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RIFT: Starfall Prophecy – worst MMORPG of 2016?

December 17, 2016
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It’s hard to believe that in 2013, the writer would have defended this game staunchly against any criticism – even as it moved to F2P with it’s “no tricks, no traps” tag line.

That slogan will haunt Trion Worlds until the games eventual demise.

This writer is a player who, on his own, recorded every single Dream Celebration dimension (about two dozen – completely unsponsored) for review on an Official Trion Live Stream and uploaded to his channel, who did one of the highest watched FAN promotional (unsponsored) videos in 2012 for RIFT:Storm Legion as well as hundreds of quest and in-game guides. Thousands of hours invested in a game (and company) he cared passionately about.

My, how this company and game have changed.

If RIFT: Nightmare Tide was a fall from grace for Trion Worlds, then RIFT: Starfall Prophecy can only be described as plummeting straight into the very depths of hell.

Initially, RIFT was Buy to Play (you needed to buy the game) and then you needed to pay a subscription to continue playing. Then, it went F2P. Storm Legion F2P was okay, then gradually, it got worse.

With the release of Nightmare Tide, a paywall was implemented in the form of Earring Slots, a restrictive gear paywall that prevented you equipping certain gear (and still exists). This has been swapped between a dedicated grind and credits only and back again.

Leading up to this new Starfall Prophecy DLC, it was touted as going B2P again as you needed to buy Starfall Prophecy to access content above level 65.

This is actually NOT correct. The game is not B2P. The game remains F2P merely with another paywall added – the option to purchase a DLC – oh, and they’d like you to subscribe too – for patron “benefits”

The game, cash shop, EVERYTHING remained the same, they just added a DLC to the store and in this writers opinion, based on what limited content this so-called “expansion” offers, Downloadable Content (DLC) is a heckuva better name for RIFT Starfall Prophecy than the word “expansion”.

To play RIFT today, it remains a pretty expensive exercise if you’re new to the game. The “no tricks, no traps” doesn’t tell you of the “extras”. Those sir, aren’t tricks you see – they’re, um… extras?

The questing and story (when they finally fixed some of the multiple voice-over issues) is not bad. After about two weeks of beta, they couldn’t even get the questing experience fully working with users complaining of having to abandon story quests and having to redo them. The multiple voices talking over each other issue was a major immersion breaker.

The limited content on release was far from polished.

When the classes in this current expansion are (hopefully) balanced and raids are (hopefully) balanced and (hopefully) implemented bug free, you will need, to be a competitive raider (if raiding is still a feature) – the base “essentials pack” at US$50 and this unlocks the earring slots which are needed and most (not all) of the talents/souls. To buy those, you will need to spend another US$35, but these are not essential (yet). Then, to level to 70 and actually see the latest (rather limited) content, you will need to spend another US$40 on the RIFT: Starfall Prophecy expansion. Then, to unlock the six minions to make best use of a feature in the game, that’s another US$30 or so – not essential. So, you’re in for a minimum of US$90 to US$150 or so. This still doesn’t unlock all the bag slots, though – that’s another US$15 per character.

Based on the recent trade-able Starfall Prophecy expansion inclusion of anyone who purchases a US$100 credit pack, it seems the numbers are so poor in this DLC / expansion that they’ve decided to plan go F2P again. Time will tell. RIFT is a game with a business model identity crisis.

A few weeks prior to its release, RIFT: Starfall Prophecy was made “open beta” on Trion World’s Public Test Shard (PTS). It became obvious to most veterans of the game that this was not an expansion that appears to have been 18 months in the making. The bug below still plagued users after release:

On the 16th of November 2016, these fears were confirmed when the Starfall Prophecy DLC was released with many of the bugs and issues from the beta phase still in the game. The unfinished, apparently rushed, buggy state of the game was clearly evident with over the half the content touted in the expansion was disabled on release day. It appears as if class balance involved a spinning wheel board and a dev throwing a dart at it.

EDIT: Ok, so as of today, the devs appear so desperately lost, they are asking the community to help with class balance – CLICK HERE FOR FORUM POST /mindblown

Concerns that were raised when it was announced that classes don’t have dedicated devs working on them appear to validated by the state of classes with the release of this DLC.

The touted 64-bit feature is still unstable and especially vulnerable to addons. In what can only be the realization that most addon makers are probably not playing the game, it appears as if a recent patch was fine-tuned so that old addons would work better. Yes, the game code was made to be more compatible with existing addons.

Today, over one month later, the Starfall Prophecy Expansion (which I feel is not an apt name – I prefer DLC) remains in an unfinished state. The outcry on the forums has been silenced by CM’s deflecting questions, not giving definitive answers to “why” the game was released with many features not working correctly or not in the game at all and actively deleting posts, banning disgruntled customers and closing negative threads.

In addition to this, Trion’s terms and conditions now include a “NO REFUND” policy.

There has been no solid ETA given “when” the final product with features touted on the main page will be implemented in the game. Consumers have been sold an unfinished product.

In a recent interview with a data-miner, it appeared as if there were no major assets for a new raid even being in the the client. This indicates that content that was promised in the release product appears to not even be in development yet.

In 2011, Trion Worlds was hailed as the underdog of the MMORPG world with the release of RIFT.  Player vs Environment (PvE) raiding content was touted as comparable, if not better in some ways to World of Warcraft.

It should be noted that most of the so-called “awards” that RIFT currently has are from a site who conveniently appears to receive major sponsorship from Trion Worlds RIFT in the form of marketing, promotional advertising.

This apparent sponsorship for positive reviews and opinions appears to not only be limited to so-called “fair and balanced” gaming web sites. It is of great concern to the writer that no games media outlet appears it can be trusted for objectivity.

