So Phase 2 and 3 of the big Rift River of Souls event occured on Saturday. What? You missed it? Welcome to the club. A very big club. Phase 2 and 3 were finished on most servers in about 30 minutes. Since most servers also had huge queues, chances are good it was over before you could even log in. I don't know if I missed the event because of the queue, or if I wasn't even queuing until it was already over, but either way I missed it.
I have to say I'm extremely disappointed in Trion on this. I already had concerns about the whole Phase 1 event, but Phase 2 and 3 were complete travesties of game design. I don't know who thought two weeks of lead up to a 30 minute "one-time-only" finale was a good idea, but they need to be smacked upside the head. How could anyone think this design would make the playerbase happy? Even the players who actually got to participate are (generally) not very happy, as it was laggy, buggy, and often virtually unplayable. Then there's the rest of us who wanted to participate but were denied the opportunity due to timing and/or queues. Really? This is what you're going to use to hype the game? "We have live events! Come subscribe so you can blink and miss them like everyone else!"
I'm willing to cut Trion some slack on the technical server-side implementation, as this is their first event of this magnitude. They've also stated they're going to compesate people who were stuck in the queues (somehow). They are even extending Phase 1 for another week and will re-run Phase 2 and 3 next weekend. I'll give them a little credit for trying to make amends. However, the complete and utter design failure behind this event is not really forgivable. Any random player could have told them their design for Phase 2 and 3 was insanity, so it boggles the mind how this could get the ok at a developer that has otherwise demonstrated a high level of finesse and craftiness in their designs.
I'm going to offer Trion a suggestion on how to improve this that might make most players happier. I'll even do it for free. Instead of making Phase 2 and 3 a one time event, make it repeat every 3 hours all day long. Yes, some people will see it twice, or three times, and it will break the immersion of the story for them. Oh well. Most players will only see it once, and to them it will be as if it only happened once. Repeating the event throughout the day will break up the population in each zone, reduce queues, and dramatically increase the number of players who actually get to participate in the event. Is that so hard?
I know my "solution" will reduce the coolness of the event for some players, and does reduce the immersion by having the finale play multiple times. But you don't get happy customers by excluding them from content that will NEVER BE ON THE SERVERS AGAIN by only making it available for 30 minutes. In the post-WoW world, everyone expects accessibility to content. You can't blatantly deny that accessibility and expect to be competitive. I'm still enjoying the game otherwise, and am not going anywhere anytime soon, but I'm sure lots of players have rage-quit over this whole debacle. And it is a debacle. Instead of creating a crowning moment of awesome, Trion has given players a reason to doubt their capability and foresight.