We are all Junundu nao: 2 months worth of reflections on GW2 (and more)

After 2 months of more or less continuous play (moved to new country, job hunting, etc) the nugget did get 2 toons to 80, three into the 70s in Guild Wars 2, before the crispy golden batter did break down into a hopelessly soggy mass of despair.

Though the nugget originally aimed to give GW2 a 'fair' chance by getting five 80s with 1 of each profession maxxed, the nugget could not do it.

Instead, the formerly-juicy-with-adoration-but-now-soggy-with-sad nugget did log off after her poor ranger hit 80, hasn't logged back on since. (Ok, that's a lieTwice after that! Once to donate money to a poor friend who got hacked, and the other time because I was playing MMO-as-chat-client tag with another friend.)

The funniest - or saddest - thing is, the nuggetty toons weren't even affected by the nerfs that went down at the time. (Same time as ranger shortbow 'animation' nerf.)

Nuggety guardian was a hammer guardian, and nuggetty ranger had JUST changed to sword/dagger + axe/horn PBAOE trapper before the nerf. Literally days before. Which, incidentally, the nugget was rather liking - insofar as the nugget liked any of the gameplay in GW2.

Honestly, the only reason the nugget lasted so long was that her soon-to-be-soggy batter wanted so desperately... not to be underwhelmed and unhappy. Didn't work, but let it not be said that a nugget did not try! XD

1 sentence Nuggetty Review of GW2:
"We are all Junundu nao."

... and now, on to FPN - First Person Nugget!

Achievements - They Aren't All Equal
The saddest part of this for me is that I've lost all faith in ArenaNet. GW was the only game I've loved even 1/3 as much as I loved LegendMUD.

I have no problems with games being a business. I happily play PWE titles, and they are the polar rapacious opposite of what I loved about ArenaNet with regards to Guild Wars and the design philosophy behind it.

One of the hallmarks of Guild Wars was the burning idealism behind it that shaped it into the unique creation it is. It goes beyond the later additions like vanquishing, heroes and then all-hero parties, PvE skills. Those things were icing and evolution both. But the core of Guild Wars was the idea that playing could be fun and rewarding in and of itself. That if given the right platform, people could and would play for fun. That the fun could be the reward, because fun could be creative. That was what really differientated Guild Wars from WoW and all the other rat pellet MMOs I've played.

Don't get me wrong, rat pellets have their place, and I do like them. But they are, at heart, carrot-based. Guild Wars is not. Guild Wars gave me a sense of achievement. It still does when I come up with a build that looks like 'lol that can't possibly work... can eet?' on paper that turns out to be brilliant. Rat-pellet MMOs give me... achievements. ._.

And that's just one of the ways where Guild Wars 2 went wrong. How for the love of all that is crispy and fatty and cholesterol-filled in the world, did ArenaNet go from the sheer brilliance of the fights in War in Kryta to those in Guild Wars 2?

Dragon-slaying 101... Err... I mean... 1111111111111111111111
In Guild Wars: War in Kryta, every mob loaded a random skillbar from a pool, which then synergised anywhere from well to brilliantly with all the OTHER mobs also doing the same thing. And to make things even more hilarious and beautiful, the mobs were using skillbars based on the PvE 'meta' builds of the day. Which meant that prior to the content being nerfed (and even the nerfs were timed well), they couldn't be facerolled with the current PvE metas (in Hard Mode). Instead, fights were full of watching your opponents, adapting on the fly, switching targets fast in some cases, knowing when to spike in others... It's the closest I've ever seen to PvP in any game, and it was utterly fucking beautiful.

...and then in Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has you kill dragons by spamming your 1-key (or 2-key), together with a whole horde of other monkeys also spamming their 1-keys.

I know I keep using the word 'heartbreaking', but there it is. :(

Oh Well, the Art Lived Up to the Hype. And You Can Jump.
Guild Wars 2 has none of the burning idealism that makes GW the unique thing it is. While it's certainly a beautiful game (if you don't think about the armour art), taken as a whole, it's definitely neither revolutionary nor unique.

