Played Rift lately?

I’m super excited for the launch of Defiance on Tuesday, but that excitement put me in a kind of gaming no-man’s land this weekend. I felt like playing an MMO but knew that come Tuesday I’d be moving to Defiance in a major way. I just needed a short-term diversion.

Rift sprang to mind, probably because I’ve been spending so much time on Trion pages and watching Trion webcasts on Twitch. I haven’t played Rift in a good long while but my strongest recollection is a constant struggle with inventory space. My highest level character has his bags and bank packed full of veteran reward potions and appearance gear, and crafting-related stuff that I’m too stubborn to just sell off to NPCs (stuff is so low level that it won’t move on the auction house).

So I decided to create a new character to be a mule, and that’s what led me to a bunch of surprises. None of these changes are new (as far as I know) but if you’ve been away as long as I have they’ll probably be new to you too.

build_windowFirst big change… when creating a character you still pick an archetype (Warrior, Cleric, Mage, or Rogue) but after that you’re offered a selection of builds. Now before anyone freaks out, you still CAN pick and choose the souls you want if you care to, and advanced players will probably want to do so. But as a virtual newbie (it’d been so long since I created a character) who didn’t want to spend a lot of time reading build guides, I loved this feature. I’d chosen a warrior, and then choose “Pathfinder” which is a support role based primarily on Beastmaster (54 points) and Paragon (22 points) with Riftblade as the 3rd soul (with no points). If you enlarge this screenshot you can see an example of the info you’re given on the various builds.

As you level up and earn skill points you can just auto-spend them to follow the template of the build you’ve chosen, or you can decide to make your own choices. Again, it’s a brilliant system that makes getting into the game super-easy for newcomers (I didn’t have to fret that I was gimping my character) but which gets out of the way for more serious players.

Once I got past character creation and hopped into the tutorial zone I got another huge surprise. The tutorial bit (before you get to that first rift) has been super-streamlined. All the sidequests have been eliminated, as has any and all backtracking. You’ll zip through the tutorial zone so fast your head will spin. Maybe too quickly for a newcomer, to be honest. I can’t help but think a new player will wonder what all these monsters and features are for since you just run past them (most have been made non-aggro). As a returning player though, I was really happy to get to the ‘real’ game very quickly. And I think I was level 6 or 7 by the time I was done (which took me 20 minutes maybe, and would’ve been faster if I hadn’t been stopping to tweak my UI and running around wondering how I was missing so many of the old quests.)

Once I got to present day Telara it seemed like most (but maybe not all) quests were intact, but still some streamlining has been done. There’s a new feature where you can turn in some quests without returning to the quest giver, which cuts down on back-tracking. There’s also a pop-up window telling you about all the buffs you have as a subscriber. Rift has an ‘endless trial’ that lets you play to level 20 for free; I’m assuming these ‘subscriber buffs’ end at 20.

By the end of a casual evening of playing, I’d gotten my ‘mule’ to level 9, and if I’d been focusing instead of stopping to chat with Angela or popping over to read email I’m sure I could’ve gotten a lot farther. I’m guessing that whole sped-up leveling will taper off at 20 (where the free trial ends) but we’ll see.

As for my mule, well, the joke is on me. The character had a mailbox full of Veteran and other rewards that essentially filled her inventory right up. So she’ll have to keep working for now until she gathers materials for my crafter to use to make some bigger bags. That’s my excuse anyway… actually she’s just pretty fun to play.

Rift 1.9 is good stuff so far

Rift version 1.9 rolled out yesterday. I haven’t had a huge amount of time to check it out, but what I’ve seen so far I’ve really liked.

The Summerfest World Event has some fishing-related quests (maybe too many if you don’t like fishing, but I do) and there’re now daily fishing quests as well. So that’s been fun, though it could be argued that they need the special event fishing spots to spawn in more than one place at a time:

I haven’t tried an Instant Adventure yet but hope to do so this weekend. They’re prominently displayed both in Sanctum and Argent Glade (and I assume the correlating places on the Defiant side).

