Limited Access: A Boon for Rift

I’m starting to think that Trion Worlds has struck upon a brilliant way to do closed betas.  Perhaps they’re not the first (probably not), but man if it isn’t working out in their favor.

If you haven’t been paying attention to Rift lately — and why not? — Trion has been hosting bi-weekly beta events that typically open up for a weekend, then close after a few days.  While there are players who undoubtedly wish that the closed beta would just keep on going, it’s certainly paid for Trion to do it this way.

Why?  Four reasons immediately come to mind:

1. By splitting up the CB into several events, the company is able to promote each event separately and make a big deal out of them that way.  You release just one closed beta, you only get one big PR push to announce it; you release several closed beta events, you get a PR push each and every time one’s on the schedule.

2. It keeps player enthusiasm high while helping them to avoid initial burnout.  Players who get their hands on a new game typically play the heck out of it, which is why you often see beta testers limping to the launch date with souring feelings on the game.  By giving players just a taste here and there, it satisfies curiosity and allows them to have fun without giving them unrestrained access before release.  Plus, there’s that little thrill of anticipation when you know you already like the game and have a future event to look forward to playing.  It kind of made me wonder what it would be like if we could only access MMOs on certain dates instead of continuously, but that’s a topic for another day.

3. It gives Trion time to recoup and restrategize.  I have no doubt that running a CB event like the past four ones are incredibly time- and energy-consuming for the team, taking them away from working on the game to running it for a while.  So it’s probably good they don’t have to do both constantly, but can run it with a whole bunch of people for a short time, then figure out where they need to go from there and have a couple weeks to work on it.

4. You can really see the improvements and how Trion listens to customer feedback with each beta event patch, something I think would be lost if it was a continuous CB that saw small patches every couple days.  Like it or not, big patches get us more excited, and that once again plays to their hand.

As for this past weekend, I dabbled a bit but didn’t have a ton of time to really get into much.  I did one warfront (fun if typical PvP zerging), a dungeon run (Realm of the Fae) and a number of rift invasion stuffs.  At this point, I’m really just ready for launch, and I don’t feel like investing a whole lot more time into my character other than just checking a few things out.

How about you?  Did you play, and if so, what did you think?

19 thoughts on “Limited Access: A Boon for Rift

  1. Copra January 10, 2011 / 9:04 am

    Played, yes, and posted my feelings on my blog. It’s a nice game, I loved almost every moment of it, and the moments I have something to comment I’ll comment on my feedback.

    C out

  2. Elementalistly January 10, 2011 / 9:08 am

    Did not even know myself and my team (wife and son) were in until Saturday.
    Tested a bit of the team dynamics and helped us choose our classes.
    The games fluid style, polish and ease to get into sold us.
    We stopped as to not get too involved before launch…i.e: we are Pre-Order keepers.

  3. Moxie January 10, 2011 / 9:47 am

    I played it Saturday and Sunday, and it won me over. I don’t think they’re doing anything that’s truly new or innovative in the genre, but dang if they haven’t put out a very nice, polished, & fun game… much more so than most other MMOs to launch in the past few years.

    I played several classes up through the tutorials, then hit the road and explored the game world a bit while participating in rift events. I purposely avoided doing much questing, that can wait for launch.

    In a way, not following the hype until the last minute was helpful; I didn’t have a lot of pre-conceived notions so the game was able to speak for itself rather than having to live up to the hype.

  4. pasmith January 10, 2011 / 10:12 am

    Played of course. Joined the guild I’ve been researching and met some new people. Have you gotten into a guild yet? They have “Guild Quests” (which might be common in MMOs but they were new to me). Things like “Run Realm of the Fae 15 times” – so it’s stuff the guild would be doing anyway but it’s one more progression thing, and helps to level the guild.

    New guild meant new server and so did 1-16 again; I had some concerns about how dull doing an Alt might be with the 1-10 run being so linear, but it went past really quickly and wasn’t bad at all.

