After seeing a handful of posts over the past couple of days throwing out the idea that Trion’s Rift is now becoming over-hyped and/or over-exposed, I must admit to throwing my hands up in frustration. As I posted over at Bio Break:
I don’t understand it. Gamers are playing themselves sick on limited beta weekends, and the problem is with the company in any way? (not that you’re saying this, Syp, but it seems to be the impression I’m taking away from several comments on the blogosphere)
Sometimes I think I’ll never understand some of my fellow MMO players. I sometimes feel that this is purely a side-effect of our fast-moving internet and blogging culture, where people feel compelled to say something every so often (we don’t want to fall off of those blogrolls!), and so play themselves sick on games so that they have something to report on, and if they can’t (goodness forbid) play, speculate themselves into a frenzy of hype and delusion, the outcome of which can only be PR disaster.
That’s… not on the company. That’s on us.
I’m impressed at the culture we as MMO gamers have created for ourselves. We have the people who won’t buy at launch without a free trial (thus risking impacting a company’s ability to use money acquired through initial sales to improve and/or continue to develop the product); we have the people who are concerned about endgame and scoff at betas that don’t allow access to the higher levels of content. We have the people who scoff at betas because they are glorified marketing ploys/”soft launches”; we have the people who worry that a company who actually implements suggestions or makes changes due to feedback during beta lack vision.
So we have a game that used beta testers to beta test, limited beta access (presumably in part to build hype, and in part to restrict testing to targeted systems) but increased access with each beta event, increased the level cap with each event, opening up the map and dungeons for scrutiny, will show off near-endgame content to an open beta audience, giving us plenty of time to not only pre-order, but pre-order with discounts, and even lock in a reduced subscription rate after launch, and our problem is that now we’re over-exposed and wish Trion would turn it down a notch.
No, maybe our problem is that we have to talk about everything so much and so often that we’ve already played Rift for three years in our heads. Next!
Now, make no mistake: it is absolutely in the best interest of gaming companies to help us manage our expectations, whether that be by limiting content or revealing it. It is also true that we as a general gaggle of gamers have little to no idea what we really want; transparancy apparently leads to over-exposure and “over”-hype; a tight-lipped stance leads to ArenaNet having to post a blog in which they simply re-iterate that they’re still working on the game, or BioWare having to address rumors of a budget for SW:TOR many times larger than reality allows, impending doom and gloom, etc.
It would seem the only thing that hasn’t, in fact, been sped up by the internet is the actual development time of a quality MMO. Given the number of times I’ve now seen comments posted on various sites saying Trion should “just release Rift already,” I’m not sure we’re far off from forgetting that as well.
But what do I know? I’m talking about Rift, too, already as sick of the controversies about endgame and nerfing of racials and open PvP changes as everyone else. If Trion relied on my blog to generate hype, Rift would have already failed, since I no longer participate in the beta weekends, saving that content for launch – and as such, I haven’t much to say. Except, of course, to complain like the old, crotchety gamer that I am.