Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Rift's Recipe of Longevity and Success - Part 2





In our last piece, we pinpointed some of the obvious factors which have greatly contributed to the outstanding success and rather surprising longevity of Rift Online, one of which was the outstanding quality of their player-base and the simply astonishing results of their player-retention strategy. There are obviously more sides to this coin though, and one of these other sides is the actual distribution of the player-base. Rift Online has essentially been quite successful all over the world, so player base-wise, it definitely does not have all its eggs in one basket. Most of the currently active players are from the US, and North America in general, then Europe, Russia and Australia. The game has seen some rather unexpected growth in Brazil too, in recent years no less, so there's apparently still plenty of upside to it, especially in areas of the world not usually associated with MMO traffic.

Another major part of the success-recipe was obviously the Ascendant Souls system, which, back when Rift launched, was an MMO innovation. What it essentially accomplished was to give people control over what was the "class system" in other such games, allowing people to design their own. People have apparently always enjoyed creating their own combinations of abilities, so much so in fact that there were/are players out there who have created more than 20 different presets they can switch between at will. The Soul system has therefore been a massive boon for the game, acting as a sort of launch pad for players into the more advanced sections of the game, a game-component which is to this day extremely popular.

To make things even more enjoyable for their players, the creators of Rift have made it possible for them to move between worlds at the press of a button -another feature highly valued by their loyal customers. Bosses have been kicked up by a notch in the game as well: the first expansion introduced final bosses called Colossi, who wrought havoc on the environment itself. These NPCs were as tall as 50 players and they literally took teams of 100s of players to bring down. The sheer epic-ness of such encounters was also obviously wildly popular.

Through most of the existence of the game, creators not only listened to players, they readily implemented their suggestions too. For instance, in regards to the planes invading the world of Rift called Telara, players asked whether they could ever actually take the fight to these planes. In Nightmare Tide, the second expansion of the game, just that was implemented. The most popular expansion of the game - the one of which players are still the fondest - was the first expansion, Storm Legion. It has been proven quite a few times in the gaming industry that if an IP creator can follow up a great launch with an even better second act, success is more or less assured, together with a place for the game in the hearts of its fans forever.

Philip Thalberg is a member of the eSports news department of GosuTeam, the team behind the world's top competitive gaming destination.

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