It's not that GW2 didn't bring any improvements, it's that the improvements were far outweighed by the WTFery.

One Step Forward...
You can now jump.
I've seen people say they couldn't play GW because you couldn't jump with the spacebar. While I totally agree that /jump just isn't the same, I've never understood that point of view. Still, there you have it, in GW2, you can jump. With your spacebar.

You can walk over terrain and fall to your death.
Definite improvement - in GW2 you longer have to walk around that tiny kitten sized rock anymore. I liked that.

There's an Auction House, and you can sell from anywhere!
That's great. I wish more auction houses worked like that. It would be even better if you could also pick up from anywhere. Oh and if the auction house fee wasn't so stupidly high... but more about that later...

New graphics engine
Extremely beautiful, no denying it.

Underwater combat
I think I'm one of the few people who actually liked underwater combat - on all 5 of my toons (Guardian, Mesmer, Thief, Elementalist, Ranger). It is revolutionary for underwater combat to obey a different set of rules. From what I can tell, not only are the skills different (duh), but the damage patterns are also different. Unfortunately, the x, y and z-axis are incredibly buggy, and if you pull a mob up or down from the level it loaded on, half the time it goes invulnerable, while your toon, of course, stays all too vulnerable. Not until GW2 did I appreciate the sheer amount of work Blizzard put into underwater in Cataclysm. I don't recall ever EVER getting axis-based evades underwater in Cata.

Nodes for all
No more node-ninjaing! Now work together to get to that node! This was a definite improvement.

Two Steps Back
Fully customisable UI is gone
In Guild Wars you could drag, drop, resize and reposition anything and everything, anywhere you wanted. That's gone like it never was. You're gonna use ArenaNet's 'vision' of what their UI should be, and that's that.

Your screen is full of you
Unless you play an Asura, you'll notice that you're more important to yourself than ever before. No longer can you zoom way out like you can in Guild Wars, for a tactical view of the battle. Nope, you'll spend most of your time looking at yourself, and if you're a Norn or a big Charr... Lol. Reminds me of being in bear form in Sunken Temple back in the day in WoW.

Two upper torsos with heads talking against a backdrop
Gone are the meaningful, in-world cutscenes. I don't think the voice acting has gotten worse, but the whole backdrop thing made the entire experience of watching my toon interacting with NPCs so utterly disconnected that I ended up turning off all voice acting and just reading. When I bothered to read. There is one bright spark though - Tybalt. I loved Tybalt and his apples. XD

Armour design is leaves something to be desired
Guild Wars armour is beautiful from level 1, and every class has a unique look even across all the different variants. No classes share armour skins. It's perfectly possible to mix-and-match a gorgeous set of armour by combining expensive elite pieces with dirt cheap ones. No armour is inferior to any other in looks. In Guild Wars 2 cloth, leather, heavy armour wearers all wear the same sets of skins until you get to the grindy prestige skins. And there is a definite sense that non-prestige skins are not 'worthy' or real art attention and love.

Combat isn't strategic anymore
How did we go from mobs understanding front/mid/backlines, and healer mobs kiting to force you to fight their frontlines, to mobs whose idea of kiting is to run away from you in a straight line about 200 out, and then in a straight line back?
As for the rest ... just scroll back up and re-read the part about War in Kryta vs GW2 dragons, ok? XD

Economy was built with no idea how a F2P game economy works, and none of the finesse needed to wring every last drop of money from a player and have them be okay with it
Yes, I realise you pay for the box, so it's not even strictly F2P. But when 6USD = 1.5g in a system that has gold, silver, and copper, something is wrong. It just doesn't stretch far enough, and it feels like a swindle. Add that to the ridiculous 10-15% (I forget) tax on all items in the AH, and you really start to feel the squeeze. I made enough to buy the upgrades I wanted, sure, but I haven't felt I've had to be this careful about money in a game in years. And as for friends who'd never played anything but GW? Lol - if you have no idea how the usual MMO economy works (e.g. raw mats sell for way more than crafted goods until you have the very high level recipes...) - good luck.

