Pissant controversy numero dos of the day is the response to Massively’s article on its staff’s impressions of Rift, based on the beta events. In particular to Jef Reahard’s non-positive outlook on the game after an hour of play.
Now, feel free to insert a rant here about gaming journalism if you like; I haven’t the energy, and you’re heard it all before. I will note that, problems with its RSS feed aside, Massively is in my opinion consistently the best MMO news site out there, barring game-specific sites dedicated to EVE or WoW. Fatuous references to Ed Zitron always seem to crop up when somebody doesn’t like some fanboy’s pet game.
Few of the folks on the Rift board seem to have read the piece, and thus miss the non-trivial fact that Jef’s negative comments were two short paragraphs in a long article of staff impressions. This can only be defined as a ‘review’ if you’re an idiot. Rather, this is a rundown on what various Massively staffers thought about the game based on what they’ve seen so far. Sure, Jef could have said, “I haven’t played enough to have a solid opinion” and backed out of the article, but I’m not going to fault him for not doing so and having the audacity to give his opinion. It is the game’s responsibility to appeal to the player. The player has no responsibility to like the game. As such, his opinion is fair, though if he had written a full review with only an hour in-game, or if he was Massively’s front man on Rift (he’s not,) I’d agree with the complaint. As it was, he was up-front about how much time he’d put in, and I therefore can’t fault him – some games just don’t work for a given player, and sometimes that’s crystal clear after well under an hour.
On top of that, nothing that Jef said in his brief part of the piece is actually wrong. However, and this is a big however, from what I have seen of the game, the play experience changes rather dramatically in the mid-teens with the full introduction of rifts and invasions, and I doubt an hour is long enough to get that high unless Jef was moving a lot faster that I did. So while I can’t really say he’s wrong, I think his opinion might be different had he experienced a little more of the game.