RIFT: Testing vs. Impressions

In RIFT’s latest Closed Beta event, Trion proves to us that you can still call an Open Beta, a Closed Beta. They basically made it so that anyone short of being an absolutely horrible search engine user could get in this one. Perfect in a way, brilliant in another, but I speculate the negative effects of such a move.

On one hand you have the assembling of a mighty host of players who now have a chance to see this game before they buy. All those sitting on the fence, now can join in. And from just a small collections of thoughts from guildies that we thought we were going to have a hard time getting to come play this game, were logging off late last night with some smiles. I could tell, by the fact they played a far distance into their normal evening ends. The games gained some on the fencers.

And what’s clearly to me the primary reason for this vast Beta event, was that Trion was able to test server loads and population levels. I think they suffered in some aspects; having major server issues to look at, as well as most of us for the first time seeing any king of latency issues. To me, you have to applaud the fact that a developer would do what they can to see what their servers can handle before launch. Any time a developer is not trying to have a failed launch day is one that should be met with hugs. Delicious juicy hugs of rainbows. Seriously, I’m not joking. Bad launch day’s are as bad as break-ups, thinking you just drank glass shards, or pointy toed shoe kicks to your testicles.

However, it does have a draw back. It’s called morons don’t understand the term Beta Testing. I may appreciate a developer looking to find out their true server loads, their real latency expectation on launch, their discovery of optimal server populations. But Farius, the absolute authority of MMO history and reviews, happens to be in General Chat making sure everyone knows how much a game sucks because he got dropped from the server. I can appreciate you took the money-saving route of using a Beta Test as a test for your wallet, but at some point I would hope that could take a minute to realize that when the server population says “FULL,” that it in fact actually means it’s full. The QQ in channel 4 was so overwhelming that it had to be turned off. Which to me was a scary revelation in terms of Beta.

Now, we know they are morons, but I really wonder on the metrics of the testing. If marketing actually talks to the design team and they actually draw up statistics on what effects turning a Closed Beta into almost an Open Beta to determine server loads and latencies. Do they draw up conclusions on sales lost or gained based on the decision? For me as player, I’m not sure I care as many of you don’t. If they are stupid enough to rage out of a buying decision based on Beta testing, then they were going to rage out early any way. But on a purely capitalistic stand point, the difference between an idiot raging out now on a Free Closed Beta invitation rather than a day into launch is roughly $50 for each one.

For example, EA sold nearly 750,000 copies of WAR. Only 500K were around in October of 2008 in less than a month. You can basically consider you had 250K of nerd rages in the first week. That’s roughly $12.5 million dollars you wouldn’t have had if you had a free Open Beta a month before launch. So, with your experience last night in Beta and most likely encountering mass lag or dropped from server issues, do you think that the Beta event will do more harm than good in terms of potential buyers with so many new faces in the fold?

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WAR’s Future: Lowerer Your Expectations

At some point you are going to have to face it. I know lots of the WAR community is upset and perturbed right now, but that really doesn’t call for the words being exchanged. Between people making demands for developers heads and then even bloggers calling out other bloggers, it’s all just getting a bit ridiculous. Andy came back, you should be happy. It has definitely stirred back up the community. I’m seeing post from bloggers I haven’t seen in ages. But they aren’t at all happy. Just a couple links to the forums and you can find such extreme posts as for people calling for the head of Andy. Really? He’s a PR guy that had to take some time. For others that realize this fact are after Carrie’s head, or assume that change has already happen.

Let’s get something straight here, community. This isn’t Mythic’s fault, this isn’t Andy’s or Carrie’s or anyone elses that anyone is attacking. It’s EA, it’s always been EA. How you have forgotten this, I don’t know. But believe me, EA loves that you have. Because the more you refocus from the real enemy, the more likely they don’t lose you as a predictable SW:TOR buyer.

BioWare is no different today than Mythic was in 2007. It was a great game developer with the money backing of EA the giant. Well the truth is, is EA just clearly has no idea what MMO means yet. And either it’s going to be another harsh lesson for them on the biggest budget game to ever be produced (ever), or community willing, we can teach them something from WAR so it doesn’t repeat. It’s called, don’t get your hands in an MMO unless you are trying to make an MMO. An ever-growing community with constant advancement and progression. We just never received that from WAR, and could we ever expect different when they announced progression packs and slapped the hands of anyone who accidentally said expansion?

