My thoughts on the Rift Store (adjunct thread to the call out thread)

#1dicemanxxPosted 1/31/2013 10:41:43 AM
Since a number of individuals have made arguments against the Rift Store and the whole idea of grinding for hires in an effort to mitigate the seriousness of rank hacking, I wish to offer my thoughts.

Argument #1 against the RIFT STORE

It ruins the player experience: players are denied the opportunity to discover and obtain gear through their own efforts, and thus the game becomes less satisfying.

This argument has some merit, and deserves consideration. However, the argument is poorly balanced, and fails to take into consideration two critical things – are there any positive aspects to the Rift Store, and how do they stack up against the argument against the Rift Store?

Three Counter-arguments in favor of the RIFT STORE

1. The Rift Store increases the longevity of the game for those that use it, and they remain part of this community for a longer period of time instead of moving on to other games. Consider the following quotes from Rift Store users found in these two threads:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/626515-dragons-dogma/64850772
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/626515-dragons-dogma/65251076


I Have to say honestly Dice before i found these boards and your store i was just about to stop playing DD. after having already achieved a platinum trophy and having almost every vocation maxed out with my arisen I was finding it hard to keep interested then I discovered your store and begun my quest to try to get my pawn to the top 100 rank. Because after seeing how much effort you put into your pawn and into this store you showed me a new side of the game i had not seen while playing previously so even without the gears i got for doing hires, thank you Dice. for reviving DD without me having to wait for DD-DA




I appreciate the store, as I tried the "GodsBane" trick, and after it took me 3 hours to get the stupid Twilight Chest, I quit doing this, as I've stated before I'm a casual player who prefers to be fighting when online. So I used the store, and greatly appreciate it.




you are ENHANCING the gaming experience by allowing ppl use end of game loot for longer than the 10 hours or less of postgame play. People will play how they want.




First of all, we're all adults here. If we choose to pursue a path, it is downright oppressive to tell us it's the wrong one and we have to do it 'the right way'.

Furthermore, different people value different things. Yes, I am a bit disappointed that I am one-shotting daytime creatures without difficulty. On the other hand, I look fabulous while doing it. I was wearing the Captain's Armor well until after I reached Gran Soren because everything I'd found up to that point looked awful. It was killing my fun then far more than easy enemies are killing my fun now, and you know what? I have all that fugly gear sitting in the bank. If I want a challenge again I just have to put it on and step outside.

Part of this is the game's fault I think. Too much gear comes from stores, there have been very few times I've gotten an exciting item drop in the wild. Before I started using the Rift Store, I was coming to the conclusion that all the best stuff wouldn't be accessible to me until after I'd beaten the game. I can't really see the point in that. Maybe if NG+ was a challenge, but as it is, farming everfall endlessly just sounds very pointless to me. Some people may like it, but it's just not my thing.

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Celeste, Level 200 Strider, Ranked #5 (PSN: Sellomar)
Arianne, Level 200 Ranger, Ranked #1 (PSN: dice1221)
#2dicemanxx(Topic Creator)Posted 1/31/2013 10:42:04 AM


Besides, this rift store gets people involved with the online aspect of the game as well as access to things they aren't likely to get as a casual player. While hiring and release might get a bit tedious (why I took Arianne around Gransys for a bit), it rewards that very short amount of time with what could be hours, days or even weeks of work for some people that may not have time for it.




Here's my 2 Cents for the Rift Store.

I simply do not have the time, I love games and a completionist, specifically with inventory, I'm one of those guys who hunted every item in FFXII (So I am no stranger to the grind) and with any RPG like games I play. Its an obsession rather than fun. Dragons Dogma was such a breather when I saw the rift store. I can practically use my end game equipment right at the get go rather than just use them to Bash the final boss fight, its like Luffy and his Strawhat, my Equipment are like my pals, they were with me since the beginning. And now completing items to fuel my obsession is a breeze especially since DLC is not an option for me. more time with the kids too.




for players like me who probably would lose interest/be too busy to find these items ourselves, you offer a great service to help us out.




