Scott Hartsman: Beta 2 Wrapup – Once Upon A Time…

by on Dec.21, 2010, under Blog

Scott Hartsman writes to the beta community:

“ONCE UPON A TIME in a land called Telara, 573 Guardian players were minding their own business in a region called Silverwood. They were frolicking and levelling, and levelling and questing, and looting and laughing, collecting and crafting…. Ah! What a peaceful time it was.

And then, the world exploded.

Invasions, Invasions, Invasion - OH MY!!!

Dozens of rifts, invasions, bosses, real gameplay objectives (and rewards coming soon!), dramatic skies, music shifts — the whole package. Our first event on a truly massive scale.

Beyond the gameplay, what you’re seeing is part of the story of Prince Hylas Aelfwar, and the Battle for Silverwood.

If you were there, we hope you enjoyed it. If you missed one of the times it ran: What you’re seeing is the first of many, and we hope you get to see them soon.

We’ve been playing this pretty close to the vest. We didn’t want to go promising things until we were able to prove this all worked and was fun, in front of a full-size Beta audience.

There are a lot of ways to tell epic stories in MMOs. Cutscenes are cool (we have a few of those). Voiced vignettes can be neat (we have some of those too). Giving you your own private experience can work well too.

In RIFT, we’d like you to be able to play through these events yourself. (The first M in MMO does stand for “Massive.”) That’s where we’re going.

In the event above, there were 573 player participants. All in one part of the world, and the world held up like a champ. Different raids, groups, and soloists taking on different parts of the event.

As a long time MMO player, I’d call it “exactly what I’ve been waiting for.”

We’re thrilled to see the comments from people who were pleasantly shocked that this is what we had in mind when we’ve been talking about epic scale events.

This event was for levels 8-20, complete with group encounters and raid bosses, and the reactions were amazingly positive.

It was a lot of fun to give you this preview of the first of many more types of events — both large and small.

We’ve had a ton of feedback on other subjects as well — Time is short and we have a lot to do between now and the next beta. Here are a few other key things we’ve taken away from all of the testing so far.

Classes and Souls: People like the system. They want more of it. They want to be able to play with more options, sooner — Both in terms of the numbers of points they can invest, as well as the numbers of souls and how they roll out. We hear you, and we agree.

The system really does play at its best once you have a pool of points to play with. That said, those high-end 51 point abilities look like fun too. What isn’t fun is asking people to make that kind of choice at the high end: Do I forsake the fun of the system to get the power I feel that I need in that 51 point ability?

In our system, it’s possible to give people even more choices by getting more points and more souls, faster. We can let people get all the way to a top-end soul ability if they choose, and still be able to have points to spend elsewhere into two other souls.

In time for Beta 3, expect to see all of the souls available to choose from the outset, more souls available earlier in the experience, and more total points to spend. The system is there, and it’s fun, and there’s no reason to hide it from people.

We’re confident that it’s the right thing to do to get more fun into the system. It’s more work, but it’s the kind of work we’re betting you’d want your developers focused on.

Soul Preview: This one was always on the list of things we’d like to do. After Beta 1, it got promoted to the top of it. It made the “We absolutely need this” list after Beta 2. The goal is to get it out there in time for Beta 3.

Pet Naming: I didn’t call this one out after Beta 1, but it was already on the list then. Since people keep asking about it specifically, we’d like to add that it should be out in time for Beta 3.

The Silverwood Music Bug: Yes, we’re fixing this. :)

There will be more improvements beyond these in time for Beta 3, but there’s a really short cycle between now and then, and we’re trying to make sure we can do everything above and more.

We look forward to seeing you next round, playing with more souls, and more massive events and more zone boss invaders!

If you haven’t seen them, you just haven’t seen RIFT.

See you in Beta 3!

– The Rift Development Team”

Written by Arithion

Arithion was insane enough to start the production of The Rift Podcast back in June 2010. Apart from hosting The Rift with Desikis she also writes articles for the site and has a fascination with corgis.