How are we this upset? This game isn’t growing. All and any available resources are in BioWare’s hands.  They have been for quite some time now. You have a studio well over budget and probably far behind deadlines. If EA wants to strike at Activision, they aren’t going to be doing it by investing in an MMO they consider a disappointment. The point is, is that Andy might have gone for a month, but certainly and obviously developers are allowed to speak on the forums without him standing over their shoulder. It’s clear all resources and people available to fix the game are no longer there.

Your remainder in the game that no longer deserves a monthly subscription is just proving to EA that they can make cheap money with almost no investment. Because, guess what, an angry customer is still a customer at the end of the fiscal year. Is this the fate and model we want expressed against SWTOR when later EA is trying to decide how to invest in their MMO that at some point would need a real expansion?

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A Fresh Start this EVE

I been really trying to figure out how to hold over this next weekend. It seems like it’s going to be more football and beer to forget about my lack of gaming. I was hoping DCUO could hold me over until February for Earthrise Online, but bless it’s trying little soul, it sucks. I guess if I was on a Playstation 3 or high out of my mind it would be entertaining. It’s just lack luster. So here I am twiddling my gaming thumbs until the next RIFT beta on Tuesday.

So while I play old RTSs and campaigns of old games I never really spent that much time on, I tend to goof off in vent with my guild which is spread all over. Some still going in WAR, some spending all waking hours on League of Legends and some just in there like me. I’m trying to get others to take the leap with me in Earthrise. I’m pretty excited about this game. It looks graphically excellent in terms of other matching games in its genre. But its main appeal to me is mostly its sandbox player economy driven play. So, it sounds like EVE without ships, and maybe less gate camps.

I think my guild realizes I am an EVE fanboi, and they aren’t about to jump to Earthrise based on my opinion. Some understand the glory that is EVE, but getting people to come to that game is hard. They want to. It gets great reviews, its visually amazing for almost really giving nothing graphically, its deep and complex and just overall amazing. However, if you just are starting today, not so much of a game you’ll like.

My guild leader then says something that just never occurred to me before. “They just need to start up a fresh start server.”

A relaunch? How suspiciously amazing that it hasn’t been done by CCP yet. To think, all these customers you don’t have probably just in fear that they would have to face 7 year old players owning their face. Knowing that they’ll always be the low man on the totem pole. Knowing that even in 2 years when they are a competent pilot able to final do all the fun things, that they are still always going to be behind. That’s a hard sale to any player. Every game would like to believe that their noob friendly, most veteran players know better.

I wonder exactly, if with enough talk, could EVE potentially increase it’s subscriber population drastically with a fresh start server. You aren’t going to lose those already on the first server. And if enough time passes for decline in population on the original server, there could always be a server merge down the road years from now. It would just be interesting to think that if CCP were to setup a second server, just how many players they would get back and gain never before seen players. Not to mention that players in EVE are notorious for holding multiple accounts to do certain things. You can practically guarantee any holding old accounts to open new ones on the fresh start servers.

Or maybe I’m just day dreaming. I don’t know CCP’s server cost, but I would think they could easily gain double the their account subscriptions almost overnight without offering anything new, other than a fresh start. I know I would buy in immediately with the largest play time subscription I could sign up for.

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DC Universe Online: Customer Support is Run by the Joker

So earlier this month, I’m so tied up in RIFT Beta that I completely lose all interest in anything else. But as we approached the last Beta, I realized, I need something to entertain me for a month or so. As it would seem, there was a game releasing this last Tuesday after the RIFT Beta session called DC Universe Online. That should do the trick. Browsing reviews, beta impressions, and comments on the main MMO sites made it obvious that this wasn’t your typical MMO of grinding XP and gear. But its PVP sounded very promising. So I pre-ordered the game, and patiently took a day off gaming on Monday ready for this release on Tuesday.

It is now hour 11, in which I can only think how naive it is of me to think I was just going to be able to login to an MMO on launch day. How utter silly of me. We were able to preload the game last night, and I did. So no, none of that 11 hours is filled with loading. There was a small 1 GB patch that took only 15 minutes to get loaded in. No, for about 10 hours I have been staring at this baby:

It takes about 5 minutes, then finally says, STFU and Leave. Actually, it says the servers are not connecting and ask you to exit and relaunch.