The mentoring stuff is GREAT. All you do is right click on your portrait and pick your level. Takes just a second and no cost (I’m used to EQ2 where you have to find an NPC and pay in-game gold to self-mentor down). So, for example, I was running through Silverwood doing Summerfest quests and a rift spawns. I’m level 37 and it’s full of level 12 or whatever mobs. So I click my portrait, level myself down to whatever level I want and jump into a Public Group and have a lot more fun than I would have going in totally over-leveled. Once the rift is sealed I right click on my portrait again, cancel the Mentoring thing and I’m back to 37. Great system.

You can also Mentor while doing Instant Adventures. I’m looking forward to going back and doing all the dungeons I missed on the way up. I still have all the gray quests so I’ll scale myself down to an appropriate level and use the dungeon finder. I think you can also just do a random dungeon and the game will scale you down if you land in one lower level than you. Don’t quote me on that yet..I haven’t tried it, but I think I read you can do that (and that you can turn off the mentoring part of that if you just want something random and level appropriate).

There’s a lot more to 1.9 of course but I’m still exploring it all… but those sneaky Trion types sent me an offer for a year’s subscription for 30% off ($116 for the year) right when I was high on the game so yup, now I’ve got the until next June to keep exploring the world at my leisure.

Rift may be my WoW

A few weeks ago my social networking flock returned to Rift after getting excited by the announcement of an upcoming expansion. I dutifully followed because I hate being left out!

I wound up enjoying myself more than I expected to, and I’ve continued to putter around in the game, mostly playing on weekends. Work has been extremely stressful lately and it turns out Rift was something familiar and comfortable that I could slip into and kind of lose myself.

I think this is how a lot of people feel about World of Warcraft. They leave it, often loudly, and move on to other games but then months or years later they’ll (sometimes sheepishly) re-subscribe and find that a bit of time away has left them able to enjoy their old standby again.

WoW doesn’t work that way for me. I just don’t like it any more; I think I have too much baggage associated with it or something. But I vocally quit Rift and now I’m sheepishly enjoying myself again. So yeah, Rift is my WoW.

This is going to sound dumb but the addition of fishing to Rift means a lot to me.

Last night I played hooky from work. I had a ton of stuff I should’ve been doing but I was feeling mentally fractured and fragile and just needed to tune out. I installed Rift on the living room PC (and by the way, their streaming client technology is spectacular; I was able to start playing no more than 5 minutes after I started downloading the client), put my feet up on the coffee table and made room for my couch buddy (aka Lola the dog) to curl up next to me.

And I went fishing in Argent Glade. Fishing requires virtually no skill. You left click to cast, wait for the bobber to bob and right click to real in. Very similar to fishing in other MMOs. There’s a Survival skill that goes with it. So you fish to catch stuff, use the little fish you catch to create lures to improve your fishing experience, and use the big fish you catch to cook food that heals/buffs you.

The trainers and suppliers are right near the fishing hole in South Argent Glade so you barely even have to move. So I sat there, tuned out, fishing with one hand and scritching Lola behind her ears with the other, listening to the denizens of Telera as they came and went. (It’s pretty funny how much “roleplay” revolves around a male character hitting on a female character, often in the most frightfully clumsy way. I hope the players running the male characters are being intentionally bad at their pickup techniques!)

I didn’t “advance” very much (I fished up some gold and some artifacts and some of the food you can make has decent healing abilities) but I didn’t care. Finally there was a “downtime” activity to do in Rift and every once in a while I just want to be in a world without really doing much, but I need to do -something- else I get bored.

Now I’m really looking forward to both the 1.9 patch tomorrow and the expansion later this year (I think?). I don’t expect I’ll be playing Rift straight through, but I do expect it’ll be a game I keep installed on my system as my “comfort zone” MMO, ready to be re-subscribed to whenever the mood hits.

