1. #1
    Fluffy Kitten Azuri's Avatar
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    Storm Legion and Beyond: Hal Hanlin Talks the Future of RIFT

    Here's a good article by Hal Hanlin from TenTon Hammer.

    Interesting questions are asked like the threat of games like GW2, MOP, SWTOR etc etc. A couple of questions that caught my eye are:


    Q: Everything’s kind of turning to free-to-play right now, and Rift is one of the last holdouts. The Secret World unfortunately didn’t manage to pull off the subscription model...
    I like that game.

    Q: I do, too. But you’ve got a steep hill to climb when you’re going to charge $15 per month. And so far, Rift is pulling it off. What do you attribute your success to?
    I will stand on any roof and I’ll yell it. The fact is, Lars [Buttler, Trion CEO] exactly nailed it. A year and a half ago--more than that--he and Scott [Hartsman, Rift Producer] were telling this team over and over and over, “Rift is a service, it is not a boxed product. We are not charging $60 for the right to pay us $15 a month. It is a service.” And he held us to that standard.

    Scott did a fantastic job of continually setting sign posts for us to work toward, and I had a dedicated team--we all did--and the team is so fanatical about this game that, for us, the idea of going for too long without delivering more rich content was horrible. Because we play the game. I have team members who’ll send me email at 2 AM saying, “I just ran across this quest that somehow got broken by this thing.” That team member’s not telling me that it’s broken and someone needs to fix it, he’s telling me what he’s working on tomorrow. And I come in and, sure enough, he’s working on it.

    The passion and the drive to deliver Rift as a service is what’s kept it alive day after day and month after month. I’m committed to that idea. No one can convince me otherwise.

    Q: Do you think that the subscription model is getting to be a tougher sell?
    Totally. And I think we’re partly to blame for that, because a subscription comes with the expectation of service. And service is expensive. Service is hard. You have to have engineered your entire system to support the service level that we provide. You can’t just say, “Ah, we’ll keep cranking out content.” If your game isn’t designed to have new things added to it constantly, you’re going to have colliding things that don’t make sense, and it’s going to become a mish-mash that just won’t work.

    I have so many friends in the industry, and I hate to say it, but they can’t do this. They didn’t start at this point like we did, so they can’t get to this point for free.

    Full article here.
    • PSN ID: Azuri118 •

  2. #2
    The Insane DeltrusDisc's Avatar
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    I personally have no problem paying their sub, I do with other games, because unlike Trion, you aren't getting TONS of AWESOME new content, and not JUST raiding content, TONS of features.... Trion4Lyfe.
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  3. #3
    Excellent find and a great article.

    I love how honest he is and the props he gives to other games. it is my perception that he touched on a few things that are becoming the trend in the industry and (rightly) called out some of the key flaws. I took away some key themes:

    They're not afraid to take away the positive lessons learned or openly discuss the value of other games (unlike others who bury their head in the sand and don't acknowledge these games' existence)

    The philosophy over at Trion has now become entrenched; "play it your way" as opposed to "we tell you how to play"

    and finally, we understand the flaws in our game and will seek to address them by incorporating new changes and features as more time goes on, all of which aim to give players more options to do what they want.

    favorite quote:

    We really...you can’t be everything to everybody, or you’re nothing to anybody. But, what we do want to do is make sure that everybody feels like there can be something for them if they just look for it
    {I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. }

  4. #4
    Moderator Nobleshield's Avatar
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    The one thing I liked about Trion when I had an active sub (and that makes me want to reactivate my sub) is that I feel like I'm actually paying for decent content and caring people. It's not just "Yeah keep paying, we'll get around to adding these things people want in a few years, or never, but that's how it goes. It's our game, our rules." like some other games. Trion has constantly shown that they want to cater to everyone, and they can actually pull it off in a way that doesn't bore you to tears.

    For a perfect example, when I last subbed to Rift I didn't really raid at all (I did the DRR when I could, and I did Drowned Halls once. That was it), mostly because I knew I couldn't devote time to being a raider in WoW and Rift both. However, it never felt like I had nothing to do or that what I could do was meaningless busywork. Half the time I ended up logging in for a little bit to chat or do a DRR or IA or something, only to end up spending a couple of hours because there was a zone event going on, or Conquest came up and I felt like trying it, or getting a good group in a random Expert and chain running a couple.

    In WoW it doesn't feel the same. I can't put my finger on it, because there are approximate analogies, but for whatever reason dailies in WoW feel tedious and boring, while dailies in Rift are just as tedious but don't actually FEEL that way (at least not to me). It's like getting a child to do their chores or eat their vegetables by making them think it's a game, so they don't realize it's not. Rift makes me not realize I'm doing dailies or grinding things out because it still feels fun, while WoW makes it plain and clear it's not fun but busywork, if that makes any sense.
    Last edited by Nobleshield; 2012-10-13 at 12:27 PM.
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  5. #5
    Yeah, I have issues paying a sub to Trion. Mine runs out April 5th, 2014.

    I've never paid more than a month at a time of any other game (SWTOR, TSW, EVE, WoW) before, Trion is the only Developer I'd every be crazy enough to pay that far in advance. It's not just the speed of content and w/e, but it's who they are. Every video every live stream, they seem like a genuine bunch of awesome people who love what they do, and don't talk down to the players from their 'throne' like certain developers (Ghostcrawler....).