You go through your normal routines, checking Firewalls, Proxy settings, and even Router Ports and then you realize you are at the mercy of the forums. You can at least take comfort that you aren’t alone, not by a slim minority either. And on top of that, you can add a ton of other issues that you can at least sigh in relief to the fact you got further than that. But of all the Forum chatter in the Support Area, the responses of Developers is almost near non-existent. To when they do, they chime in with a small, almost basic responses that help no one, then disappear to never be seen again.

Well, there is this giant sticky about contact for help. How nice of that phone line to be disconnected. To the online support then … approximate wait time: 1:30 hours. Place in Queue 189. Ewww.

Well, let’s keep that open and try other things. Like sending them an email that they would rather you use instead of waiting in queue. My inbox still has the confirmation email sitting on the top position as of this post, almost 24 hours later. I’m so glad I only left work a tiny bit early instead of taking the day off. Rush to 2 hours later and a nice chime did hear, but there was a TSR, and a shiny new hope did through my eyes appear. I’ve decided not to show the TSR exact name that “helped” me. For it seems, that the script that they were given to help people, was to simply trick you into losing internet connection. So this may read not so flattering, and I’m not real easy to deal with either.

 TSR Broseph H.: no problme, I am here.
 TSR Broseph H.: is this for DCUO?
 yeah
 Stuck with the Connecting to Server Login issue, any help or advise?
 TSR Broseph H.: one more moment
 TSR Broseph H.: so you get this error when you login?
 Yes, since I couldn’t get past the patcher otherwise
 TSR Broseph H.: do you have a router?
 No, I translate the internets through my mind to the computer screen
 Yes, Obviously I would have one
 TSR Broseph H.: ok
 TSR Broseph H.: try connecting straight into your modem and bypassing your router.
 My Modem and is a Router Modem, its one in the same, no seperate porting router
 TSR Beoseph H.: Then we need to restart your Modem
 then lose this chat session
 And then have to wait for another 2 hours to chat with you again
 Nice try, no
 I have  a fast (FIOS) internet connection and it shares with nothing, not even WiFi
 TSR Broseph H.: Yes, but the port ranges may be having some issues.
 It’s not that
 TSR Broseph H.: It could be your Firewall and Proxy settings
 Those were turned off a long time ago.
 TSR Broseph H.: Yes, but the firewall can still block ports even while not running
 What Ports specifically does it need?
 TSR Broseph H.: Firwalls can set settings
 You mean internet settings?
 I already set them to default, and even took the dev’s advise on the forums and reset the IE settings too.
 TSR Broseph H.: Are you sure that the Firewalls are off?
 Yes
 TSR Broseph H.: Let’s make sure. Go to Run and find the msconfig
 Okay
 TSR Broseph H.: Goto Start Up tab, Disable all and Apply

I didn’t even blink or think about it. As soon as I clicked Apply I realized what had happened. He got me. This is just the control for what’s allowed to start-up at boot of Windows, it wouldn’t take effect now, it has to restart. Whats worse is, msconfig doesn’t give warnings for “Are you sure” on default unless you set it that way in Control panel. Your computer goes immediately to reboot. You SOB, you got me, as my computer is so fast I was practically as my BIOS boot as my left finger unclicked the mouse button. Which it doesn’t matter. Clearly they had no idea. But I was angry at myself for a while in being able to be tricked.

I actually spent way more time trying to figure this out then I give myself credit for. In the end, I only realized a couple of things:

  • When rating studios on Customer Support, don’t use 0 to 10. Use SOE to 10, because there is a rank below zero.
  • Don’t assume the game was made for up to date graphics. Check your drivers and roll them back a year if you use ATI.

Yeah, believe it or not, I’m not positive that was the exact problem, but I took random advise on the forums and rolled back my drivers for my ATI graphics card. Sure enough, I was able to create Mister Meh, Captain Obvious and Doctor McNinja this morning at  9 AM.

I almost did very little in playing as I ran around as Captain Obvious using /say to point out things like “This wall is made from bricks” and “When I fly, I defy gravity.”

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Mr. Meh’s Take on Beta RIFT: A Tear in the Plane of Concepts

With our final impressions for Closed Beta … ::cough:: … our last announced and planned Closed Beta, (we can see more coming down the pipeline) we finally were able to experience what all us WAR players cared about, PVP. I have to say upfront, the last Closed Beta almost completely changed my opinion of the game. Upgrading my ranking from “I can see doing this for a month” to “I can see this potentially as my next 2 year MMO commitment.” I’ve recently submitted the developers at Trion, my Beta impressions in feedback (due by tomorrow) and I think it be good to share some of those thoughts in the form of a review.