Bird on a Rift-y wire

So I joined the flock and re-subbed to Rift yesterday, for a variety of reasons, the main one being that gamer enthusiasm is, for me at least, super contagious. Too many of my friends seemed to be having a blast for me to not at least take a peek in. I mean, it’s only $15 to sub-up for a month and satisfy my curiosity.

What I found was that really, things haven’t changed. Player population is still a huge issue in the mid-levels. I play on Faeblight, Guardian side, and I checked the Social Window at 9:30 Eastern on a Saturday night and here’s what I found (click for a readable version):

You can see that the level 50 population seems pretty healthy and there’s a reasonable amount of under 20 people running around but between 20 and 40 is deserted. Now, I don’t know how accurate the Social Window is — honestly these numbers seem crazy small even to me. But they do bear out my anecdotal experience; it’s really difficult to get a group together in the 30s.

The reason this is a problem is that there are Story-Quests that require a group. In my particular case, I had to close a Fire Rift (a static, placed Rift like you encounter in the intro, not a random Rift) in the Scarlet Gorge. Ironically I did encounter another player in the Gorge and helped him close the Rift before I got the quest, but when my time came there was 1 other player in the zone and s/he was AFK or just ignoring me. I tried and tried to solo that Rift but it’s designed for 3 players and even though I was over-level I wasn’t -that- over-level. I’d given up on the whole thing and was riding out of the zone to find other entertainment when I got a ping of exp/reputation and I realized someone had just killed a Rift mob I’d previously tagged. I rode back, dragging a train of mobs with me in my desperation to get there on time (I’d pushed the Rift to stage 4 of 5 solo) and found a level 50 taking down the final boss. I auto-joined her group and managed to tag the mob with 1 spell before she killed it, and I got the quest complete.

I know the announced expansion will support Mentoring so that those level 50 players can come back to the rest of the world and help out the mid-tier folks and get some fun out of doing so, and I think that’s the single most important feature of the expansion. The only other solution I can think of is some kind of Hireling system for folks who’re stuck with no companions to help them take down small-group content.

So my day in Rift sucked, right?

Actually, no it did not. It didn’t take me long to slip back into the cadence of my bardic rogue and it was fun to be roaming the world of Telara again. Also there is one upside to the sparseness of the population and it’s that when you do run into someone you’re more prone to interact with them. Think about it…when you’re walking down a city street you don’t talk to strangers but when you’re on a country road and haven’t seen anyone for 20 minutes and pass someone walking the other way, you’re more apt to say “Hello” and exchange a few pleasantries. That’s how Rift feels. Also the lack of other players out there makes the world challenging in a good way.

Also the dynamic Rift scaling seems to be working as advertised. I closed a few Rifts solo while wandering deserted areas. The only tricky bit is when you push the Rift into 1 too many bonus stages and get it to where you can’t defeat that stage’s mobs. Then you can’t close the Rift and don’t get credit. That seems like a flaw to me. Why punish the players for pushing into bonus stages? I got to where I’d run around until the timer ran out after about stage 2 so things didn’t get too difficult.

So I had fun and I don’t regret spending my $15 but I don’t think there’s enough here to hold me. The solo PvE experience isn’t that compelling and is filled with very unheroic feeling chores. Last night I had to gather firewood and water plants, for goodness sake. My bard dude fights almost on auto-pilot, spamming the same 3 attacks to build combo points and restore health and then hitting a finisher, either melee or ranged depending on the mob. Over and over again. After TERA this kind of combat feels really uninspired solo; clearly you need the dynamics of a group to make all these skills meaningful. Ditto the varied Roles. When playing alone there’s no reason to change Roles.

Still, I’m sure I’ll re-up for a longer term when the expansion comes out. Trion is still enjoying it’s “Good Guy” status in the MMO Player community; they seem to have managed to avoid doing anything to really piss us off and the regular roll-out of game updates makes me want to see them succeed.

I do wish I could summon the moral fortitude to get rid of all these past World Event trinkets though. My inventory is FULL of those things!

