Interview: Will Cook On Rift’s Launch

By Dan Grill on March 4th, 2011 at 11:08 am.

A man, in front of a tower, wearing a silly hat. Yesterday.

Rift is out today, and to mark the occasion we dispatched mad-bearded reporter Dan Griliopoulos to speak to Rift’s Dynamic Content Lead (best job title, ever), Will Cook, to find out what we’re calling “information”. Find out why they’re not opting for free-to-play, how Rift will compete in Blizzard’s playground, and how the game may help John not be a rubbish healer.

RPS: You have a mad number of class permutations, even before someone chooses their skills. How will you balance this for PvE and PvP?

Will Cook: It’s both easier and harder than you might think. We tend to view our class system as a sandbox, and the most important thing we can do is tend to the borders. Most game have the absolutely brutal responsibility to try to make all their like classes competitive. Your rogue DPS has to be in the same ballpark as that of your mage, and every time you tweak your druid’s healing you have to make sure you don’t start a war in the priest forums. We don’t have the same obligations. Your Pyromancer/Warlock/Stormcaller mage combo feeling a bit tame? Maybe try swapping in some Elementalist and see if the PyroLockAlist rekindles your damage numbers. If that doesn’t work for you, try doubling down on Stormcaller by transferring some points from your Pyro and see if that doesn’t do the trick.

Other than that, our class lead is a big, crazy Australian fuelled by Red Bull. His name is Cameron McNeil. He loves RPS, and despite not knowing him you should make fun of him often and thoroughly. , so I’m not very worried about his ability to keep everyone playing inside the sandbox. And he’s not alone—he is lucky enough to get to take credit for the work of some seriously talented class designers.

RPS: How healthy do you think the subs-based MMO market is?

Will Cook: As healthy as the talking heads tell me it is, which is to say, hell if I know. It seems to me that the battle lines are still fairly well-defined: if you’re not subscription then you’re not AAA, unless you’re Guild Wars, in which case I bet you have uncomfortable conversations with your publisher about “money left on the table,” whether or not that would have been a good idea for GW.

RPS: You said that your team is drawn from lots of other MMOs, and so was your inspiration for many features; do you think that closeness to previous MMOs is playing the game safe?

Will Cook: There are few games more ambitious than an MMO. Development times for the big ones are all well over 4 years (despite the fact that most projects will always claim otherwise), and a team size can hit triple digits before you’re even in your final year. For Trion to attempt an MMO out of the gate, let alone complete one (it’s scary to count how many projects failed or got bought in the last three years), is a crazy proposition. On top of that we have the Syfy and Petroglyph-partnered games in development as well. So at least on the planning side of things, Trion isn’t settling for safe.

As far as RIFT goes, early on, Trion had to build the base of an MMO. Once that base was built the rifts came to the fore a story element that we really wanted to focus on. Now that RIFT is hitting the public, I am proud to show off the ambition (and crazy) that has steadily been fed into our development over the last couple years by the like of Scott Hartsman, Russ Brown, Simon Ffinch, Hal Hanlin and others. The class system, the invasions, the zone events—these are examples of where Rift is heading, so hang on for the ride.

RPS: Why should I play this rather than a F2P MMO like LOTRO or D&D?

Will Cook: Because we want to work for your money. Betas have felt more like marketing than testing for some time now, and we knew there was no way to escape that. So for testing our tech we’ve been using our alpha servers for months already. Going into beta, we were confident that our tech worked, so we decided to test whether or not we could deliver on Trion’s promise of offering a service for your subscription. Before our beta events began we didn’t have zone events, but they were in by beta 3. By beta 4 they were automated. Before beta 5 all of our dynamic content had difficulty scaling. In beta 6 we added open grouping, something that most games don’t bother with for months, if not years, after release.

All of the things I just mentioned were things that we hoped that we might do someday. All of these things were asked for in the feedback of beta players. And all of these things are now game-defining features. If we keep fulfilling Trion’s promise as we have so far, then it is hard to say what incredible things will be in store for RIFT’s future.

RPS: What interview question do you most fear?

Will Cook: Follow-up ones.

RPS: So about what you were saying regarding… Ha ha, only joking. How does the end game work, in PvP and PvE?

