This is why I love world events. It’s not for the loot, it’s not for the lore, and it’s not for the gameplay.
It’s for the forum rage. And Rift delivered beyond anything short of League of Legends being unavailable for more than ten minutes in terms of pure, uncontrollable, fists-to-keyboard, rage-bucket-overflowing nerdrage. It’s like Trion went to every subscribers home and murdered their mothers/stole a hotpocket. It’s something akin to watching a preview for Bridalplasty, and thinking that this is now the new low for humanity.
The sheer amount of ‘me me me’ sentiment, the outrageous levels of entitlement, and the total hypocrisy of it all (We want truly dynamic content! No I missed the dynamic content, wtf is this /wrist!) just shows how truly sad a large section of any MMO community really is. If I was a dev, I’m not sure how I would handle it short of instancing everything on a repeating cycle… wait… nevermind.
That aside, let’s talk about the event itself. Simple put, phase 2 was good, phase 3 missed the mark, and overall expectations were WAY too high and the outcome either poorly communicated or simply underwhelming. Think WoW AQ40 gate event, only… actually think AQ40 event.
Phase 2 was good in that it spread the population out across all zones, was close enough to existing gameplay that it reduced confusion (it was basically a bigger invasion with more flavor), and on Sunrest it worked. MMO history has set some pretty damn low expectations for world events, but hey, it is what it is.
Phase 2 could have been better though. The whole thing was too quick, and should have contained more waves of attackers and perhaps some more ‘final’ bosses. Just something to give everyone enough time to make it over, and to perhaps give the whole thing a greater sense of actual danger. At least in Shimmersands, the invaders never even came close to winning. That said, whatever you do is going to get mega-zerged, so you are somewhat limited. If you make the bosses AoE people down, those playing on toasters are going to cry you a river that they died to lag and how that’s totally unfair and they feel like used cattle (or something along those lines, too many ridiculous forum posts floating around in my head to keep them all straight right now).
As for phase 3, I get what Trion was trying to do. It was a total fluff event, just some lore playing out in the world to set up the opening of the new raid instance. In that context what actually happened was pretty cool, as you got to see the two faction leaders face off with the big bad, and the ‘four pillar’ was all over the place. My lightsaber was quivering in excitement (btw, SW:sRPG is going to be amazing and everyone is going to love it, have I mentioned that?).
The problem was I think most people expected some epic boss showdown, followed by a massive loot-piñata explosion. Not so much on that front. Again, I think it was more of a communication issue than anything else; had people known phase 3 was just going to be some lore stuff, it probably would have worked out (the “I’m just here for the shiny” crowd would have stayed home).
Oh, and about that crowd. While Shimmersand in phase 2 was full of people in a good way, Stillmoor in phase 3 was a brilliant tech demo of the limitations of the Rift engine (not to mention the server crashing twice and the whole event having to be cycled in an odd, immersion-breaking fashion). With god knows how many people all in one area (literally 100s, if not over a thousand people in exactly one spot), the engine was only drawing 50 or so characters and limiting particles, which made walking around a ghost-show as people popped in/out on your screen. The worst part was my machine was happily chugging along at 30 FPS+, and could have easily handled more stuff on-screen (I was still at maxed out settings), but that option was not available to me. Add in being on a PvP server, and yea, not good. To Trion’s credit, at least the engine prioritized the special NPC characters, so even though I was not drawing the hundreds of players around them, I still got to see/hear the lore play out. Had THAT been cut due to player load, I might have a made a forum post myself (not really).
Without a doubt a lot of lessons learned here for Trion. They have already acknowledged that and tried to make amends with the nerdragers (btw, is it really an ‘achievement’ if the devs hand you the achievement?), and have stated that the next world event, which is coming shortly, will be better. If they can keep to a rapid pace, say one event every two months or so (more would be better, but every other months is pretty realistic IMO), people will get that if they miss something, it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime (AQ40) thing and they will get other opportunities to participate in an event.
That, or every other month will be a massive burst of entertainment on the forums. Something tells me it’s going to be a little (lot) of both.