Rift half-birthday celebration

Why hello there blog…how have you been, besides lonely and neglected?

So apologies for the 5 week gap between posts here. I attribute it to two things. The first is Google+ where I, along with the usual suspects plus a bunch of new quasi-friends, have been having lengthy and interesting discussions about games. Google+ allows for a real conversation and it feels like the perfect place for ‘been thinking about’ posts that don’t really need to be saved forever. I, and many others, have found it’s a much better place to hold a conversation than in blog post comments, for reasons I don’t quite understand. I’ve just observed this to be the case.

Second, I’ve been playing a ton of Guild Wars. Not end-game Guild Wars, but the the base game. It’s a 6 year old game and I don’t think I have much to add to the abundance of content that’s been written about it since launch. I’m really enjoying it, but I don’t need a whole blog post to tell you that (even though I wrote one anyway).

But Rift is holding a half-birthday event and I decided to return to the game and see how things have changed. That spawned all kinds of thoughts about MMOs and persistence of playing and how to go back and have fun and why MMOs seem to have a lighter and lighter grip on me these days.

The good news is that my ‘main’ character (who was a whopping level 25 when I returned) didn’t have his soul points reset since I last played. It took me a few minutes to figure out the main skills he (a bard, basically) uses and get into a pattern of firing them off. I have a 2nd role that I haven’t even looked at. Some of my other characters did have their soul points reset and, man, I just didn’t want to do the homework to remind myself of what was what, and figure out what had changed. It just felt like work to me.

So off I went with my bard into those dingy woods aptly named Gloamwood. Gloamwood isn’t any more populated now than it was when I quit, and rifts that open generally just get ignored unless a high level type comes upon one and decides to seal it. Otherwise you can stand there for 10 minutes waiting for help and never see another player, so if it isn’t feasible to solo it, you may as well skip it. We used to wait much longer than that for spawns in EQ, but these days wasting 10 minutes of my precious free time is out of the question.

The event, or maybe the latest patch, has us collecting Dragon Tears, or Dragon Pearls, or Dragon Something, from these things that look like a mutant plant bulb. These are intended to be group activities since they have a huge amount of hit points. But there’s an interesting mechanic at play here… the longer it exists in the world, the easier it is to kill (it gets an ever-increasing debuff that increases the damage your attacks do). A few minutes after the things have spawned they’re easily solo-able. I’m hoping this mechanic will get spread to regular Rifts, perhaps based on population in the immediate vicinity of the Rift. It’s a shame that Gloamwood, on my server at least, is just PvE Questing at this point.

In spite of these grumblings, I was having some fun back in Rift, and then I got a couple of quests that sent me into an instance. Instance meant grouping. Now there’s that new Dungeon Finder I could have used, but see above re: learning my souls and builds. I really didn’t want to join a random group of strangers and be screamed at for having a stupid build. I dislike being screamed at… my skin is thin and I get very angry very quickly.

So it was either research a build and make sure I understood how it worked, and then use the Dungeon Finder to do these quests, or skip the quests. I skipped them. But knowing I was skipping the really interesting parts of the game made me glum.

Honestly the most fun I had was going back to Silverwood and participating in events there. I’m high enough level that my bardic healing was a boon to other players, and I still have a quest to kill some of the event bosses over there. I’m not sure a level 25 was always welcome but I stuck to the major events and tried not to step on any toes.

I also grouped randomly with someone in Gloamwood for some low-key PvE questing, and that was a lot of fun, too.

I see Rift 1.5 is going to have some kind of solo and duo dungeons added, and maybe those will solves some of the malaise I feel about missing the best parts of the game. (And to be clear, this malaise I feel is not limited to Rift…it applies to all MMOs I’ve tried lately.)

Or maybe I should go back to playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, where I get to experience all the best parts without the worry of some 15 year old punk hurling insults at me for doing it wrong. Or Guild Wars, where my army of heroes is always ready to stand by my side, with never an epithet hurled.

