Monday, February 7, 2011

Telara's Honeymoon Over At T-Minus Two Weeks?

I snagged the "digital collector's edition" of Rift when it went on sale for a significant discount a few weeks back. It was only with this weekend's final "closed" beta event that I learned what I had actually purchased.

In addition to the semi-traditional cosmetic minipet, the CE flags all the characters on your account for a free turtle mount.  The current beta push removed the level restriction on all entry level mounts (previously level 20), so CE purchasers can have their mounts as soon as they can reach a mailbox.  Non-CE purchasers reportedly have to cough up two plat worth of in-game currency for the comparable in-game versions.

(The future gold spammers of Telara would like to take this opportunity to thank Trion for dangling highly desired in-game perks in front of players at a point before they will have legitimately earned the money to purchase them - in related news, your third "role" costs 4 plat, and I assume that the fourth one costs even more.) 

The Details Go Downhill From Here?
If Trion announced a cash shop tomorrow, and said that the first offering was a package containing the mount, the pet, and a four-slot upgrade to your backpack space (which may or may not be upgradeable by other means) for $10, the reaction most likely would not be positive.  The only difference between the cash shop plan and what Trion has actually done with the digital CE (which contains nothing to actually collect) is that anyone who has already purchased the non-CE version is unable to pay for the upgrade later.  How long will Telara remain without a cash shop, when they can spin it as something that at least some players who passed on the digital CE actually want?

CE vs Cash Shop aside, my point is that the curtain is about to be drawn back on Rift as it actually is, rather than how its' top-notch marketing campaign has portrayed it.  No one is talking about how the game apparently will not include max level content in it's final beta event next week, and continues to maintain an NDA on its "simultaneous alpha".  The last major MMO I can think of that did not drop the NDA for its endgame testers up to and past the open beta was Warhammer, and that proved to be a harbinger of exactly how un-prepared Mythic was for its endgame. 

I've been saying for months now that the most obvious concerns with Rift's staying power are not likely to be apparent from first impressions at press events or carefully controlled and staged beta windows.  What I wasn't expecting was to see the honeymoon come screeching to a halt before the game even hits its "early start" pre-launch.  Now, Syp's wondering if the game is getting overhyped and Pete, formerly a staunch supporter, wants a "classic" server with the beta two build from December.

If this is where we are before the open beta even starts, things might get very ugly around March 30th when those first subscriptions come due. 

10 comments:

Carson 63000 said...

I'm fairly sure that Rift will follow in the footsteps of WAR, AoC, and various other games, in that its playerbase at launch will be the largest it will ever be. This isn't a game that is going to grow and grow, it's a game that is going to launch with a bang and then drop off.

Dick said...

This is a problem for every new MMO, as the established ones have so much end game content, whereas new ones are still building. Keep in mind that many of those old MMO's didn't have a lot of content at launch for the end game. None had the content.

The problem with a game like WAR is that they got rid of most of the staff. As long as Trion keeps their staff and keep building content for it and doesn't pull something like Cryptic, which is to go work on a new game rather than finish their first game.

There's still a lot of unknowns, but as with so many MMO players these days, if it doesn't hold us, there's a new MMO right around the corner in six months. There's always that next, new shiny.

Anonymous said...

I see one problem about that "hype" meme.

Rift cinematic trailer was just launched, less than one month from game launch.

Normally they make the cinematic trailer a lot of time before the game launch, jsut for build hype. For example, we have a cinematic trailer for SWTOR, around one year before the date the game will be launched.

Any hype we are seeing now is not coming from Trion. It is coming from players that were at Beta 1 to 6.

With relation to mounts, the players at beta wanted them before level 20. See you, a lot of people were saying that there is a lot of walk from one place to other at the game. They changed it for mounts not have level requirement. They have time for change it for level 10 or level 15 requirement.

Anonymous said...

It's not a plat. I don't care what color coin it is, the amount is 100g, not 1000. Mounts cost ~200g not 2k.

Anonymous said...

Since you mentioned it, I just thought I'd add that the 4th soul is over 21p.

Stabs said...

If my memory serves me right WOW didn't have end game content in Beta. End game pvp simply didn't exist nor would it for several months and the beta reports I remember went up to about Scarlet Monastery and were full of gushing enthusiasm about the Deadmines.

Dblade said...

A lot of pete's problems seem to be related to EVE's incursions: both seem to be that a perceived difficult thing has been easily mastered once players got a handle on it. There's no real solution to that.

As for Rift, well I don't think anyone is expecting this game to have legs. A lot of the beta draw is that it is a stopgap game till the heavy hitters release in 2011-2012.

Anonymous said...

There is end game content, and there has been for a while. In fact there's an entire server dedicated just for testing it.

I know it's cool and all to be contrary when something takes on the popular mantra, but really.

Charles said...

I will tell you right now that there is plenty of WORKING and FUN endgame content in Rift. More than any recent MMO release as a matter of fact. More endgame stuff than WoW had at release for sure. And it all works and is fun.

Mike ... said...

That's hilarious. I'm not planning to play Rift, mostly because I'm not prepared to fork out the $50 for a game any more.

But calling for 'classic' servers before the game is released ... that has to be a new record.