Rift Quests Are Not ‘Just Fine’

March 24, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Posted in mmorpg, Rift | 21 Comments
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Fun, Fun, Fun, which rift will I take?

One thing I’ve noticed about Rift is that they failed to make interesting quests. It really bothers me. No special effort went into them. Whether it be writing, objectives, mechanics or implementation, I felt it was all quite lazy. Probably the best thing about them is that the objectives are located beside one another and you can complete multiple boring quests at the same time.

Chris and Anjin, along with a few others, quite disagree with me. Their argument is that the quests are no different or no worse than virtually any other MMO. That these quests would have been acceptable 2 years ago, and Trion shouldn’t be at fault for not innovating further. Chris even goes further in saying that “It does it with style. It’s flashy. It’s fast paced. It’s dangerous. Those are three things quests should be.”

If your best argument is that Rebecca Black is no worse than Justin Bieber, then you’ve got yourself a really terrible argument.

We are talking about an extremely well funded game company using quest design from at least 7 or 8 years ago. It’s a shocking disappointment for an otherwise well done game. In what other game genre would this be acceptable exactly?

Why are big MMO fans ready and willing to just roll over and accept poor quests? Not just accept it. Defend and even champion it. Flashy? Fast Paced?

I’m no expert of course. I’m not sure how I would have made better quests. I might have started with the lore. Except Rift’s lore appears to be cribbed from other games. The entire game’s model is taken from World of Warcraft, and everything appears to be shaped in Rift to achieve a very similar lore based antagonistic relationship with the other faction.

Only that doesn’t work when you’re just copying somebody else. Rift has good lore ideas, but they are undermined when hammered into a WoW mold.

I might have used humour, as some games tend to do. A good laugh can make a quest worth while. I haven’t laughed that much. I can remember one particular quest in Silverwood with Scottie that was quite original and funny. There appear to be 2 or 3 funny quests in a zone. Out of 100.

I could make my quests more difficult or more intricate. A boss that requires skill to defeat, a complicated quest solution that requires thinking, quests that need you to work and cooperate with others. How about anything that requires more thought than just killing 6 of these. There is none of this in Rift. There is no variety.

I take issue with the very foundation of their arguments, that Rift quests are no worse than other games. I think they are worse. They don’t have lore, humour, or variety going for them when most games have at least one of these. Their quality is perhaps improved by the art, noise, (most of all) rifts, and whatever else breaks up the game. If this game did not have rifts, I wonder how much people would be defending the quest system then?

That’s probably my most important point. Try imagining Rift with no rifts. You are left with a quest system that no one would praise.

Perhaps I am being too harsh. There are rifts, and art, and whatever else and they do break up the monotony of the quests. It is an enjoyable game, I will be subscribing. I would even recommend the game despite the quests. I guess this post is about one thing only. I don’t see why you would spend any time at all defending the quests. Trion didn’t put in the effort, neither should you.

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21 Comments

  1. You have discovered what rift is, its wow for those who want a quick break to play with rifts (which i think is a bit unfair to wow). Dont think of it as anything else but pretty, with rifts. Its a distraction, not the next game for your life, its got rifts.
    Nothing more, nothing less, but rifts. Thats why they called it rift. its its thing, next.

    • I’ll give you all of that melski, but the rifts are worth while in my opinion.

  2. It sounds like what you’re missing is “true” immersion.

    I am reminded of pen&paper rpg experiences where the GM had failed to coble together much more than the barest hint of an actual story that anyone would care about… compared with other pnp rpg experiences where the GM had practically written a novel… a really good novel… where you couldn’t help being drawn in and caring about what was going on.

    I’ve heard this repeatedly from others as well… you’re not alone Hunter… many of my RL friends compliment RIFT on it’s lack of bugs, on it’s looks, on the Rifts themselves, but without exception each of them has an almost identical comment on it too, “There’s just something missing… can’t put my finger on it…”

    Some of them (like you) take a shot at pinpointing the source of their angst… others just chalk it up to “something” missing.

    I actually feel a bit sad for the DEVs at Trion… it’s clear they put considerable effort into to releasing a high quality game, but it’s pretty clear (to me at least) at this point that they will suffer the same fate as many others over the course of the next few months. (That’s not a good fate I’m referring to either…)

    Here’s hoping that SWTOR or GW2 in the near future will be able to come out with something worthwhile and long-lasting. (Personally, my money is on GW2)

    • Perhaps true immersion is the problem, but in an MMO i don’t normally find that to be possible any more. General chat, guild chat, chatting with friends are a big part of the reason i play MMOs and they break immersion every time i participate in chat. MMOs are some of the hardest games to be immersed in so I can hardly fault them for a lack of immersion.

      I can appreciate a good story and good quests even if i’m not immersed, I think.

  3. There are a few neat ones at the end of the zones usually, but yeah most are bland.

    I’ve always said they are filler. Filler is something to pass the time. I agree they could have done better, but WoW has been refining their quest tech for a long time.

