Rift vs. WoW: Can’t We All Just Get Along

"All this drama is making me want to fart all over that Alextrasza hussy!"

Back when Trion Worlds unveiled their Rift pre-launch trailer a couple months ago, they took a mixture of cheers and criticism for using the tagline “We’re not in Azeroth anymore.” By drawing a comparison to the top-of-the-market MMO from the start, it seemed the game was inviting more of a comparison from gamers familiar to the world of Azeroth who would instead argue that Rift was a WoW clone, or that it had drawn ideas and parallels to WoW.

I’m not here to argue for or against that — I personally have not played Rift, so I’m not qualified to make that comparison. And while I do love WoW, I also wouldn’t call myself a fangirl. There’s many aspects of the game that I feel could be improved upon, and in fact I hope that strong competition continues to come forward so that Blizzard is forced to keep innovating and keeping Azeroth a fun place to be.

But I do think that Trion Worlds’ assertive stance against WoW in the trailer was a bold marketing move that has worked. It brought a buzz about Rift. Even those who were openly decrying the tagline were still talking about the game. And a lot of people who otherwise may have never looked into the game were exposed to news about it from WoW-centric blogs who covered the trailer because of that open comparison. Perhaps this is where trouble began to brew.

But in the past few weeks since the release of Rift, it seems that some members of the MMO community have been rattled. Many WoW guilds have experienced losses in their ranks from members who  migrated to the new game and canceled their WoW subscriptions. Some players took it personally. I don’t know exactly when or where it started, but blogs became the targets for gamers who were frustrated on both ends.

Loyal WoW players would comment on Rift-centric posts blasting the newcomer game. Rift players who were enjoying the new game defended it, and in turn took shots at WoW. Anything posted about either game became a target for Rift vs. WoW flame wars. As they tend to do, the flame wars became more of a war of WoW players versus Rift players, in which the WoW players were deemed to be old-fashioned fanboys who couldn’t take it when WoW was compared to a superior game, even though any other MMO in the past six years is automatically compared to WoW. And the Rift players were characterized as WoW deserters who didn’t know enough about their beloved new game to defend it against the competition. It’s been ugly.

We’ve seen it to a lesser degree here at Lore Hound, where we are critical of our games but at the same time try not to judge them if we haven’t played them enough to be qualified to do so. But even here, we’ve seen fallout. Which, really, is what got me thinking about this whole mess to begin with.

Among bloggers, the discussion led to one regarding sites that previously had been WoW-only now also covering Rift. Personally, I think bloggers should write about whatever catches their fancy, but I also see the value of keeping a blog on-topic. And I also understand that for the readers who really were there for the WoW content, seeing Rift alongside it was almost akin to rubbing salt in their wounds when they were down about losing WoW friends to the new game. Oh, and it encouraged the flame wars to continue.

Seemingly annoyed with all the flames (and also showing his sense of humor), British WoW blogger Reala responded by creating a “Rift-Free-Zone” button for WoW bloggers to advertise their site as containing WoW-only content. And perhaps less drama because of it, though I wonder if posting such a button in some ways is just inviting more drama.

Anyhow, I think it’s about time to get to my point: there will always be drama in the world. Why make more for ourselves by making something out of nothing? Games will come and go, and in MMOs the players are the ones who bring joy to a game by being the people who fill it and add the all-important social aspect to it. It lessens the impact of the online world if all those players are full of animosity toward others.

Plus, why should you carry that anger, anyways? As I hinted at earlier, it’s a good thing when games have competition. It encourages innovations and new gameplay features, streamlines UIs, and unique experiences — all things which contribute to our overall in-game experience. Gamers should be delighted that both WoW and Rift have competition from each other, and from other games. If they didn’t, neither one would be quite like they are today.

If you love a game, yes by all means defend it. But keep your arguments on-point and about the game. Discuss what it is about a game that makes you love it. Don’t be afraid to admit that there may be some aspects you don’t love as much as others — and if someone is making a point that a different game does that one thing better, then maybe instead of shying away or getting defensive, you should give that other game a shot. You may hate it. It may validate that the game you have chosen is the right one for you. But you also may enjoy a change of pace. And it’s not treason if you decide to switch games or share time between two or more different games — that’s what the free market is all about.