In contrast, while PWE wasn't always as amazing at it as they are now, they learn and evolve. If you play Forsaken World, their newest in-house title aimed at taking a large slice of the English-speaking F2P market... you'll see that they're very very good at not just squeezing money, but deflecting hostility.

A couple of years ago I played another of PWE's in-house titles, Jade Dynasty, and lol. So long after that I still *resent* the US$20 I had to pay for a flying mount so I could continue to level and do content. Fast forward a few years with Forsaken World, where I've dropped US$130 over a year of play, and I'm happy and not at all resentful. These guys are *smart* and they learn *fast*.

ArenaNet, on the other hand, with GW2, seems to have stuck its head in the sand, or up its own arse, singing, 'Lalalala we have a loyal fan base so we know best!' without bothering to even look at how others in the industry are doing things.

Dynamic events are poorly done
GW2's DEs are basically: succeed and restore status quo vs fail and retake 'blah' until you can ... succeed and restore status quo. They are boring, and feel utterly pointless. And they're set up so that if you fail, even though you still get a reward, it *feels* like a failure. The importance of that feeling cannot be overemphasized, because it's one of the reasons why Rift's DEs work much better.

Rift's DEs have (mostly) timer-based stages that you can complete based on whichever DE it happens to be. This means that if you're alone and you want to do a DE (or close a Rift, really, because that's what they tend to be if we leave out Instant Adventures), you can complete as much of the objective that's set before your time runs out, and you successfully close the rift. There are of course some rifts that are very hard to solo (raid rifts), but by and large the ones spawning all over the world follow the pattern above, and by doing so, they grant players what GW2's DEs fail to - satisfaction and the illusion of control.

Teamwork? Lol.
In Guild Wars, I'd group if I felt like being around people, and I've met some cool folks and made good friends that way. In Guild Wars 2, everyone else is basically another NPC that I hope dies before I do. A simple thing like auto-grouping would help so much with this. Time and again in Rift, (which gives you the option to automatically join the DE group and so see people's nameplates, hp, mana, and role...), I've seen people join the group, assess it... and switch talents / builds to fill the gaps they saw. It doesn't have to be requested of them. There are always people who enjoy tanking and/or healing, and if they see that it's needed, *they will do it*.

In Guild Wars, there are so many spells based around buffing other people because it helps your group as a whole. Splinter Weapon and Great Dwarf Weapon are just two in a whole long list. In Guild Wars 2, you have combo fields that you can't even control properly in the zerg that GW2 is.

Working as a team was built into Guild Wars from the ground up. In Guild Wars 2, that concept's just been ground up. =P

Talent trees added, build diversity and flexibility removed
Not only that, but GW2's talent trees are inferior to the talent trees in other games, let alone the system in the original Guild Wars. Don't give me the whole 'switch on the fly' thing. Rift does that too, and much better. With GW2 talent trees, sorry, traits, NO ONE puts 13 points in one thing and 7 in another as an end build. So why does GW2 have points in increments of 1, when only 5s make a difference? Probably to make the 80 levels feel less pointlessly drawn out.

Lore is gone
There's a bit in Nightfall in Guild Wars where you have to answer questions about the gods. I remember being shocked that I could answer them all even though I never really paid attention to the lore while running around killing everything. It just seeped in. I just KNEW. I found that to be an amazing achievement. In Guild Wars 2, erm... the only reason I know which gods are which are because of all my hours in Guild Wars. In fact, there's a bit in GW2 where you ALSO have to answer questions based on the history of Tyria, and the only reason I could answer them was Guild Wars... not GW2. XD

FFS ArenaNet, don't let your devs post on official forums without vetting with PR or a CM first
This thread
is why. I once thought ArenaNet were brilliant not to have official forums. I thought that it was because they realised that in general, fan forums are far more thoughtful and civil. Now I think they were just incredibly lucky - and never realised it. Not only that, but they're locking any threads on the official forums where people are unhappy. Almost every other MMO company out there has learned the hard way not to do that... but I guess ArenaNet knows better, yeah.

