Continuing our tour of PC gaming show Rezzed, we met with Kevin Taylor, Trion Worlds' European Product Manager for RIFT. We get the latest on the Storm Legion expansion and insight into the CONQUEST update
ZAM: Moving on to the Storm Legion expansion, you're increasing the size of the world dramatically, introducing two new continents. How much of a challenge is it to build content on that scale?
Kevin: We've got a big, dedicated team, and they've had lots of ideas about how they want to grow the game. This has been in the works for a while, and that scale of MMOs is something that people desire, and they feel that epicness about it. A two to three times world size increase is quite considerable, there's no doubt about that, but the development guys just wanted to work on what they can do to engage and entertain the players more. Part of that world size is going to be interesting, because it means they can add so much more for the players.
ZAM: Is Storm Legion going to be purely leveling content, in terms of 50 to 60, or are you going to sneak in some new starter zones, or something for more general 1 to 50 leveling?
Kevin: Things like that are still to be confirmed, but the bulk of the game will almost certainly be 50-plus content. We've got quite an extensive 1 to 50, and we've added quite a lot, but the bulk of it will be for our high end players. We've got a lot of players already at level 50 and we're adding a lot of content mainly for those guys. But we have to announce some features which will engage the lower level players as well. I'm expecting it to still be popular, and certainly we've seen that when we started talking about Storm Legion and did the announcement trailer at E3, we did see a big surge.
I think it shows the amount of support that Trion has for the title. I think there's a lot of cynicism about MMOs, and I think that when you're showing confidence, that "hang on guys, not only is there new content, but there's another expansion coming out with some massive changes as well," I think that it gives inspiration to say "great, I'm coming back!"
ZAM: When you're adding two new zones, how do you make that content unique? Are you going to have stories that are just about the lands and places that people can visit, or are the two factions going to be involved?
Kevin: I can't really answer that one, but things like that will come out more over the coming months. There will definitely be a diverse range of environments, that's definitely an area where we've tried to make things refreshing and different, because we have two new lands, and we want to make sure that they're inspiring and not similar. But details? To be announced.
ZAM: You've also said that each of the four callings is going to add a new soul. But each calling is already diverse and flexible, because you have eight souls in there already. Where do you get ideas to put in?
Kevin: The fantasy world - there are many ideas and inspiration you can get. The details around them are still to come out, but I think there are multiple things we still can do, and it's not an area that's static.
ZAM: Players are going to be able to own a "sliver of Telara". What made you decide to offer this to players, and can you give any hints about what it means?
Kevin: There's been a lot of feedback and desire for player housing in MMOs. We're deliberately not calling it that - how it may end up being fleshed out in all honesty is still to be determined. I think it's a nice way of doffing our hat to say we're listening to you and we're going to try and do some stuff that's interesting. How exactly it's going to work is still being worked on - the dev guys are working on some ideas about how to make it interesting, how it's going to be accessible and what you can interact with it.
There really is very little we can say at the moment because it definitely is a fluid process, with the dimensions in particular. The dev guys work so hard and so quickly, that these things are still a work in progress, and we'll realize nearer the launch how they fell out. Hopefully by the time we get to Gamescom, we'll almost definitely have something to show about it.
ZAM: Beta! Any idea when it's going to be starting, and how will players be able to get into it?
Kevin: Starting date - we don't have confirmation yet. There will be a beta for the players, definitely. We'll probably want to make sure it's introduced at a sensible time, that it's interesting and inspiring, rather than just a stress test.
ZAM: You're planning to release Storm Legion this fall. But you've just pushed out 1.9, and you're likely to be doing further content updates before Storm Legion. When do you guys actually sleep?
Kevin: Well yeah, that's a standard question (laughs). Weekends, I guess, occasionally? Pretty much the entire team, the publishing team, the development team, work very hard to ensure that what we release is excellent, and that how we support it is also excellent. All we can say on the release is "wait and see!"
We also managed to persuade Kevin Taylor to put his Defiance hat on for us, answering a range of questions on their in-development MMOFPS. Look out for that soon!
Gareth "Gazimoff" Harmer, Staff Writer