You have to take RIFT in its pieces as you find them and relate them to what you know when its appropriate. Ultimately, they have a great, great running server and game play with few errors which will call for tweaks instead of overhauls in the future of the game. You just are going to be amazed at how little to any lag or delays in the game you can find. Then again, who knows how things change at launch. I don’t remember lag in WAR’s betas, yet here we are.

The Cons:

Class Developement and Ability Trees:

They are so reminiscent of WoW and any other fantasy MMO out there that they aren’t asking to relearn anything. Sure, they have differences, but it’s not like the Warden isn’t the Healer you always have in any other MMO ever. Due to the ability to purchase extra Souls (basically a way to hold your 3 masteries in a way you need) and the ability to gain every Tree, means that you there is very little holding you from doing whatever you like when ever you want to. I guess for most, this is a positive, but a game that allows the Healing Class to not only Heal, but to Melee Attack well, Buff through the roof, Range DPS if they like, or worse, can build the best Tank in the game that can heal itself, you’ve created room for not only imbalance but you don’t limit us into specing specifically. Oh, MrMeh is a HoT spec Healer. Give me 2 seconds, I’m now a perfect Tank (not a makeshift). Oh you need DPS, here, I’m a DPS pew pew. To me, limitlessness (new word) is an issue.

Lack of story:

The beginning has some story writing and some thought process in it, but its lack luster adn just a general thought. The opening trailer and then the character creation movies are an absolute joke in terms of a game that’s beyond the browser. You can go ahead and remove those. You watch that and tell yourself, “Am I really about to play a game made for 12 year old girls? What the hell is this lame sauce?” I know it’s a Teenage, not Mature game, but really, you could accidentally tell a better storyline by coughing on a keyboard. The movies hurt your first impression of the game before you get in. Get a studio to make you real ones, or just remove them. Maybe remove the voice overs and use text so it’s not lame. Don’t know, but they aren’t doing what they are supposed to.

Lack of Voice and Sounds:

As good as the animations and gameplay go, you almost expect to see a bit more. I understand that sounds carry lots of memory and other issues, but we seem to be really missing them in this one for a game that I would think would have too many.

The Pros:

Server Loads:

Having awesome management. For what they considered Heavy Red population levels, the game had non-existent lag. Not even at times did I get a small hicop. “Is that even possible?” I thought. Clearly we have been duped by every other MMO ever. No drops to desktop, no lagouts in combat, almost no waiting for zone load-ins. How is this even possible? … Awesome!

Amazing Graphics: 

It’s almost as though you have an Asain MMO infront of you. You’re getting the best of shiny and detail without the glazed eyes the size of shields. At one point I was running down a path, and as the sun was setting, the light was breaking through the trees. I panned to the tree line to witness the light not only breaking through the leaves on the tree, but the shadows on my character held the same. You do have dynamic day and night times, but I didn’t see any sign of weather or seasons. Which is something I think this game could do. But even without, the game holds the graphics levels we’d hope to see from our MMOs these days. There doesn’t seem to be a balance for the sake of lag, you have none and great graphics, it’s a win win.

Cartoony Toons made Right:

I generally dislike the cartoony look of most MMOs. So as soon as I saw the goofiness of the Dwarf and the absolutely absurd Dark Elf ears, I immediate saw WOW crap characters mixed with Aion online shiny, and it caused a despise in myeyes that I wasn’t happy to see. And I held that against them until rank 10. It’s not that the cartoony gets that much better, but with detailed gear you start to finally lose that sense of childish basic looks and see more a detailed MMO. And you can easily forget how much you hate the look of the dwarfs with just a fine alignment and detail in the equipment and spell effects.

PvP:

Though Open PVP made it very obvious that zerg is going to win here until time and strategy fall into most minds. The instanced PVP felt right. It ran well, the tools and rewards looked like it had the basic makeup to really do it right. Off the bat, the instanced scenarios use cross server players. No waiting and it also means you get to see all your friends still. A feature we can’t get out many games after 2 years, is there in the closed Beta. When you load in, the screen gives you a version of Squared for you that shows health, and debuffs on your friendly toons. Finally a game that realizes what mod we all use.