Trion: Communication needs to extend beyond forums

So I have my own gripe about the World Event.

Trion has always prided themselves about their communication with their customers, and I think they’re doing great with content, but I think they’re stumbling when it comes to delivery.

So we had two weeks of Phase 1 of this world event and a little in-game tracker that told us when Phase 2 would begin. Excellent so far! But what it didn’t say was “and Phase 2 is a 1-time, short duration event so be ready when it launches!”

If I hadn’t happened to check Twitter on Saturday I would’ve totally missed Phase 2 of the event (oh wait, I did anyway, but that’s another gripe). I guess people learned about this from the forums and maybe from European players who experienced it first hand?

Scott Hartsman posted about the event both before and after it, and both times in the forums. Kudos to him for owning up to the problems but how many players didn’t see these messages? If you go to right now, the most recent news is about the addition of Authenticators, posted on 4/15. I guess there’s preliminary patch notes about 1.2 up somewhere in the forums, too?

Bottom line is that Trion relies exclusively on its forums to communicate with its audience, and that, to me, is horribly short-sighted of them. Communicate to me through the game client please. Make better use of the space in the Launcher. For longer form communication, how about setting up a blog like every other non-MMO company does? That way your customers can subscribe to the RSS feed of this blog and never have to worry that they’re missing out on important news about the game they’re paying for. Sure, cross-post to the forums as well; I’m not suggesting getting rid of that.

But if the idea is that to play your game effectively I need to remember to troll through your forums once a day (even if that means going to your devTracker) then over time you’ll lose me as a customer. I’ll forget to visit and so will miss out on events and features and that in turn will lead to me becoming disenfranchised with the game. That’s not a happy thing for either of us.

Setting up a blog should be pretty trivial. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Look at what Netflix does, for instance (they use Blogger). I can subscribe to that feed and have all the Netflix news I need pushed to me.

I wish I could do the same with Rift.

How about it, Trion?

Rift: Being true to myself

When Patch 1.1 went live, my Rogue got all his soul points refunded. Ugh. My Warrior did as well.

I love that Trion makes a point of letting us rebuild when they make significant changes to a soul, but I’d like it even more if they gave us a chance to take one last look at our old build before we got wiped, because I can *never* remember exactly how I had my points spent!

See, I’m not a min-maxer. Planning out a character sucks all the fun out of a game for me. I live for the rat pellet reward of the Ding and when I already know exactly how I’m going to spend my points, it takes the fun out of the process. Suddenly leveling becomes a chore intended to unlock the points I need to follow my plan. That sounds like my day job all of a sudden. (And absolutely no offense intended towards people who study skill trees and work out ideal rotations and things of that nature…we all have our own personal set of activities that are fun for us.)

So I wing it and have fun. But after the last patch I decided to be… responsible? Instead of winging it, I maxed out my Bard points so I could do some healing, and spent the rest in my Nightblade. At level 17 that meant 5 points for the Night Blade, 17 into Bard.

Now I’m a responsible adult who runs his group buffs and spams Cadence to heal 5 other members of the raid. I guess people like having me around and I don’t die. I feel like my Rogue is more ‘efficient’ than he used to be.

But I’m bored as hell. In groups I basically spam 2-3 abilities over and over, sticking in a Motif now and then. Last night, for the first time, doing massive invasions started feeling a bit like a chore.

And I realized I’d fallen into the trap of playing my game the way others think I should play it. I think a numbers person would approve of my build so far, but I’m not a numbers person. Well, I am…I mean I write code for a living. But when I’m playing a game I’m not about the numbers, I’m about the emotions. About seat-of-my-pants adventuring.

I’ll probably keep this build for when a group I’m in for more than 2 minutes needs extra healing, but I need to buy a 2nd role and spent points in a way that’s fun for me, even if ‘hardcore’ players look down their nose at me.