System encourages training mobs & inconsideration
...there is a ridiculous amount of mob training in GW2. Go and read this post. It's hilarious, and it has zmobies. Seriously, zmobies and training! How could it get better! (I'd stick with just reading the OP's posts though.)

Lack of Trinity isn't well implemented
If Guild Wars was a lovingly done Magic: The Gathering the MMO, then Guild Wars 2 is a Diablo clone poorly ported to MMO space.

The thing about Diablo clones is that they give players a degree of self-sufficiency that GW2 doesn't. Just because you can quaff a potion the moment the effects wear off doesn't mean that you can stand there and tank everything, all the time. Just that single change - being able to use your utility skill the moment the effects wear off - would make GW2 play much better. As it is, GW2 combat alternates between 1-key mashing while taking no damage, and hoping someone else will take the hits (or dodge them) while your endurance regens and you wait for your utility skill to come off cooldown.

In nuggetty conclusion...
...and I still love Guild Wars.

...and all I have is this long rant. ;)

Rift: Suffice to say, Trion has a really strange idea of 'epic'

Yes, I know there's a wardrobe feature, and no, my mage doesn't usually run around displaying her... epics... because they just look too... epic.

On the other hand, if I had known that this would be what my maxlevel epicced-out mage would look like then... I'm not sure I would have bought / subscribed to this game at all. XD

And that's not even going into the whole Landslide mount thing. OooH that's another good one. The worst part is that Trion tries so hard to make their players happy. They gave Landslide a tail. Just go browse the thread. It has good peektures!

Rift: Now that takes talent.

I have no idea how Rift manages to make a scantily-clad female warrior in 'plate' armour complete with panties showing, and using a good graphics engine, look so incredibly unsexy, but by God do they manage.

And here's my warrior from Guild Wars. She's not wearing the Kurzick panties but sheesh look at the difference.

Of course, in Guild Wars 2, none of the armour looks even half as good as any of the armour in Guild Wars. In fact, most of it is rather ugly. Unless you want to be a salad person. 2 level 80s, 3 level 70+s. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

In Guild Wars you grind / farm for the skins you want but all skins are nice, and mix+match of cheap skins with expensive ones can get you great looks. In Guild Wars 2...

...let me not talk about Guild Wars 2. ._.

Weird: Rift is not even half as fun as Forsaken World.

Yes, a subs-based AAA fantasy MMO is not even half as fun (or IMO) even half as good as an asian F2P AAA fantasy MMO. (Not to say that I think there is anything wrong with F2P asian MMOs, just that the focus of their studios tends to be a little (ok a lot) different and the general perception of them seems to be bad.)

And this is despite these two being more or less polar opposites with where their studios and dev teams are coming from.

Rift just glows with love love love... in every aspect but its art direction, which is honestly, quite terrible.

Forsaken World just glows with love love love for profit... in every aspect, including its art direction, which is very strong.

Why do I think FW is better, and more fun?

FW has better combat mechanics.
The classes are better thought out, and combat flows more smoothly. Rift combat feels incredibly clunky and unwieldy for some reason. None of the souls I've played have really seemed to 'gel'. Be it from the press eleventy billion buttons builds that some mages have, to the press just two buttons builds that some ranged rogue builds are. FW classes, in contrast, have *flow*. Once you get into the groove, once you know what you are doing, they just *feel* right.

