RIFT, I want to love you, but you’re making it hard


It’s been a good long while since I talked about RIFT here, and that isn’t because I’ve been so enraptured by Starfall Prophecy that I couldn’t bear to rip myself away to jot down a few words. Morelike, it’s been weeks of logging in to do minion quests and then getting quickly frustrated with the combat and then logging out. Rinse and repeat.

I swear, if it wasn’t for one of the warmest and friendliest guilds I’ve ever been a part of, I probably wouldn’t log in at all these days. Genuinely great guilds aren’t always easy to find and I do enjoy the companionship that they provide. So I keep making an effort to love this game, but RIFT seems bound and determined to make it hard for me to do so.

The core problem isn’t the story of Starfall Prophecy, which is — to me — somewhat interesting and occasionally surprising. It isn’t the smaller scope of the expansion. The problem is that, as I’ve said before, the mobs make standard questing onerous and a chore. Every time I play I feel the urge to rant about how simple it would be to fix this: decrease the mob density and cut mob health down at least by a third. Packed-in mobs with huge hit point pools equals no fun for anyone.

It’s not the first time that RIFT started in with the mob HP inflation; the past two expansions were guilty of this too. But it seems really, really high here and mobs take wayyyy too long to kill. My highest DPS build on my Cleric — a primary Defiler build — takes about 20 seconds to down a single mob, and that’s after putting about 10 DoTs on it. 10. Every fight, I have to punch about a dozen separate buttons, and my hand does not thank me for that. And that’s my hardest-hitting build — the build I actually like takes a half-minute or longer for a single mob. And it’s not that the mobs are too difficult otherwise, just that they have enough hit points to rival other MMOs’ raid bosses.

Early on in RIFT, it was a sheer joy to play these classes because no matter what your build, you could have a lot of fun mowing down packs of mobs and gradually improving your spec. Now, as I’ve said before, this might be a result of the increasing difficulty of balancing the game as players get access to more powerful and diverse abilities and equipment. But wouldn’t you think that making the basic questing experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible would be a priority? That the devs would err on the side of making mobs too easy to kill rather than too tough?

I know there are greater issues with this expansion and that Trion is still dealing with a lot of stuff. But for me, this has pretty much killed all enthusiasm and interest I have in playing Starfall Prophecy. I have a choice of many MMOs at any given moment, and most of them have found a far better balance with high-level mobs than what’s here. I don’t often call for nerfs, but for the love of all that’s holy, Trion, nerf these mobs and nerf them now. I can’t be the only one who has gotten turned off from the expansion for this issue.

My guild was talking about how in the next patch, you pretty much HAVE to have a 61-point build or otherwise you’ll lose a massive chunk of your DPS, which takes hybrid builds off the table. RIFT has been going down a depressing path as of late where most everyone plays very specific cookie-cutter builds to be able to quest/raid/DPS decently, so one of the game’s biggest strengths — the flexibility of make-your-own builds — is all but gone. It’s aggravating and I just don’t know how much more I’m going to hang onto this game when it obviously doesn’t want to hang on to players like me.

Here’s hoping that Trion Worlds might one day remember what used to make this game really fun to play and return back to that instead of pushing down this path.

4 thoughts on “RIFT, I want to love you, but you’re making it hard

  1. Belghast February 15, 2017 / 9:05 am

    You outlined a lot of my own feelings. Right now combat feels like an absolute slog that I may or may not make it out of successfully. I am sure I am simply using the wrong build or something like that… but even that is its own chore. Finding anything on the Rift forums is pure hell, because there is a mix of useful information and completely outdated and useless information with very little way to differentiate between the two. Rift really needs a WoWhead to be honest, a curator site that keeps only up to date information. If as a warrior… someone who is supposed to be a plate wearing sturdy class.. has trouble chewing through mob health and surviving there might be an issue.

    I want to love Rift because I have had so many good experiences with that game in the past, and I am really rather partial to the community. However it is making it super hard for me to care about logging in to spin the minion wheel when I am functionally stuck halfway through the current level grind.