READ THE OUTRAGE ON THE FORUMS:
There are mass purges, deletions and bans for damage control going on. So, Trion Worlds, keep it up and the writer (who as recorded most of it) will do video voice-narrating the customer’s reaction to the game.
Thread: Can I Have My Money Back?
Thread: Feedback from the Community
Thread: So, What Can You Honestly Tell A Prospective Customer?

Deleting isn’t going to help them. This writer has recorded dozens of hours of footage of the forums on threads, posts that were just deleted.

Based on the games official forums, there appears to be very little positive to say about RIFT Starfall Prophecy in general.

A quick search for moderately positive YouTube reviews of Trion Worlds’ RIFT all make mention that the content creators are sponsored. An ex-RIFT YouTuber who was in the World First RIFT raid guild, “Special Olympics” appears to be holding back laughter as he grinds through three Trion-sponsored episodes of his presentation of the expansion. The writer is not the only one to observe this.

The backlash in the comment sections of these videos is brutal and overwhelmingly negative which we can only assume is from a player-base that genuinely feels misled and cheated.

Trion Worlds also appears to have abandoned any attempt at keeping RIFT a raiding game – one of the things that originally made it appeal to so many World of Warcraft fans.

There is no mention of “when” the 10 man raid will be released or if there will ever be another 20 man raid. Based on the last 20 man raid launch disaster, it may be in their interests to sticking to content that they can manage.

Endgame at level 70 currently includes questing, doing two (yes only two) new dungeons and one up-scaled old content dungeon and a handful of dailies. Oh, yes – and then (when it wasn’t disabled), Planar Assault adventures which are an endless grind of RIFT and one boss (with basically one mechanic).

The RIFT team appear to have even struggled with getting these limited features working correctly with loot-table issues, boss fights causing the client to crash, even having entire dungeons disabled for a week (expansion has only been out a month).

In this writer’s opinion, never in the history of an MMORPG has RNG been at the forefront of a game as it is in RIFT. Planar fragments have multiple RNG factors and a major “feature” touted in this game.

The platinum (in game currency) dump far exceeds the methods to generating in-game currency with old-raiding content farming nerfed and the new expansion being incredibly lean on a single player attempting to earn currency from any other means except gathering to sell to crafters. Crafting, however, is expensive to level and pretty much a waste of time. It appears obvious to most people that the intended method of earning platinum is to purchase REX from the cash shop to sell on the in-game auction house.

The RIFT playerbase has fallen substantially over the years from a game where apparently over a million tried it has now dwindled to what can only be assumed to be 5 to 15 thousand regular players. According to RIFT Steam charts, the expansion bumped the population up by 20%, but looking at the last week or two, this is now dropping to below the numbers at end of the previous expansion levels.

Yes, less people appear to be playing now than at the end of the previous expansion – in the so called “expansion dull-drums” quiet period!

This writer feels that the RIFT development team is under so much pressure, has so limited resources, that they may very well now simply be too small to maintain a serious PvE RAID orientated game.

As far as raiding PvE content goes, it is accurate to say right now: “RIFT is dead.” as it is non-existent.

Guilds are desperately trying to maintain their memberships by running old level 65 raids at level 70 just to give them something to do. This will obviously appease the hard-core RIFT supporters, but new players (and old) hungering for a raid content will soon leave.

This consensus was shared among players in a recent interview who feel the game is probably going to devolve into some social media type fluff game where the world just serves as a place for people to do general activities such as building dimensions and maybe a bit of RP. With 20 man content apparently off the table, maybe this is the future of RIFT – a slightly grander Farmville type game?

Maybe this is a good thing too as the last attempt at making decent raids ended in such shoddy workmanship, broken mechanics that most of the top raiding community have left the game for Warcraft and other MMO’s such as Guild Wars 2, Final Fantasy XIV.

In addition, in the last expansion, world first guilds were banned for using so-called “exploits” which was by all accounts just a poorly encoded, untested boss fight. There have also been allegations (and screenshots) of devs giving players permission to use these exploits causing (we assume if we believe rumours) devs being “let go” and mass exodus of top class players.

If there is any doubt about the quantity and quality of raiders left in he RIFT community, one ex-raider smirked when he commented that there is currently, a casual PvP guild featuring in the RIFT world top progression guilds.

The writer (and many others) sincerely feels this is the end of RIFT as a serious PvE raiding game. This community is leaving in droves. When you consider that one content patch in World of Warcraft released a 5 man dungeon with 11 bosses (not just a simple upscale, but an update) and RIFT’s new 10 man will probably include only 5 or so, and this appears to be over 3 months away before it is released, it appears as if Douglas Adams’ quote is appropriate for the RIFT raiding community to say to Trion Worlds:

“So, long RIFT, and Thanks for all the fish!

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One Response to RIFT: Starfall Prophecy – worst MMORPG of 2016?

  1. Rhumble on January 26, 2017 at 20:45

    Definitely the worst MMOPG of 2016, but I’d say possibly of all time. Many 6 year guilds are just closing shop. Guilds that have stuck with Rift through thick and thin. The list of things they did poorly is just too massive to recover from.

    But their comments about being happy with the log on numbers. Their comments about understanding we don’t want buggy content while ignoring the comments about needing some content. Their lack of discussion of the awful gambling fragment itemization that was added. Literally releasing class balance in the worst state ever. Had several friends take a break over that alone, after having spent hours on specs, only to have them changed. Worse, they did the same thing again, and then those got nerfed. They did need to be nerfed, but this is literally an ongoing process 3 months after launch now.

    This long time player is sad, but it’s over.

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