It is somewhat emptier than it usually is.
The city still bustles with people during prime time hours. The guild fills up a bit late Saturday and mostly Sunday. But, the feeling that the game is emptier than it has been, is palpable.
I started to really think about this after reading the article...5 Reasons Rift is the New WoW.
His points are precise and spot on. Rift, though familiar, is as well, a very good game. Why it now is emptying out is beyond me...besides the fact that probably most who are leaving are MMO burn outs.
Lets look at each point and see why I think the MMO community is starting to disappoint me and why there are those who just need to stop playing MMO's altogether.
1. Rift is a finished product.
"Unlike just about every MMO released in the last five years, Rift isn't half-assed or half-finished. The game has PvP, PvE, and a large diverse world for questing."
Which is true. Just most people wish to see it as EXACTLY like WoW. And to a degree it is. YET, there is so much that could make the game different if a player put in the effort. This I think is the main reason people leave.
WoW did not launch to such a glorious lead off. It took time to get there. The patience of todays player is ludicrous though. If it was a year into Rift's game and they had hit a roadblock of no new content, no fixes, no balancing...then I could see the players point. But, it's not...it is barely two months in.
I will talk about this more later...
2. There's an endgame.
"Taking a page from WoW, there's a lot of loot to work for in Rift."
Loot. We love it, but then we sneer at it, thanks to so many factors.
Grind...Gear Scores...repeated dailies...just a few of the reasons people look at this factor as a letdown in most MMO's.
But, I try to figure out this elusive "endgame" nirvana that most MMO's supposedly do not offer that some players continue to ask for...and wonder "WTF do you want then?". I see the term "meaningful" endgame mentioned, but never explained. Do YOU want to tell me what you expect? What does that mean? Yet, I never see anyone flesh this out. Some throw out expectations of huge sieges and what not...but, really, expectations are set too high for what our current technology can do. It has been proven time and again.
This is why I think what players REALLY want....they can't have for another 10 or 15 years. So, for my own benefit, just quit playing MMO's for that amount of time and leave the forum punditry to those who still enjoy this genre.
Oh, and that effort thing I mentioned? Applies here as well....more soon.
3. The game isn't buggy.
"Bugs have killed off more than a few MMOs. Age of Conan and Warhammer were both decent MMOs and both of them were so fraught with bugs they brought about their own too early demise."
This is the one that kills me. Every time I see another "I'm right forumite" spout off verbal diarrhea stating "Rift will be just like WAR, and fail over" "I expect Rift to fall to as many subs as Age of Conan", I want to slap someone (and my Wife is STILL pissed about that to this day...sorry Hon, did it sting a little?).
I have yet to have ANYTHING in this game stop me from completing a quest or asking a GM for help. I expect they may be there...but, the consensus has been through my guild and a lot of people writing about Rift, that we have been playing a well made game. PERIOD.
This is huge. To this day, Age of Conan, Warhammer, heck...even EQ2, all have existing issues that I am FORCED to communicate with their tech support to help me out of a jam. This is ridiculous.
Rift is just a well made game, that will progress...if people would just shut up and play.4. There's a lot to do.
"Rift has something for everyone."
This one is important...and true. So much exists in Rift to keep you occupied. The problem is ...a lot of it existed in other games, thus this makes Rift an instant bore for those who have played MMO's to death.
This is why I think a lot of MMO players need to just leave this genre behind and go do something else for a while. Anyone crying they have nothing to do in Rift is either not looking, has no friends, or is done with MMO's in general.
Every time I log in, I instantly have plans, or at least can look at my roster of alts and decide...today is a good day for..."____" (you fill in the blank, as I already decided...and I can't make that decision for you.)
Now, if you will excuse me...I need to go take a break as I already thought of something else I want to do in Rift.
5. Rift is the cure for your WoW ennui
Rift doesn't suck. Rift rocks. It's addictive and fun. It's what an MMO should be. There's nothing fancy about, but what it does it does well. Rift is the excuse players have been waiting for, the excuse they needed to leave the comfort of WoW for something new."
Yes it does rock. But, the issue continues to be WoW. It is like saying Crack can be replaced with crocheting.
Whats funny is, that is what WoW is. Just like Crack. The problem is most MMO players have been "users" for so long, they cannot understand what it would mean to leave that behind. This is where that EFFORT really pays off. Put an effort into not thinking about WoW. Put an effort into not playing Rift like WoW. Make a concerted effort to try and work through the soul system, find what you have not found, play the game like you have not played before.
Laziness is my only assumption here.
EFFORT is what Trion put into Rift. Why not do the same?
The one way it shows the most effort is the lore.
For the first time in quite a while, we have a unique IP. A new story, a new world ...something that is NOT WoW's warcraftian world. Something not based on a released novel, movie, comic book, etc.
Yet, no one puts in the effort to look upon this aspect...and instead are banking all their chips on... you guessed it... another non-original IP (Star Wars: ToR will be our Saviour...blah, blah).
This is why movies like "Scream 4" (though still not "too bad", is still regurgitated material) are made, and sell quite well...while critical and well written movies like "Source Code" fall over.
The McDonald's consumptive world ruins our MMO's.
And for the first time, I want to just hang up my hat for my fellow players. I want to leave them behind because they let me down. They want pre-existing IP crapola on a stick, and want it to be unique and interesting.
It won't be though.
I guarantee we will be in the same boat come launch of SW:ToR. Players will complain about features that Star Wars has that are unique. Yet, the base will be full of players who will pry open the gem that is SW:ToR and note how "It is just like WoW".
And it will be.
No matter how good the story, no matter what unique aspects they add to the game...there will be that contingent that state.."It's like WoW".
Well, I will continue to log into another brilliant game, that will most likely be watered down in the hopes the masses will return. It has happened to so many good games who had great ideas, but due to the buggy nature of their release and the need to balance based on desk jockey programmers who want THEIR class and playstyle to be "meaningful", plummeted in subs and could never get back up.
Rift is a damn fine game...just no one will know it because WoW has already ruined their perception of what a good game is.
I feel let down by my fellow gamers.