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Forum Q&A Archives  » Live Forum Q&A Scott Hartsman - Trion Worlds

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Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/23/05
Posts: 1046

10/25/13 9:06:46 PM#61
Originally posted by Hartsman

Originally posted by IceAge
Hartsman , who's idea was to make a banner with the following message "You're not in Azeroth anymore", when Rift launched? 

An agency we were working with came up with the idea for the slogan and campaign. 

We had a relatively modest amount of money to market with, in a market where people had a lot more than we did to work with.  We needed Rift to be a seven figure seller, which meant having a lot more people know who Trion was and what Rift was about.

The head of publishing walked up to me showing me this deck, and my first reaction was to simultaneously be appalled while laughing.  I believe my exact reaction was: "Holy shit.  Are they insane?!  There's no WAY we could ever go out with that!"

He didn't say anything for a beat. 

And then I caught up to where he was already thinking: "Yep.  This is how they'll notice.  Okay.  I'm in."

Rift did what it needed to do.  We survived the launch and beyond.  

I did get a couple good-naturedly pretend-annoyed, "Did you really just do that?"-type IMs from friends at Blizzard.  They saw the humor in it as well, which was important to me.

And that's the story of that.

Nice story and thanks for the answer. I am glad that they "were" working with you! 

Other then that, bring Trion back, and along with it, make ArcheAge a GAME, as I kinda lost interest in it in the past few months. Not because of the content (cars, bikini, "modern" party's, etc), but because of ..Trion.

Good luck.


Reporter: What's behind Blizzard success, and how do you make your gamers happy?
Blizzard Boss: Making gamers happy is not my concern, making money.. yes!


Trion Worlds CEO

Joined: 12/08/10
Posts: 47

OP  10/25/13 9:07:39 PM#62

Originally posted by Dengar

First off, glad to be participating in this! I met you once at a gaming convention when some other reporter was talking to you about WoW having such an advantage over RIFT, you mentioning how proud you were of your team, and I kinda stepped in, not immediately recognizing you, saying that I felt like WoW just had the time advantage and that I honestly felt it was Blizzard that was having to catch up to you guys. You just turned to me and said, "Let me shake your hand" and it totally hit me who you were. I was super embarrassed at the time, but obviously it's a memory for me.

Anyway, big ArcheAge fan here. I was wondering though, if Trion would give any preferred treatment to a certain fansite that's been the center of ArcheAge news since before you guys signed up to localize it. I know they've got a lot of experience with the game in at least Korean, and some of them have played several versions of the game too. Would bringing them in to test before closed beta to the general public perhaps help speed up the game's development and localization?

Hahaha - Hey! Good to run into you again. :)

Yes, we expect to be working increasingly closely with dedicated fansites and their communities.  Feedback from the most knowledgeable people, and working it into the development process, is something we strive to do wherever possible.

Originally posted by Savair

Heya Scott.

[Rift] What are your plans for PVP in rift, it's something you said would be supported at the launch of Rift but it hasn't been. In fact it's fair to say that hardly any support has been given to it. Daglar spent a "few" hours on it a few months ago on his day off, is that the type of support that PVP has got to look forward to now?  

At the current we had a Dev talk about melee changes that was like 20 odd days ago.

 Thanks for your time

Hi! Don't want to ignore - But that's more of a topic for when the RIFT team's here. 

Originally posted by Freas

Scott, i've got a personal question to you:

 Which games are you playing in private?

Have you already play ArcheAge?

I started playing Defiance when I came back to Trion a couple months ago, for fun, not for any official work purpose.  The concept of doing massive events in a shooter is really compelling.  As a player, I was really thrilled to see the weapon improvements roll out last week.

I checked out FFXIV for a little while - I think they did a fantastic job on their relaunch of that game.  It's really great  to see someone succeed at a relaunch.  Their dev team clearly busted ass, and I'm happy for their success.

The past couple weeks I've been ducking into and out of one of our more off the wall prototypes for both fun and work. 

