|RIFT World Event Fails But Is Amended|
By Michael Fuchs
Michael Fuchs has been playing MMOs for over 8 years. He has a strong passion for the competitive side of video games. Besides video games, his passions include reading, writing, and roleplaying. He currently attends the University of Wisconsin - Waukesha for a degree in Communications.
(Please Note that after this article was published, Trion Worlds released a statement about the event. You can find this statement at the bottom of the article.)
On April 16, 2011, an epic world event took place in RIFT online. It was all very well run and players enjoyed themselves greatly! At least...that is what I wish I could say happened during the world event in RIFT.
Phase II of the event was scheduled to start at noon Pacific time. While the event actually started later, which the players were warned about (and I do not have a gripe with), Trion Worlds took down the servers 15 minutes before the event started – when there were already queues longer than an hour for the servers to get online. This led to a mad dash to log on as soon as the servers went up – and if you didn't make it, you were stuck in a 4 hour queue – or longer.
However, let's move passed the fact that Trion Worlds took down the servers at a terrible time, and talk about how badly run the Phase II portion of the event was. Basically, in phase II of the event, three bosses spawned simultaneously in each area of the game. While this sounds good on paper, as soon as the event started, the server became incredibly laggy, and I mean laggy to the point of most players couldn't use any skills. In addition to this, because of this lag, players were being continuously disconnected. Due to this disconnection, these players also received no credit for taking part in the event, and therefore missed out on the achievement. Players also learned during this time that when the server becomes incredibly laggy and players group in large mobs, their client will not show all of the players. So, if you were on a PvP server, you'd be walking along and then BOOM – you're in a group of 30 defiant players.
Many players expected this portion of the event to run for a week or two, much like Phase I of the event did. However, the event was over within an hour and a half of beginning. Each boss seemed to die within two minutes of it's spawn (on Briarcliff), and overall, felt like players weren't able to contribute anything.
From the laggy mess of Phase II, the event hopped into Phase III. Now, if the server couldn't handle all of these people in their separate areas at once, what do you think would be the best thing to do? Ah...yes. Let's have them all gather at a single spot in the game! Players during Phase III were instructed to go to a specific point in Stillmore and do....something. At this point, when players arrived, the server was so laggy and there were so many players in one area, that it was near impossible to tell what was happening. Personally, I was able to watch a tiny bit of a cinematic, however, I couldn't tell you what happened. (This portion of the event took all of forty minutes, with the server continuing to spew out the same message so that no one knew what was happening.)
As soon as the event ended, the rage of the players spilled to the forums and to Twitter. Threats that players would unsub their accounts because of the event were increasingly common, and I am very sure that there were some players that did so. One of the forum topics that summarizes the feelings of the players can be found here. One of the posts that reflects how I personally feel reads:
That was phase 3!?!?
Are you kidding me!?!?!?
That was it!?!?!?
Also, some of the Twitter comments read:
"@riftgame Absolute fail, don't hold any more events until you get a handle on the server stability #rift
@Riftgame Im sorry guys but if this is a glimpse of whats to be expected, goodbey. I can deal with class imbalances but not game instability
WHAT?! Did I hear right @Riftgame The event I waited in queue for over an HOUR for is DONE!? #FUMING!
@Riftgame Worst EVENT EVER. Fail fail Fail
Look @Riftgame, you better grant us all titles and at least a selection of the rewards for this event or we're walking. You let us down.
While this talk is, in my opinion, quite appropriate, as Trion Worlds let their customers down, it would be foolish to unsub from the game because there were difficulties with one event. Sure, the event was terrible, however, the rest of the game is great.