Dice, just wanted to post a note of thanks for what you do, and show you a little support. Your store has enabled me to continue to enjoy the game without suffering through the tedium of grinding for gear, which has caused me to stop playing other games in the past, as the repetitive grind overwhelmed the enjoyment. So thanks again for saving me from that and allowing me to enjoy DD. Don't let the actions of a few take away from your enjoyment either. Some of us appreciate your hard work.


There are plenty of additional quotes via pm of a similar nature. The bottom line is that a great majority of Rift Store users have the opportunity to enjoy what the game offers by having the option of avoiding the tedium of grinding for gear. Many, as indicated in a few quotes above, would have long departed from this game were it not for the Store and what it had to offer.
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Celeste, Level 200 Strider, Ranked #5 (PSN: Sellomar)
Arianne, Level 200 Ranger, Ranked #1 (PSN: dice1221)
#3dicemanxx(Topic Creator)Posted 1/31/2013 10:43:08 AM
2. The Rift Store contributes towards community building by creating a friendly atmosphere and offering assistance to new and veteran players alike. The gear is sold for relatively low prices when compared to the amount of time a player would have to invest not only to obtain much of that gear, but spending the time Dragonforging it. For instance, any piece of gear found in Everfall Chests sells for 8 hires (which takes about 5 minutes to send), while it might take 1-2 hours to get that piece of gear from a chest using the Godsbane trick and then upgrade and dragonforge it by fighting a dragon over and over.

The Rift Store is a major part of what many of us aim to do around here – be kind and helpful to other members of the community and encourage sharing and cooperation.

3. The Rift Store was and is an opportunity to add another element to the game – be part of a team to help rank up pawns and bring down some of the behemoths at the top of the rankings. Without the Rift Store, it would be almost impossible to take down that absolute monster of a pawn, Violet, the former #1, by any normal means. Sure you can grind hires, but that really wears on you, and amassing 20,000 hires is absolutely no small feat. Many Rift Store users were excited to be part of the effort to help crack those giants up top, and were even willing to send hires without even using them to make purchases.

The fact that Arianne reached #1 was truly a community effort in every sense of the word, from those that contributed hires to those that helped with the grinds, that helped in setting up the Rift Store by donating gear or helping with the set up of the google docs, or just offering words of encouragement while watching from the sidelines in interest. The fact that Arianne is at #1 isn't some testament of her power as a pawn; instead is a symbol of the extraordinary effort made by a great community. Those that contributed had a hand in this, and can be proud of that fact - Arianne is really a gamefaqs community pawn rather than my pawn alone.
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Celeste, Level 200 Strider, Ranked #5 (PSN: Sellomar)
Arianne, Level 200 Ranger, Ranked #1 (PSN: dice1221)
#4dicemanxx(Topic Creator)Posted 1/31/2013 10:44:06 AM
Argument #2 against the RIFT STORE

Trading gear for hires is “cheating”, and it goes against the spirit of the ranking system. The ranking system is designed to reward those pawns that are hired and actually used by other players for play purposes. Furthermore, it is hypocritical to call out those that do any form of rank hacking and yet cheat by bribing others for hires.

Counter-arguments in favor of the RIFT STORE

This second argument against the Rift Store is much more serious, and certainly worthy of careful consideration. First, a little history.

When I first decided back in August to pursue the number 1 spot in the rankings, very few of us had exact knowledge of how the ranking system worked. Densetsu, who had been around for a much longer time, already had an inkling that the rankings were based on hires mainly, but when Arianne was climbing up the ranks I thought much differently – Arianne was getting hired quite a bit due to my marketing efforts, and she was bring back some very serious RC. I assumed that Capcom would design the ranking system to reflect pawn use, and what better way to do that than to base rank or RC earned (at least that was my thinking at that time). I dismissed the idea that the rankings were based predominantly on number of hires for two reasons – first, I thought there would be no way that Capcom would design such a system which would be open to flagrant abuse, and secondly I conducted my own tests by giving Arianne many hires to see what impact it would have on her rankings.

