Convention season is in full effect in the gaming world, and while it
can be taxing and jet-lag
for those of us that cover it, it
seems the party-like atmosphere is rubbing off on the folks over at
Trion. As Rift
nears its 6th month mark of live release the folks at the Redwood City
based developer invited us, and several other members of the gaming
community, to a roundtable discussion and reveal of the official
“Half-Birthday” celebration. Executive Producer Scott Hartsman dished
out the details at our little soiree where the cake was definitely not
a lie.

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Official Press Release;

Half-Birthday Celebration Kicks off August 25th

week of bonuses, free game time, and awesome prizes … what’s not to

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Whether you’re Guardian
or Defiant, High Elf or Kelari, PvE-er or PvP-er, you’re going to find
reason to celebrate starting August 25th as RIFT™ reaches the ripe age
of ½ year old. More than a million gamers have activated RIFT in the
six months since launch, making it one of the most successful MMORPG
releases in history, and from August 25th to September 1st, Trion is
rewarding those loyal subscribers with a week of in-game bonuses.
Additionally, new and returning players can play the full game free
that week.

“RIFT players are among
the most enthusiastic fans I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,”
said Scott Hartsman, RIFT Executive Producer. “We’ve been able to
attract hundreds of thousands of subscribers since launch, and because
of their continued dedication we’ve enjoyed immense success. This
half-birthday celebration gives us the chance to show them our
appreciation while giving new players the opportunity to experience the
best MMORPG currently available at no cost.”

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Subscriber half-birthday
week bonuses include:

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  • Special
    Surprise Birthday Gift
    – On September 1st all active
    subscribers will receive a special in-game birthday surprise! 
  • Extra
    Kill XP
    – Your blood lust is finally rewarded! Bonus XP
    will be doled out for all PvE and PvP kills
  • Guild
    Bonus XP
    – Swiftly level up your guild with bonus XP
    granted for completing guild quests
  • Big
    PvP Payouts
    – All warfronts and open-world PvP events
    will grant extra Favor and Prestige 
  • A
    Plethora of Planarite
    – Sealing Telara’s eponymous rifts
    will reward players with extra planarite
  • Bonus
    Plaques & Marks
    – Increased drop rate for plaques
    and marks

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The party doesn’t have
to stop on the 1st! New Ascended who choose to continue their
adventures in Telara can purchase the game client for just $4.99 USD
through September 1st if they sign up for any RIFT subscription plan.

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RIFT revelers can also
participate in several contests scheduled throughout the week for the
chance to win one of four gaming laptops.  For contest
descriptions, rules, and prize information, please visit:
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href=""> style="font-style: italic;">.

The Inspiration for the Celebration

Scott started off with revealing where the idea for a half-birthday
party came from;

“The idea of throwing a
half-birthday came to us in the middle of convention season when we
have everything from gamescom going on right now to PAX soon after, and
for those that are familiar with the long-standing guild The Syndicate
– we even made a showing at their SynCon convention last week. So this
is really a month about what can we give back to people and as people
who play the game ourselves we asked what kind of party would we want
to play”

Surprise, Surprise

The first topic of discussion was getting Scott to open up about what
the special surprise gifts would be;

“There are two, the less
exciting part and the more exciting part. The less exciting part is
that we are going to let you take some of the celebration with you in
the form of bonus potions that allow you to re-live the in-game bonuses
when you want, such as XP and Favor. The cooler one is the persistent
half-birthday cake that you will be able to spawn on the ground and
buff yourself and your friends.”

We were assure that this cake wasn't fattening and wouldn't induce any
ill character effects such as enlarged stomachs or type 2 diabetes. The
planned buff at this time is increased stamina, but it sounded as if
there may be some additional buffs as well eventually.

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Party Time

Scott informed us that moving forward these sort of events aren't on a
set timetable but will be played by ear based on community feedback and
what they feel makes sense for the game. The team knows that these
events are excellent ways to foster community and have no real
downside, so I would expect to see lots more of them in the future.

We were then treated to a bit more information regarding the out of
game prizes that were kicked in by some of their sponsors and partners
for contests such as baking Rift
a half-birthday cake or gaining the most in-game achievements for the

“There is a series of
four contests and every one of them has prizes that range from 6 month
game-time cards to video cards, and they each have an even bigger prize
that we will be announcing as the contests get closer”

Doesn't Afraid of Anything

The next question fielded by Scott was in reference to the numerous and
various sales on the game client that have abounded since launch, which
was topical due to the fact that a large part of the event is a reduced
client price of $4.99 and hints of reduced subscription costs as well.

“I've always been very
proud of both the sales and the marketing teams here at Trion if for no
other reason than that they are unafraid to try crazy stuff. We still
think of ourselves as a start-up, we don't have this old company type of
thinking so we can do crazy things like try different sales and
promotions. They have all been successes to some degree or another and
we tend to think of it as being aggressive in getting out this game
that we know people enjoy and are sticking with – to them it's more
about how do we get more people in the doors.”

The Bonus Round

Getting down to the heart of the matter, Scott was pressed about the
exact nature of the in-game bonuses;

“We are bonusing seven
different things in the game, so we have been working on how high can
we set things without everything falling apart.  We have not
been doing the opposite, which is how little can we give away and look
generous. Were trying to say how high can we set them for an entire
week and have things work out well. On all seven things the bonuses
will range from 150% of normal to 200% of normal, depending on the

Looking Forward

I decided to end the conference call by asking about the real reason
that the 6 month celebration was actually possible; the fact that style="font-style: italic;">Rift is still going
strong so far after release in this post-WoW world where most of the
new MMOGs have tapered off severely after about 3 months.

“We are still growing
for sure, and it's in no small thanks to both our development and
publishing teams. I think what you are seeing with our game is what
happens when you get people who are unafraid to try new stuff and take
gambles. Everything from specials with the client, special events in
game, very rapid updates and incredibly quick feature development all
result in huge benefits. The fact that our dev team continues to grow
also, adding new people and new jobs to help grow the game also speaks
to that.”

I also took the opportunity to ask Scott about his feelings about the
incredible game community and the relationship between the people who
build the game systems and those that href="">organize
their own events in game;

“We think of player
created events as two things, the massive events like The Telara Saga
and then also   how easy is it for players to
organize other players to go do quick stuff - like daily raid rifts or
invasions for example. We foster and encourage that from the people who
build new game systems that support the smaller events inherently all
the way up to guilds that we have that are running their own player
events. In fact the leaders of those events aren't shy about dropping
us a line and providing feedback that helps us further refine those
systems. I think anything that you can do to empower the community to
keep itself engaged is one of the more powerful things you can do in a

I couldn't agree more, and events like the half-birthday celebration
certainly go a long way to helping realize that goal.

Scott also took this opportunity to let us know how events such as this
help their team  to develop and implement new tech into the
game to help it become more stable and to serve the playerbase better.
We will be seeing new improvements to handling server load, removing
idle players and better management of trial player versus subscriber in
terms of game access. Scott made it very clear that the overriding plan
was to always “err on
the side of the subscriber”
but that didn't mean turning
its back on the trial players, as evidenced by addition of separate
trial player only servers.

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In closing Scott gave us a further update to last months State of the
Game conference call, letting us know how things discussed at that time
were coming along. Planar Attunement, the post-50 advancement system,
Instant Adventure and Chronicles Instances are all well along in their
development cycle and will be ready to ship soon. If you didn't get a
chance to read about these systems, href="">check
them out now – they promise
to push Rift
to an even higher level and should make it a no-brainer that another
birthday bash will soon be headed our way. 

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our RIFT Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016