Will Cook: RIFT has probably one of the most robust end games ever offered by a new AAA MMO at launch. For PvP we have multiple warfronts and a PvP fame system that allows you to progress in both instances and the open world. I can’t wait to see the sort of end game class spec debates we generate with our PvP end game. Our PvE offerings start with every dungeon in our game being available again at the end game as an expert dungeon, re-leveled to cap and with additional bosses, areas, and loot. Next up, we have expert and raid rifts. Designed for 5 and 10 players respectively, these raids are also designed for players to bring more than the target number in a big, sloppy, wonderful take on open world bosses. Finally, we also have a top tier instance raid game, targeted at the elite player in all of us.

In case there isn’t a group about, we have an all you can eat buffet of epic quests, faction repping, and zone events. All of the above is in game and working, not promises of will be. For that…well we’re even working on our first world events, which is sure to shake even the most sated player out of their capped slumber.

RPS: How will the forthcoming Blizzard MMO announcement affect your business?

Will Cook: “Forthcoming” seems a bit generous a term for any Blizzard release (although it does sound somewhat foreboding… like in a biblical sense), let alone the one furthest down the line. I prefer to say “someday” so as not to get too excited before the inevitable deadline push.

I can only hope that RIFT is successful enough to still be a force by the time Blizzard’s next AAA MMO comes out. I think this question will be more likely to pertain to Trion’s future releases that RIFT, but I will say that as a designer and gamer working at a competing company, I will be just as terrified and excited by Titan as I am by any other Blizzard release. With every game they seem to teach the rest of us something, and I hope on occasion we’re doing the same thing for them. In the meantime, we’ll focus on the bizarre classes and unpredictable content that makes our game great, two things that are probably too crazy for WoW to even touch.

RPS: Is there a critical mass of subscriptions you need to maintain, to make this a success?

Will Cook: If there is a specific number, then I’m sure they wouldn’t give it to the likes of me. I like talking too much and I like beer too much. I do know that our strategy has more to do with creating the strongest community that we can than trying to sell a critical mass of boxes. A loyal community will give us the information we need to continue providing them the content they want. I’m fond of saying that the community can be as frustrated and angry at us as they want, so long as they don’t stop telling us what they want. To this end, Trion has endeavoured to make RIFT a service, and we hope that our actions in beta—both our stream of optimizations as well as our introduction of several new features—have proved a down payment on this promise. Not to mention that a loyal community can do some crazy things with good word of mouth. Look who I get to talk to these days.

RPS: Will you be releasing subscriber figures after launch? What do you expect?

Will Cook: If the figures are bad, I bet you can expect a heavily doctored press release. If the figures are good, I bet you can expect an even more heavily doctored press release.

RPS: John is a really bad healer. Is there a class you’d recommend he plays?

Will Cook: If John must be your main five-man healer, then I would recommend a Chloromancer spec. Your splash healing pretty much takes care of the group, so he only has to look at the tank. If he does screw-up, then he can just blame it on the fact that the Chloro doesn’t have enough spot heal buttons and that he “doesn’t work like a normal healer.” You can then empathize, mention the class system is fundamentally biased against him, and gently suggest that John switch to his dps spec. John saves face, and everyone can get on with their night.

You can imagine what class I play.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

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53 Comments »

  1. Drakon says:

    “If the figures are bad, I bet you can expect a heavily doctored press release. If the figures are good, I bet you can expect an even more heavily doctored press release.”

    I love that guy.

  2. Krixodus says:

    Huh, an MMO that sounds nice with the ability to customize classes like crazy (tho dps wise it’ll end up being “that one spec” anyway probably) and whatnot, plus judging by the screens also looks nice AND is subscription based?

    TRIAL ME IN!

    • trjp says:

      The problem with loads of customisation possibilities is that it leads to

      a – the game being cookie-cutter and simple because they have to make it possible for every combination to proceed

      b – imbalance like you cannot imagine which will either mean regular nerfs/changes or everyone playing a single spec.

      I faffed-about a lot in the BETA and whilst it seems like you can make wildly different combos – the reality is you just get a load of ‘samealike’ skills and end-up using the same core stuff in every build.

      Hey ho

    • Krixodus says:

      Yeah, I kinda feared so, but still wanted to go into the trial (which they by the way do not provide as of this moment, it seems) with a healthy bit of optimism. I’ll still check out the trial though, and if the game survives maybe it’ll have grown a bit by it’s second or third major content patch.