9 Comments for this entry

  • Tramell

    Excited to see that we will be able to play a bit more with the soul system with more souls and points to choice from. Thats one thing I want to get a handle on.

  • Jeremy

    Sounds exactly like what the MMO industry has been needing for a very long time. About time someone put the first M back into MMO. The curious thing will be is how this will play out as the user base average level goes up. Will we see less lower level interaction or will lower levels be able to engage in the fun with the higher levels?

  • Anonymous Coward

    Ha, NDA be damned, you can’t track me from here!

    I’ve been in both Beta events and holy smokes do I want this game to launch!!! I loved all the dynamic events going on. No place (well, almost) fell safe and routine. I’d be fighting some ‘static’ mob and here comes an invasion force up the road and I’m forced to try to finish my fight quickly or flee to fight another day.

    “Organic” grouping was happening like mad; that’s my favorite kind. People helped each other and no one was griping about ‘you stole me 2 exp by helping me’ or any of that stuff. I hate that kind of artificial “game” systems. Heros are going to help each other, right?

    I did hear some complaints when a person was trying to turn in a quest and the NPC they needed to talk to was fighting an invasion force. To me, that’s one of the awesome things about Rift. If you want everything to be safe and static and routine, this might not be your game.

    As to me, I’m ready to buy now. Just tell me who to give my money to!!

  • greg

    i cant wait to get back into it!

  • Lobo

    Been there seen that. And it was EPIC!!!

    Also all the right feedback is there.

    I am very very pleased with Trion so far. Keep up the good work guys !

  • elfranco

    you all at Trion do a great Job.Go ahead.

    Its good to see Telara is in good hands.

    Beta2 was a pleasure for me to join in.

    Hope to see and feel beta3 too.

    But i can´t wait for release.



  • Lyriss

    Trion, I just wanted to say that I really appreciate the dev team taking the time to consider player ideas and even putting a lot of them into action. This goes a long way with earning the respect of the game’s community. I feel this is definitely a step in the right direction and it makes me want to really keep a close eye on Rift. I have been looking for a new MMO to call home, and I keep going back to the old standby games because the recent new ones that have come out have left me feeling that they are lacking in too many areas to count. So far, I haven’t felt that way with Rift. I am pleasantly surprised with the possibilities of class customization and the graphics don’t leave me bored (which is a big plus). I am really loving the Defiant side story line as well. Keep the good ideas flowing!

  • Draunin

    I love that they are putting all souls at the beginning I was kinda upset that they limited it with such a great system. The more points idea is ok but hopefully they dont make it to where you get to many points if u can max out all souls thats to much I think I like specialization or hybrid mixing (not maxing everything).

  • Phillosopherp

    This beta even was by far one of the most stable I have been a part of and I have been a part of a number of them. The thing that I would want to highlight from being a part of this beta was that you are not kidding about the first M part, it was truly massive in nature! The fact that the world always felt like it was at war against the rift planes makes you always want to be on the edge of your seat looking around to make sure that some rift group wasn’t coming at you. I can’t wait to see what the PvP part of the game feels like. I have now told everyone I know to watch out for this game, and to get on board at launch, because this is an mmo that is going to be on everyones great list very shortly and I don’t want any of them to miss out on it!

    The thing that I have stress to everyone is the fact that there is no feeling of grinding so far in my experience. Sure I have only got to feel what the first 20 levels are like, but from that feeling I can extrapolate out. Due to the nature of the game you can hunt rifts and invasions all day long, contribute to the game world in a meaningful way, and never once feel like you are bored. This feeling comes from the fact that you are assisting the world around you, feeling heroic, and thus DOING something besides just trying to ding. That is something that every mmo strives for but very few succeed in. Well to all that haven’t enter Telara yet, I can assure you that this game succeeds in spades!

    Keep up the great work guys!

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