the latest beta over and launch just a short time away, gamers are
waiting with bated breath for Rift
to be unleashed on the MMOG market.
Game aspects such as multiple souls, dungeons that you unlock over
time, and the dynamic rift invasions all have made Rift
the game to
play. Ten Ton Hammer sent our own Jeff “Ethec”
Woleslagle to glean more behind-the-scenes information from Design
Producer Hal Hanlin, who gave us quite a few details on the design
process for Rift
Because we hear it all the time, how do you feel about Rift
called the ‘apex of WoW
There are a lot of
MMOs out there, and we don’t
to those. We hold ourselves to the standard of standing tall
in an industry that people think WoW
created. I have all the
respect in the world for WoW
– they’ve expanded the
MMO market in ways
no one thought possible or have foreseen at the time. If they
had not done that, the player base might not be sufficient to release
games like Rift
or any other game that breaks the mold.
If there had not
would say 500,000 people be enough?
Back before WoW
came out, 40 to 100 thousand was considered a
success. Now that people have seen what WoW
done, producers talk to each other and say, “Well
shoot for 4-5 million.” Of course, they
don’t amp up their
production beyond the revenue of those expected 40-100 thousand
subscribers, but we’re used to that aren’t we?
Random invasions will happen
in zones, preventing players from falling into a trance of grinding
you think makes Rift
absolutely unique? What isn’t
derivative in any way?
people everything they wanted to see. If they didn’t know to
ask for it, heh, that’s a shame. We have a huge amount of
content we could talk about, but we have the ability to go from an idea
to a testable event within a week. Given that we can do that, I
don’t think the players that come to our game will ever be
No one else
has elves. *laughter* I think it’s our method
putting together these elements in a way that is different and
incredibly well polished. We hold ourselves to a quality of
production that is not seen in the MMO industry, or even among console
games. We hold ourselves to a standard that puts ourselves in
front. We weren’t content with just a quest system,
skill tree system, we went further.
Did we invent most of these
features? No. But we
made them better. Pong
had two sides, does that make two
faction PvP a copy of Pong
Ultimately we’ve brought a focus
tradition of excellence to a
genre that hasn’t seen that before. We have the
with our technology to deliver a service that has not been done
before. Our servers were built specifically for this game,
and not based around 10-15 year old technology and architecture.
interesting thing to me is the speed we’ve seen
about, once it was rebranded less than twelve months ago. Heroes of
was announced a few
years ago, development went dark for a
period of two years, but once the game came out of concepting, what
enabled things - from lore to all the pieces that make up the MMOG, the
most complicated type of game on the market - to come together so
thing, we had hundreds and hundreds of
pages of lore for our quest system, and then the Rift system brought it
all together. Once the technology made the merging of these
systems possible, things happened!
Perhaps the best part about
Rift is its multi-class system, which makes everyone a hybrid!
beta has noticed that as suggestions and bugs were posted, they got fixed
and actioned (or responded to) almost immediately. The
of players who have played your game is very favorable. Is
in your experience?
so. We don’t buy
specific production dogma. We’ve had almost 4 years
working with this platform. Everyone who has been out here
if they want to do this new event, we have the tools and processes in
place to get this new event in. The design team is
within the company, and experienced enough within the industry, to have
the middle of the night epiphany to create something, and they go to
the art direction, who then goes to tech, and then the producers, and a
matter of weeks later we have Raid content ready to go live.
lived up to the things our CEO has said, and I was initially thinking
we couldn’t! He set the standard for us and gave us
to make it happen. We have all of the marketing and hype
the feedback, and more. All of our departments are working
and are not individual entities. We get an idea, we implement
prototype of the idea, and test it. If it doesn’t
standards, we try to polish it up a little, and if that
doesn’t do it,
we throw it out entirely. It’s easier to craft a
than it is fully fix a lesser one.