Rift: Which Faction Wins More War Fronts?


Rift is a game whose PvP combat is mostly situated within various war fronts. These are instanced battles that let players fight one another without having any real impact on their characters (meaning there is no possible loss involved). But as you start to take part in more and more war fronts, there is one thing that appears to happen pretty consistently: one of the factions almost always wins the fights.

Why is This Interesting?

The reason why a single faction pretty much completely dominating the other quite often is interesting because Rift is a game that is all about equality. This is true so much so that each faction consists of the same classes, the same skills and the same gear. In theory, this should mean that both of them should be about on par with one another. But then we have to factor in skill levels as well, which is clearly not equal, although it would theoretically also be.

One might ask why I say that the skill levels of players on both factions should be about equal. This is actually a pretty simple thing to answer, and it is really a matter of numbers. With each faction consisting of thousands of different players, this means that they should have an about equal mount of players that are not good, are somewhat good, are great and are experts. We could bring the gear and ranks of players in to this as well, although that should lead to the same idea. Basically both factions, being that they were designed equally, should be equal at the end of the day. Were they to have different classes or other balance differences, I would be able to see them as being separate, but since they have no real differences they should be the same.

Why Does it Matter?

When dealing with leveling up and gearing up through PvP, there are essentially two things that determine the rate at which you will do it: how often you play and how often you win. As both of these numbers go up, you speed up the process. As one of them goes down, you slow it down. Because of this, at a low rate of winning, you are really gimping your ability to both gear and rank up. Along with this, there is the annoyance and ego loss of losing every single game (or, at the very least, a vast majority of them). After all, PvP is a method of competition. Nobody enjoys being on the losing team each time because it hurts morale.

Do You Get Rewards for Losing?

This is a tough one because it largely depends on how bad your team is doing as to whether or not you are going to get very much. You do always get the end of the match bonuses, but past that your rewards are based on killing other players and looting their bodies (if we are looking at the gold boosts and item drops). I have been in matches, though, where people give up in such great numbers and so early that we do not even get a single point or kill through the entire thing. In these cases, the rewards for losing are almost nothing, and that is why I always try to put an effort in to at least doing something. Sadly, there are many players that do not feel the same way and simply will not even try to do anything.

The best plan of action would normally be to push forth and try to farm kills and points, regardless as to if you have a chance of winning the match. The win does help with the daily and weekly quests, but by earning scores through the matches you work towards earning more reputation (or achievements, if you want to look at it that way), and by killing players you are able to earn gold, experience and favor. I find it hard to justify not spending the time to earn something, rather than sitting around earning nothing. Even if all we got were a hundred kills in a match and did not even get close to winning, the rewards are still a win to me. At least compared to what we would have gotten had we not killed any enemy players.

The Self Defeating Cycle

The biggest effect of the single faction domination is that it kills PvP for a lot of players. For the losing team, it leads to the point where nobody even cares about trying anymore (“resistance is futile”) and for the winning team, it takes away any challenge there would otherwise be. None of this is fun for either of the teams, and anyone that likes to PvP for the competition ends up having to just move on and look elsewhere. It has gotten to the point on some days where people will jump in to a fresh war front and instantly say that they do not even care any more and are just going to sit around. Rather than try and possibly win, they pretty much ensure that their team is going to fail. Not to mention this usually ends up making other people stop caring, which takes the team down even more. This cycle is a vicious one and I have seen it continue on for hours or days.

What About Mercenaries?

This is a question that is often brought up. When players can be merced over to the other team (meaning that a Defiant is playing on the Guardian PvP team or the other way around), it should help bring about some more equality to the PvP system as a whole. After all, it means that teams are not entirely made up of one faction or the other, and instead are based more on the entire pool of players. Well, while this is theoretically how it works, there is a pretty big problem: many players hate playing for the opposite team. Some see it as betrayal. Some dislike it due to the lore not matching up properly. And some just do not like it because it ends up putting them against the players that they normally join up with, rather than with them. All of these bring about some negative feelings towards the PvP system, and I have seen countless people refuse to even take part when they get merced over, solely because they do not want to be on the enemy team or be helping enemy teams out. After all, especially for those that are on PvP servers, you are helping make your opponent stronger when you end up linked with them for PvP. By slowing them down, you are working towards holding back the enemy, which is what people always want to do when it comes to competition.

There is an issue here, though. When you run a war front with this mind set and you are on the same team as the person that you are trying to hold back, you are not only holding them back but yourself as well. Instead of progressing on your own, you are slowing that down. So while you may not want your enemy to be progressing to the next level, do you really want to hold yourself back with them? At the end of the day they are still going to make it to the next step one way or another. Whether it is the same match you are already in with them or the next one they end up in that does not have you, they are going to make it. I think working at holding them back, when you are not on the enemy team, is one of the worst things you can possibly do. You are wasting your time and really have nothing to show for it. On the other hand, you could help them, while helping yourself, and everyone wins.

I do want to stress that I completely understand where the people that are against mercs due to the lore are coming from. While I am all for the merc system because it lets war fronts start up faster (which is a benefit for both sides), I do think that breaking the lore, with no option to not be merced, may have been the wrong decision. I could understand having a flag that allows you to merc if chosen, and not if not, but forcing players that are in to role playing and all to play for the enemy team simply does not make sense. It breaks the immersion of the game and has turned a lot of players away from even taking part in the war front system. We know that a better system should be available because they even have a flag for becoming a mentor within dungeons; those who want to be leveled down can queue for everything, and those who do not end up queued only for those that are within their range. This is the same base system that should be added to the war fronts, only allowing (or rather disallowing) mercs as an option. Hopefully we will see this in the future!


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