    I didn’t like the Warfronts but that was no surprise: I don’t like WoW BG’s, didn’t like Warhammers scenarios, so didn’t expect to like Rift’s sports-themed PvP component. But I was happy to hear that a lot of people who do enjoy that kind of thing were having fun.

    Not sure if the community has evolved or if this was due to changing servers, but the server I was on this time (Faeblight) was much better at self-organizing during invasions. Within seconds of the invasions starting people were forming raids to fight back the denizens of the Fire Plane. Good fun!

  5. pasmith January 10, 2011 / 10:13 am

    Oh, DOH! And the point I actually MEANT to make… I agree with you: these limited beta phases really keep me engaged. They always end with me wanting more and looking forward to the next beta event. Brilliant idea, IMO…

  6. ramizeth January 10, 2011 / 11:15 am

    After spending the weekend playing all I can say is that I am sold and two thumbs up. Up to recently I really had no idea about this game and I have been floundering like a ship without its rudder in trying to find a MMO that would capture my MMO enthusism again. WoW and Lotro have kept me busy but the overall luster has been lost.

    As others have said there really is nothing groundbreaking new to this game but what it does is combine the good from the MMO industry and nicely packages it into a well polished game. What it does is allows for a nice new fresh start.

  7. Gankalicious January 10, 2011 / 1:21 pm

    I hate to be the fly in the ointment (not true I actually love it) but I’m not liking it so far. I’ve pre-ordered AND payed for 6 months so I had high hopes…. Got caught up in the hype I guess. I think it looks awful, and plays very choppy on my computer where other games play well. I am, however, in the minority as most don’t seem to have frame rate problems. I am, in fairness, a committed pvp’er so nothing yet has convinced me this will hold my attention for long.

    I absolutely love the class system and soul-combo’s though. That seems to be winner.

  8. Bhagpuss January 10, 2011 / 1:21 pm

    Played Friday night, Saturday night, all day Sunday and most of Monday. Blasted work on Saturday or it would have been three straight days!

    The more I see, the more I like it. Having been quite critical, like many, of the questing I found myself spending the majority of my time on the Gloamwood quests and thoroughly enjoying them. I think I’ve done nearly the whole of the zone now; I’ve certainly gotten the quest leader into The Scarlet Gorge, the next zone up (which wasn’t open for beta 4, of course).

    I loved Gloamwood. It reminded me heavily of several places in Vanguard, especially the Cartheon areas. That’s a very good thing. The themes and storylines were interesting, too, although wholly unoriginal. I’m not concerned about originality in a genre product, however, just about entertainment and I was thoroughly entertained.

    The Warfronts were WoW/Warhammer BGs/Scenarios. Simple as that. If you liked those, you’ll like these; if you didn’t, these won’t change your mind. I like them when I’m in the mood and it’s nice to have them there for when the mood takes me.

    I’ve played so much in all four betas that I’m beginning to think I need to hold back for the remaining ones. I am not touching any Defiant content (I did beta 1 there but haven’t done anything significant since) so all that will be fresh. I think if they raise the level cap next time I will stick to making new characters and going through the content i already know, rather than pushing any further on.

    Can’t wait for launch. If they’d launch now I’d be more than happy to pay to play with what’s there while they fix up the rest.

  9. pasmith January 10, 2011 / 2:12 pm

    @gankalicious – I’m interested to see what, if anything, they’re going to do for “World PVP” particularly on the PVP servers. But yeah, as things stand now this is primarily a PvE game with a few PvP scenarios to break things up now and then.

    @Syp – How come this post isn’t appearing on your home page? (Unless my browser is borked and showing a cached version.)

  10. Corwynn Maelstrom January 10, 2011 / 3:04 pm

    I’m right there with you Syp. Ready for the release to roll on out. I’ll of course take advantage of some play during the coming beta events, but really, I’m most looking forward to Feb 24.

    A played a couple levels in Gloamwood questing, a level and a half questing and zone eventing in Stonefield, played maybe 8 Warfronts (5-3 I think) on two different characters, and also played (quested/zone evented) a new mage in Freemarch.

    The least time I’ve spent in a beta event yet, but not because I am not interested. Just because I *am* interested and not wanting to burn out badly.