FW has better sound.
FW has great sound - with some classes showing it off better than others. If you have played a bard to a highish level in FW (60+), you'll KNOW the difference between how water/wind/light bards sound just by listening to them play (assuming proper play) - no need to even look at the screen. Contrast this with Rift, where everyone sounds the same. ._. Not just the players, even the mobs sound the same! As someone who usually turns off the music, but leaves the sound on, and who depends on the sound for cues on what to do next, the fact that everything in Rift sounds more or less the same is a big downer.

FW has better art direction.
FW is an attractive, vivid world. While there are some stylistic choices I may not personally like, (hrmm Stonemen), I cannot argue that they are beautiful in their own way. Whereas Rift is bland bland BLAND. And don't even get me started on mage gear. Good lord, I'm convinced Rift mages have the ugliest gear in the MMOverse, even when you discount rendering engines (of which Rift has a rather good one).

I would say those are the three main things that stand out for me. FW, while I played it, was an MMO where I looked forward to jumping into the game world. Rift is just kinda blaaaaah.

This makes me feel sad, because Trion so obviously loves its game and cares about its community. But that isn't enough to overcome the three points above. It's like eating a dish made with the finest ingredients and a great amount of love which has unfortunately, somehow turned out tasteless.

Needless to say, I won't be renewing Rift into month 3, though I wish Trion and the Rift community all the best.

...here's to hoping GW2 won't break my gameynugget heart.

WoW vs Rift: Cross-Server LFG/LFR isn't the only problem - Big Bear Butt Blogger » I Have Met the Asshat, and it is Dalra

Please note, there has been an update to be found at the bottom of this article on April 14th, 2012.

So, you know how I was amazed at how bad that LFR run in Dragon Soul was as a healer?

Yeah. Second round was even worse. I blame Red, I went in for more healer gear.

What we had tonight could have been a good run, except for one thing.

A single player held the fun of 24 other souls hostage… and that players name was Dalra.

Yes, that says Dalra of Icecrown US. 

Would you like to see a picture of Dalra, proud enhancement shaman, in action on the Spine of Deathwing?

Just in case that is difficult to make out, here, let me zoom out a bit.

There in the center you can see the raid group on the Hideous Amagamations in the center, up and down the line.

And there, up in the upper right hand corner, you can see Dalra, all on her own, killing a tentacle. As an Enhancement Shaman. All there, all alone, killing tentacles. Spawning adds. Lots and lots of adds.

You see that title she has? Destroyer’s End? Yep. Solid Enhancement Shaman DPS. Dual wielding, got 4 piece tier, yay.

Too bad she queued as a HEALER.

The whole Spine of Deathwing fight, Dalra did nothing except single-handedly destroy tentacles, spawning endless waves of Hideous Amalgamations and the bloods that follow.

And here is something I didn’t know. If all the tentacles are dead, a new tentacle spawns, so there is no chance of your ever accidentally killing every Hideous Amalgamation and being left with no way to nuclear blast the plates off to expose the tentacle.

I. Did. Not. Know. That.

But now I do, and I have Dalra to thank for that. So, thanks!

24 people in a raid trying their best to win and move on, and those 24 people are subject to the whims of one person, a person who has the achievement and the title of having completed it on normal, who knows what it is they are doing, and who chooses to try and screw everyone else intentionally.

For fun, I guess.

And there is nothing anyone can do about it. that is the point of this post. Once the boss is pulled, that’s it. The group has no control in any way over the outcome from that point on.

You’re done. Wipe it or push on, beat it despite them, and give them their ‘fair’ chance at loot.

Once that boss is pulled, that player is free to do whatever the hell they want for the rest of the fight.

I want to be clear on this.

The issue is not Dalra. Dalra is nothing.

Nothing unusual or special or even especially irritiating went on tonight. If Dalra logged off with warm fuzzies knowing they got a second Deathwing Axe and relic drops tonight (according to the Armory) by queueing as a healer for insta-queues, doing enhance DPS while the group was down a healer, and even intentionally screwing people by trying to wipe the run if what she wanted didn’t drop… well, most people didn’t even notice.