The problem with those tests, as it turned out, was that I had absolutely no idea about the “rule of 10” (if more than 10 hires are done, then not only are any hires past 10 deleted by the servers, but the servers can also delete some of the original 10 hires!) This escaped detection because the hire count in your history goes up based on the actual total hires. So, for instance, I would hire and release Arianne 50 times, and then I would see her hire count in history go up by 50. However, in reality the internal hire count would only go up by some number between 0 and 10 but there was no way to see or know that at that time. So after hiring her a huge number of times and barely moving up in rank, I concluded that number of hires was not the prime determinant of rank.

So I decided to continue with my campaign to get players to actually use Arianne in their games, and get her to amass much RC. I figured that once she (and to some degree Celeste and Persephone) caught on, she would end up getting lots of daily “real” hires with lots of RC earned. And she did end up getting hired a lot, causing her to move swiftly up the ranks.

In the meantime, two things caused me to reconsider my conclusions about the number of hires and their impact on rank. The first was a campaign by flik to get hires for his pawn, Lord Zymeth (who was changed into Lady Scatha later):

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/626515-dragons-dogma/63950470?page=6

I must admit I was highly annoyed. From what I could tell flik was ranking up ridiculously quickly based on players simply hiring and releasing his pawn, and yet here I was trying to go to all this trouble to get people to actually play with Arianne in their games. I didn't WANT to believe that rankings were mainly based on hires, so I stubbornly continued with my campaigns, but deep down I knew that something was wrong with my own testing and conclusions. I wasn't really angry with flik (how could I be), I was mad that Capcom could create such a shoddy ranking system if one could so easily “cheat” the system.
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Celeste, Level 200 Strider, Ranked #5 (PSN: Sellomar)
Arianne, Level 200 Ranger, Ranked #1 (PSN: dice1221)
#5dicemanxx(Topic Creator)Posted 1/31/2013 10:45:06 AM
The straw that broke the camel's back was ultimately densetsu's actions during Karasu's and Arianne's pursuit of top rank back in September-October. Densetsu would occasionally post in various trade threads offering to swap gear for mushrooms, which ultimately culminated in launching his Myconid Madness store:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/626515-dragons-dogma/64244008

The second tipping point was densetsu's other pawn, Haggar (now Skye) who was completely tearing through the top 100 like a demon possessed. Arianne was at #18 in the rankings at this point, while Karasu was getting closer to #10. I thought Arianne moved swiftly through the top 100 compared to the rate Karasu moved through the rankings a few weeks prior, but Arianne had nothing on Haggar. It is at this point that I knew that there was some way to cheat the system. Densetsu also dropped hints in another thread that it was a good idea to keep track of hires by sending gifts (this was when there was a desire to start up the 200 club and swap hires weekly to maintain rank), so I decided to revisit my prior testing but this time give gifts each time I hired and released. It didn't take very long to realize that if I sent more than 10 hires gifts would start disappearing. I identified 10 to be the magic number – so long as the hires were kept within ten, all the hires would get transmitted. Bingo.

So, with some disdain, I started grinding with both Arianne and Celeste. I was disappointed with the fact that the ranking system was NOT based on amount of pawn use, but based on a system that could be easily abused. However, I had invested almost an entire month of running various marketing campaigns to make Arianne popular among the players. Furthermore, I was driven by the two man competition with densetsu's Karasu, and since it was obvious that densetsu was grinding Karasu the way he was grinding Haggar, I had to give in and grind as well if I had any hope of catching Karasu.

The stakes had changed. This was no longer about reaching the top and proclaiming that my pawn was the best because of her popularity and her power, as reflected in how much players used her in their games. Instead, this became a two man competition – a race to the top using any means necessary to win short of actual cheating such as hacking save files.

So, I started to grind. Since Arianne was already very high in rank and she would need many more hires at her position to reach even higher ranks, I couldn't be absolutely sure if my technique was sound. So I brought Celeste for a ride. Since Celeste was on the cusp of the top 100 by this point mainly based on the strength of incidental hires from the heavy advertising of both twins, grinding pushed her into the top 100 quickly and she tore through the ranks even faster than Haggar. She finally caught him in the top 30. This meant that I was doing it right and that Arianne was also making serious progress, even though she was moving up the ranks at a slower rate being at a higher position.