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      lafinass says:

      @Krixodus I do not believe it is as dire as he makes it seem. Are there over powered cookie cutter builds out there? Sure. And if there’s 30 people in a PVP Warfront, probably 10 of them are using it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see a dozen different class combinations in every warfront. And it’s drastically less apparent in PVE where nobody has a scoreboard to compete on.

      And the variety is nice too. I’ve currently got a dot heavy pet class, a healer class, and a really interesting buff/debuff support class. All on one character and never more than a quick switch away.

    • RandomGameR says:

      I don’t think that trjp is correct at all. It looks that way in the first few levels of the game, but the talents you pick up make a big difference and so far I’ve seen major variations in people in both pvp and pve. As a squishy mage, I’ve been able to be near the top of the charts in pvp in damage done, damage taken, healing done, and healing taken, heh. This is all with the exact same spec but by changing up what abilities I use and in what situations I put myself in.

      Heck, I have three level-one nukes and I find myself using all of them. One gives me a stacking five-minute buff and debuffs the enemy but has the longest cast time. One refreshes one of my dot/hots and does a good chunk of damage (and is the fastest to cast due to talent choices). And the third gives me a big chunk of healing as well as damage overtime (due to a talent) that also heals me but does the lowest amount of direct damage.

      When I first saw that I was getting three similar nukes I was annoyed. It wasn’t until I got further up the trees that I realized that they can all be useful depending on my choices. I could have also chosen to focus on only one of them and ignored the other two. I’d have still been viable, but it’d have played differently.

  3. latedave says:

    Its a strong interview but I worry for them about going subscription based. Only Knights of the Old Republic seems likely to succeed with so many F2P good quality MMO’s available.

    • Krixodus says:

      You’d be surprised how many people are still heavily put off by an MMO not being subscription based. Because it means they will be able to do less promotion to get the game going, unless backed by a STRONG publisher, it means they might have to scrap the project relatively soon after launch if it doesn’t immediately take off, etc.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      @latedave: Huh, to me Rift seems more innovative and strong as a product than SWTOR. But then again, SWTOR can always call upon its Starwars heritage for attention.

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      lafinass says:

      @Krixodus I’m one such person, but not for the reasoning you give. I’d rather set up an automatic once a month billing then have to play the game always looking at my wallet. “Is that dungeon/item/bankslot going to be worth X/Y/Z dollars?” I much prefer a sub system and appreciate F2P games that also have a sub system or ‘premium’ system available.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      The problem with F2P is that they almost universally require you to spend more money than a sub if you want to play seriously. Might be great for the person who doesn’t play a whole lot, otherwise, it’s a bad deal. Plus, with a sub, I don’t have to worry about all sorts of restrictions. I can just play, and not say “well crap, I have to go buy that now or I can’t progress”.

      If you are going to make it F2P there is only one model you should follow: Guild Wars 2. Anything else just sucks. They will have an item shop of sorts from what I recall, but from what they have said it’s minor stuff and the full game content is available without buying anything.

      That is why the only new MMO I really care about is Guild Wars 2. In addition to being free after the initial purchase, it looks really awesome and more innovative than most other MMO’s that require you to pay in one form or another.

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    Diziet Sma says:

    Nice interview. I want to play Rift. I’ve just ditched my Aion account, as expected. Couldn’t find the groups I needed to complete the key storyline quests I was playing the game for. Ah well, still 3 weeks of that subscription left before they realise the card numbers are invalid now.

  5. Quasar says:

    Will you?

    HAR SEE WHAT I DONE THERE.

  6. trjp says:

    I cannot even begin to work out why they’ve put so much effort into a making a game which is just WoW without ANY innovation (that I could make out from a few weeks in the BETA at least).

    The story is the same old nonsense, the graphics are on-par with WoW (a 6-year-old game) and the gameplay is – well – it’s WoW!

    The only thing which stood out was the UI. They’ve done a nice job of taking the best ideas from the WoW UI modding community and then added a level of polish hitherto missing from MMOs (esp in terms of tutorial tips)

    The game tho – it’s not just WoW, it’s WoW Version 1. Every quest is a “go kill X of these” or “go click this thing, kill what appears and come back”. The enemies are ‘standard MMO enemy 101′ stuff (skeletons, armor wearing demons etc. etc.) – there’s just nothing novel in there at all.

    “Ah but the Rifts” you’re going to say – well if the idea of random spawning enemies which are zergrished by people for loot is your idea of innovation, then there’s that ofc.