I need to roll an alt as a gatherer…I’m really thinking, just for grins, of making him totally random. Pick a class randomly, pick my souls randomly, assign the points to souls randomly. I think it’d be fun to see how hard such a character would be to play…

Rift: Play games, have fun

So I’ve been pretty busy lately and not having a lot of time to do the things I enjoy.

During this time I’ve been skimming Twitter and, without really digging in to what’s going on, my casual glances seem to be picking up on a theme of some discontent coming about in response to some planned (or already implemented?) changes to some of the Rift souls. I’m am honestly ignorant of the details; something about balancing PvE souls based on PvP? One specific I heard is that the Bard’s reactive heals (Cadence, for instance) will only affect a party, not an entire raid.

Meaning no disrespect to the people who’re upset about the changes but… these are games. If you have the kind of free time to get so immersed in a game that you can be upset about these changes, you should feel thankful.

I have an experiment to try: set aside 5 days and don’t play any games. Instead, spend those 5 days working at your job, cleaning/rearranging your house, filling out forms, talking to lawyers, paying taxes, dealing with your landlord and all the other unpleasant chores that life throws our way. You’ll knock your “To-do” list down and feel so much better about yourself for having all that crap out of the way.

Now go log into Rift and tell me that the changes that have been made have really ruined the game for you.

I could be wrong, but I think instead of being disappointed you’ll be delighted to be in-game having fun again.

<Begin Vaguely Related Anecdote>

Last night I finally sat down to do some gaming about 10:15. This week has sucked and will continue to suck through Sunday, so I was just grateful to have the chance to unwind a bit. I didn’t have long to play but wanted to at least smell the air of Silverwood and do some crafting quests.

I awoke in Sanctum and got the quests from that strange little man that always has work to do. I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on when I activated my portal to teleport back to Argent Glade. Mistake on my part.

As the aether settled around me in Argent Glade I opened my eyes to a world where all hell had broken loose. There was an open rift in front of the tavern and another smack-dab in the middle of Quicksilver College. The countryside was awash in rifts, in fact. I wasted no time in joining my fellow Guardians in beating back the denizens of the Plane of Earth.

Alas it was too little too late and the Guardian Wardstone in Argent Glade fell. Only one remained in Sanctum Watch so I ran to the porticulum and returned to Sanctum, and from there out to the Watch. A dozen or more invasions were headed for the Wardstone but were still some ways off. I joined a raid and we made our way up one road, slashing, hacking and burning down invasion force after invasion force. I worried that we were over-extended so I left the raid and rode back to the Watch. Sure enough forces were drawing near along the other road, but happily I wasn’t the only one who’d fallen back. Another raid formed, and another purge of Earth denizens was underway. The Wardstone was saved!

In the meantime other Guardians were gathering to fight epic bosses from the Earth Plane. The community was self-organizing very nicely. We headed to Overwatch Keep to take down the final opponent and just as we arrived, he fell.

After that it was just a matter of mopping up and finally peace returned to Silverwood.

* * *

I looked up. Somewhere in all that I’d gained a level, and I won a purple sourcestone to get myself some shiny new gear with. I had two green gear upgrades in my rifting goodie-bags.

I looked at the clock. It was nearly midnight. Where had the time gone? My legs and back were cramped, my dog was looking neglected, the world seemed a bit fuzzy and indistinct. I had been so focused on the game that I hadn’t moved (aside from fingers on keyboard and mouse). My quick visit to make some Burlap Shoes had turned into an epic confrontation that left me grinning ear-to-ear and thankful for having a way to escape the depressingly mundane life I’d been leading this week, at least for a few hours.

When our grandfathers wanted to have some fun they rolled a hoop down the road with the aid of a stick.

We’re blessed with the chance to play these wonderful games that no other generation has experienced. Take a moment every now and then to appreciate how good you have it.