Apathy and expectations are so low at this point that nobody really cared. It was just faceless, nameless asshat number 45862. As the picture shows, the tone of comments weren’t outrage, just tired acceptance. “No joke, I’m tired of morons in LFR.” That’s not nerd rage, that’s apathy and acceptance that stupid is just stupid.

We went on with some other faceless clown in LFR, and finished the run. Most people, I imagine, don’t even realize that it was on purpose. They are probably so used to stupid people by now, that if anything, they just pegged Dalra as being another in a long chain of incredibly stupid players, and went on with their lives.

I know better, because after Monday night I went into Spine looking at all the tentacles to see if I could identify another asshat and get some screenshots for my own fun. AND I DID. I watched while healing my whack-a-mole frames, as Dalra didn’t even start on the normal group tentacle. Right from the start, they went to an untouched one, destroyed it very fast, went to the next, destroyed it, and so on until all four were dead. Then kept killing tentacles as they respawned. Then, when the first plate lifted, killed more tentacles. As fast as they could pop.

There was no mistake, no confusion. It was a dedicated attempt by Dalra to wipe a raid from the second it triggered Spine. And I caught it early, notified everyone, began asking for Dalra to stop right away. There was nothing anyone could do to stop her. Just watch, and do our best to heal and kill.

If anything, anyone in the guild Shining Star Crusaders should feel ashamed that Dalra is carrying your torch, representing you. I don’t know anything about Shining Star Crusaders, maybe it’s a guild on Icecrown famous for shenanigans and being trolling asshats. Maybe it’s just some dude in a basement that is so ineffectual in real life that they have to do stuff like this to feel some kind of connection with someone else. Some kind of desperate bid for attention, any kind of attention, to rise out of the meaningless morass that is their pathetic excuse for a life, something to try and prevent themselves from feeling so cold and alone in a world that hates them. And they’ve got a personal guild full of their alts. I don’t really care.

My take is as likely to be accurate as anyones, and mine at least is based on personal experience seeing one of their guild members at play when they didn’t know they were being watched somewhere that it might turn up in public later.

Update: Some folks in reading this thought it was an actual slam on the guild mentioned. I thought I had stressed in the post, fairly bluntly, that I was speculating wildly on the kind of guild that had Dalra as a member, while at the same time knowing nothing whatsoever about the truth of the guild. That I was speculating like this or ‘musing aloud’ to prove the point that Dalra was serving as my only window on the kind of guild SSC might be, because in LFR cross-server activities, I didn’t have any way of knowing anyone in that guild prior to seeing one memeber in LFR be an asshat, which is entirely UNLIKE the old style single-server runs where guilds could form lasting recognizable reputations. In point of fact, after this post went live and word about Dalra got out, SSC took immediate action, removed Dalra from their roster, and took further action to make it clear that kind of behavior was not representative of their guild in real life. Clearly, in real life the guild SSC is not actually a single kid in a basement. Some of the responses (on each side) also showed me pretty clearly that a lot of people fail at reading comprehension. At least, they do where imagined insults and direct attacks are concerned. End of update, I now return you to the original post.

Dalra is not important. This post isn’t really about Dalra.

I am simply USING Dalra as my little bitch to make a point about an extremely serious issue in live LFR.

Just over a month of Rift has convinced me that it *isn't* just random cross-server LFG that has made the WoW PUGging community so toxic. (Went back 1 month for Cataclysm, levelled AGAIN from 1-85, unsubbed and never want to go back blah de blah.)

I used to think that cross-server LFG which was 'after my time' (I first unsubbed for 2+ years at the end of TBC), was the main reason for the utterly horrible experience of the WoW community that confronted me on my short stint back for Cata. It was so bad I started trying psych experiments on my PUGs. =P Results, inconclusive due to sample size, but still kinda interesting, detailed here:

Other folks are welcome to try it!

