Last week we talked with Scott Hartsman about RIFT’s updates and future. The great thing about Scott is that he communicates with the players and is not afraid to tackle some of the tough questions. RIFT has been going strong for two months now and plans for future updates continue as the game starts to enter its critical three month time frame.
Scott began by talking about the world event RIFT recently held called River of Souls. The event did not go as smoothly as planned and RIFT took some criticism from players. Scott explained that they found out players valued participation in an event rather than all logging in at the same time. If the event ran over a certain period of time it gave players more opportunity to take part. The event had a set time which the team realized could cause issues and afterwards learned the lesson about running events to be able to include all players over a period of time rather than all at the same time. Scott said that the team continues to work on the upcoming events with this lesson in mind. He said future events would have more phases which would last for a longer period of time. He also reminded players to check their characters as players have currency from the event that they need to spend now before the v1.2 update comes out.
We talked about the importance of the looking for group tool coming to the game and how these tools have played a major part in MMOs. Scott liked that the LFG tool was able to focus on two areas for players. Obviously the tool helps find dungeons, but also it could be used to help find players for a group quest. The tool forms the group for you and allows you to get started right away. So if you have an old quest in your journal, you may be able to find the right group to go back and complete it using the tool.
I asked Scott what feedback they use to make changes in the game. Basically he said they have a very dedicated internal team who not only plays but works on the game as well. They also take player requests very seriously. If the development team and the players both call for a change, Scott said it is almost immediately added to the list. The example he used was multiple roles. Players want to be able to have roles for PvP, healing, DPS etc. RIFT is working on a system for the next update which will give characters the ability to have more roles available. This change was a direct result of player feedback.
Many games have been crossing over into the social internet space and RIFT is now planning their connection with Facebook. Players will soon be able to post updates, screenshots, etc. Scott explained that they love players who use social tools to communicate. It brings players together from many places and keeps them in touch. Scott mentioned the importance of community especially in MMOs and how bringing passionate players together is always great for a game.
Another major update that was covered was the launch of ten man raids in the game. They had a set system of end game content, but wanted to give players a better break down to accomplish high level end game goals. The ten man raids are set to be a great addition. It definitely had some tech challenges to go through because of the slivers and players entering alternate realities. However, the system continues to work to meet player expectations.
I asked Scott what he likes best about RIFT now and he said he is happiest when he has a live game to work on. More importantly he stressed how great it is to work on the game with a strong and passionate team of developers who are actively playing the game. When your engineers and designers are hardcore players it gives the game a real sense of importance and all of the players can enjoy the changes knowing that the developers are on their side.
So what is in store for RIFT players as we begin to move into 2012? Scoot talked about more zone and world events to come. He also said that the colossus event in this patch will perhaps be the start of more content in that direction. He also said that World PvP is very high on the list for the team right now. He explained how many fans there are for world PvP and they want to meet those expectations. Overall though the team continues to work towards improving the player experience as RIFT continues to grow into its first year of launch.
Talking with Scott really gives you a strong sense of hope for RIFT and the MMO market as a whole. Scott takes the players seriously and can cover so much of the design aspects of a game. Leading the charge for RIFT in the next few months players should be excited that their voices are heard and the team is working hard for them. It is great to see a game that is making decisions for its players and not because of trends or executives who want to see changes. Thanks again to Scott Hartsman and the RIFT team for talking with us. We look forward to more from Trion in the coming weeks.