    It's why, even if I 'leave' Rift for a month or so for, say GW2, I know I'll be back. Arenanet just doesn't support GW2 like Trion supports Rift, and that's a big deal to me. It's why I own every possible digital upgrade to Rift, because Trion deserves my cash. Well, that and I want moar mounts....lol....
    Last edited by willowe; 2012-10-13 at 01:40 PM.

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  6. #6
    Think the point he made about service is pretty interesting. And I would agree that the problem faced by other MMOs is that they are not built on the principle idea they are providing a service for that $15.

    The actual cost of a sub fee isn't a big deal to me. I am willing to try out a lot of MMOs w/ & w/o subs. Yet the internal question of, "What am I getting for my money that I can't get better &/or cheaper elsewhere?"

    That said, I still believe there are barriers in the market in asking customers to pay the box cost + sub. However, again to Trion's credit they been pretty aggressive on lowering the box price of Rift. That is certainly one way to lower the barrier to entry. Only Trion knows how well that is working though.

  7. #7
    It's not about cost. It's about game itself. Mmo with gear progression through forced group content won't ever keep me playing it. An mmo without attractive races also won't keep me for long. The game with crazy mixed classes ALSO won't keep my interest. Rift has all 3 of these.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Vice80 View Post
    It's not about cost. It's about game itself. Mmo with gear progression through forced group content won't ever keep me playing it. An mmo without attractive races also won't keep me for long. The game with crazy mixed classes ALSO won't keep my interest. Rift has all 3 of these.
    while this is a fair point, I would say to each his own. I like the MMO part of an MMORPG more than the RPG. I personally can't play RPG games in single player mode for long, they don't hold my interest. These games were designed to be played with a community component; and I feel that any deviation from this outside of offering players more options to get things done would slowly destroy the genre in the long run.

    attractive races are a very subjective thing, I personally love the semi-serious and gothic looks they have in Rift, and would prefer them over the overly cartoonish races found in other MMO's. Dwarf females in Rift have repeatedly been touted as an example of how dwarves can look in an MMO, and I'm looking to level a bahmi warrior soon because they just look so bad ass.

    as for the mixed classes, I can't imagine a single scenario where having depth in character customization would be a deterrent, other than the fact that a lot of my friends who play other MMO's don't understand the system sometimes. the fact that I can tank, dps and heal at my leisure and need to take the time to learn how to do it properly adds far more depth and causes me to be attached to my character. it is infinitely better than a system where I am pigeon holed into doing one thing over and over and over and over with limited choices in variation. (isn't that the definition of boredom?). I also like GW2's system for example with different abilities complimenting different weapons, so this isn't just limited to Rift.
    {I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. }

  9. #9
    Secret world is going f2p? I went and checked the secret world thread in other games subforum and see someone thinking about resubbing to the game? I dont understand, do you?
    Your lord is under attack! Your lord is under attack!

  10. #10
    Fluffy Kitten Azuri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tea View Post
    Secret world is going f2p? I went and checked the secret world thread in other games subforum and see someone thinking about resubbing to the game? I dont understand, do you?
    I was wondering that too. It was the tentonhammer interviewer saying this, I went to their site and couldn't find anything to back it up but I also couldn't find where it said there is a sub and how much.
    • PSN ID: Azuri118 •

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Vice80 View Post
    It's not about cost. It's about game itself. Mmo with gear progression through forced group content won't ever keep me playing it. An mmo without attractive races also won't keep me for long. The game with crazy mixed classes ALSO won't keep my interest. Rift has all 3 of these.
    That's a pretty specific set of criteria you got there. While interesting, really don't think your personal hangups in that regard are as sound an argument as "MMOs cost a lot in time & money". But if there are a slew of articles and market reports on the viability of MMOs with the 3 deterrents you listed; I am all for a link.

    In a general view, MMOs are a tough sell due to the cost of the product & service. Esp. difficult when players are entrenched in another sub based game for years. They [the customer] are likely to view a shift to another sub game as a loss of progress in their current game. A psychological hook common to the genre since like, 2002.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Tea View Post
    Secret world is going f2p? I went and checked the secret world thread in other games subforum and see someone thinking about resubbing to the game? I dont understand, do you?
    It's not going F2P yet. Funcom said they've done work to prep for it, but that they're happy with where they are at right now and aren't looking to transition any time soon. It's just kinda been a foregone conclusion amongst a lot of gaming media who have covered the game that F2P is inevitable for the title given the level of success they've seen compared to what they expected (and they're right IMO).

  13. #13
    Well, also the Funcom guys keep making bizarre statements about the viability and small niche attached to the game. Amid totally unnecessary game system overhauls- it does make one suspect.gif, so to speak.

  14. #14
    you can’t be everything to everybody, or you’re nothing to anybody

    This is so very true, and unfortunately looked down upon in an industry where profit is touted more than actual quality.

    Games should never apologize for what they aren't.
    Benevolence is a luxury for the strong - Wrathion

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by melodramocracy View Post
    Games should never apologize for what they aren't.
    Oooh, I like that quite a lot. I will pilfer it for future use.

    I enjoy.

    It's a concept I wish more of the general gaming audience would get their head around. I understand the sorta of hard bias that surrounds MMOs. After all they are often game made to be played to exclusion of all else. But even so, we end up with a poorer market and less thoughtful players due to narrow vision.
    Last edited by Fencers; 2012-10-15 at 04:26 PM.

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