The rest is history. But what I recounted here was the turning point for me, transitioning from striving to make Arianne the best pawn in a wholly legitimate way, to ultimately caving in and doing whatever it took to hunt down Karasu and reach #1.
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Celeste, Level 200 Strider, Ranked #5 (PSN: Sellomar)
Arianne, Level 200 Ranger, Ranked #1 (PSN: dice1221)
#6dicemanxx(Topic Creator)Posted 1/31/2013 10:49:58 AM(edited)
This is why I mentioned in other threads that Arianne is not strictly some puffed up pawn positioned at the top of the rankings based on cheat hires alone. Arianne was, and continues to be used at a great rate, and she has amassed over 550 million RC by this point. But she did get a massive boost through grinding and through the Rift Store, and without such a boost I'd have to wait more than a year before she would even begin to approach Violet, assuming that her hires didn't start drying up and that I kept up with the heavy advertising. Violet was the real problem here – since she found herself at the #1 spot shortly after the game launched, her position in the rankings sucked up so many hires she started averaging over 300 per day. She was also only active for 1-2 months, finishing with over 20,000 hires. The #2 pawn in the rankings at that time, with a Guardian(!) inclination, amassed only around 6500 hires.

By this point, Arianne would probably be at #2 in the rankings without any of this grinding business.

But I did grind her, and I don't feel bad about it at all. I also don't look down upon the others that have done grinding, and I don't begrudge flik and densetsu for doing it way back in September. The reason is threefold:

1. The ranking system is flawed. It shouldn't be based on just hires and pawn feedback – it should instead be based on pawn use. But it is what it is, and nothing is going to change that. There is no way to ultimately differentiate between a pawn that has been benefiting from grinding or actual hires (unless the pawn's owner discloses this or if the person gets caught).

2. Based on the design of the ranking system rank doesn't necessarily reflect how good a pawn is.

3. The ranking system is unfairly weighted against pawns level 99-200. These pawns are practically invisible since you cannot search by level above level 98, and to actually rent a level 200 pawn almost always requires accepting Friend Requests and space on the list is severely limited (100 slots is way too little, since only a small percentage of those that send random FRs end up using your pawn). Those that can hire level 200 pawns without sending FRs are other level 200 players, and most of them have little interest in renting randoms.


So what justifies grinding and using the Rift Store?

Simple.

I don't think that anyone here is under any illusion that their pawns, if highly ranked, are necessarily the best based on rank alone. For instance, I feel that Arianne is a powerfully built Ranger with great looks that stands above other Ranger pawns (feel free to disagree) but NOT because she's #1 in the Rankings. I do however feel she's definitely not out of place at the top, and neither is Celeste. The twins' power merely justifies their rank, even though those ranks were “unfairly” attained. I could just as easily reason that it is unfair that a misbuilt pawn like Violet is at the top because most new players don't really have much of a clue which pawns are good, so they are likely to rent the top ranked pawns on the assumption that they are great pawns. Thus Violet's hires were “unfairly” attained because her rank is grossly misleading and the players that hired her and not getting what they paid for.

So all's fair then as far as the ranking system goes, so long as it is done using the tools and the means provided in-game. Hacking rank is a completely illegal activity and it is a punishable offence. Grinding hires or obtaining them via the Rift Store is well within the bounds of what is legal even though it might go against the “spirit” of the ranking system.
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Celeste, Level 200 Strider, Ranked #5 (PSN: Sellomar)
Arianne, Level 200 Ranger, Ranked #1 (PSN: dice1221)
#7dicemanxx(Topic Creator)Posted 1/31/2013 10:46:44 AM
Here is ultimately how I view the rankings. I pursue top rank for my pawns for three reasons:

1) For the hires

I suppose most assume that many of us at higher ranks attempt to get hires to achieve high rank, but it is actually the other way around - ranking up is but a means to an end. It is the ultimate form of advertising – reach high enough rank, and you'll be flooded with FRs and more frequent hires. This is ultimately what many desire in this forum already, judging by the PSN and pawn details in their signatures or the many threads in which pawns are advertised. I put in a lot of time and effort to achieve what I have achieved, and have benefited from the support of this great community

2) For the display and recognition of one's art

This one requires little explanation. This game has a social and creative aspect to it via pawn design and exchange. Many players use this game as a creative outlet, and they want to put their creations on a pedestal and have others admire their efforts. It's not just the looks that are important – function is just as important and it is a good feeling to have others see your creation literally come to life in their game. A high rank is simply one type of pedestal to place the pawn upon.

