The other week I was browsing through one of my favorite gaming websites, and the advertisement video that plays before the video I was looking for was for Rift the game. The trailer showed some sweeping cinematics and what looked like some very detailed in-game footage, but something bothered me about the video. The tagline was “We’re not in Azeroth anymore”. Now my presumption is that they are referring to Azeroth from the World of Warcraft universe, and a nod to Frank Baum’s classic The Wizard of Oz. I assume that Trion Worlds, makers of Rift, are trying to establish Rift as “the next WoW killer,” but it didn’t show me enough about the game to really get me enticed. Aside from showing me very well done cinematics, the only thing that I glean from this advertisement is that Rift is not WoW.
It seems to me that every MMO to come out is hyped by the media or the fan base to be “the next WoW killer,” but very rarely is it hyped directly by the company that makes the game. Trion Worlds is looking to capitalize on that consumer base to turn a profit. A solid idea in theory, but the overt advertisement of that fact turns me off. What else about the advertisement shows me anything that would make me interested in the game? There is no other information about the gameplay, story, structure or design that entices me to play. Let’s look at what they do have. Sweeping cinematics? Check. In-game footage? Check. A big monster that I presumably have to defeat? Check. Anything else? That about covers it. Oh wait, there is also a dragon. I look at this advertisement, and it seems that they have put the cart before the horse here. Trion Worlds is setting Rift up to be the next WoW killer, but we don’t know much about the game.
Now admittedly, I have played my fair share of WoW as well as other MMORPGs, and I have quit playing WoW to go play other MMOs, but never solely due to the fact that the new game isn’t WoW. I left for other reasons: play experiences, different classes, different skill structures, and new world to explore. So based on the advertisement, I guess they nailed one of those four, but why only concentrate on the one that everyone nails. It’s obvious that we aren’t in Azeroth anymore. It’s not the same game. Now, I know that they can’t fit an in depth run through of game mechanics in an advertisement, but I don’t even know what happens in Rift at all.
Sell me on your game because it’s awesome, not because it’s different from on of the leading games in that genre. To quote Morpheus, “Stop trying to hit me and hit me.” The problem that I see here is the competition of video game sales. I like the fact that Trion Worlds advertising is direct and to the point, but the only point that they are making has nothing to do with their game. Advertising for a video game should sell that video game, and not just compare itself to other video games. I think that they are admitting that their game is inferior simply because of the comparison. If you are going to make a game that competes with WoW, then the advertisement for it should not even consider WoW. If you are better, then the public should be able to play your game and know that you are better. It shouldn’t have to be directly pointed out to them.
It seems like Trion World’s advertising is writing a really big check, and their game is going to have to cash it. It’s a gutsy move, and I do hope that it works out for them, but the pandering to WoW players turns me off. If you are going to be better, then just be better. To go a little Yoda on this, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
Link to the video on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpXoNaiPfT8
Post on my personal blog at: http://aerosinflatedego.blogspot.com/