But the thing is, Rift has almost exactly the same mechanic and people are so damn POLITE! At the very *least* they are civil 95% of the time. On good runs, they are kind, considerate, and sometimes even funny and charming.

Even though they've more or less duplicated WoW's LFG system.

This in turn convinces me that the horror that is the WoW community (PUGwise) is a lot more to do with a) evolution of that community, and b) existing culture influencing the behaviour of new folks.

Or rather, of turds seeing other turds act like turds and thereby feeling happy in knowing that their turdiness is the acceptable norm.

From what I can see, there's no reason Rift PUGging shouldn't be the cesspit that WoW's is - but it just isn't.

Same with the arena-based PvP and general PvP culture in Guild Wars. Yes there is a certain degree of elitism, some might even say a lot of it. But I will say that as a scrub PvPer, Guild Wars PvPers are in general incredibly civil. GW was the first place I ever saw the opposing team thank their opponents for the match. See them say 'GG (Good Game / Good Going)' and not have it be sarcastic.

More studios need to see that the culture of their community matters, and address it throughout the life-cycle of their games.

Cataclysm was *beautiful*. Sylvanas never looked so hot. Blizzard obviously put so much love into it. And despite that, I'll never touch WoW again with a 10-foot pole now. I left TBC thinking I could go back someday and maybe, maybe like it, if I had a fresh start. Cata made me realise that for me, in WoW, there's nothing to go back to.

Rift: Inventory Issues

You know you have a problem when you renew a subscription to a game you're not all that taken with, simply because you've stuffed your alts mailboxes with too much crap and need time to clear it all.

P.S. Rift is very generous with bag space, it's me that's the issue. *mourn*

Rift Doesn't Have Soul

I just now realized this. There was always something... off about Rift. Even in the betas I saw it, but I could never place my finger on it. Now that I've played endgame some (and gotten a chance to play the game a lot more), I've finally realized what exactly is wrong with Rift: it has no soul.

Rift is what would happen if you told a robot to make an MMO. Technically speaking, it would be near flawless with extraordinary amounts of polish, but it would lack this certain human touch. The places are environments; not landscapes or worlds. The people of Telara are "NPCs"; not characters. Nothing feels like it's wonderful or enchanting or captivating. It's just a stock fantasy story with stock MMO mechanics with no human touches.

Rift is fun and well made, but it doesn't feel human. It feels plastic... like the people who made it were following some kind of MMO textbook to the letter without trying to create art. The game just doesn't have soul... it doesn't have that wonderfully, witty spark that draws you in. I'm not saying Rift is a bad game, but it doesn't have an identity or anything. It's like oil on water... it's just kind of... there.


So I downloaded the Rift perpetual trial last night, and after playing for roughly 5 hours I noticed something... odd.

For example, when playing Witcher 2, it's all 'Waoooh - this is a beautiful game!'

In Rift's case, what kept niggling in the background was, 'How come this isn't as beautiful as Guild Wars, despite how recently it was launched?'

Personality! Personality is the problem. While I no longer play WoW, it definitely has a ton of personality.

In fact, I'd say WoW, Forsaken World, GW, and Allods all benefit from art direction that renders them equally unique and charming - just handled differently (though GW is the only overtly realistic one in that list).

Rift is just... bland. It's like cardboard. In all those other games I mentioned, having played it, you'd know where you were. Rift... Rift could be anywhere.

There's nothing wrong with the rendering quality; it's more of the lack of quality in what's being rendered.

Gameplay wise, it's fine - standard rat pellet MMO, and a very polished dispenser at that - so I'll probably get my two trial characters to 20 and sate my pellet cravings in the process.

...I just wish the pellets weren't made from cardboard.

P.S.: I'm reading ALL the quest text, which is not usual for me, in an effort to give it a chance. It's not wooooorkiiiiiing.