Remember that people are allowed, and expected, to have different opinions. It’s human nature. If one person disdains a game that you love, it doesn’t make them a horrible person — it just means they have different tastes. No big deal.

Making things personal makes you a troll.  And not the cute Jamaican variety with tusks. Most of you who comment here don’t have that issue and leave thoughtful comments that encourage conversation and not flaming. But things can easily get out of hand when a troll is introduced to the mix.

Plus, it’s online, people. You can never win an online argument. It just won’t happen. I welcome a sane discussion below.

And now, for those of you who haven’t seen it, a look at the trailer that (perhaps) started it all:


  1. I can see why this post has become necessary, so thanks Pixie, for puting this out there.

    I’ve been playing WoW for a fair few years now, and I suppose I’ve become a little jaded about the whole ‘my game is better than your game’ thing. Who cares? As long as you’re having fun.

    One of the main reasons I haven’t switched from WoW to Rift is the friends I have made, and continue to make. Although I do know a few who have switched, we all still talk through Steam/MSN/Skype, and there isn’t any animosity at all.

    My quote for the day:
    Games are games, they’re made for fun. Go have fun and stop filling the interwebs with flaming troll poop!

  2. Not playing Rift and stating it’s competition is kinda irony in itself. But I digress, onto srs bzsns.

    Blizzard Openly stated they “Welcome” competition, and that add was nothing more than Trion Responding to that. It’s not mocking in anyway.

    I’ve stated it before but, “Rift and Wow are Different yet Similar”. Confusing yes when you hear it at first, but when you put all the pieces together it makes Perfect sense.

    Wow: Blizzard never denied the fact that all there great ideas came from past gaming/mmo experiences, and that they didn’t try to be new or innovating, but creative and well thought to make a great gaming experience.

    Rift: Trion stated that it was there first mmo experience and they weren’t trying to be original, but create a great gaming universe that players could sink there teeth into. There experience came from past MMO’s, Wow and such alike.

    You see? They Both Evolved from different MMO experiences in the first place. Without Everquest, there’d probably be no Wow. Without Wow, there’d probably be no Rift. Without either, where would we stand today? Game ideas evolve from themselves. That what inspires innovation in the first place. Man didn’t just wake up and say “Okay, i’m flying to the moon”. We had to go through a Ton of failures to learn how to win. And from that win came more win. (so on and so forth)

    Rift is Rift, Wow is Wow. Like you said, there’s point in hating either, there both different. Yes there similar, there company’s and fanbase would have to be brain dead not to realize that. But 1 important fact, any genre based game is the Same in the end. There’s no purpose in the end to dismiss the choice of discussing, playing, or mocking the other just because it’s There. Have an opinion? Press it constructively.

    Now people, Blog what you Wanna Blog. Like forums, there meant to Express what people want to Say.

    Don’t dismiss the world because it’s Different, Embrace it because it’s There. (…i have no idea who said that)

  3. Darn Pixie and her levelheadedness!

    You raise a lot of good points though Pixy. I’m an avid WoW player with no desire to pick up Rift. I’m beginning to think a lot of the acrimony between the two playerbases are just byproducts of immaturity. ‘Fanboi’ this and ‘fanboi’ that arguments are just ridiculous and lead to no kind of constructive dialouge whatsoever…no matter WHERE it comes from.

  4. I would love nothing more to switch to RIFT because 1: im not a fanboi 2: i like innovation in my game, Blizz’s devs have a recent history of being negative towards players of anything other then HARDCORE raider types, nothing more. They have done nothing to improve the class i love the most Hunter with it’s long list of bugs and inconsistancies. 3: RIFT devs actually LISTEN to their community. They have a long list of items that are not bugs but innovations that will be implemented over the next year to make the game EVEN better then it was before. Blizz has shown contempt for those of us who actually like having the ability to customize, to get in game housing for personal and guild use, for making it more fun for roleplayers everywhere and then sit there and lie to the public about being supportive of the RP community which is so large they had to create whole dedicated servers for RP alone.

    Finally, WoW’s recent expansion is supposed to be all about the end of the world yet we don’t see any attacks on our main cities where are the raiding parties where is the actual danger outside of the stagnant repeatable dungeons? There is nothing in cata that makes me have a sense of danger when i play. It’s boring. Just as boring as having yet ANOTHER profession to level to max by a failed mechanic.