Dynamic PvE:

When ever you come with a good idea in your MMO, it is promptly just going to be stolen. Each MMO does something for the future developement and improvement in all games, but this feature makes the game. And won’t be easily stolen. RIFTs from a WAR point of reference are PQs. But they aren’t static. They move and summon randomly and possibly in different numbers. You can make a life of RIFT hunting and earn awesome rewards from it. And that’s great. These moving armies can clash with each other and take over camps. This means, that if you have quest to turn it, that you may not be able to, as your camp was taken over by a 3 way horde of Goblins. You would have to overcome them and take the camp back. This alone was great aspect and got me all giddy. But then, a giant version of this happened, in which the sky turned red and ash fell from the sky as the Fire Elements tried to massively take over the realm. There was no PVE solo carebearing anymore, this is a realm event, as the world is overtaken in RIFTs and stages of armies leading to a giant boss. Just amazing. It screams, “Try to copy this idea, I dare you” to every other MMO studio out there. This feature is what makes the PVE of the game great. Not that the dungeons weren’t awesome, because those were too. Again massive PVE, no lag.

Small Improvements Needed:

Speaking from WAR veteran and an enthusiast of MMO PvP there just a couple of missing elements or tweaks that are seemingly needed.

Groupings in Instances:

When you load into a Scenario (Warfront), you can queue and enter as  a group, however you lose your placements when you enter.  So you basically get separated into the 2 groups and there doesn’t, yet, seem to be a way to remedy that. The advantage is that you can’t move out of party, the disadvantage is, I’m missing my guildie. A remedy, I’m sure that every WAR veteran instantly recommended on Friday afternoon. It was the first thing that I noticed.

Death Penalties in PVP:

There doesn’t seem to be one. First time you get to do a Soul Walk, which just respawns you there in a couple of seconds and you get to move away while in this state. Second time makes you respawn at the closest point. And after your third you can start taking ‘Soul Damage’ if you don’t pay to heal up. All fine a good, though I never did test what Soul Damage was, but in PVP there doesn’t seem to be penalties, other than time to wait to respawn.

Resurrections:

Healers get to of them when they spec in deeper into a healing path. One that is for non-combat rezzes and one much later on that gives you the ability to rex in combat. However,the game lacks ‘collision’ as we know it from WAR. Even though I’m surrounded and combat is everywhere, I’m not hitting someone, and I’m not being hit, so therefore rezzing is completely allowed with my ‘non-combat rez.’ However it takes a day in a half to perform which. So the suggestion is two-fold, there doesn’t seem to be a point to a second rez, and the time it takes to do it makes in PVP, unfriendly.

Healer Mana:

It’s an Ocean instead of a Pool. There is no seemingly good way to even think of this as a limiter to what you do. You healing is limited only by global cooldown and possibly CC at later levels. Is this intentional? I don’t think so. I was able to come right into Battlefronts at level 10 making a new (better made healer) on Saturday and not once in 20+ instances be outhealed by anyone, not even close. The times I went into instances as a DPS Cleric, I saw close instance fights. On my healer, I didn’t see one loss, nor one instance within 250 point spread (instances are on a standard 500 point system). Healer, real ones, are OP to the max. Massive heals with no real way to stop it.

Targeting:

For us WAR players maybe spoiled. We’ve complained about a poorly setup Tab targeting that we apparently didn’t know how well we had it. Having both an Offensive and Defensive targeting is non-existent. The targeting system I found basic and frustrating at times to deal with.

Bottom Line:

RIFT starts in a way that gives you the feel of WoW. And for most, that’s a reason to stop right there. You need to push through and you’ll see that the front end of the game is WoWish. Seemingly on purpose to bring you up to speed by the time you have to enter the real world. The game is dynamic in way that makes the game interesting and fun, instead of buggy and frustrating. When you think of the idea that 5 random generated armies could spawn and march on one chapter location that will keep you from even entering the camp, by even 100 feet, you wouldn’t consider that a ‘fun’ idea. Yet it is. Now that may be because we have the population now, that make it that way in those areas. How much fun will that be for a new player 6 months after release? We have to assume the generations of these spawn Rifts and armies are due to immediate populations. Concerns for a later time, but right now, it’s an amazing way to enjoy PvE, when you generally don’t think you enjoy PvE all that much.

PvP is stealing the aspects of what we wanted. Maybe not the Castle and Keep idea so much now (we don’t know what the endgame PvP is like) but certainly open PvP and Scenarios are in the right spot for us. The concern now is class balance, but with the developement team we see now, there doesn’t0 seem to be the concern of dev involvement.