Yes, I've played ArcheAge in korean (with numerous cheat sheets - my korean is profoundly terrible), but it's been a while since I've spent large blocks of time there -- That one's next up on deck for me to dive into at real depth.  That will actually begin this weekend. :)


Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/09/04
Posts: 5627

10/25/13 9:09:13 PM#63

I have a couple questions related to the cities you develop in.

1. Did you close down the San Diego studio due to unprofessional management?

2. There are a lot of MMO developers in San Diego, do you think it would be a good area for developing a middle-ware engine?

3. What are you thoughts about MMO development in Austin?

4. Do you think Singapore could be a major player in MMO development similar to how South Korea is now?


Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/17/13
Posts: 232

PROUD P2P Elitist...

10/25/13 9:12:00 PM#64

How close would you say we are to a beta for ArcheAge?


1) Quit staring at your computer and go fix the fence!

2) Go ahead and accept the beta invite you got from the 'other' game...

3) Don't get too wrapped up in that new character...

4) Check your email...


Trion Worlds CEO

Joined: 12/08/10
Posts: 47

OP  10/25/13 9:13:18 PM#65

Originally posted by Torvaldr

Hi Scott,

I'm curious what you have to say about other games. Recently in a video interview with you had some interesting things to say about what MMOs are (Civ had just been released). You mentioned how many games and platforms are MMOs even though we wouldn't traditionally think of them as such. Raph Koster, the last AMA, reflected on how we players keep clamoring for the same games and how devs/pubs keep delivering pretty much the same MMOs.

With the potential of Red Door publishing, Indies, and niche games, what potential do you see there? What do you think you and Trion could do to promote more niche mmos, different kinds of online games, and how online games could be different or how the concept of MMO could be stretched or reimagined? Basically, what would you like to do with Trion / Red Door that isn't just publishing the next DIKU reskinned (not that previous themparks or dikus are bad, just I think we're ready for something else)?

You just described my dream application of our platform and operational services -- It's the most powerful combination in the known universe, and I'd love to find a way to use it to help lots of people bring lots of games of all kinds, online.

I think we start by demonstrating what unexpected things we can bring to life with it ourselves, then see who we can get to join us.


Originally posted by purdysean
Yes I'm a big fan of Rift been playing since beta i have a serious question though, we see other companies making conventions to support their player base any hope for Trion to have one of their own seeing as you guys do have lots of different aspects of games published already, here you can name it Tricon and do one where your company is located i seriously would ride out to see that convention as many others would as well. Can you please do a convention, please?

I mentioned conventions a while back - Some of the best times I've had at conventions is when we're able to do fan events there.  We try to do them whenever we can.  (I've personally been to the ones we've done at PAXen and GDC - And we've done them at GamesCom also)

One of the RIFT developers actually just did an informal "Drinks with the Devs" a couple months ago, before my return, at a local bar.  Put it together himself just because he wanted to. 

We'd like to figure out how to do more things like both of those. :)


Trion Worlds CEO

Joined: 12/08/10
Posts: 47

OP  10/25/13 9:21:43 PM#66

Originally posted by Foomerang

1.Your company (Trion) basically set the new pace for content patches in themepark mmos. Do you think this is something that will continue to evolve?

1B. Has it created a quantity over quality issue in the industry?

1C. What are your thoughts on dev created content versus player created content?

1D. How much of the reigns would you be willing to share with your customers as an mmo evolves over years?


Whoa. That's some dense questions.  Smart ones too.  I'll do my best.  Let me grab the half that I can be smartest about.


Yes, it absolutely will.  At the same time, I think that as an industry we've reached the end point of where our current content creation and worldbuilding methodologies can scale, however.   The next meaningful step of that evolution will look a lot different than what many MMOs do today.

That's why we're seeing more MOBAs (and more systems and/or pvp-based games in general), more initiatives like EQNext, where users end up creating a large number of assets, more dynamically generated worlds in games, and why we see lots more replayable systems inside the MMOs that do exist (events, PvP instances, dynamic content layers, arenas and so on).

