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Trion has a reputation of being the fastest 'ever' at pushing out new content. And at first it was well earned. As the one year mark hits, with no patch inbetween now and and the anniversary, and no hint of an expansion in the near future, is it time to rethink this a little.
First I will start with two areas Rift did well with: 10 man 'raids' and features. 6 raid rifts and 3 small, 4 boss zones is pretty good for small guilds out there. They didnt use the crutch of tuning large encounters for small groups. The negative is that part of this covers the lack of release content
As for features, Rift has seen Planar Attunement, Chronicles, Instant adventures and tons of other little things. All three of the big ones are much smaller in scope than they should be, but Rift has also added craft rifts, a LFD tool, and player weddings.
Next up is PvP, Rift did a lot here too. A new WF, alternate rules, mercs, overhaul of crap that didnt work (ranks, PvP souls). the nerf bat swung hard at times but things are getting close to a decent state. Attempts at better world PvP have been a little underwhelming so far though, but they are at least trying.
All this is great, and these three points are surely expnasion quality content. But here is where the cracks start to show a little.
Land mass. Ember Isle is wonderful. Its the best zone in the game. However, its the *only* new zone, in what is the smallest game in the genre. 'But other games dont release zones for free', well they do (though not of this quaity) but we are talking overall content, and if you were given an expansion and the only landmass in it was EI, you would have some issues. (Or you bought Age of Discovery)
Dungeons. Rift has seen a total of two dungeons added. TWO. and it was a two part dungeon. Yes, they added two 'master mode' dungeons. Yes, they are different mechanics. But it is a reused dungeon all the same. Think of the amount of time people spend doing dungeons. And two new ones is it. Again, this is fantastic for free updates, but we are talking overall content here.
Raids. Rift launched with a 5 boss raid. A month after launch, they added a second 5 boss raid. And then in August Hammerknell opened up, 11 bosses and one very tough encounter at the end. And thats it. The next raid is march at the earliest, and could not even make it to april. over 8 months after Hammerknell.
1 zone, 2 dungeons, 2 raids added. Imagine getting an expansion with that.
I keep bringing up overall content, and expansons. Why? Because they matter for large chunks of content. ANd Rift cant compete with EQ1 or EQ2 and the content development after launch category anymore, *unless* an expanson drops soon.
EQ2 had a rough first year. It wasnt as well received as hoped, and of course that other MMO released at the same time. They had a curious development plan for it. EQ2s second year would see it start on the path to becoming the great game it became, but its first year was most definitely busy. The first 11 months saw two adventure packs and an expansion. In between saw a dozen Live updates, which added a crapload of very small pieces of content. A raid encounter here, a small group zone there. It retooled its craftng system, adjusted mob difficulties, and added the mentoring system. Not bad for free, but nowhere near Rift. The first expanson pack sucked. In fact I wont even count it. The second, however, wasnt bad. Splitpaw added something that Rift didnt even touch, content for midlevels. Solo instances (and heroic and raids). And 11 months after release, Desert of Flames launched. Compared to the three excellent expansons that followed it, DoF wasnt spectacular, but it added two large overland zones, a bunch of dungeons, a few long quest lines, a new city, and, of course, raid content. The combined content of the free updates, splitpaw saga, and desert of flames is certainly larger than the amount of Trions content, and by a good deal.
However, advantage Trion, in a big way, in quality. That is *not* the case with EQ1.
Trion has an extra month here, because it took 13 months for SoE to release Kunark. But man, what an expansion it was. Kunark itself would dwarf Telara. East/West Cabilis. Field of Bone. Kurn's Tower. LAke of Ill Omen. Warslik's Woods. Swamp of No Hope. Kaesora. The Overthere. Fronteir Mountans. the Mines of Nurga. The Temple of Droga. Burning Woods (wherever it is this week). Emerald Jungle. City of Mist. Karnor's Castle. Howling Stones. Chardok. Skyfire Mountains. Veeshan's Peak. Epic Quests. ANd Im probably forgetting some stuff. (Like Firionia Vie and those *&!@ Drachnids). *THAT* is content. Sorry Trion, you cant compete with that, and I dont care how old the game is. Content is content, and this was *QUALITY* content.
Oh, and inbetween release and Kunark was the plane of Fear, Plane of Hate, and Plane of Sky, which combined for more raid content than Trion put out.
And both games kept their pace up. EQ2's 2nd year saw much better quality than tis first, and its third year even better. Eq1? Velious and Luclin were almost as big as Kunark and PoP was the biggest amount of raid content the genre has eer seen (and quite a lot of still popular group content).
Yes, Trion's content is for free. But lets stop throwing out this nonsense of 'fastest development ever'. And 'a patch every month'. 7 patches in 12 months is not a patch a month. The question is, is this content coming at the expense of a quality expansion. If Trion releases an awesome expansion sometime in the next 4 or 5 months then this year they had is truly as wonderful as it seems. But they need that expansion. Telara needs to grow.