    I am more concerned with Trion working on their dynamic event tech, and that seems to be exactly what they are doing.

    • the epic story quests, or at least the freemarch ones i’ve participated in, have been ok. they’ve certainly been challenging and required me to group up and work with others. Although on two characters i missed the quest offer in freemarch, and i’m not sure where to find it in silverwood…

      trion should concentrate on rifts because there doesn’t seem to be any point to them working on quests at this point.

  4. Hunter, some “news” for you.

    GW2 will not have quests, only public quests.

    SWTOR will not have public quest, but voiced quests.

    Rift is a game based on “rifts”, that are public quests. Rift have both public quests and quests.

    The quest system is old. No one can make it fun or make it better. A game based only at quests will be boring, be the quests voiced or not.

    Trion is trying to make their dinamic content (“rifts” or public quests) better. The event next week (starting march 30th)is the correct direction.

    And, IMHO, SWTOR will fail because it will be a quest game… and the future are public quests.

    • I’m not sure swtor quests will fail. their fully voiced cinematic approach could bulldoze mmos into immersion and story.

      rifts in rift are the focus, i’m well aware, it was just a disappointment to see a large part of the game see no special attention whatsoever.

      • SWTOR will have quests, not public quests. Yes, they are voiced, but sadly that will be a problem, not a solution: you can skip text, but you cannot skip cut scenes.

        And the real problem is that the quest system is out dated. It is not a problem specific to Rift, it is a problem with all MMO genre.

  5. I pretty much have been in avoidance of quests unless they are in my path of daily chores (like gathering, killing, spelunking and mountain climbing).
    I started a new alt, and really want these quests to disappear so I can get out to Gloamwood and Scarlet Gorge where the open road really lends itself well to just toying about, fighting Rifts and… “adventuring”…being the key word.

    • gloamwood is my next stop on my silverwood side, but I’ve been neglecting my guardian. nobody to play with.

      for me i can do quests, even the most terrible quests, if they’re broken up by the other activities you mention. thats part of the reason i love artifacts so much.

  6. I don’t know, I’m feeling very frustrated at this point because I am just not feeling very compelled to do anything in this world anymore. Adventuring and rift-chasing only takes me so far, especially when one wrong turn takes me to an area where I have no chance to survive because the mob’s numbers are bigger than my numbers.

    I need a story to grip me and in-game, the way quests are being delivered, that’s just not happening. Telling me the secret is to ignore the quests is…. not the answer I’d be looking for :P.

    • I’ve always felt my biggest compulsion to play was to hang out with friends. a good story means I am entertained as well, but doesn’t really factor into me logging in.

      my only advice is, try to focus on rifts. they have… some… story and they’re fun. maybe they could motivate you?

      • You see the death of your starwars mmo in this tree of talk dont you? I can see it from your responses!

        • relax darth melski, lets wait til the game comes out before judging too harshly

  7. In my defense, the reason I decided to mention the quests was to counter the prevailing wisdom that Rift’s quests are “the worst ever.” If you look around the blogging community, you might get the impression that Trion actually took a backwards step with the system. My proposal (like Chris) is to say that it is not the quests that have gotten worse, it is the players’ tolerances for such quests that have become more refined.

    I don’t think they are anything special, but I don’t think they are worse than the average MMO questing either.

    • my problem with saying its the people and not the quests, is that it doesn’t acknowledge that the quests are bad.

      Not to mention, every blog i’ve ever read for years and years has complained about KTR, FedEx, and other standard MMO boring quests, and suddenly rifts comes out and people like it, so they also want to defend the same lousy quest system.

      The “acceptable 2 years ago” back door doesn’t work for me.

  8. The issue, like one of your commenters noted before, is immersion. That’s one of the things I initially struggled with too. I find myself having fun playing Rift, but I’m still slowly trying to make a connection to the world.

    This is a new IP Trion has created, so I knew very little. Contrast this to WoW when it came out, where it already had lore established by their strategy games and a huge history behind its world. If I find Rift quests boring now (which I kinda do too), I don’t think it’s because they are poorly written or implemented. I think part of my problem is not caring enough about the background of the game yet. That stuff takes time, but I’m slowly learning more.

    Speaking of which, I wish they would put out some Rift novels. I could always use more video game reading.

    • well perhaps it is an issue for some. For me I’m not sure. I think we can agree that to be immersed all you need is a gripping story. I don’t think rift has it.

  9. At least you can get through the quests pretty easily? I feel like Rift said, Hey, we don’t want to completely change every single possible thing about mmos, so we’re going to keep questing simple. There’s so much else to do in this game that you can’t treat quests as a defining characteristic of the game. I feel like Rift has only touched the very, very tip of the surface of what they actually want to do with this game, and that starts happening at 50.

    • I’ll give you that rift shouldn’t be judged solely on the quests, there’s more to it than that.

      I don’t agree with making quests, which are a large part of the game, simple. If that was their intent.

      I’ll also add that if this game turns into a gear hunt at end game, I’m not going to be interested.


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