Trion Visit

Trion’s RIFT: Communication and Honesty – a refreshing experience

by on Feb.14, 2011, under Blog, Trion Visit

One of the reception areas

Pre-launch MMORPG’s often get a bad reputation, at least after the fact. They promise everything, and deliver very little of it.

Trion, it seems, has decided to throw off the stereotype and be the company that doesn’t beat around the bush.

Over the last eight months, I’ve had the opportunity to interview and record with the team on a pretty regular basis. They’ve never answered anything they weren’t 100% sure of at the time, and if that answer changes down the path, they’re the first to admit it and get the change out to their fans. Inviting Fansites to their offices along with the Press, just reiterates their stance.

When we sat down on Friday with Scott Hartsman, Russ Brown, and Hal Hanlin (not to mention the community team and several media attendees), it became very obvious they weren’t holding back. It doesn’t matter if you’re not going to like their answer, they will still tell it to you like it is. I personally dislike Dungeon Finders, but Scott assured us, if it’s needed, they will deal with it.

Add-ons will be allowed, the preparation just isn’t there for launch yet. They’ve been concentrating on getting the game out with as much polish and finish as they can.

They will be releasing more Endgame content than any game that’s been released in a long time. Two level 50 dungones. Ten expert Dungeons as well as expert Rifts. Then there are Raid Rifts and the Greenscale Dungeon. This will be followed shortly by another dungeon – and a little bit later by Hammerknell. And Hammerknell is not a myth. We all saw it, it does exist, and all we can say is it’s Imposing and quite awesome. But it’s definitely there.

Not forgetting there are factions to grind, recipes to craft and puzzles to find that award level appropriate gear when you complete them.

There are already remedies in place for botters, hackers and spammers. Accounts will and have been banned and preorders canceled because of this already. And that spam text we all hate? Just report it and the spam filter will learn what to filter out.

This company knows when to push their own ideal of the game and when to listen to the player base. They make changes quickly and efficiently, incorporating a surprising amount of vocal feedback by the player base. Want all souls at the start? Done. Want public groups? Done. Just to name a couple. Although these changes are indicative of beta and the game in a not quite finished state – it still shows a lot of willingness on behalf of Trion to listen to their player base. They see every issue that gets brought up on the forums, they’re just too busy working on remedies and fixes to answer.

To Trion’s RIFT Team, their community is everything.

Now this article is a personal opinion and I know I’m going to get called a fangirl. But you know what? I guess I am.

It’s not that I agree with everything in the game. Hell, I despise the possibility of RDF’s, I wish the customization could be prettier and more varied, even though I now know that would take away the awesome fps I get in most zones (except Meridian – evil Meridian). I want more emotes, I’d like the rest of endgame definitely in sooner rather than later. The lower level armour design really gets to me and frankly I want individual race starting areas.

But the gameplay, the soul system, the little reasons to explore hidden all over the world, and the mass of endgame they already have in, not to mention the invasion and event system that can all operate automated or manually… Those are much bigger and more important elements in a game for me. The things I love in the game far outweigh those I don’t. And the Team’s attitude about their game and the reasoning behind their processes makes the little things seem insignificant.

The Fansites got a reward for having faith when there wasn’t much to build faith on. I think the team sells themselves a little short – Their histories, passion, and dedication to the game they’re building has shown through since the beginning.

Placing faith in Rift was placing faith in their team. And I, for one, am happy I did.

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Podcast 31: Dev Roundtable (Part 1) & Fansite Antics

by on Feb.14, 2011, under Podcast, Trion Visit

After Ari’s Trion visit last week, we have the first half of a Dev Round Table with Scott Hartsman, Russ Brown and Hal Hanlin for everyone. They cover a lot of ground including the following:

  • Botting, Hacking & Spam
  • Autoface target
  • Game goals and exceeding them
  • Pet classes and their pets
  • Balancing game design and player demands
  • Random Dungeon Finder or not
  • We’re not in Azeroth anymore
  • And much more!