Keeping up with content creation needs in the classic ways has hit its top end.  That model's been pushed as far as it can go.

We've hit the point where you can have a team of 200 or 300 and still not make content fast enough.  Adding more people doesn't solve the problem due to the diminishing returns of any system that has interdependencies, which all games really are on the inside. 

There's one build, and the more people you add, the more it breaks.

If you add 100 to a team of 100, you don't get 100% more content.  You're lucky to get 50% more.  Add 100 to 200 and you don't get 50% more, you're lucky to get 25% more.  Add 100 to 300 and...well...chances are it won't matter how much content you get, because you're not making your payroll unless you're a sustained #1 title - so that 400's going to go back to 50 or 100 anyway.  And that's a separate (huge) problem.


Both have their place.  They can be equally good and bad.  Depends entirely on the type of game and the role that particular type of player-made content plays in that game. 
Example - In a themepark MMO, making an entertaining encounter/raid/dungeon/etc is hard, and as we've all seen with player-made solutions, a lot of what gets made for primary rewards tends to be "how can I make something that's the closest to insert-quarter-get-loot as possible."

But meanwhile, player content in housing and building are frequently brilliant.  Adding more interactive elements and entertainment options in there is a big winner. 

Contrast that with a game like Minecraft - Where the players (modders) create entire systems, hell, entire game modes, as well as the content for them that are frequently a blast.  Granted, lots of them have core "this stopped being fun once I got to the 'i win' point" issues (looking at you, infinite energy and mass creation gameplay), but even so, there's a lot of great things out there.

I think there's an entire range in between those two examples. 

tl;dr It absolutely has a place, you just need to choose it wisely.



Depends on the structure. If you mean via a binding player council of some type, those all turn political and end up based on popularity.  Over time, they become more and more about gaming the social construct than they do about the game itself, which then feeds into the game proper.  The longer it goes on, the less about the game the answers end up becoming.

If you're creating a political game, sharing the reins like this is probably one of the smartest and most interesting things you could possibly do.  Eve being a great example. People will never disappoint you in their capacity both for great altruism and absolute treachery.

If you're not making a political game, not a great structure. 

But, let's turn the tables - What if we're talking about a game that's about what players can create themselves, not one that's depends on "balance" or "storyline" or some element that requires cohesion?  Sure, it could be interesting, if someone came up with the right structure that prevented even that process from ending up political.


Originally posted by nariusseldon


1) Is TRION considering a f2p model for Defiance?

2) are there going to be more and continuing support for solo content gameplay?

3) What is your view about all the latest online game development like MOBA like League of Legend, instanced pvp games like World of Tanks, online ARPGs, and so on .. and will TRION gets into those?


1. If there's one thing that we learned with RIFT, it's that we have to remain open-minded about what to do, as long as it makes sense for the community, the game, and the team responsible.  That said, at the moment, we're focused on delivering live improvements and our DLC commitments.

2. Not sure if this is a rift or defiance question - But either one is likely better suited to their teams' AMAs!

3. I love the fact that there are a ton of new types of online games being made -- See my answer regarding our platform and partnership capabilities a little earlier in the thread.  I'd love for us to help bring all kinds of games online, whether we make them or partners do!



Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/11/11
Posts: 17

10/25/13 9:36:07 PM#67

Hello Scott. Long-time Rift/new Defiance player here, just wanted to say, the concept of Defiance is really really cool, but it appears that, in some areas of the game, melding the PC & console users seems to have been hit & miss. I know you've said you don't want to steal any of your dev team's thunder in your responses, but there's a lot of concern among the Defiance playerbase about the future of the game, wondering if the game is ultimately just going to be a gimmick to go along with the show or if making it everything it could be is a priority.


There are so many great things about the game, but also a lot of bugs, glitches & quality-of-life issues, like the aforementioned chat, the poorly-designed menu interface & UI, the roller coaster difficulty (most encounters are too easy, Volge are too difficult for newer players), item inconsistencies, etc, that players would like to see fixed as much/more so than just getting new shinies in the form of additions to the cash shop & content. 


