Me, Rift, and Nicolas Cage
This past weekend I came to the conclusion that I will not be joining the new hotness that is the MMO called Rift.
I owe it all to Nicolas Cage.
Friday night, I was told in no uncertain terms that I was to leave my home so that it could be prepped for my birthday celebration the following day. Decorations needed to be set up, food and beverages needed to be stored, and the donkey had to be fed. Don’t ask.
I decided to make the best of my temporary homeless situation and chose to go to see a movie. It had been awhile since I’d been to the theater, and there’s just something special about watching movies up on the big screen. Unfortunately it was already mid-evening when I was ousted from my home, and the earliest flick I could get into was Drive Angry 3D, starring none other than the great Nicolas Cage.
Two hours later, I was back on the street where I was doing just that – Driving Angry, and muttering about the time I had just wasted. However, something happened while I weaved through traffic and reflected on what I had just been a part of. It showed me that I probably won’t be playing the new Rift MMO.
Let me take a step back for a second. I’ve stated in previous posts that I’m no fan of the 3D fad, be it television or the movies. It’s just a bullshit gimmick, a process that gets slapped onto most 3D movies yet adds nothing but another four bucks to the ticket price. You get gouged at the box office, put on glasses that they ask you to return after the movie, and see little (if any) worthwhile 3D effects. It’s expensive icing on the movie cake.
For two hours, I watched Nic Cage shoot people, drive cars, and have sex with his clothes on while simultaneously smoking a cigar and shooting fools in the chest… IN 3D! There were bullets/explosions/breasts that were IN YOUR FACE!
Those effects were… interesting. But since I wasn’t completely distracted, I actually noticed how very bad the movie itself was. It was yet another Cage movie that was almost bad enough to be good, but came up short and ended up being bad bad. I’m just saying that when a guy called “The Accountant” is the coolest part of your movie, there’s problems. (To his credit though, The Accountant was quite badass.)
The point I’m trying to make is that I’m not a fan of the glitz and gimmick. Like most other big dumb animals, I’m distracted by “ooohhh shiny”. But I don’t stay distracted for long unless there’s something of substance to keep my attention. ESPECIALLY if I have to pay for it. Or overpay, in the case of Drive Angry. Some might say I should have known better, and they’d be right, but when the chips were down and smoke cleared, no amount of special effects could hide how bad Cage sucked.
This brings me to Rift, or as I like to call it, the WoW version of Everquest 2. Wrap your head around that if you dare.
Rift is a WoW clone, and don’t give me that jive about souls and shards. Let’s not fool ourselves. It starts with the UI…
passes by the talent trees…
… and goes right down to Exclamation Points over the heads of questgivers.
Yes, World of Warcraft is guilty of taking concepts from other games as well. But at least they gave it their own spin. Rift has to remind you that “you’re not in Azeroth anymore”, because at first glance you might think you’d stumbled into WoW version Pretty.
Credit to Trion though. They struck at the perfect time. Even with the Cataclysm release, people were getting bored with the old girl we call World of Warcraft. Sure, she went and had some work done, changed up the 1-60 content that most people were going to do maybe once with a Goblin/Worgen, if they did it at all. Tacked on five levels and four new levelling zones that, again, people were going to have to do to level the multiple 80’s most people had by the end of Wrath. Raid content was slow in coming, and new raid content barely crawled into existance. It was the same old song and dance, which has only kept people interested for a few months.
But then Trion brought WoW’s cute cousin by, and heads turned. She was definitely prettier, with a few different quirks to give her a “new and mysterious” vibe. But she was still enough like WoW that folks weren’t too intimidated to get their hands on her. With over one million subscribers before release, it looked like their plan worked. They marketed a good gimmick to hook people.
In my eyes, Rift is still just WoW with a boob job.
Shockingly, I am bored with WoW. I am at a point where I manage to level up a couple of characters when I really, really summon the motivation to log in. Otherwise I’m just taking a few minutes a day to check the AH and make a mountain of gold. I am potentially the gamer demographic that Rift is aiming at – the burned out World of Warcraft player who is looking for an interesting game to grab my attention.
But when I look at Rift I just can’t see past the gimmick. I see the same style of grind as WoW, the same style of questing as WoW. I see nothing that would make me think it’d be more entertaining to level up in a world where quest hubs can be disrupted by the opening of a dimensional portal (despite the fact that it just might be). In fact, things like that are what had people quitting in WoW because the “world events” cut into the casual player’s ever-so-limited playtime. Zombie plague, anyone?
So far, I do not see anything in Rift that makes me want to follow the herd and leave essentially the same type of game, only to pay for a new subscription and start all over again in a new world. People wanted something new, something they hoped WoW would give them but didn’t. Rift is just letting them live out their World of Warcraft fantasy with new content, and who doesn’t like a little fantasy play every now and then.
Unless someone can give me an amazing reason to switch, I will not be playing Rift. Thank you, Nicolas Cage, for helping me see the light.