On that, we haven’t even been close to seeing end game. And as we all know, end game is the make and break for long-term subscriptions. Or at least players convincing ourselves that’s what makes or break. What we can see is a system that works smooth and the elements of instance PvP that we can enjoy. Given that alone, it is something that can entertain by itself as long as the rewards are there. And they are. So anything besides that is great. With rank 1-25 being this fun, I can’t wait to see if that grows or teeters in the end part of the game. Viewing the dynamic map and our ability to only see maybe 20% of it, it is tells me that it looks to be a far journey before we even get to review that aspect.

As endgame can break a game for the long run, the start-up does way more detrimental things. Too often games try to limit access to servers hoping they can regulate population levels. As if I’m just going to accept being on another server besides the one with my guild. Or they do something like server queues to play the game. These are ways to ensure you have 30% less subscribers in your first week. Hopefully the poor startups of games like US Aion and WAR give this game insight into solutions that will prevent this unneccessary collapse of what should be great startups. Start with too many servers, consolidate early in the first weeks to ensure optimal server pops. Free character transfers are a solution that too often, no company offers. But when we started and I picked this server, I didn’t realize it was going to be the happening place. Free transfers allow player to leave heavy population and help early balance on their own. It will be interesting if this company learns from the others.

As for WAR players, the game’s PvP as of right now is there for the taking. It’s seemingly designed around carebears and for which it means that our premade guilds are going to come in a ruin everyone’s life that isn’t used to them. Being even a slight novice in terms of what has gotten us through WAR’s PvP will translate into elitism real quick. With all the class trees and with so much variety in masteries and abilities, the ‘Sure Win’ combination is going to take a while to figure out. However, you get that much better of an idea when you suffered in a PvP dominated game before. I think many to all WAR players will bask in the glory of not being a nub in PvP in the early days of this game.

The final Beta for me gave me a glimpse into their PvP and as result I had a hard time playing WAR for more than 2 minutes. That 2 minutes was my load time into a scenario. And I promptly ended my WAR subscription cycle within minutes of RIFT withdrawal. Even though I have a month and a half of wait for RIFT, I’m not sure that I can take that time in WAR without major frustration. In a way, my time in RIFT beta ruined any time I had left with WAR. So my early comments on RIFT were without the insight of PVP, and in all honesty this game has potential in not only taking on every MMO, it’s probably going to help kill other MMOs that had select population in the first place.

Is this a WoW killer? Nothing will kill WoW, except for WoW. But if there was, it wouldn’t be in opening day of an MMO. I think we can expect a long run from RIFT and at the smallest, it will change how all other MMOs think about dynamic PvE with PvP still in focus. This game is worth your time and money, even if its only for 3 months. I don’t review much, because I don’t usually have nice things to say. But I can see Mr. Meh being a RIFT blog in a month or so.

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Mr. Meh’s List of Games for January through March

It’s proving to look really good out there the next couple of months for MMOs. Traditionally, I wouldn’t have considered this time of year big for releases. I guess I was so caught up with other things that I missed all these upcoming release dates.

Last night I sealed the deal with my experience on RIFT and purchased the digital Collector’s edition. A move I felt uneasy about. Normally I am not so hesitant to spend, I do however rage the next day about how bad the game was. But, I don’t normally regret when I spend. I felt it this time. Maybe I’m only going to this game because my guild is, and that is probably my reason for doubt. I’m hoping this weekend’s event around the PVP for closed beta will turn the doubt upside down, into what I call ‘Upside Down Doubt.’

So shortly after RIFT’s closed beta ends, I’ll be primed for the release of DC Universe Online on Tuesday. I’m sure it’s not the MMO I have always dreamed of, and it doesn’t have the necessary grind and leveling we all apparently say we hate but want. But when they discuss the open PVP aspect, I get all tingly. And since one of my guildmates is a developer for SOE, I’ve only been able to hear everything I ever wanted. So, it is another game worth my time and cash even if it only holds for a month or less.

