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In this sixth exclusive interview with Trion Worlds, Ten Ton Hammer
asks about gamers’ favorite things, loot and gear! To learn
more about the fabulous items that you can get in href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/rift"> style="font-style: italic;">Rift: Planes of Telara,
we sat down with Drew Clowery, Game System Designer. Many equipment
related topics were discussed such as loot drops, armor sets, looting
systems, rarity of loot, and many others. If you have any questions you
wish answered in a future interview, please post them in our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=53660">official
Ton Hammer: Are there armor sets and bonuses?
Clowery: This is something
that I, personally, really want. But that doesn't mean it will get in
right away. We're not planning on having armor set bonuses at launch,
but we will be paying close attention to the community feedback during
beta and beyond.
Ton Hammer: Do you have an idea of how many armor sets are available?
Clowery: I have a pretty good
idea! I work with those guys regularly. (laughs) We have 48 different
models, and then each model has a number of texture variants. Those
texture variants can dramatically alter the way the model looks. There
are 48 underlying models where the physical geometry looks like this,
and then a large of texture variants which changes the look of the
whole item. We have quite a few.
Ton Hammer: Do all armor pieces have a visual component? Say
you’re wearing an earring; will you be able to see that
earring on your avatar?
" style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman";"> style="font-style: italic;">Loot is a really big
element in these games. Getting new and exciting gear is really
Clowery: We decided not to do
that. There’s really a really low rate of return for the
workload on a lot of those. It’s hard to see rings, earrings,
or belts. When you’re looking at characters in a MMOG, you
tend to be looking at them from a distance away, and you
don’t get that really close up view that lets you see little
details like that. As a result of that, we decided not to put the work,
and it’s a substantial amount of work, into modeling each and
every one of those items. That said, you have 6 different visual
appearance armor slots, plus weapons, which appear visually on your
character. So there is a good deal of visual character customization,
and we really tried to focus in on the areas where we would get the
biggest bang for our buck.
Ton Hammer: Will dungeons have better gear drops than rifts?
Clowery: In general, rifts
are theoretically easier than dungeons because there’s no
population gap. You can keep brining in more people until your video
card melts. Because of that, rifts are considered easier and we try to
distribute items based upon the difficulty of the content. If a 5 man
dungeon can only be done by 5 people and there’s a certain
level of difficulty, it’s going to have loot of that
difficulty. If there’s a rift that’s a 5 man rift
of comparable difficulty in terms of completing it, we’re
going to grade it as being slightly less difficult because you can
bring it 6, 8, or 20 people in. At the same time, if you’re
doing a 10 to 20 man rift event, which is harder than a 5 man dungeon,
we’re going to grade that harder, but not as hard as a 10 to
20 man raid event, where you can only bring in that specific number of
Ton Hammer: Are the classic restrictions of cloth, leather, chain and
plate in place?
Clowery: Yes. It may be
beneficial at times for a warrior, let's say, to equip leather with
high stats to do more DPS if that's the role they want to play, but
generally speaking, they'll want to stick to the armor type of their
calling. Your tanking breastplate won’t be too desirable to
you DPS warrior.
Ton Hammer: So, is there world loot, which is random drops off of
Clowery: There absolutely is.
We have the noun-of-adjective items, like the Sword of Awesomeness, and
those can drop anywhere in the world. Those are really good for
leveling characters and filling in gear gaps where you might have
missed a particular quest and don’t have a cool set of boots,
which this type of loot will cover up. Perhaps you did dungeons, but
you didn’t get the loot you wanted. These drops are gap
We also a good number of handcrafted items which drop randomly in the
world. Generally, the handcrafted items are specific to one monster,
one set of monsters, or one region of the world. We do that to
reinforce the flavor of those areas. It’s not as exciting to
kill an earth elemental and get the goblin king’s sword. We
want to keep those things in a more localized, flavorful place.
Obviously, the exception there is if the earth elemental is in the
goblin king’s fortress. We try to keep things in a specific,
flavorful area and those items are handcrafted, which means that
they’re generally a little bit better and a lot cooler.
Ton Hammer: Are their tiers of loot, such as white, green, blue, and
Clowery: Yes. We call it
rarity. The common loot is the normal things that you can’t
equip, such as vendor loot, consumables, and trade skill items. Then we
have uncommon loot, which is most of your wearable armor that gives you
stat bonuses as well as rarer consumables. Then we have rare and epic
loot, with rare being I worked really hard to get this and epic being
that I worked really, really, really hard to get this. It’s a
pretty standard thing. We didn’t want to fix what
Ton Hammer: How big a role will equipment play on a
character’s power? Are we talking about a gear-centric game
or will a player’s skill play more of a role than the actual
equipment they have?
