State of the Rift experience: How is Rift doing after 14 months?

State of the Rift experience: How is Rift doing after 14 months?

Published on: May 30, 2012 at 16:00
Updated on: May 30, 2012 at 14:53
By TJSonntag | Get more infos about MMORPG Rift

When thinking about the number of subscription-based and free-to-play MMOs currently available for players, it’s easy to see that anyone who wants to play an MMO should have no problems finding several that would suit his or her needs. As a matter of fact, the issue is far more likely to one of narrowing down the selection to just one or two.

Opportunity cost is the defined as the loss of potential gain from other alternatives once a decision has been made. For example, if you choose to spend your time playing video games, you’ve lost whatever you could have done with that time had you chosen to spend it on your work or studies. The same thing applies within gaming; if you choose to spend your $15 per month on World of Warcraft, you can’t spend that money on any other game. If you want to play a second game, you need to find either  another $15 or a free-to-play game.

Narrowing down the choices between MMOs can be difficult, and it’s important to really take stock of what each has to offer for its cost. While Aion is completely free now, that doesn’t do a player any good if he doesn’t care for the game play. Rift has been out for just over a year now, and it’s starting to show us just how successful it really is.

While the game launched with 600,000 subs back in March 2011, MMOData puts the number at about 250,000, realistically, as of May 2012. That’s pretty much on par with Turbine’s free to play fantasy adventure, Lord of the Rings: Online, and double where Age of Conan was in mid-2010 (before their free-to-play conversion). The Shard Status page on the official Rift website shows that all North American shards are designated as “low population,” and only of the European shards do better at “medium.”

Even with the “Ascend a Friend” program, Rift Lite, and character transfers, Rift appears to be having population problems. While that’s not really an issue when players are participating in cross-shard events and PvP, it does become a problem when a PvE’er finds herself wandering a lonely and all-but-forgotten world.

What can Rift do to help bring the population back up? We’re not sure. They’ve already implemented the free-to-play option of Rift Lite, the Ascend-a-Friend program has sufficient rewards, and the recent subscription deals have been more than generous. Those deals offered earlier this year helped make Rift a much better value than other subscription-based games like World of Warcraft, but they haven’t garnered the interest required to boost the number of gamers playing Rift.

Trion Worlds needs to start merging shards, and the sooner, the better. While players may  not  be thrilled to have to transfer to a new home, they definitely won’t put up with an empty world in a persistent universe. If Rift is going to save itself, it needs to combine those shards with the lowest population and give the characters some shoulders to rub against. A failure to do so may mean the demise of this amazing MMO.

TJSonntag's gaming bio:
TJ Sonntag has owned various Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Microsoft consoles, most of which were purchased for an exclusive survival horror game or RPG. She has been playing World of Warcraft since July of 2006, as well as dabbling in several other MMOs such as Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings: Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. TJ has participated in the closed and open betas for Aion, Rift, and several WoW expansions. She also participates in several FTP MMO betas, and has been leveling a member of each Secret Society in The Secret World.


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