2) For the challenge

I reached level 200 a long time ago on many accounts, so I keep having to find new ways to enjoy this game or otherwise I will part ways with this community (as great as it might be). There are still two things that hold my interest:

1.Pursuing high rank by whatever elegant or creative ways I can (The Rift Store is the primary way, but not the only way). I care about the ranking system (but I still acknowledge that it is useless when it comes to ascertaining pawn power), and I will do anything I can to stamp out rank hackers from ruining this aspect of the game for me and others that care about rankings.
2.Running pawn contests such as the prettiest pawn contest, best outfit contest, and now one that I'm really excited about – the Ultimate Pawn Contest. When I do play on occasion, I let the pawns do the fighting because it's actually pretty fun to see how they work as a team to take down mobs and bosses. I love checking out how others design their pawns (via the contests and the Rift Store) and I also love to test out pawn effectiveness.

OK, there you have it. I've had a chance to state my bit, so at least you know where I'm coming from. Now I hope you can all appreciate why I called out flik and densetsu. They both greatly impacted my personal enjoyment of the game and my efforts through their actions. And I know I'm not alone, judging from the pms and even the posts in the other threads. Both flik and densetsu seem to be genuinely good people but I believe they have lost their way in this instance, and I can only restrain myself for so long (don't think that I called them out on impulse – this was a long time coming and I gave flik a chance to resolve things behind the scenes, but I didn't consider densetsu flexing his muscle and resurrecting karasu back to #1 as a good way to address my concerns).

So you don't have to stick up for them and tell me they are good people, because you'll find no argument from me. But it doesn't mean that good people cannot do harm on occasion, and it doesn't mean that they shouldn't be called on it. I don't take any pleasure in confrontation, but sometimes you have to put your foot down.
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Celeste, Level 200 Strider, Ranked #5 (PSN: Sellomar)
Arianne, Level 200 Ranger, Ranked #1 (PSN: dice1221)
#8VandalCrownPosted 1/31/2013 12:08:04 PM
Are you that self-righteous that you feel the need to make your arguments 7 posts long to make your point?

I have never seen something like this on GFAQs for a decade...
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Dragon's Dogma: Look for the Offensive Sorcerer, Magus, Cyrus' Pawn!
#9dicemanxx(Topic Creator)Posted 1/31/2013 12:12:15 PM
VandalCrown posted...
Are you that self-righteous that you feel the need to make your arguments 7 posts long to make your point?

I have never seen something like this on GFAQs for a decade...


Are you stating that the length of an argument is correlated to how self-righteous the individual is in making that argument? I can only presume you didn't read much of what I wrote.

I'm not sure who you are exactly, but if you would like others to consider your position it would be a good idea to try to address what was written first.
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Celeste, Level 200 Strider, Ranked #5 (PSN: Sellomar)
Arianne, Level 200 Ranger, Ranked #1 (PSN: dice1221)
#10Orochi_LedePosted 1/31/2013 12:14:08 PM(edited)
VandalCrown posted...
Are you that self-righteous that you feel the need to make your arguments 7 posts long to make your point?

I have never seen something like this on GFAQs for a decade...


I am going to have to second this....and i have been prowling this site little longer, i even stoped posting for a very long time and just observed and NEVER came close to anything like this.

You are taking this WAAAAAY to seriously dude.

if your store works, then keep doing it, giving out free items is something that will always be popular. if people want stuff, then give them stuff. why do you care so much about the negative.
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"I'm sorry squeeky, it's just a game, you got to get before you get got"