    Why spend years of time making a game which already exists and is more popular than you’ll ever be tho?? Really???

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      P7uen says:

      You use the word ‘hitherto’ but couldn’t finish ‘though’ or ‘course’.

      I was surprised, that’s all.

    • mrjackspade says:

      I’m guessing you play a lot of, and love, Wow.

      I think the graphics are way better than WoW. And while it is very similar, for me it’s a much more polished, adult and serious version of Wow. Not that I’m going to subscribe….Guild Wars 2 pls :).

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Angry internet man is angry.

      Besides, this game is a lot less like wow than wow was like its predecessors, if it makes any sense.

      Actually, Rift is a lot more like WAR in its core, everyday gameplay concept. And it adds another layer of novelty on top of the regular theme park stuff, which you can’t seriously bash because -as bland as it is- it’s now part of the genre.

    • John P says:

      Gotta agree with trjp, based on beta experiences. The game is WoW with some dynamic events on top. Which are cool for a while, but I got bored of them in beta, and only reached level 17 or something. I got bored very quickly.

      Still, so many people play WoW that accusing a game of copying WoW isn’t much of an insult. People seem to like it.

      Here’s hoping Guild Wars 2 brings some innovation.

    • malkav11 says:

      WoW was a paradigm shift – it went from mob grinding to an integral focus on questing. Rift is not a paradigm shift – it’s the same stuff, but with a couple of pretty neat twists (the rifts, the class system), a better graphics engine, and a few things rolled in from other competing MMOs (the artifact system reminds me a lot of collectibles in EQ2).

      It really doesn’t strike me as particularly original, so the hefty number of preorders they have had is somewhat confusing to me. I mean, I’m kinda bored with WoW at the moment, and I enjoyed what I saw of the beta events, so I decided to take the plunge and am not regretting it to date. But surely that doesn’t account for everyone.

    • MadMatty says:

      another WoW clone like Aion….zzzzzZZZZzz im not paying for more polygons now, either.
      Future MMO teams better hire “guy with actual idea” to get me interested.
      Or just finish “Infinity: Quest for Earth” pllllzzz

    • The Great Wayne says:

      This is absurd.

      Some people keep whining about originality, but won’t play UO, EvE, DF, Perpetuum, Neocron (rip, you’re missed), etc.

      This leads me to think that they want originality *in their theme parks*, which is a conundrum as it’s a genre revolving around a set of very limited and simplistic rules. Theme parks won’t revolution themselves, in the same way FPS won’t change at their core. They can improve and variate, but in the end, what’s really separating a duke nukem from a bulletstorm ? And what really put them lengths above a doom 2 ?

      Very few elements gameplay-wise if you ask me, especially if you put aside the technological aspects.

      Even GW2 won’t go far from its core theme park structure and inheritance from the first opus. I collaborate to an info site on the game, and from what we’re getting now, it’ll not be a revolution (even tho the PR and marketing tend to sell it as one), more like a clever variation on the same theme.

      MMOs aren’t a genre anymore. It’s a medium, among which you’ll find different niches and streams. Theme parks are one, I don’t like them but I did play them at one point, a long time ago.

      I stopped for the simple reason that, when the novelty wore off, what was left didn’t suit me.

      Just ask yourself the question if you’re not experiencing the same reflection: you liked wow when it was new. Now the novelty wore off, and what’s left is “too much like wow” because you just don’t like theme parks. Go play something else, there are a nice set of other mmos in other genres that are nothing close to a theme park.

    • Torgen says:

      I’ve played WoW, and I played in the Rift beta. (I’ve also played all the 1st generation MMOs and many niche ones.)

      Rift is doing what WoW does, better.

      I was hoping that the “future” faction would have been more tech-based than it is, and was hoping for a break away from the “dwarf and elf” trope, but if I were to play a sub-based MMO right now, it would be Rift. It’s polished, feels professional, and is in *amazing* shape at launch, technically. (Which is something few MMOs have accomplished. Even WoW had a horrible launch- I was there.)

      Rift has taken a lot of good ideas from MMOs that were executed as well as they could be, and has done a pretty darned good job implementing them itself. This is what WoW itself did, borrowing the good parts from predecessors and combining it into something better.

      The only reason I’m not playing Rift now is that I can’t justify a $50 expenditure plus monthly fees in my present financial situation.

    • trjp says:

      For the record, I’ve played a lot of WoW and consider it a masterpiece in it’s own right (and one which just got better with time).

