The Daily Grind: Why didn’t RIFT do better?


Want to make me sad? All you need to do is remind me that RIFT is stagnating in the hands of Gamigo, which hasn’t seen fit to do much with this incredible MMO since it acquired it from Trion Worlds. It’s really depressing to see this title languish when it could be thriving under the right leadership.

Then again, maybe it wouldn’t be. RIFT had a really strong start back in 2011 and saw three expansions and several new classes added to the game over the years. It had pretty much every MMO feature you could want in a very slick format. Yet it didn’t quite become the long-running blockbuster that Trion had hoped, and that is a shame.

Let’s do a little pre-post-mortem on the title today. Why didn’t RIFT do better? Was it the slavish adherence to the World of Warcraft format? Trion Worlds’ business practices? Design flaws? Or something else entirely?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Jack Pipsam

They really had something with their progression server at the start it seemed, so giving up on quickly came across extremely poorly.


Maybe because it was a WoW clone, that lacked on almost all parameters compared to WoW; so why play the copy when you can have the real deal.
And I know that “clone” is a word often wrongly used (such as calling WoW an EQ clone, which is ridiculously wrong), but in this case Rift really is very close to WoW in almost every way.

Kickstarter Donor

RIFT was great, up until end-game. None of the end-game content was particularly fun, or well thought out. Compared to WoW’s raids, RIFT was boring and basic.

It’s not enough to have a great leveling experience; you need to have solid end-game, or your player base will leave when they’ve leveled up, and subsequently run out of things to do.

Castagere Shaikura

Did anyone else not like the combat? It looked good but I took so long to kill a mob. My ranger needed sometimes ten hits to kill a single even leveled mob. It made the combat so annoying to me.

warroth weill

I didnt like that all combat animations looked the same.


I was just thinking about RIFT the other day, as I looked up at the swirling portal storms hovering over the Isle of Siptah in the new Conan Exiles expansion. I play on a heavily modded RP server, so naturally I’m a Dark Elf, as is my wont.

My first “Dark Elf” in my gaming life was a Kelari from RIFT. Her name was Cyroselle and I had played her through the Alpha, then Beta stages and lastly spent a good 5 years as a raid healer in a heavy progression guild after launch.

Trion had a good thing going! If only they had stayed small. They should have poured their money back into RIFT and continued to improve upon the animations, server stability and their dungeons, the latter of which I feel were at the time the best in the genre.

Couple that with one of the most creative-positive housing systems out there, and yeah, Trion had spun Gamebrio into gold!

But like the dog who saw its reflection in the pond, Trion wasn’t content with the prize already in their mouth, they wanted that other prize too. A failed RTS, a failed MMO/Third-Person-Shooter, and other smaller efforts later and we saw RIFT go F2P and increasingly loot-box happy as Trion brought in ArcheAge, about game with great potential that was again squandered by cash shop shenanigans. Just look up “lightning-touched wood”, the destruction of that game’s player economy was a disaster Trion could have avoided.

I think, in the end, RIFT’s core fanbase were just broken-hearted.

I’m aware the game is still out there, but I’ve moved on. I still look back upon the game fondly however, and wish whomever have picked up where Trion left off well.


“You not on Azoroth anymore” that ad campaign ultimately did a lot more harm to the game in the long run because it instantly made people compair it to WoW.

But the lions share of the blame has to go to Trion worlds as they tried to do too much, too quickly in addition to having way too many investors involeved.


Also: Instant adventures, though great for leveling up characters, killed raiding and dungeon running.

Kickstarter Donor

I quit Rift because I kept seeing the same skinning bots running the same circuits day after week after month after year—yes, I saw the same skinning bots going at it for 365+ days and after dozens of reports by me.

That, along with some general fatigue of dailies and gear treadmills, drove me away. Also wasn’t a fan of how they’d constantly do complete overhauls of classes and abilities just to correct the tiniest of dps/hps discrepancies for the sake of “balance.”


Probably the art style is one factor – lots of models just looked ugly and there were a good number of clothing options that looked meh-ish. The complexity with the Soul system was another. Then if you dug far enough into it, macro mashing was another thing that was bothersome imo since you could put so much stuff on a single macro that did a majority of the heavy lifting. In general the game suffered from feeling soulless and generic. The charm was more from the actual community and the livestreams than anything in the game itself. Lore was mostly just presented in “go read this text” form, and while Storm Legion tried to be more story-centric it still didn’t really do enough.

Once it went F2P that was kind of the nail in the coffin IMO.

Up until that point, RIFT’s biggest thing going for it was that it was the best alternative to WoW with an amazing community/dev team, and it was P2P among a bunch of MMOs that were all going F2P. It was getting meaty updates on a regular basis, and it added so many cool systems and features that were ahead of its time in some cases.

Ultimately the failure of Trion as a whole was what really screwed RIFT over, and it almost undoubtedly went F2P to try and compensate for the losses they suffered with End of Nations and Defiance (+losing their publishing rights with Warface). Once it went F2P, it simply became just another F2P MMO and was actually worse than other F2Ps because you couldn’t just subscribe and ignore the cash shop. The community management team also fell apart and once folks like Elrar left the game’s community aspect deteriorated heavily as well.

It’s frustrating and a real shame, but Trion took on more than they could chew and RIFT paid the price for it.


Into and certainly after the first expansion it was just being used to milk players for money through lockboxes and stuff, bugs weren’t fixed, communication was horrible and content very quickly dried up.

Basically around the time of archeache Trion realised they could make more money just publishing extreme pay to win games than actually making anything, so Rift went out of the window and died.


I bought the game at launch and really felt like it was a solid product with lots of polished systems and an interesting class system. But after a while i think it just starting feeling bland and .. artificial. Like the game lacked charm and identity. WoW was still running strong at this point, and i ended up just switching back since it felt more familiar and comfortable.

After a while, the soul system ended up being more simplified and streamlined, the leveling speed increases just turned me off from the whole experience, and i had no reason to go back to it after many years of content drought.