The quiet closure of the recent Rift River of Souls event (here are some goodies, please stop yelling at us!) got me to thinking. By any measure the goody bag Trion handed to every single character that existed at the time of the event was quite generous, containing a 20 slot bag, 250 shards, a quest item for a blue quality level-appropriate weapon, and a couple of achievement tokens. I can think of plenty of companies that would have told the playerbase to suck it (and indeed some of them actually have) and move on. So Trion should be lauded for actually trying to placate their players, and by doing so in a way that had a clear benefit for characters receiving the gift bag.
Nevertheless . . . I wasn't very happy with how it all turned out. I had to think about it for a while, but eventually I figured out the source of my unhappiness (and it also explains why I lost interest in World of Warcraft). Earlier in my MMO gaming experience I was very interested in and excited by the rewards I could earn for a character by doing certain (often repetitive) in-game tasks. I did heroics for ages in The Burning Crusade expansion, and even a little bit of raiding and arenas. Did I do the arenas because they were fun? No, I did them for the rewards. After earning epic flight form on my Druid (another reward) I was burned out and quit the game. I came back for Wrath of the Lich King but was quickly disgusted that everything I earned in the previous expansion (even my epic flight!) was rendered worthless upon stepping into Northrend, and quit at level 72. I came back again about a year later and quickly leveled two characters to 80 and started the heroic grind. I eventually had my Paladin and Druid decked out in heroic dungeon token epics and (with nothing really left to do) took a break while waiting for Cataclysm. Cataclysm arrived, did another gear reset, and after a couple of days on the leveling/gear treadmill I decided I really was done and quit again. I haven't been back since. I know I will someday, but not any time soon.
Why? Because I'm no longer interested in the pixel rewards my characters can earn. WoW has conditioned me to accept that they're transient and entirely pointless. The only thing of value to be gained from MMOs is the experience of playing the game itself. So in Rift I find myself doing dungeons once and not going back, not because I didn't like them, but because I'm not interested in grinding for loot, I just want to experience the content. I jump around from quests to PvP to rifts to dungeons and back again. It's not efficient, I won't get the best rewards. I don't care though, I'm just having FUN playing a game. Go figure. That doesn't mean I'm immune to the lure of item rewards, I still fall for them now and then and waste time obsessing over trying to get this or that new piece of gear. A decade of MMO gaming has ground the need to do that in too deeply to be rid of it fully, but for the most part I'm doing things because I want to, irrespective of any item reward at the end.
How is this relevant? Trion's compensation to players who missed the bungled world event was an item reward. Now I have the item reward without the experience that lead to it, and it's the experience that I actually wanted, not the reward. I wanted to participate in the event and see how things turned out, not get "phat lewt". If they re-ran phase 2 and 3 of the event with no chance at any rewards whatsoever I'd still participate. I would also happily run raids and difficult dungeons with no chance of loot just for the chance to see them. Would I run them over and over? Of course not, I just want to see the content and once is enough unless I really liked it. I've reached the point in MMO gaming where I need to take a step back and just enjoy the game and call it quits when I've seen all the content I can hope to see. Getting on the reward treadmill is just going to leave me burned out and uninterested in the game, and eventually the genre as a whole. So Trion's compensation didn't really give me anything I wanted, though I'm still glad they made the effort to do something.