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Rift Update 1.5: Ashes of History - A Roundtable Discussion With Hartsman and Hanlin

Updated Thu, Sep 22, 2011 by Medawky

In just its first 6 months of Rift, Trion Worlds is on the verge of releasing their 5th major content update. With Rift Update 1.5 – Ashes of History they have upped the ante and raised the bar once again in delivering content of exceptional content in an amazingly rapid manner.  We joined several other leading MMOG sites in a roundtable discussion to get the scoop on Rift Update 1.5 – Ashes of History directly from Executive Producer Scott Hartsman and Design Producer Hal Hanlin. Here is the first part of that session, as hosted by Senior PR Manager, Chris Schmidt.

Chronicles of Telara


Rift Update 1.5 Ashes of History

A Guardian proves their mettle

MMORPG.com: Why did the developers feel the need to overhaul the end game content to meet the needs of solo and or small group players? This seems to fly in the face of conventional MMO wisdom.

Hal Hanlin: Overhaul isn’t actually accurate because we aren’t getting rid of old stuff and replacing it with new stuff. We are flying in the face of what’s traditional certainly, but what we’re doing is making sure everybody gets to be part of this story. There are a lot of folks who can’t participate in raids and what we are doing for them is to give them a direct connection to the lore and the events that can be done with just them and a buddy. There is a great engagement that happens at the end of our game and opening that up to people outside the raiding guilds is an important step.

Scott Hartsman:  This is part of a third track in MMOs that nobody else really has, you already saw it earlier on with our events and the rest – which is all about accessible awesomeness.  Chronicles are a big part of that. Everybody wants to be part of the story, to see new places, to have better social gaming opportunities and to us that’s what live MMOs should be all about.

MMORPG.com:  How do you answer those players who say you are catering to the casual player?

Scott: I would ask those people:  give the content a try. On test server right now it’s just as popular with what you might call a hardcore player as it is the casual ones. Hardcore vs casual isn’t a solid line you have people with a hardcore attitude with limited playtime and people with a casual attitude and unlimited time.  It isn’t about hardcore vs casual it’s about accessible fun.

Hal: We aren’t softening up existing content to grab new players; we are adding more 10 and 20 player content than most MMOs do in an entire expansion. We continue to add more for the players at the bleeding edge, we think everybody deserves great gameplay.
 
Massively: How casual friendly are the Chronicles’ instances? Will a level 50 in solo quest gear be able to tackle them right away or will they need to gear up a bit first?

Hal: We have been testing it in our level 50 quest gear. The goal is at level 50 you are invited to a celebration of your ascension by some of the key NPC’s in your faction and that will be your first solo Chronicle which will then open up the other two that are designed for two players.  The two player versions can be soloed by players with top tier gear or done with a friend in quest gear – but both will be a challenge.

Scott: Think of it like its own progression. You will solo the attunement chronicle, duo the others for a while and then eventually solo them.

ZAM: The first two Chronicles are based on existing raid content, Greenscale and Hammerknell. Will there be other chronicles not tied to raid content?

Hal: We haven’t locked ourselves into that, but raid content was the most logical and tempting content to expand upon because it is something you can’t experience unless you are raiding. It was a great way for us to repurpose some great art, write a new story for it and new vignettes. We aren’t locking into it; we have some new Chronicles in the pipeline that expose you to parts of the story not yet told.

Scott: Which is how they got their name, Chronicles are all about exposing you to the key stories in the game.  The natural first place to put it is in these raid areas where the main story is over-arching already.
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