Now on February 7th, I’m pretty stoked about Earthrise Online. It’s not an MMO that’s on everyone list. It doesn’t even have reviews because they are just priming for Beta now. Kind of late, so this Beta must only be for bug and server testing. Concepts and progression are sure to stay as intended at this rate. But I encourage all to go watch some of the gameplay trailers. I was heavily disappointed by Fallen Earth. The website and reviews had me so hyped on it, that when I got into game I was so mad to be looking at pre-2003 graphics the game was almost ruined right there. I wanted the Sandbox and mass crafting system that it offered, but I couldn’t stand the controls or combat. Watching the gameplay on Earthrise makes me hopeful. However with as little information as you can find on the game, it becomes a bit difficult to think its worth the try. But once I found that it was going to be a boxless (no base game to buy) and only a month fee, I have no real reason to hold back and not try it. I’m hoping for it to be the shooter MMO we couldn’t get out of Tabula Rasa (worst MMO in the history of dorkdom), Fallen Earth, and Global Agenda.

And if those don’t pan out, I’ll just have to figure out what to do until March 1st for RIFT. It’s going to be a great or horrible next couple of months. No inbetween destined here,

Don't you dare try to steal this very very official signature.

RIFT Online – A PreOrder Sign?

I really haven’t said much on my RIFT experience so far. And I’m still holding back on that. I want to see the next Beta portion for the part of the game I care about, PVP (player vs. player), before I really give a Mr. Meh “Cheers and Jeers.”

So far, it to me is … WoW. I get that all MMOs are going to reminiscent of WoW, EQ, and any other thing like it. So I’m holding in there. I didn’t drop it in an hour of play, and that’s usually a sign of ‘I might like this.’ Too often I try something, and almost instantly I can get turned off. MMOs are like girls to me. Basically if I enjoy the sex once, this is probably going to drag on for at least 1 year before you get tired of me and perma-ban me from your game.

As far as my analogy of RIFT to women. RIFT is a young small one. She likes the shiny, not so much the expensive, but definitely likes to smile. She unfortunately has no depth in the conversations and generally tells so many stories about her friends, that she ends up repeating them, constantly. Which is okay now, because she is new and cute. But you can see that in under 3 months, that habit is going to lead to a ‘OMG STFU.” She is not as mature as you would hope. She doesn’t like it when you tell crude jokes, or use vulgar language. You can’t talk politics around her, because she can get heated about nothing and doesn’t under debate so much as she understands getting offended. For your Birthday, she’ll buy you a thoughtful gift (as she saw it), like a gaudy watch from Citizen or cologne that you will consequently forget to ever wear. For Christmas, you will get a Kashmir Scarf and a hardback book about something you never even knew you liked and still don’t. What keeps you through this? The ease of sex. Nothing fancy, nothing exotic, nothing like freak, but she is no enigma to figure out, and the stability of ease is just enough for you to smile until just a couple of months from now, you just stop calling. No fights in this one, just blatant jerk move, and you disappear.

What my readers are thinking: Mr. Meh is nut job that is either constantly drunk or completely insane and surely a loser.

My readers are always right.

Anyways on to what I really wanted to talk about in this post: The PreOrder RIFT bonuses.

It strikes me odd, the deals that they are offering. As of the Betas, I didn’t really have any concerns for the game. But when I read the preorder deals, I stopped to ponder the reasons.

  • Founder’s pricing (including $9.99/mo. subscription if you buy a six-month block)

But why? Maybe I don’t play every MMO that gets released, but I don’t think I have ever seen a deal like this before. Is the publisher scared of a limp start at launch? That they will only sell the boxes and have minimal populations after the 2nd week of play. Do they realize that their end game is so none existent, that players will be bored and hike out in under 3 months? And that this is the perfect way into just getting that extra dime.

Or is it the most brilliant idea ever? I’ve seen a couple of takes that actually refer to this as a “Steal.” A $30 instant savings. I wonder about that. Is it a $30 savings because the game will be able to hold me for that long, or is it a clear admission that there isn’t enough end game developement to hold us for 2 months and that this is actually just the perfect way to get a couple extra dollars, because the beginning of the game shows so much depth, a player can force themselves to see loving the game for a long time. But really their game play travels for a month and then the hit the end of the world of boredom and nothing. 

I’ve personally always been a month by month payer. Looking back now, I see that, that call has probably cost me hundreds in subscription cost. However, it also goes that I’ve lost more money in buying the boxes for MMOs that I hated. I think it will be interesting to see how this idea plays out. Will it get them more subscription before release, or does my bitter ideals of corporate evil money sniveling marketing just go too far? Probably the latter, but I thought it interesting how many just up and proclaim “Great Deal,” instead of going “Is your content not enough to keep me for 6 months?”

It’s all just mass paranoia, but if Mr. Meh doesn’t write it, who’s going to? Right?

Don't you dare try to steal this very very official signature.