Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Steam And Glyph, Sitting In A Tree

That Frankenstein's Monster of a mash-up above is what happens when you go to play Rift through Steam these days. It's what happened to me, anyway. You may be luckier.

I often think of dipping back into Rift, when I see the name in my Steam library. Once in a while I take the plunge and when I do I usually potter around for a while, knocking out a level or two on one of my many characters, which is how I come to have more than sixty hours played.

Of course, I've actually played Rift for far, far longer than that. Mrs Bhagpuss and I played it pretty much exclusively for six months from launch back in 2011, when we were in the habit of racking up a good thirty hours, even in a slow week. We both had multiple max level characters by the time we finally moved on, back to EverQuest II then The Secret World and finally Guild Wars 2.

In fact, I was still playing Rift as my main mmorpg when I started this blog. The very first post, My Bag, was about inventory management in the game. I was taking the name of the blog very literally back then. 

In that post, I was pontificating about an incoming "quality of life" change that would make managing inventory easier. I was against it. "This is the kind of service I try my hardest to avoid", I said, as I compared it to valet parking  - as though I'd ever been offered valet parking by anyone, anywhere - "I like my bags being a mess... I'll thank you to keep your hands out"

The whole post is emblematic of how I thought back then. I really set out my stall. A dozen years on, the irony is intense. If there's one single factor that prevents me from returning to characters I used to play, in any number of old mmorpgs, it's the terrifying sight that greets me the moment I open my inventory.

I had exactly that problem today when I finally got into Rift although I had plenty of trouble even before that. The main reason I was trying to log in at all was that I'd seen a couple of news items about the game, one of which told me I could have Premium access for a couple of weeks for nothing and the other that if I didn't link my Steam account with the Glyph launcher Gamigo acquired when they bought Rift from Trion I could forget about playing for good.

I had a notion I'd already linked the two platforms at some time in the not-so-recent past so I just hit Play from my Steam library and waited to see what would happen. And waited. And waited.

After what felt like several minutes of nothing happening at all I lost patience and pressed Stop. A warning of some kind came up but I overrode it, telling the damn game to get on with it and shut down. Nothing happened. Again.

After several more subjective minutes I got really fed up and tried to close Steam, which disappeared but then reappeared instantly when I tried to re-open it, as it very well might, seeing it had only pretended to close in the first place. I tried to close it again by selecting "Close Window" from the icon in the task bar but all I got was a mesage telling me to chill while Steam closed Glyph or opened it or asked it out for coffee. The two of them were doing something together, that's all I know.

Around about then Glyph opened and Steam closed. Or vice versa. Either way I got control of my PC back so I started over. I closed both of them and restarted Steam. This time I let Steam take as long as it wanted, which was a good old while (I timed it- it was three minutes) and finally Glyph reappeared. I pressed "Play" again - on Glyph this time - and Rift finally opened for me.

I have to say this does not immediately strike me as an improvement over either the old system, where I just fired up Steam, Play in Steam and a few seconds later I was in the game, or the older old system, where I just fired up Glyph, pressed Play and a few seconds later I was in the game or the oldest old system, where I just clicked on a desktop shortcut to the executable in the Rift folder and a few seconds later... you get the idea.

I also have to say I can't see the point of having Rift installed in Steam any more, if all Steam does is open Glyph. I might just as well go straight to Glyph and cut out the middle man. And I would, if I knew where it was. Only I can't find it because the Search function in my installation of Windows 10 is broken, but that's another story altogether. 

It's just as well I don't really want to play Rift, I guess. Or rather, having played it for about an hour, I'm good for another few months. By then, maybe Steam and Glyph will have gotten their act together.

I did have fun while I was playing, though, as I think the screenshots confirm. There's a good game there, still, somewhere, if you can just find the bloody thing.


  1. Ah, Rift. That initial storyline, especially on the side of the science/engineer faction, I really enjoyed. I felt that was the beginning of a great MMO. But the dev team had to go and deviate from that storyline the way they did, and that was even before the pay to win kicked into gear.

    If I ever won the lottery I'd try to see if I could buy Rift from Gamigo and actually start over with the initial game and try to chart a different course. But that's not likely to happen, so it's only a pipe dream.

    1. The thing that most surprises me about Rift is how good it still looks. It has a weird, gritty texture that I ki d of like and kind of don't and a maximalist design ethic that can feel claustrophobic but if someone told me those screenshots above were from a game coming out this year I would have no reason to doubt it.


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