Clowery: Obviously, gear is
going to be important. I’m going to quote Scott Hartsman, who
told me right after I got here something very interesting. He said that
if the game has loot in it, the loot is going to be important. So, we
definitely feel that that is the case. Loot is an important part of our
game, and so it has to have an important impact upon the characters.
That said, it’s not completely overwhelming. For things like
raids, coordination and everybody working together and know what
they’re supposed to be doing are more important than the gear
you brought. We don’t design encounters to be gear checks. We
design them to see if you can get together and do this. Maybe
there’s increasing difficulty, so you can’t do the
toughest things in the game in your brand new level 50 gear. Most of it
is focused on coordination and learning to work together. One of the
best examples that I can give you is that we did a PvP playtest
recently. I killed somebody who was 7 levels higher than me because my
spec was very good against his class. I was playing an archer and he
was a mage. I knew what I was doing, and he wasn’t as
familiar with what he was doing, so there’s definitely a
strong element of skill in the game.
Ton Hammer: Are there class specific armor quests?
Clowery: There will
definitely be different ways one can attain armor for their calling.
Some of the quests will be harder than others, and those will have
Ton Hammer: What kind of stats are we going to see on the equipment?
" style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman";"> style="font-style: italic;">We also a good number of
handcrafted items which drop randomly in the world. Generally, the
handcrafted items are specific to one monster, one set of monsters, or
one region of the world."
Clowery: Nothing that
you’re not expecting. Stats are going to be pretty typical. I
think that our most interesting stats, and this exists in other games,
are hit and focus, which is your chance to hit with melee or with
spells. Something that we’ve done that is a little bit
different is that those stats aren’t capped the way they are
for other games. There isn’t a point where you hit the spell
hit cap, where after that, all your spells hit automatically and
that’s it. They work against resistances and against dodge,
parry, and block. Once you eliminate your chance of missing, you start
to reduce their chance to dodge, parry, block, or resist. That gives us
a little more play space and the ability to do some interesting things.
We also have some cool click effects and passive effects that do fun
and exciting things. Those things are less stats and more cool stuff.
Ton Hammer: I was going to ask if you had clicky effects on items and
it sounds like you do.
Clowery: We sure do and
we’re making a bunch more. They do a lot of cool and
interesting things. I’ll be completely honest. My favorite
click effect items are things that don’t have a big game
impact, but make me look like a yeti or something equally goofy or fun.
I think those things are a ton of fun. In fact, the very first item
that I made when I got here was a trinket that turned you into a yeti
when you clicked it.
Ton Hammer: How will dropped gear compare to crafted gear?
Clowery: We want the same
amount of effort to yield the same quality of reward. So if someone has
to go into an area full of level 50 monsters to gather the components
needed to craft an item, this item will be comparable to a drop from
the same level of creatures. We also have a way of customizing crafted
gear, and it's a cool system, but we can't talk about it in detail just
Ton Hammer: Do we have bind-on-equip and bind-on-pickup gear?
Clowery: Yes. It works like
you expect it to. Again, we’re not trying to fix things that
aren’t broken. It’s expected and there’s
very good reasons for it. You don’t want to let people to
arbitrarily sell success.
Ton Hammer: What kind of loot systems are in place? Is there
need-before-greed or master looter, that sort of thing?
Clowery: Right now, we have
free-for-all loot. We also have a round-robin system where loot is
assigned on a round robin basis. Then we have a need-before-greed
system where it’s the typical roll mechanic that you see in
other places. You see the item and you select need, greed, or pass.
We’re implementing master looter, which is important for raid
content. It’s not in at this moment, but I talked to somebody
today about it and it’s coming in very soon.
Ton Hammer: Are appearance slot items available?
Clowery: Not at launch. We
feel it's important for players to get in the game and get to know the
equipment and loot before we start allowing them to alter their
appearances like that. It's definitely something we're considering for
Ton Hammer: Is there anything else you want to tell our readers about
equipment and itemization?
Clowery: I think that a lot
of time, itemization gets a little bit of a short shrift in the
industry. It’s a job of staring at a lot of spreadsheets and
a lot of running over numbers. But it’s really important.
Loot is a really big element in these games. Getting new and exciting
gear is really important. Like I’ve said, it’s one
of my primary focuses here and I spend a lot of time working on it and
trying to make our items as awesome as possible. We’re not
giving it short shrift. We’re making it important and
something that is a driving factor in some of our decisions.
Our thanks to Drew Clowery. If you have any questions you wish to be
answered in a future interview, please post them in our
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our RIFT Game Page.