Are these things in-the-works? We all want the DLC's, of course, but we'd also like the things currently in the game to work properly as well. I know that you may not have in-depth info on that, I think everyone just wants to know that these things will eventually be addressed. There hasn't been very much communication on the status of those & other issues &, combined with the layoffs, has Defiance players worried that the game is/will become an afterthought. 


Hoping that won't happen, just started & coaxed a couple of friends to play & we're enjoying it so far, but I can see how things could become monotonous & how some minor annoyances in the game could eventually lead to frustration over time.  The makings of a classic game are there, we just hope that Trion sees that & dedicates the resources towards making Defiance all that it can be. 


Thanks for your time. 


Trion Worlds CEO

Joined: 12/08/10
Posts: 47

OP  10/25/13 9:39:05 PM#68

Originally posted by Deefgb

Hey Scott. I would first like to say that it's a great honor to even say hi to you. I respect most people in the gaming industry.

My question for you is this: I am a striving game developer and seek to fulfill my imaginations and create a wonderful piece of art. I understand it takes a ton of hard work and dedication but I'm hoping you can give me some advice. Where should I start? Where did you start? 

Thanks for your time.

Hi! Thanks very much.

I started by desperately wanting to build a thing.  Then I realized I had no idea how to build a thing.  So I forced myself to learn how to build that thing.

That thing was an electronic D&D character creator and character sheet printer.

I forced myself to learn BASIC and create one.  It probably took me 1000x longer than it would have taken an actual programmer.

But it WORKED and I MADE IT!  I was about 13. 

Then I figured out what I wanted to make next... and so on.

Did I mention the internet didn't really exist then?  Even figuring out what I needed to learn involved bookstores, browsing books to figure out which of these things could even teach me the right things, then buying them and forcing myself to learn things chapter by chapter, including doing the exercises.

My advice is pretty simple:

Figure out the thing you desperately want to make. Then learn how to make it. 

Oh, and don't quit until you've done it.  That's really the important part.

You have a massive advantage on me: You have google.  :)


Originally posted by cesmode8


Defiance is seriously lacking a social element, whether it be via mapchat, guild chat, social hangouts, vistas, etc.  It lacks any reason to interact with anyone else in the open world.  Like many, I feel like I am playing a single player game in an open world MMO space. 

What  plans, if any, are in place to address the 'multiplayer' aspect of the game?

Better question for the defiance team - But yes, the social aspects are vital.  The game really, really excels at overworld/event/coop.  Social is a massive improvement to that experience.  It's important to them to make that part shine.


Originally posted by Torvaldr
As a gamer, what would you like to see the industry focus on or encourage? What do you want to see out of games (single player, online, multi-player, whatever) that just isn't being done or that is rare? What games would you like to see made?

I don't want to ignore your question, because it's a great one -- At the same time, the best answer that I could give you right now wouldn't be the most coherent in the universe, since that's not a space my head's been able to be more than part time lately.  :)   My thoughts on the subject are many, but unfortunately, very scattered.


Trion Worlds CEO

Joined: 12/08/10
Posts: 47

OP  10/25/13 9:45:57 PM#69

Originally posted by Freas

a 24/7 alpha

Where may i register? ;-)  for starters, more specific elements to be determined later. I suspect that if it doesn't happen, I'll be getting a mail from you on this site anyway. :)


Originally posted by Livnthedream

Hi Scott!

With how important it has become for continues innovation, or atleast the feeling of innovation, how much do you think is really viable?

We see many different games trying different kinds of release schedules, like Gw2 with its 2 week updates, Wildstar with "shooting for 5 weeks" and even Rift tried a mostly monthly schedule but those slowed down and have not really returned. Just how much change is really viable over time and still keep your playerbase?

Koster's collected "Laws of game design" implies that no matter what you do your player base will shrink as you shed those players who really are not the target of your experience and any attempt to bring in new players will be seen as a betrayal by that player base. Is there a reasonable solution? Only WoW seems to have been able to hop this hurdle and even that appears to be losing the battle.


