Hmmmmm…tough one to call really, so I’ll just start thinking out loud and see what comes out.
Since we all seem to insist…despite my plea…to compare Rift to every single MMO since the beginning of the human race, then let’s all go there and really see what’s under the layers. You’ve got to also understand that myself, and yes, you dear reader are “special cases” of gamer. Just because we think it’s over hyped/underyped and …./cringe…”like WoW” doesn’t mean that it is. In other words, we have a warped sense of what is real.
We all agree that WAR was a great test case of what not to do to market your game. The PR machine started to soon and too hot, plus you had Paul talking too much about features that either never materialized or were deeply miscommunicated. So far, I don’t feel that Rift has crossed that threshold. To date, Rift has had 6 Betas and if one were to go by the message boards during those betas then you would think that Rift was going to tank horribly. Oops….sorry…”fail” horribly. Seriously, during the open beta next week, watch the boards….they are anything but positive. So, I have to ask the question: if there is “over hype”, then where is it coming from?
The hype certainly isn’t being fed by Trion, because by all standards (…meaning WAR…) they are being extremely quiet and seem to be only dealing with people who are already fans of the game. The idea with “hype” is to get converts TO your game, not to preach to the choir. Trion seems to be only interested in talking to it’s fan base and that means going on podcasts that are Rift specific, addressing issues on the forums, and giving out funny world wide messages within beta (…seriously…they’re hilarious….). Looking at Rift’s website, one sees that it is not even built for hype…it’s built for information. The usual things associated with hype, like dev video interviews (…DCUO, WAR, etc…) are buried a layer beneath the main page. Yes…the trailer is there on the main site, but it is far from prominent. The most prominent thing on that site is the news slider and that all is stuff ABOUT the game, not stuff marketing TO the game. Sorry, I don’t see Trion pushing this game like WAR did, and if we’re going to set the standard of comparing this game to every…single…fucking…MMO out there, then I think it’s more than fair to make this comparison as well.
Hype certainly isn’t coming from external sources. I don’t feel it. If I look at Massively posts for Rift, there is one every couple days…and most have been about the beta events. When you report on beta events, is that really hyping the game? I would argue that it marginally does. By now everyone and their uncle has a beta key and has experienced this game in one way or another either first hand or by word of mouth. You can’t really hype a ride to someone who has already experienced it. The most you’ll get out of stuff like that is “yeah…it’s cool”, or “Meh…like WoW”. I say “marginal hype” because clearly you will get the odd person read those articles and get excited for the game, but they are far from Trion going out and actively evangelizing to the unconverted.
I think it’s coming from the place where it needs to come from: the players. I think this is “grass roots” and player community hype that is driving Rift right now….and I don’t understand why that is a problem for some of us. I’m seeing push back on this community hype from bloggers because bloggers remember WAR and would rather not go through that again. Understandable. But dear bloggers, it’s not your job to un-sell (…is that a word?…) someone from a game. I would like to remind my fellow bloggers that for WAR, Mythic was THE main driver and feeder of player hype….in other words, the hype was top-down. They encouraged it. They courted it. They wanted it. I don’t see that in Rift right now. Players and the hype that goes along with them (…unavoidable…), is moving toward Rift…not the other way around. I think that is a HUGE difference when you’re looking at this game and making your comparisons.
So, let the players generate their hype and excitement for the game because that’s exactly where we want it to be. Excitement for a game should be generated by the community and not driven by the company that makes the game. This is why I keep saying that Rift has some strong legs underneath it because it is EXTREMELY healthy to have the Rift community where it is right now.
So, bloggers….roll with it will ya…and relax a bit.