Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rift opens with full servers, queues

This was the situation just minutes after launch:

Almost all servers were full

Long queues to join

Shortly after the above screenshots were captured, the last servers filled leaving none available for waiting players to join. More servers were brought online fairly quickly which absorbed many of the waiting players, but queues on the original group of servers remained lengthy due to the number of guilds which had prearranged to play on them.

Performance on the servers I was able to join seemed decent and they remained stable for several hours, with 15 minutes of downtime for a performance adjustment.

Rift's in-game Twitter integration and automatic tweets

Rift has built Twitter capability into its client so one can tweet messages (via /tweet) and screenshots (via /tweetpic) while in-game.

Of course Trion Worlds has done this to leverage the social web in an effort to drive adoption of the game.

In addition to user-initiated tweets, there is also the option to allow the client to tweet automatically. When this feature was first added during the open beta it immediately flooded the #rift hashtag with automatically-generated achievement spam. Trion quickly patched it to default to using a different hashtag, #riftfeed.

I'm interested to see what gets tweeted automatically and how spammy it is, but in order to avoid disturbing my tiny handful of followers with game activity, I've set up another account just for in-game tweets from the Rift client.

To see those tweets, check out the Twitter stream for Strat_in_game.

The capability for players to easily tweet while in-game, particularly to include screenshots, is quite cool. But the automatic tweets seem like useless spam if they can't be filtered by the player. I don't see how automatically-generated tweets are useful at all to players. Once Trion implements an Armory-like interface to character data over the web, it's likely to include achievements and anything else likely to be auto-tweeted.

Update: Shortly after launch, #riftfeed was flooded with auto-tweets, many for server-first acquisition of green and white items!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rift starts with about 1/3 the zones of original WoW

[Update:  The purpose of this post is to point out the difference in zone count at launch and get reaction. Once I compiled the two lists I was struck by the magnitude of the difference, and thought it would be a good discussion starter. See the ensuing reactions on Bio Break and this GameFAQs thread.]

Rift has generated much enthusiasm as a result of its recent open beta. People have been wondering how the Rift game world compares to World of Warcraft. A comparison of the number of zones in Rift versus WoW at release is illuminating:

Zones at Launch
  1. Mathosia (1-6)
  2. Terminus (1-6)
  3. Freemarch (6-20)
  4. Silverwood (6-20)
  5. Gloamwood (20-27)
  6. Stonefield (20-27)
  7. Scarlet Gorge (26-30)
  8. Scarwood Reach (30-35)
  9. Droughtlands (?)
  10. Iron Pine Peak (?)
  11. Lake of Solace (?)
  12. Moonshade Highlands (?)
  13. Shimmersand (?)
  14. Stillmoor (?)
  1. Dun Morogh (1-10)
  2. Durotar (1-10)
  3. Elwynn Forest (1-10)
  4. Mulgore (1-10)
  5. Teldrassil (1-10)
  6. Tirisfal Glades (1-10)
  7. Darkshore (10-20)
  8. Loch Modan (10-20)
  9. Silverpine Forest (10-20)
  10. Westfall (10-20)
  11. Barrens (10-25)
  12. Redridge Mountains (15-25)
  13. Stonetalon Mountains (15-27)
  14. Ashenvale (18-30)
  15. Duskwood (18-30)
  16. Hillsbrad Foothills (20-30)
  17. Wetlands (20-30)
  18. Thousand Needles (25-35)
  19. Alterac Mountains (30-40)
  20. Arathi Highlands (30-40)
  21. Desolace (30-40)
  22. Stranglethorn Vale (30-45)
  23. Dustwallow Marsh (35-45)
  24. Badlands (35-45)
  25. Swamp of Sorrows (35-45)
  26. Feralas (40-50)
  27. Hinterlands (40-50)
  28. Tanaris (40-50)
  29. Searing Gorge (45-50)
  30. Azshara (45-55)
  31. Blasted Lands (45-55)
  32. Un'goro Crater (48-55)
  33. Felwood (48-55)
  34. Burning Steppes (50-58)
  35. Western Plaguelands (51-58)
  36. Deadwind Pass (55-60)
  37. Eastern Plaguelands (53-60)
  38. Winterspring (53-60)
  39. Moonglade (55-60)
  40. Silithus (55-60)
(Source Telarapedia)(Source WoWWiki)

The score for zone count at release is 40-14 WoW over Rift.

A couple of caveats about the zone counts. Mathosia and Terminus, Rift's two initial zones, can only be revisited by starting a new character. WoW had three zones without much content at launch—Moonglade, Deadwind Pass, and Silithus.

WoW currently has 75 zones;  12 were added with The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King added another 12, and Cataclysm added 11 zones, nine new ones and two created by splitting existing ones.

It will be interesting to see if Trion Worlds is able to sustain the interest of players in Rift with such a low number of zones available to max level players.