1. I think a lot of it is viable, it's just a matter of at what scope.  The smaller scope you have, the greater flexibility you have to innovate.

2. That's a great question.  For theme park MMOs in particular -- It depends a lot on what you're changing.  If you're changing core mechanics, less frequent (to a point) is better.  If you're adding new content using existing mechanics, more frequent can be safe.

3. I don't think Raph would have meant to say that "any" attempt to bring in new players will be seen as a betrayal - But "extreme" attempts certainly will. 

The trick is to bring in new players in ways that don't impact the existing ones - For instance, RIFT adding housing.  Not a big impact to existing players.  Spawned a new audience who really likes that.  Net positive.

I have to imagine that what Raph was referring to was trying things like the SWG NGE, and everyone's opinion on what happened there is pretty well documented already, so I won't rehash it here.


Originally posted by Morgaren

Not rally a question. I take part in extra life every year since RIFT first introduced it to me. I thank you for all the goodies Trion gave extra lifers this year. If anyone wants to check out extra life, here is a link through Team KFM, my Extra Life Team.

Thanks again for introducing me to this wonderful charity.


Awesome!  Even though you're not on our team this year, I wish you a big year of helping others. :)



Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 7137

10/25/13 9:49:28 PM#70
Originally posted by Hartsman

Originally posted by Torvaldr
As a gamer, what would you like to see the industry focus on or encourage? What do you want to see out of games (single player, online, multi-player, whatever) that just isn't being done or that is rare? What games would you like to see made?

I don't want to ignore your question, because it's a great one -- At the same time, the best answer that I could give you right now wouldn't be the most coherent in the universe, since that's not a space my head's been able to be more than part time lately.  :)   My thoughts on the subject are many, but unfortunately, very scattered.

That's okay. I can see by your answers that your minds in a different place it was when you did your last video interview here with Bill and team and also different from when you were launching Rift. It's most interesting to me to see where you're headspace is and what your answers are. The last AMA with Raph Koster was interesting too. It wasn't what I expected and I learned interesting things despite all the SWG questions.

One last question from me. If you were perusing a site like this, who would you like to see do an AMA? I know you can probably email/text/IM most of them, still the forum is a bit different than personal communication.

Thanks for all your time.


Trion Worlds CEO

Joined: 12/08/10
Posts: 47

OP  10/25/13 9:55:52 PM#71

Originally posted by Cleffy

I have a couple questions related to the cities you develop in.

  2. There are a lot of MMO developers in San Diego, do you think it would be a good area for developing a middle-ware engine?

3. What are you thoughts about MMO development in Austin?

4. Do you think Singapore could be a major player in MMO development similar to how South Korea is now?

I apologize for not keeping all your questions in - I'm happy to share opinions on the industry in general :)

2. Good question - Honestly hard to say. I haven't lived there in something like 7 years now, and have never really tried creating middleware.  There's definitely talented folks in the area, though!

3. I think there's a lot of solid, smart people developing MMOs in Austin.  The ones I know all have jobs already doing that, though (just on the off chance you were thinking about asking them to make middleware in San Diego...)

4. Interesting -- I think the challenge there would be one of raw numbers - Since they're 1/10th the population of Korea, they'd likely have to have 100% gamer density just to begin to think about it.  Possible, but likely not at the same scale.

At the same time, smaller population probably means it's easier to give everyone the near-perfect infrastructure the way Korea has.


Originally posted by Hanthos

How close would you say we are to a beta for ArcheAge?


1) Quit staring at your computer and go fix the fence!

2) Go ahead and accept the beta invite you got from the 'other' game...

3) Don't get too wrapped up in that new character...

4) Check your email...

Love this question.

Accept beta invites, but don't get too wrapped up in them - But if your fence is broken, you should stop checking your email and fix it.

I hope that helped.   :)


And on that note, it appears to be about two hours past the end of the Q&A time - Thank you all for your questions.

I had fun staying late to answer as many as I could.  This was a blast.  Looking forward to doing it again!


- Scott



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