It was a quiet weekend in Telara.
While I have only my own server, Shatterbone, on which to base my observations, the weekend before last instant adventure groups at prime time were nearly full raid size affairs.
This past weekend though, the numbers began to falter. After a reasonable start, things began to fade. The biggest instant adventure group I saw starting Saturday afternoon had all of six people. And four of them were the instance group, which joined together. More common were groups of 2-4 players.
A small group is still manageable. The requirements for each instant adventure quest gets scaled somewhat based on group size. Twice though I walked away from groups because the size was too small for the task.
Once it was just my warrior and a rogue, and we could not take down the “one in seven” boss encounter. Another time there was a zone event in Freemarch and there were just enough people to prolong the whole thing, but not enough to defeat it. More wipes on the first boss in the event made me walk away again.
Of course, I imagine that the Guild Wars 2 “make our most dedicated fans suffer” pre-launch weekend had something to do with this. And I also suspect that the impact of GW2 is being magnified somewhat by the fact that, at least here in the US, school is starting up for the fall quarter/semester. Every district in my valley either started last week or is starting this week. The universities are warming up as well.
And while the school starting won’t stop anybody from playing their favorite game, it does place time demands on both parents and children such that you might not spend time with your second best MMO.
So Rift is in a bit of a bind.