isn’t the only game at Trion Worlds
that’s shuffling around its community team these days. RIFT
announced last Friday that it brought on board Jennifer “Yaviey” Bridges
to be the new community manager for the fantasy MMO.
Bridges said she has worked on several MMO community teams to date including EverQuest II, WildStar, and Lineage II and was a RIFT player back in the early days of the title.
“If you couldn’t already guess, MMORPGs are my jam,” Bridges wrote. “They’re my absolute favorite type of game for a variety of reasons. I love the communities in them, I love that you can constantly strive to be better at something, and questing in general always feels so epic.”
This move doesn’t mean that Linda “Brasse” Carlson is out as a RIFT community manager. Bridges confirmed that Carlson will continue to manage the team while doing “cool creative stuff” in the meantime.
A slightly ambiguous Facebook post had some RIFT
players worried that the game was finished with its current expansion cycle altogether.
In a discussion about RIFT’s proposed challenge servers, CM Brasse commented that “the final expansion update comes this summer. This includes the remaining Primalist souls for those who bought the calling. We think it’s worth waiting for.”
She later clarified on the forums that this wasn’t saying that RIFT was done with the Prophecy of Ahnket cycle but that the update fulfilled the remainder of formerly announced content for the expansion.
Early this morning, a first-time Reddit poster alleged that he or she had run a “basic web security evaluation” on Trion World’s game websites, including ArcheAge’s, discovering “multiple security risks surrounding [its] authentication system.” The poster claimed he or she had contacted Trion multiple times on December 12th and 13th, only to receive no response, prompting the poster to recommend that players remove payment info from their accounts and threatening to send in “attorneys in Texas” and disclose the vulnerabilities publicly should Trion not reply and address them.
We immediately reached out to Trion Worlds, which rebutted the claims, reassuring players that their payment information would not be at risk even if there were a vulnerability and explaining that the Redditor’s accusations about PCI non-compliance are simply inaccurate.
“Yes, we investigate all reports. We reached out to the poster of the thread within minutes of seeing it this morning,” Trion Worlds Director of Community Relations Linda “Brasse” Carlson told us.
As we have been reporting on ArcheAge
over the last few days, it has been a hot mess
for North American servers ever since Revelation
and the fresh start servers went live this past weekend. So where are we at now that it is Tuesday?
Yesterday, Trion Worlds took the servers offline for a good portion of the day to perform hardware upgrades and perform a full restart of the authentication server to fix recurring issues (such as the “under maintenance” error). While the Aranzeb server came back online just fine, the Reckoning shard proved more problematic and took the team working on it until the deep hours of the night before it started to stabilize.
“While Reckoning’s population has stabilized, we’re still working on making the queue and login experience significantly healthier,” the team announced on Twitter. It doesn’t mean that everything is fully operational: Even at in the wee hours of this morning, the team said that it was still working on problematic issues, including disconnects and the omnipresent queue.
Not all is rainbows, unicorns, and talking dragons over in the land of RIFT
these days. Serious concerns have arisen about the MMO following the release of Starfall Prophecy
, and in a well-organized thread on the forums
, players have taken Trion Worlds
to task for what they are calling a rushed, half-finished expansion.
“It shouldn’t have been launched, it clearly wasn’t ready,” the original poster said. “Minions and IAs, previously implemented systems, broke when the game launched, but on top of the countless bugs and being unable to finish story quests, half of the features announced with expansion were not ready for the live client as in they were disabled at launch. Yes, there are always bugs at launch of a new game. That’s nothing new, but there is a vast difference between bugs and launching with half the features of the expansion disabled.”
While RIFT: Starfall Prophecy
was originally scheduled to run an open beta back on October 13th, Trion Worlds
decided to delay the test
until an unspecified future date. Last night we got the word that Trion has settled on a new date: tomorrow, October 20th
So why the delay in the first place? “The short answer is that it [wasn’t] ready to welcome hordes of players yet. We want the focus and feedback to be on content and features, not tech issues, and I think our fellow players prefer to wait for a good experience,” CM Linda Carlson told Massively OP last week.
