Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture? : Rift

There's something fishy going on in Rift and this time I'm not talking about bogling decorations. I first noticed it during the last event, when I commented on the choice of acronyms in a couple of quests. The Guardians were given a L.A.M.E. journal to record their findings and the Defiants had to use a F.A.I.L. device.

It seemed a bit odd at the time but I gave Trion the benefit of the doubt, maybe it was going somewhere. It was in a Lore quest, after all, and Rift is generally pretty po-faced about its Lore. But the end of the event came and went (blink and you missed it. I did) and there we all were on Ember Island. The quests hadn't been lame and we hadn't failed. It wasn't unsubtle, ham-fisted ironic foreshadowing after all, then.

 Fade in the next event with its brand new currency. This didn't go unnoticed. Wilhelm spotted it right away. SynCaine took a little longer but, hey, he was on vacation. So now we have three derogatory terms from gaming slang, all not-so-subtly tagged onto your Rift character, bringing to mind yet another expression popular in gaming circles: I call shenanigans!

What, no stocking?
My life as a dog
What's going on here? Is some disgruntled dev having a pop at the paying customers? Massively recalled the days when things like that used to happen but surely such behavior would never be tolerated in a modern, go-ahead MMO like Rift.

That would be the same Rift whose battered and besieged population takes regular time-outs from war to set off fireworks, hang bunting and run around dressed up as indescribably ludicrous yappy dogs. The very Rift where even the terrible engines of planar destruction come dressed with a Riftmas tree, a snowman and a scatter of perfectly-wrapped presents.

It's a bit early to start talking about shark-jumping. Rift has always had a lot more whimsy than its supposedly apocalyptic milieu might suggest. There does come a point, though, when you do begin to wonder if someone isn't just having a laugh. The question is, are we laughing with them or are they laughing at us?

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