      The thing with Rift is that there’s NOTHING new going-on tho. It’s the same old spellbar, same old GCD-avoiding spellcasting rotations, same old mutual shin-kicking until death , same old “Kill 9 Wibbles” questiing – and all in a world which looks and feels a lot like somewhere you’ve been MANY times before.

      If you’re going to create a new, premium MMO (which this clearly is) – why not insert some originality instead of making what is, undeniably, an almost straight-off clone of WoW.

      LOTRO felt less like WoW than this does and that’s been around for donkeys years.

      Aion feels less like WoW than this – at least it sets it’s stall out for the aerial stuff etc. etc.

      Hell I’d take Allods over this, despite it being a WoW clone it has a bit more originally and charm than Rift does and it’s free!!

      I saw nothing in 20-30 hours in the Rift BETA which didn’t make me feel like I was playing a knock-off of WoW- abeit one with a lovely UI which is really quite polished!! :)

    • Torgen says:

      @ Wayne: My first MMO was the UO launch, and I also played Neocron (and Asheron’s Call, EQ, DAoC, Perpetuum and many others.) You hit the nail on the head, where everyone derides mainstream MMOs as “WoW clones” but any game that tries to be different dies a horrible, lingering death, limping along populated by a tiny contingent of die-hards. What was the MMO where you crafted your own spells, and had an alien ecosystem? It finally died and the source code was released. Extremely innovative, but almost no one to play with so I gave it up.
      The point is, people rant about WoW clones, but no one seems to be willing to put the effort into learning to play something different when it comes along. You can’t have “different” if you insist on “familiar.”

      EDIT: Perhaps a good bit of the fault lies with developers not taking a “from the very beginning” approach in tutorials for their innovative games. Perhaps they should be taking a page from RTS tutorials where you are walked through each step and can’t proceed until following the instructions for that step of the tutorial.

    • malkav11 says:

      I guess it’s all what you care about. For my part, Aion had nothing WoW didn’t except a painfully generic setting and extremely limited in-combat flight. Rift may not be leaps and bounds past WoW (and indeed, I think WoW is still the better overall game), but rifts and the soul system do a lot more to shake things up than 15 seconds of flying here and there (which you don’t even unlock until a bunch of levels in).

    • Evernight says:

      I am with trjp.

      I played WoW for over a year, left, then came back and somewhere in there I realized so many things I hated about it….. then I left again about 3 months pre-cata. I was hoping Rifts innovations were something that would separate it from WoW. Instead, RIFT managed only to keep doing the things that pissed me off in WoW. The repetitive quests, the same mix of “optimum DPS cycles”, quests not worth reading, and more than anything: the detached gameplay MMO feel. MMOs may make you look like a badass but I never can get out of the “press 1 to fireball” playstyle.

      The Soul Trees are fun but optimum DPS trees will emerge. The RIFT system is a great idea – except that teamwork is completely forgotten as it is just a free-for-all DPS race to murder mobs. I can’t speak to the instance areas, but if they arent the main draw – why should I?

    • vexis58 says:

      For me, I am happy about the fact that it’s copying WoW. It actually feels more like it’s copying Burning Crusade than current-generation WoW, and I liked Burning Crusade better than the expansions that followed it.

      I’ve been playing and enjoying WoW for many years, to the point where there’s no replay value left for me. I’ve played every class to at least 50, a number of them to endgame. I’ve finished every instance except the highest-tier raids more times than I can count in every possible role. Sure, Cataclysm revamped everything, but it’s still the same world, the same classes, with some minor changes here and there. I’m bored with that world, but not with the fundamental gameplay underlying it.

      I think RIFT looks a lot nicer than WoW, and fixes a lot of inconveniences that have been in WoW from the start. It lets me rearrange my class a lot more, without having to start over completely every time. It gives me an entirely new world to explore, entirely new lore to learn, entirely new classes to figure out. The fact that it’s all very similar to WoW I see as a good thing, rather than a bad one. I don’t want a game to be SO different that I’m having to constantly re-learn the absolute basics. I don’t have to relearn the basics. I can play just as I used to, but all of the details are different, and they give me plenty of new things to explore.

      And hey, if Guild Wars 2 ends up not living up to its hype (I’m somewhat worried, because I actually enjoy being a healer, and they’re getting rid of my preferred playstyle entirely) then I’ll still have RIFT. If Guild Wars 2 DOES end up living up to its hype, it doesn’t have a monthly fee, so I can play them both if I want to. I see this as a win-win for me.

