From the point of view of Alton Towers - this is the biggest thrill ride to target their 'thrill audience' since Rita.....nearly 8 years ago. They want to show how many loops, twists, turns, how gritty and fun and thrilling this ride really is. I think it does it well.
Thats it they have to cater for everyone, lets look at it this way Alton Towers does not have the money or the space to keep building a abundance of rides to suit every rider, so they cant go and say make there next 3 rides all aimed at one kind of rider.
In my opinion this will be their 1st major thrill ride since Nemesis as Oblivion was a Thrill ride but its thrill was purely the Drop after that nothing, and Rita was the Launch. None of them threw you around and gave the Thrill that Nemesis did.
A key to that is the tightness of the track...
a lot on here are getting all excited about the record of Loops..... well this will be beaten thats for sure.
I have been on many many rides around the World and i can voucher that the Number of Inversions is not important its purely a number.... what is important is the type of Inversions and how they are used. For Example, Kraken has same number as The Hulk, Kraken has higher Loops, but Hulks are more intense, and in the Smiler we get a combination of those, the first half of the ride we get a Double Batwing but its the 2nd part of the ride and the Cobra roll that will be intense.
Which will bring me to the point again, i have been on Montu which is Taller than Nemesis, Faster, much more Inversions yet for me Nemesis is more thrilling and thats because of the tightness of the track the twists and turns and closeness of the track and ground really make the difference, and for me hence even though it is shorter, slower, less loops Nemesis knocks me around and Scares me more than Montu does.
So back to the Smiler, its not a case of 14 Inversions, i mean look at Colossus 10 but then half of those happen at the end and is basically 5X Heartline Rolls which are Intense.... The Smiler has a more varied type of Inversions and the track is tight and this basically is going to add to the Thrill factor just as i stated with the Nemesis vs Montu.