Rift: Guess I’m a public group convert

As mentioned on Twitter, going to PAX East has dampened my enthusiasm for MMOs a bit. Or more accurately, it has enhanced my enthusiasm for other games; I saw so many non-MMOs that I’m interested in playing that it makes dedicating myself to an MMO seem constricting. Since PAX East I’ve purchased Slam Bolt Scrappers (PS3), Atomic Zombie Smasher (PC), Arthur: The Role-Playing Game (PC but not new…it was on Impulse for $2.99 last weekend) and snagged the demo of Dungeons (PC). Whew!

So on top of going back to The Witcher (based on everyone having fun with DA2… I want to finish The Witcher so I can then go back to DA:O and Awakening and finally catch up and play DA2) I haven’t put a lot of time into MMOs recently.

But I did get some time into Rift this past weekend and, as usual, got caught up in events beyond those I’d planned when I logged in, having a ton of fun in the process.

But one thing I did encounter which irked me a tad. I ran into a non-public group while trying to close a rift. There I was, ready to beat back the denizens of the plane of earth. It was going slowly since I was alone. Then I spotted help on the horizon. Huzzah! I went to click the Public Group button and it wasn’t there.

Bwa? Huh?

Turns out it was a private group consisting of members from a guild. They got to work sealing the rift. There wasn’t much I could do buy lurk behind them and contribute DPS (was playing a Rogue DPS build). If I tagged a mob and got aggro they’d ignore me, working as a team to kill the mobs they’d tagged. Generally this resulted in my death, which then allowed them to tag the mob I’d been fighting and get credit for the kill. I’m not saying they were doing this maliciously but when you’re in a group you tend to only pay attention to other members of your group.

So like a hyena I skulked around the edges of the party, sniping at mobs they’d already tagged. Aside from making me feel like a leech it wasn’t really that bad. I still got decent rewards and stuff, so I’m not really complaining so much as marveling at the fact that I missed that Public Group button, since I wasn’t really a fan of the system when it was first introduced.

But now I find I miss it when it isn’t there. I guess I’ve been converted.

More on Rift hacking

Saw this post on RiftJunkies:

RIFT Junkies NOT The Source of Account Hacks

Despite the odd title (I guess people were accusing them?) they link to a thread in the official forums where someone claimed they’d found an exploit with the login system of Rift that let him log into a friend’s account without having his password:

Here’s a link to the post. It’s a huge thread so I’ll summarize. The person then said he’d been in contact with Trion and later, that a fix was incoming.

Assistant Community Manager Elrar responded in that thread:


We have some things in the works right now and have been passing on your feedback, concerns, and thoughts throughout the day (no matter how radical or unlikely).

Sharing sensitive information about our actions (no matter how broad) naturally also informs those carrying out these attacks. This puts us in a tight spot with how much information we can provide, and the questions we can answer.

Apologies we can’t be more forthcoming at this time, but we appreciate your understanding – its always our goal to ensure you can play and enjoy the game securely, and unfettered.

Thanks everyone,

After this, the original poster referred non-believers to this thread which is about an emergency server restart having to do with Account Security (this was on the 18th).

Later still, the original post was back with, among other things, this to say:

Last but certainly not least, I must also sing the praises to Trion. Most companies do their level best to hide critical security issue sand sneak in fixes. Trion responded to the news by contacting me within the hour, discussing the details in detail, and responding within minutes of getting info that they verified the issue and were expediting a solution. A couple hours later, everyone gets to try out Coin Lock and the hole is plugged with steel-reinforced concrete under twelve feet of kevlar policed by sharks with frickin’ lasers on their frickin’ heads.

And later:
Got word back from Steve Chamberlin, the development lead for Rift. This hole is sealed.

That’s not everything but those seem to be the salient points.

It sounds like the hacks were more or less random. You could log into your account and then log into some other random account. If you had a piece of info (as yet unspecified but apparently not email or password) you could target a specific account, but it sounds like most using this exploit were just jumping into whatever account was randomly exposed to them.

So we’ll see. Hopefully things will be better now.

Zam has an interview with the user who discovered the exploit.
Scott Hartsman’s post about the situation.