Questions are posed by Ari :) , Ciovala from Telarapedia, Draegan from RiftJunkies, and Esloan from HorRiftic Intentions

Stay tuned after the dev chat for a tiny glimpse of the Drunken Podcast ;) Please note if you downloaded this in the first 11 hours – the loud beeps have been rectified now and we apologize for the volume they were originally set at.

Hope you enjoyed the show! This episode is sponsored by Typefrag Ventrilo Hosting. Promo code: RiftPodcast.

WARNING: This podcast may contain references to language not appropriate for some viewers. We’re not really sorry, but we thought we warn you because we love you all :D

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Interlude: A sit down with the Instance and Raid team

by on Dec.17, 2010, under Blog, Podcast, Trion Visit

It's Berenger!

As we established yesterday, my main concern for any game is always the endgame raid content (and, tbh, anything that makes sure I don’t get bored once I hit level cap).  And – as luck has it, the Rift Instance and Raid team at Trion happen to be all in one.

The guys were great – not only did they take time out to show me the Raid instances they’re working on finishing, but Berenger Fish (The Instance and Raid Team Boss!), Adam Hetenyi and Billy Shaughnessy (a couple of mini bosses) – recorded a short interview with me which touches on:

  • Raid Instances will be present at launch
  • There are 10 standard and 10 expert dungeons
  • expert dungeons are level 50 content
  • some expert dungeons must be geared up before they’re possible
  • Instances and Raids are designed with the versatility of the soul system in mind
  • And More!

Don’t shoot me – I forgot to ask about Pie :(

It's the mini bosses!

Now – just to give people a head’s up – the chairs creaked and the there were lots of noises just outside of the little room we recorded in. The track isn’t as clean as I’d like, but that doesn’t change the content.

Hope you enjoy this little podcast interlude.

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A Visit to Trion – the EndGame, the People and the Experience

by on Dec.16, 2010, under Blog, Trion Visit

Hi – My name is Arithion, also known as Ari and probably known as some colourful expletives to those people who don’t like to hear me ‘chatter’.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, December 14th & 15th,  I was lucky enough to journey to visit Trion in their Redwood Shores offices.

One of the reception areas

Now, a bit about me for those who don’t know me. I’ve been playing MMORPGs since the 2nd half of 1999. That’s right, I started with the dreaded Everquest which I played for nigh on four and a half years. Then I moved over to Everquest 2, continued to raid obsessively and met my husband. I’ve been known to play WoW on and off. VG, LotRO, WAR, AOC, Aion… blah blah level fast, get to cap … and have nothing to do.

Now for my confession.

I’ve been doing this podcast thing for RIFT for six months now. I love doing it. All of the people I’ve met have been amazing, and I truly appreciate that the devs and CM’s are willing to take so much time to let the community know how things work and where the team is at. I get that some people don’t understand I can’t always ask the questions we want to know – if it’s not on a talk about schedule yet, I won’t ask the questions. Come release, that’ll be a bit different ;)

But

Though I try to be positive, sometimes annoyingly so, I’ve always had my reservations. I like games for the long haul, not just for a few months. I don’t like to hit max level and have nothing to gear up for, and nothing to do. The game world needs to be alive, and there needs to be a reason for me to put in those daily play hours, improve my character and learn every possible nuance of my class.  I’m a little OCD like that.

I’ve made no pains to hide that this is the way I am. A game needs to have Endgame content in order to appeal to me – and with so many recent games failing to deliver precisely that, I was resigned to the fact that RIFT would probably do the same and I’d end up with a game to pass the time for a couple of months before subjecting me to the boredom of nothing to play until the next thing comes out.

I was wrong.

The EndGame

There will be two raid instances at launch, and multiple Raid Rifts. I’ve seen them.  Now, I am under NDA, so there is only so much I’m permitted to say about what I saw.  I can, however, say that I saw both the smaller and the large (read massively huge) Raid Instance zones. The bosses I saw in action looked to be quite complex, and definitely not a tank and spank operation. There’s going to be a lot of coordination required by raid forces to defeat some of these. These instances made me fangirl squee, I have to admit it. Hey – everyone has their vices! Just seeing mostly and almost completed Raid content awaiting tweaks and polish was enough to give me a sigh of relief. And then there were the Raid Rifts.

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