Trion Worlds knows that how they handled this event was a mistake. On the forums, one of their staff members wrote:
"Given the popularity of the event and the focus on a specific time, we do expect to see queueing. Since we are very likely to end up in a situation where we have people queued who could not participate, and people who could not make the finale at all, we're already making sure we have a way to reward people appropriately after the fact. (For both US and EU region players, of course.) Stay tuned here to the forums over the next couple days for specifics there. In general: Our servers are good at handling mass events with tons of people in the same zone -- But thousands of people attacking the very same creature does get more than a little hairy. (Though the events will progress.) We're already taking what we've learned over the last week and today into account as we work on the next set of world events, and will be designing them such that full-server-population flashmobs aren't quite as likely to occur - Both for fun factor and performance. Equally importantly for the future, we'll be ensuring there are more phases that each last longer , and a more clear progression, to maximize everyone's chance of participating. Those are our goals -- Fun, rewarding events you can look forward to, and don't have to reorder your life around in order to attend. With your continued help and feedback, we'll definitely get there. Thanks very much for helping us learn more, as we make it through the end of our first ever crack at an event of this size. It is appreciated greatly. - Scott
As a dedicated player in RIFT, I can honestly say that I believe that they will fix these issues for the next event. Yes, the players are allowed to be mad. However, don't lose out on a great thing because of a botch. I will continue to play RIFT after this, and I strongly feel you should too. What Trion Worlds tried here, with an ambitious world event so soon after release, is largely unheard of in MMOs. Hell, the end of the event also included a new instanced raid dungeon. Sure, they could have tested better for stability, but they're ADMITTING that it didn't work. They even say that they will never do an event that makes everyone come to the a “ full-server-population flashmobs” again. I welcome this change, and I give them credit for admitting that they failed.
Later that night, Trion Worlds released the following statement:
"When we set out to get this unveil event in front of you, it was all about some serious ambitions. Great new types of content to unveil a brand new raid zone. Events that really push the edge of what's possible not just in Rift, but in any MMO of its kind. All within an incredibly rapid amount of time following launch. In this case, while we did get to "what's possible" we didn't get to "solid gameplay for the entire game universe." The later phases of the event were too concentrated and time-compressed, which caused issues on a number of worlds. Ambition is important -- It's what keeps us improving day to day, week to week, month to month. But, it's equally important to know when you walked too close to the edge and got cut. Between our previous experience with zone events and now with world events, we have a much better idea of the range we can create "fun" for at a mass scale in the future, and the steps we need to take to continue progressing the more solid gameplay experiences that only happen in RIFT. As I had posted earlier, our next world events will already be taking everything we learned, as well as all of your comments about the event, into account. Please do keep them coming -- I guarantee we're here reading them all, weekend or not. As developers, none of us are happy when anyone who chooses to spend their valuable time in our game feels like they got the short end of our aspirations. To that end, even if something goes great for some, when it doesn't go great for all, we're going to go out of our way to make it up in some way wherever we can. We're going to assume that if you are an active subscriber you were intending to participate in the final stages. 1) Operating on that assumption, later this week everyone will be receiving an in-game mail with the River of Souls Event Reward Pack containing:Symbol of Purity – This item starts a quest you can complete to obtain
• 250 Otherworldly Sourcestone
• 1x - Purified Treasure Cache – Contains a random chance of obtaining one of the special world drop event rewards from the day of the event
• Common – Grave Goods Bag -Unique 20 Slot Bag (NEW ITEM)
• Uncommon - Shroud of Anti-Life – Lorn non combat Polymorph
• Rare – Nimble Spectral Horse – 90% Speed Mount
• Ultra Rare – Swift Spectral Warhorse – 110% Speed Mount
• Shadetouched Weapon Cache – The starter item for the Rare Death weapon quests. You can choose whichever level appropriate one you'd like.
• The following two Achievements, since not everyone who was (or wanted to be) present was able to obtain them.
• Grim Hero
• Grim Protector
The achievement for kneeling to Alsbeth will remain available in her incarnation inside the River of Souls.3) Additionally, we're also going to continue the Otherworldly Sourcestone drops for the next few days, for those who haven't yet finished off their collections and would care to.4) And since the question has come up quite a few times -- the ability to complete the quests from the Shadetouched Weapon Cache will continue, such that you're always able to finish them.We do thank you for your patience with us during this first ever World Event. We know that patience isn't infinite. We do respect that fact greatly, and you have our word that we're listening and reacting smartly for the next round.- Scott
Overall, it looks as players who missed out on the (laggy) parts II and III will be able to obtain what they missed and still have great rewards! I commend Trion for admitting what they did, and also for making amends to their players. It is actions like this that, I feel, make Trion Worlds have one of the best developer-to-community interactions.