Trion’s James “Elrar” Nichols has been reaching out to a good amount of MMO bloggers to check out the upcoming expansion for Rift called Storm Legion. The feedback so far has been pretty darn positive. He did not pass up our humble blog; just a failure to communicate coupled with my idiocy prevented it until last night. Finally I was able to get in with James to get a nice run through of what is coming in about a month.
First, let me talk about James. I’ve spoken with a lot of community reps for various MMOs, and very few seem to as excited about their products as James was. I took in to account that this might be his hundredth tour for the dirty blogger folk too. He handled all my questions with great cheer, and despite it being the end of his work day, I was seriously impressed with his energy. The RIFT community has a great community manager.
With that out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks.
The gist of the expansion is that there are two continents, each bigger in land size than the core content, which is the battle zone between evil dragon-gods and players. The reason it is the current place of battle is that a dead civilization, which is better than yours, has a ton of goodies there waiting for everybody. The dragon of air, Crucia, for example is starting to work out a robot army from the dead civ’s technology and factories.
Everything I saw was amped up. The structures were huge. The landscape was huge. I really felt like Trion did a great job in portraying a lost, epic civilization ala Atlantis, Babylon, Mesopotamia, etc. I also felt a lot of good Stargate vibes from it all. James told me that the concept artists were going buck wild because their managers apparently took the restraints off for this round. My favorite was definitely the organic-plant heart (thank you, MMO Gamer Chick), but it was a hard-fought favorite as the dungeons/raids were filled with amazing architecture.
The other cool thing about the landmasses was that each one was split in to a distinct theme. The eastern continent was all about the war; while the western continent had more of the lost civilization’s mystery vibe. The way James related to the western continent’s content had me drooling for more. It sounded like a well-crafted story. Whereas the eastern continent is going to be action-packed to the brim. I really like geographical, strong themes, and it appears Trion does too.
Given my recent blatherings on events and quest hubs, I really enjoyed our discussion on and the advancement of quest hubs in Rift: Storm Legion. James made sure to butter the hog by noting that ‘yes, an ascended, planeswalking demigod composed of the souls of multiple heroes should be able to understand that the mysteriously powerful relic on the ground might be important’. In other words, there is no quest NPC used to start collection quests. If players find a quest collection item on the ground, they can pick it up and automatically start the quest.
The same goes for carnage quests, which is the true answer to WAR’s “bears, bears, bears.” There are no NPCs involved. Just start killing things, and players get rewarded with quest XP, coin, and maybe loot for killing a set number of them. James made sure to poke at their take on “kill ten rats” quests.
There are quest hubs, but James said that Trion made sure to focus the quests located at the hubs. The focus is now the story so the depopulation-of-local-evils filler is kept to quests that are automagically given and completed. I really liked that Trion had taken the time to consider another iteration on the quest hub of yore.
Elrar’s Dimensional Pocket
The best feature coming in Storm Legion, in my humble opinion, is the housing. Each player can snag their own little dimension to call their own. This dimension is a copy of a real-world area where the player may have already played. Within the dimension, the player is basically an artist in the extreme. Props can be resized and placed anywhere. Events can be scripted in to the dimension. Even the heavens and skies can be replaced.
One player had built a ship out of individual parts such as tables, boards, and bed rolls. Another player decided to go Alice in Wonderland with strange plants, upside-down rooms, and hidden paths. There were jumping puzzles. Fashion design runways. My mind was blown at the dimensions the players had created in a mere weekend.
The best part is that players looking for motivation or ideas can visit publicly open dimensions to view them. If they like the dimension they can “Like” it so that the dimension goes up in the ranks. With the rating system I expect a lot of competition to be noticed. It is really easy to find these dimensions since it has it’s own UI menu. Just click it open to find tabs for friends, guild, and the public gems.
I believe that Trion has a quality expansion dropping, and players that have been away from Rift for awhile will find a great time to rejoin. I look forward to hearing tales of the Storm Legion across the ‘sphere. Thanks again to James for his time. It was a great tour!