rebuilding from scratch any time soon and players will just have to do continue to grit their teeth and deal with it.
Weighted RNG Item
Loot drops aren’t random, they’re a lottery. Random Number Generators (RNG) aren’t exclusive to Rift, they are pretty much a staple to most MMORPGs where when players defeat a creature the loot that it drops goes off an RNG table, each item on the table has a % chance of dropping making some items a rarer drop. The biggest issue with Rift is that as often as not it doesn’t feel like there is a random chance of getting a rare items/resource, it feels like a lottery due to the %drop being so rare and so low. When some of the key resources/items needed in the game e.g. Hearts, are so hard to then when you combine it with the fact that players need so many of them to upgrade pretty much everything from weapons and armour to essences it creates a real issue for most players. When everything is so heavily based on chance then it feels like accomplishments and rewards for time and effort go completely ignored and adds to the content grind to artificially extend the lifetime of the game. We like to see something like a guaranteed gain system where if after of attempts if you don’t gain a particular item that normally drops by random then players acquire it anyway, taking away the sting of constant failure and wasted time.
Promotional Event Currency
Different currencies four different promotional events just adds to the grind. In a similar way to the above it does feel sometimes that Rift try to capitalise on making everything way to hard way too frustrating to acquire to simply force people to give up and just pay real cash. It’s definitely a balancing act when your business model is a free to play game (though there are subscription options) and we feel it doesn’t need to be in absolutely every feature in the game. The different Promotional events players can perform dailies and acquire a specific event currency to then purchase items and unique Mounts that are specific to the event. However if players don’t really want the unique Mount for that event then it’s almost pointless them participating in the event at all, which is wasted content. Instead we’d like to see a consolidated Promotional Event Currency that can be saved and used for any Event Shop Items or Mounts when a particular event finally rolls around.
The Dimensions need some more attention. As is so often with the case with MMORPGs they create a unique feature that has a lot of draw to the game, exciting players to try out and creating an initial wow-factor (as in amazing, not as in World of Warcraft), to then seemingly abandoning the feature down the line and stop updating it and improving it and just relying on the fact that what the initially provided is enough. Invariably it isn’t. For Rift it is the Dimensions, the player/Guild owned instances that players can construct their own adventure locations ranging from beautiful natural glades to towering castles. With a little more attention the feature would feel a lot fresher, starting out with giving players more Dimensions slots (which we freely admit should cost a hell of a lot, but that option would be better than none), new additions to crafting recipes for other professions (Dream weaving seems to get the odd update or even these can be improved), more building blocks, textures, colours and other styles of architecture that are already seen in the game. Basically, players have gone so long without a facelift that they’re tired of seeing the same old Dimensional content.
Player versus Player Content
The little PVP that exists is completely balanced. Starting with the fact that PVP for the most part feels dead, even on PVP servers, there is very little world PVP that happens in the game and so most players are focused on playing the Warfronts for their PVP fix. Unfortunately the matchmaking system is dreadful and so often teams are completely imbalanced and make for a one-sided ass kicking that is only appreciated by the ones doing the kicking. The biggest imbalance is due to gear and so even new players with very little high-end gear can be put into matches against veterans with all the best gear… that’s not fun… that’s not fun at all. PVP Matchmaking needs to match gear over level; particularly given that world PVP is pretty non-existent.
These are some of the things that we would change about Rift, but what do you think? What would you change about this game? Would you add anything else to the list? We await your opinions! Let us know!!!!!