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The anticipation level for Rift
reaching a fevered pitch as we move ever closer to launch day. The
folks at Trion Worlds havent seen their own families in weeks as they
work around the clock to put the final touches on the game. Luckily for
us we have been able to keep our exclusive interview series rolling and
this week we hit a home run with another chat with the games Creative
Director and company C.O.O: Scott Hartsman this time focusing on the
social aspects of Rift.
always, if you have any questions you wish us to ask Trion Worlds in
future interviews, please post them in our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=742">official
style="font-weight: bold;">Ten Ton Hammer: How
important is social interaction outside of the combat environment and
is there anything that makes
Rift unique in this aspect?
Let me address that in a general way first: different kinds of social
interactions, whether its the shallowest level of I am playing in a
live world by myself and simply enjoying that there are other people
around to the real time synchronous you and twenty-something other
people kicking ass and taking names, I think in general is why we make
these games. To me its why we make these games.
anything particularly important or cool in style="font-style: italic;">Rift?
Absolutely. The uniqueness of the social interactions in style="font-style: italic;">Rift
has been ramping up directly with the amount of shared world invasion
and event content we have released. The bigger the events get
more social the game has become. It starts with a small event that
three people band together to overcome and get that feeling of
accomplishment and follows through all the way to its logical
conclusion of 450-500 people doing the same in a gigantic event. Our
particular implementation of a public group and raid system, and a
group merging system that is sort of a halfway point between the two
extremes of solo and raid that I mentioned earlier.
the difference between a Facebook friend and a friend you have known
since third grade: you get to meet up for these social touch
points and do something cool then go about your business and maybe join
up again later. It has been really cool to watch it all happen and see
these relationships form.
Ten Ton Hammer: It
definitely seems that the social aspect is important, would you
consider Rift a
group/raid based game or more suited to soloers?
Its supposed to appeal to both groups of people and soloers, but where we are
really unique is that gray area in between the two that really nobody
has done a whole lot with. Bluntly, there arent a whole lot
games that have done much with that gray area at all. I think there is an entire
array of different socialization options between that solitary player
and the hardcore group that only socializes within their own guild.
There is this entire concept of banding together, conveniently, for
temporary or ongoing event content and thats where we are trying to
differentiate. If you want to be Joe solo-guy you can play
MMO, if you want to be Joe raid-guy you can play any MMO, but if you
want to be part of a shifting social landscape well, then maybe you
should play Rift style="font-weight: bold;">.
Ten Ton Hammer:
Are there any mechanics in place to make guild membership meaningful in
relation to character development?
Yes. It was important for us to make guilds something more
chat channel and an implicit friends list. There are a couple
core concepts that are very important to us: first is that you feel
like you are a part of building something up together. Even
the very first builds, where no players had even touched the game, we
had mechanics for guild leveling and guild quests
These are things that solo players can run around and contribute to or
others that are built around warfronts, dungeons, and raiding.
no matter what type of guild you are, you can pick up these quests and
do them weekly to advance your guild. A small guild of soloists that
never raid or PvP, you can level a guild. If you are a bunch of PvP
folks, you can level a guild. If youre a bunch of hardcore raiders,
you can level a guild. That was something we wanted to make sure and
have built in from the start.
you want to be Joe solo-guy you can play any MMO, if you want to be
Joe raid-guy you can play any MMO, but if you want to be part of a
shifting social landscape well, then maybe you should play Rift style="font-weight: bold;"> style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;"> style="font-style: italic;">."
Ten Ton Hammer: Can you
functionality of the in-game chat channels, how customizable are they
and can we chat across realms?
We do have custom chat channels; you can create your own channels and
moderate them at will. They are per server right now, and some of that
more advanced functionality has been something that we know can be
easily upgraded over time as we have been more focused on the features
that make Rift
unique as opposed to some of the more general utility functions.
them to be cross-server is something we would like to do in the future,
but since we only had a certain amount of time before launch we wanted
to focus on the things that make Rift
Ten Ton Hammer: Is my
friends list server locked?
Yes, in MMOs friends lists and chat are tied to the same kind of
service. When we implement cross server chat in the future then cross
server friends lists would come with it. That being said, we do have
the basics for cross server chat already in game but its currently
just in the warfront group since our warfront groups are cross server.
Ten Ton Hammer: Does my
friends list follow me from character to character?
Scott Hartsman: That
is a really excellent question, because I am not 100% sure of the
answer. We have several things that we allow you to import from
character to character and I am not sure if friends/ignore lists have
been added to that yet or not. It has been a dynamic feature that we
keep adding more and more to, so its hard to say from day to day what
is available and it will definitely grow some more before
I am pretty pleased that I can import all of my UI and all of my macros
you are a small guild
of soloists that never raid or PvP, you can level a guild. If you are a
bunch of PvP folks, you can level a guild. If youre a bunch of
hardcore raiders, you can level a guild. style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman";"> style="font-style: italic;">"
Ten Ton Hammer: Do the
games emotes add any racially specific flavor?
Scott Hartsman: Any
of the animated emotes are implicitly different because animations
exist per race, there are a few that are shared but most are racially
specific. I have a list on my desk right now of emotes and audio that
are slated to be added to the game later, but I dont want to give too
much away until its actually in the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: Any plans
for social network integration like Facebook feeds or RSS feeds for in
game achievements etc.?
We have spent a lot of time thinking about that and we have done some
dorking around with it, and again I dont want to promise too much, but
you should expect to see the first bits of it out before Beta
We have a gigantic list of things we would like to integrate with, both
for people broadcasting their events out of the world as well as people
being able to keep tabs on whats going on in the world. The
is so long we are looking at it stretches into the planning for the
next year or two.
We want to thank Scott and everyone at Trion
that has been gracious enough to sit down with us for these interviews,
especially as they get closer to launch and the work load
increases. Things are looking very promising for style="font-style: italic;">Rift and
we cant wait to see what the next round of beta has in store for us.
If you are a premium member be sure to sign up for your href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/giveaways/rift/beta"> beta
key, and if you aren't, what are you waiting for? Memberships
off this month so sign up now!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our RIFT Game Page.