  2. Telwyn February 15, 2017 / 10:54 am

    This all rings a lot of bells for me too, I’m finding it increasingly a painful slog going through the Nightmare Tide content – levelling is slower than treacle and the mobs take so long to die. I’ve tried three different builds including my own creations and a cookie cutter one. I guess my gear is partially to blame but it is a bit discouraging that Trion aren’t revisiting old content to rebalance it for much lower populations. It’s painful how rarely I manage to get around Draumheim without being ambushed by mobs of creatures.

  3. Sylow February 15, 2017 / 11:59 am

    Recently my girl also wanted to take a look at Rift again, so we spent two evenings there. For me the effect is similar, i do that because i enjoy gaming with her, i do not enjoy Rift at all. That being said, i even see things a bit from the opposite side.

    “Every fight, I have to punch about a dozen separate buttons, and my hand does not thank me for that.”

    You probably are right that this is how you fight. But i a long time ago already learned that you can turn Rift into a game of one or two buttons by using macros. And not only do you loose little to no damage output, but fo many specs you actually gain DPS by using just one button with a well built macro, as the macro can queue and time the abilities better than you ever could.

    You can either watch
    what the enemy is doing or monitor all your cooldowns, but as long as you don’t have chameleon eyes, you can’t do both at the same time at 100% performance. A macro can check all the cooldowns for you, so you just keep pressing one button and check what the enemy is doing, while your macro applies perfect DPS.

    And mind you, while this was still a kind of “secret” when i played at old times, by now it’s apparently the only way to play. If you look at the games forum, each and any setup there comes along with the one macro to spam, or in extreme cases two macros, which have to be used situationally. (When they differ between single target and AoE damage. )

    The game has an inflation of too many similar abilities, e.g. the mentioned DOTs. You have to use them all to be effective, while neither of them is special in any way. It’s a premium example to make TSW and GW2 shine, you have a limited toolbar, everything you select matters (or should matter, you also can pick junk, but nobody but yourself can be blamed for that) and there should be no useless fillers.

    “My guild was talking about how in the next patch, you pretty much HAVE to have a 61-point build or otherwise you’ll lose a massive chunk of your DPS, which takes hybrid builds off the table.”

    Uh, what do you mean “next patch”? I quite really playing the game over two years ago, and already at that time, if you didn’t put 61 points into one spec, you clearly were doing it wrong. The 61 points ability just already at that time was so much more powerful that not using it made you loose a lot of power.

    Mind you, i don’t know what is coming in the new patch, but all it can still do is changing the “you are doing it wrong but you still can slowly crawl forward” to “you are doing it wrong and we stop you dead in your tracks”. Not using a 61 points build was already a sign of masochism two years ago…

    Mind you, from the point of game design, i very much understand why they do this: the flexible system the game started out with created a lot of balancing problems. It was impossible for them to make content which was still manageable for some setups, without at the same time being a total pushover and absolutely boring for some other setups. So they had two possible paths to go. They could either redesign and rebalance everything, again and again, to finally in years to come
    reach a point where things are stable. Or they could put strong incentives in the game to do the 61 points builds, so no matter which souls somebody used, it would basically be one soul with a tiny bit of added flavour.

    They went the second way, which finally gave them a basis for balancing. And considering the above mentioned plethora of available abilities and the macro system, that was the only reasonable way for them to go. There is a reason why TSW and GW2 limit the number of abilities for the player so strictly and why GW2 a year or so ago switched to a more strict trait system. Restructuring the game to that is no viable option for Rift, and neither is the removal of the macro system. Either of them would result in massive (and understandable) backlash from the playerbase, so funneling them into certain setups by giving those setups massive advantages is the only way they can go.

    So as it’s the only reasonable way for them, it’s not surprising that they go that way. Sure build diversity goes out of the window, but the alternavite would require excessive manpower to code and maintain, which the rather small playerbase could not sustain.

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