  7. Kieron Gillen says:

    The RPS headline makes me think Dan is promising to cook something on the launch of Rift.

    KG

    • Krixodus says:

      Maybe something with crust…

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      I still owe you, Quinns & Sheret scallops on chorizo & black pudding, IIRC, for next time we do WFRP.

      Oh, Oh, I’ve got a place to live now! We can do it there. When you’ve finished getting married & honeymooned & got a dog & settled down & stuff.

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      Saul says:

      @Gillen: That’s exactly how I read it! You know you’ve been here too long when you look for the pun before the actual meaning.

  8. mondomau says:

    So does this follow the click-hotkey-hotkey-watch health meter-hotkey combat model? To me, this is the most frustrating and regressive ‘influence’ most new MMOs take from WoW, worse even than grinding.
    No matter how pretty or interesting your game world is (and rift does look interesting), if action boils down to advanced maths and stat watching, I just can’t summon any enthusiasm.

    • pirusu says:

      It does! If you don’t like it at all, in any way shape or form, you probably won’t like it here, either.

      That being said, I’ve been having fun with it. Finally burning out on WoW, and while I can understand/appreciate Blizzard’s design decisions, they don’t make for a game I particularly want to play. I don’t want to/can’t afford to invest as much time in the whole affair.

      It will draw lots of comparisons to other games, but I don’t think that’s inherently bad. At some point or another there’s always going to be the “it copies wow/eq/uo/whatever” discussion, but it makes it familiar, which is comforting to a lot of people.

      While it would be nice to see a successful game that does things differently, it’s hard to encourage publishers to invest money when most people are just looking for comfortable.

      Do I think RIFT will break new ground? No. Do I think it will be a “WoW Killer?” No. Do I think that, providing Will Cook can deliver on “providing a service” that it will succeed? Absolutely.

    • Krixodus says:

      I wouldn’t say it “boils down to advanced maths and stat watching” but what the hell do you expect out of a RPG? You collect the items that fit your class, which incidently raise the stats your class needs. And you can still have tons of fun without going into “advanced maths” you’ll just not be able to play at the very top.
      After all math can be employed to streamline almost ANY process you can think of, hell the damage system is basic math. Of course you’ll be able to improve by analyzing data, comparing it and figuring out exactly the best way to mash those buttons in exactly that order (or if you want a FPS example, figure out the fastest route through a mazy map). But hey, it’s the developers job to make sure that damage dealing feels intuitively and accessible to players and if they have succeeded in that and you’re comfortable not being at the very top of the game then you’ll do just fine without doing any math.

    • Kdansky says:

      >but what the hell do you expect out of a RPG?

      Well, depends on what “expect” means. If it means: “What do I think will I get because I know about the games industry.” then: Nothing else.

      If it means: “What do you want from an RPG?”, then it means: Choice, interesting dialogues, a story, a plot, characters and content. Combat shouldn’t be all there is to it. Echo Bazaar is more RPG than most RPGs, and that’s a facebook game.

    • MadMatty says:

      i think Pirusu is right, most people are just looking for Comfortable, wheras im looking for a new or improved experience, and im willing to spend, say 2-3 hours, to learn something new, if it seems interesting.

    • mondomau says:

      What kdansky said. I don’t hold with this preconception that ‘RPG’ is synonymous with grinding, stat crunching, loot whoring and raiding just because that’s what so many western RPG have stuck with.

      I came across an interesting article title the other Day that stated that Dragon Age 2 was not an RPG – I read on, expecting an in-depth analysis on a perceived lack of player choice or impact or a disconnect from the plight of the story’s main characters, only to discover the author was basing his contentious assertion on the fact that the demo (note: the demo, locked options et al) lacked the traditional click to attack, pause to issue commands, hotkey bar pattern of the previous games.
      Worse, when a commenter pointed out to this ‘experienced reviewer’ that the definition of an RPG was not ‘just like WoW / diablo etc’ and provided a link to the correct definition, the patronising D-bag tried to shout him down by saying something along the lines of ‘lol, I been designing games for 10 years son, I think I know what they are’. If this is true, and this idiot is in any way representative ofthe average game developer, it’s no wonder the RPG genre is in such a dire fucking state that WoW and FF are held up as it’s champions.