    Next event we should have a pair of new G13’s to get used to, so we’re likely to play a bit more in order to practice.

  11. Chris January 10, 2011 / 3:18 pm

    I played this weekend, very good game. I played a lot of different toons just to get a taste of everything. I’m all in on Feb 24. I tried not to get very far, so I could savor the game at release.

  12. Cedia January 10, 2011 / 4:12 pm

    I was up until 4 am last night playing. 😛

    That having been said, I am glad that they opened the warfronts this weekend. I had a huge problem deciding whether I would play a Warrior or a Rogue (I don’t like alts), and the PvP pretty much decided for me. Yes, I hear the Warrior PvP soul that we could not access is supposedly brilliant, but I love the flexibility that comes with the Rogue. (Riftstalker FTW!!!)

    And I totally agree that small doses is a very good thing. I believe that it keeps player anticipation high and also keeps the devs focused.

    Gloamwood is amazing. When I first got there, I was like, ho hum, Darkshire, but later I learned that it is so much more. It’s more of a nod to Darkshire than an actual copy. Then again, I never played EQ so it may have been inspired by a zone there!

  13. We Fly Spitfires January 10, 2011 / 4:23 pm

    I’m avoiding the Rift beta as I’ve sworn off playing games before they’ve been released. Still, I’ve already decided I’m going to pre-order it and reckon I should be able to resist even if they send me a code. Should 🙂

  14. Grimfire January 10, 2011 / 4:24 pm

    I finally got an invite. I will say that the 1-6 experience is just ok and could be removed IMHO. However, once out of the instanced starter zone the game was extremely enjoyable and polished. I heard to complaints about rifts simply being Like WAR PQs but they were only similar in a very superficial sense (I spent a good 12 months in WAR). Hey made the world seem alive and on multie occasions I had to quit crafting to fend of an invasion. I did a lot of dying which is nice as many new MMOs make you feel completely safe. Bottom line: after playing it I decided to purchase it. I’m really looking forward to it and hope to find a solid Rp-pvp home soon.

  15. Daria January 10, 2011 / 4:37 pm

    It is funny how you and I seem to be on the same wavelength sometimes. I also had a thought about the limited playtimes being standard for some MMOs, meaning the servers were only up say on weekends. That would help people who tend to play too much, like me, that have no willpower to restrain themselves. 🙂
    But I know that will never happen for a subscription MMO.

    However, today I am jonesing to play Rift. I got into the beta for the first time this weekend and tried about 10 different class combinations. My highest level character is 13, and is a cleric. No surprise as I saw tons of other clerics running around. I got into 2 zone wide event Rifts and it was great fun. I was a little low level and died numerous times but it was still a blast. I loved that I actually felt some danger from the elites roaming around. I didn’t get to try some PvP though as I’m behind most other people in level. There were some groups trying to form up in general chat for pvp which is promising. I’m actually quite disappointed that they will have instanced battlegrounds and hope it doesn’t kill any spontaneous pvp. I’m guessing at some point there will be a zone where both factions come together? Because so far it has been very separate ala Aion.

  16. pasmith January 10, 2011 / 9:08 pm

    “I’m actually quite disappointed that they will have instanced battlegrounds and hope it doesn’t kill any spontaneous pvp. I’m guessing at some point there will be a zone where both factions come together? B”

    That’s my fear (and hope) too. Originally I thought that we’d be able to tear open rifts and attack the other side through them, but I guess that’s not in the plans, at least for the PvE servers?

    I’m not sure the ruleset of the PvP servers. Is it “kill anyone, any time” or is it “kill anyone from the opposing faction, any time”. If the latter, I might have to roll on a PvP server.

  17. Renquin January 11, 2011 / 1:56 am

    Sadly didn’t have alot of time to play the past weekend, got the key just after I’d booked it full -.-, but what I saw was awesome.
    I’m going to wait for the next phase before I’ll order. But as it’s looking now, this’ll be the first new MMO I might actually stick with for longer than 2 months (if the end-game is up to par ofc…)

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