  5. Tigglet, this is part of the issue I was talking about: ‘fanboY’ this and ‘fanboY’ that. I enjoy playing a hunter too. If you think making autoshot useable while on the move isn’t a fix, what do you think is?

    See the problem is, imo, the inflammatory remarks either a WoW player or a Rift player might make towards one another without any constructive criticism. You ask for more customization, you ask for player housing, you ask for dedicated RP’ing which is good. Yet you still play(ed) WoW when there were other games out there with these exact options. LotRO springs to mind, in fact.

    And frankly, to be perfectly honest, the Devs, CM’s have come under an unnessacary amount of fire for things that they never should have because they DARE communicate their position and opinion with, us, the playerbase. Remember, we pay to play THEIR game. And over time, you’ll see it’s the same with Rift. Otherwise the game or company simply won’t stand the test of time.

    I’m glad Rift does it for you, I truly am. But to sit there and still take potshots and anyone who doesn’t feel the same is immature and ridiculous. To immediately dive right into the insults and other derogatory attacks is ludicrous. And it was seriously cheesy of Trion to pay players (allegedly) to spam the OFFICIAL WoW forums with Rift ads and anti-WoW attacks. While the game might have otherwise intrigued me, this method of subversive recruting/advertising just showed me personally that their game would not and could not stand on their own, nor could Trion function well as a company if this was their only method of advertising before the revenue started to flow in.

    The one point I will agree (to a point) with you as far as Cataclysm goes is that there is no sense of imminent danger…YET. Bear in mind, this is still just months into the expansion with another year and a half at least to go. The story’s just begun and to expect the whole thing upfront and in your face right off the bat would be too intimidating for the new players just coming in.

  6. @Highwayman
    I think the people who do just look at this as a past time and hobby don’t get as offended by posts that are pretty even-handed.

    People get offended when something hits too close to home.

  7. Melissa, most people DON’T get offended by reasonable posts. But if someone enjoys a game and writes/blogs/posts about it, it doesn’t nessacarily make them a ‘fanboY’ or any other flammatory name.

    In this case, before Rift was released, the official WoW forums were eventually flooded with posts claiming Rift superiority. This was not only against forum ToS, but with the allegations that Rift was allegedly PAYING players to do so it only exacerbated the issue. Both games CAN co-exist and maybe it’ll inspire Blizzard to improve/innovate even more.

    The issue is more with the inflamatory nature of posting on your competition’s forums and insulting the fanbase (allegedly) for pay. Trion, imo, buried themselves with me as a player by doing so. Does that make me a WoW ‘fanboY’? No. Does it make me more aware of how Trion views the player as nothing more than ad revenue? Yes.

    My only beef (if it can be called such) are flagrant misspellings, particularly ‘fanboi’ in the ‘take me seriously’ posts on various forums. But that’s just me.

  8. I’ve been reading most of the posts that have rift vs wow conversations for the pure interest in seeing what the majority of people think about each game. I played WoW for a couple of years, and started playing rift during the open beta. I eventually decided to stick with Rift because I was unhappy with Blizz’s constant changes to the classes and inability to fix bugs in a timely manner (the argent tourney quest where you kill the elemental guy in crystalsong and take the item to the lady on the lake was bugged for at least six or seven months for me). WoW was/is an amazing game, but other turn offs for me included the massive trash talk and condescension between players. New players asking questions were treated like mentally inferior annoyances. Making a mistake was unforgivable and so on. I enjoy the dynamic of Rift which forces people to work together. I do miss quite a few things about WoW, but I’d like to play a game with more variety and stability in classes. The classes may not be perfect in Rift, but I enjoy not having to constantly read forums after every patch to find out that I need to respec, collect diff gear, or switch classes entirely if I want to continue to have a viable spec for whatever it is that I am doing at that point (ex. PVP, Tank, Dps, etc.) I sincerely hope my post will not be considered inflammatory by anyone, it was not my purpose to do so. This is just an opinion from someone who made the switch that includes the reasoning behind the decision.

    I would like to address the comments made by the person who said Trion payed players to trash talk WoW. I haven’t read anywhere that they did pay people to do it. I have speculated since the beginning that Blizz and Trion were both doing it though. I don’t think, based off of anything I have read, that you could accuse one and not the other. I’m also fairly confident that there are trolls out there that are doing it for free regardless.

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