  9. mod the world says:

    RIFT – I tried the open beta only out of mild curiosity – I loved it – I preordered and subscribed. Rift is just the most fun MMO since the release of WoW. Of course, if you are allergic to casual fantasy MMOs it won’t be for you.

    • mrjackspade says:

      It was fantastic wasn’t it…graphically sepctacular too. Wish I could afford and had the time to be on multiple MMOs at once, but with Old Republic, Black Prophecy, Firefall, Planetside and Guild Wars 2 yet to come I think it’s going to be a waiting game….

  10. Buceph says:

    When does the review moratorium end? Or is even saying when it ends part of what you can’t say?

    There’s been early access for a few days now, so reviewers must have some idea of how it plays. I might be tempted to play if a nicely worded piece from a trusted source can convince me. Unfortunately most of the player reviews so far seem to be full of the hurf and/or blurf that accompanies most MMO launches.

    • Krixodus says:

      Yeah and it probably isn’t going to be much prettier until at least the second or third MAJOR content patch I’d suspect. But I lived through the start of WoW, which hasn’t exactly been a paved road at first, so I’ll just give this some time and give the trial a shot from time to time to see how it’s coming along.

      Too bad they’re not offering any kind of trial phase at the moment, but I guess that’ll follow once they cleared the launch phase without any major difficulties.

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      I think we can review it from now, to be honest; GameReactor UK already has its review up (9/10).

      I’m still playing, I’ve tried a few classes out, and am now focussing on getting one to level 20-ish and try out the PvP before I write a review for RPS.

  11. bigtoeohno says:

    “Other than that, our class lead is a big, crazy Australian fuelled by Red Bull. His name is Cameron McNeil. He loves RPS, and despite not knowing him you should make fun of him often and thoroughly.”
    Haha us Australians get a rare mention and its to remind everyone to poke fun at us. BTW you might know me either but feel free to make fun of me. :)

  12. WMain00 says:

    Rift is a really good game. It’s the only MMO so far that’s kept me entertained and excited. It might use entirely the same tried and tested rulesets, but it does so while asking “What can we do to make this better?” The answer is apparently the rifts that are tearing throughout the world. Invasions can be small or absolutely huge, occur randomly, and start at level 10. No need to grind through 85 levels before you finally get to be in big raid groups, instead Rift gets you organising into fun groups really early, and gets everyone working together.

    It does have a few sore spots that show it’s still starting off – there’s no dungeon queue system for instance – but it’s still a very exciting MMO. It reminds of me of WoW when it was young, vibrant and everyone was still friendly.

    Definitely worth a shot if you’re looking for a new MMO to try.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    One of the reasons I’m pretty confident about Rift’s future is interviews like this. The devs are unusually outspoken and seldom give you PR talk. They either say “we do” or “we don’t” and – so far – they held their promises. Them amount of player feedback that was implemented during the beta was astonishing.

    Aside from that, Rift is simply delivering where others just promised. Will Cook is right, everything he mentioned is already implemented and working. Rift is in no way revolutionizing the genre, but it does everything right that made me so excited about World of Warcraft in the beginning.

    So far I’ve played up to level 40 and was enjoying every minute of it. There are a few sore spots here and there, but nothing game-breaking. The overall level of polish is clearly visible and from my experience (including most MMOs that launched post-WoW), it’s the best launch that I’ve seen.
    It will, of course, matter how they handle it from here, if they give in to the already strong whinefests in the official forums, if they add meaningful content over the next months, but they have a solid release to evolve from.
    And while I’m sure that someone like Dominic White will tell me how GW2 will do everything better and more innovative and so on, I’m simply having fun with Rift right now. A lot of things in it have been done before, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s like coming home after you have visited a few unwelcoming places (named Aion, Age of Conan or Warhammer).

    • adonf says:

      He’s rather outspoken but did you notice how he says ‘RIFT’ in all caps ?

    • Koozer says:

      If I’d just released a game I’d be shouting it at people too.

  14. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    “And I stopped reading.”

    And I stopped reading.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Rinox says:

    No ‘Will Cook for…’ pun? I am somewat disappointed.

  16. lunarplasma says:

    I like this guy. His outspoken-ness is endearing.

  17. RegisteredUser says:

    Lurl, pay-to-play-ers.

  18. RegisteredUser says:

    Considering that he did not write anything past that line, you were spot on there.

    Maybe you were going for an infinite recursion loop?