There’s a changing of the guard this week in RIFT’s
community management team. Long-time steward Eric “Ocho” Cleaver
has left Trion Worlds
to be a director at an unnamed company, putting an end to nearly three years as CM for the MMO. With the departure of Cleaver comes Linda “Brasse” Carlson
to take up the reins as RIFT’s
newest community manager.
“As of today, I am your RIFT Community Manager in addition to being Director of Community here at Trion,” Carlson wrote in her introduction. “I love RIFT and have nine characters ranging from level 15 to 61 (yeah, yeah, I’m slow, I am a roleplayer with too many alts!). More than half of these are Dwarves — I can’t help myself. I am just starting in PvP thanks to my friend Wren, but I know the rest of the game really well… although admittedly not as well as some of you folks.”
The recent decision by Trion Worlds to set up what many see as a gear-related paywall in RIFT certainly has cause quite the discussion this week. The studio hasn’t been ignoring the controversy, but unleashed Director of Community Relations Linda “Brasse” Carlson on the forums to lay out the case for Trion’s balancing of its need to finance operations versus its desire to provide as much as possible for free.
“RIFT is not dying, not by a long shot. What is happening now is a shift in how we ask for support to keep the game healthy and moving in the right direction,” Carlson wrote, going on to state that only a small percentage (seven to 15%) of players subscribe or purchase items from the cash shop. She said that she wished the studio had rolled in the new changes more gradually but didn’t apologize for the company’s need to make bank.
When it comes to the EverQuest franchise, looking back at 2015 is a much different experience than looking back at 2014 was. That previous year ended on such a high note of hope and anticipation; players (including me) were excited about what was to come. This year, however, is closing out with an air of melancholy, apprehension, and — for some — resignation.
That’s not to say that everything has been all bad. Despite what some may have you believe, the titles haven’t been careening non-stop down the slippery slope of doom. In fact, EverQuest and EverQuest II might even be ending the year on an upswing thanks to their unexpected expansions. Unfortunately, the two newest children of the family, Landmark, and EverQuest Next, enjoy no such buoyancy in the final quarter. They have sadly faded into the shadows.
How to sum up 2015? Concern, controversy, and content come to mind.
It has been quite a year for ArcheAge
. As you look back over the past 12 months, you certainly can’t say 2015 was uneventful; from content to controversies, something was always happening with this sandpark title. Not a month went by that didn’t have some good, some bad, or even both! It was always a roller coaster ride!
The year started with a new man helming the operation: Marv Lee Kwai became producer. In his January Producer’s Letter he stressed that the devs were listening to the community. He also outlined issues that were being addressed while laying out a plan for the rest of the calendar year, saying “a multitude of positive changes on the horizon.” One thing he promised was better communication, stating, “One of our top goals for the New Year is to be more transparent when we communicate with you. It is our intention to fix a lack of information or detail, starting now.”
How did that plan go? Let’s take stroll down memory lane and see.
A quest bug connected to the construction of castles on ArcheAge’s Diamond Shores has resulted in Trion Worlds issuing a hotfix over the weekend to address the situation — and not everyone is happy.
Apparently a progress counter wasn’t advanced when players turned in a certain quest while mounted, and Trion has no way of going back to accurately update the total. As a result, the studio put all faction bases on the same footing: “A fair castle claim rush is our highest priority; due to this issue, the overall number of packs turned in across these servers, and the timing of the coming weekend, we have bumped all faction bases to rank 3.”
It became one of the most infamous moments in MMO history — and perhaps one of the most misunderstood.
For all that the MMO community references Star Wars Galaxies’ New Game Enhancements (NGE) as a synonym for devs breaking a game with a horrible patch, expansion, or business decision, the actual details of the referenced events have become blurred through time, retellings, and a sort of weird mythology.
It’s been 10 years since the NGE damaged a game’s reputation, embittered players for life, and made the mainstream notice that not all was sunshine and daisies in MMOs. So how did this disaster occur and what was so bad about it?
Well, it happened a long time ago in a studio far, far away…
Linda “Brasse” Carlson is one of the MMO industry’s most beloved community specialists, and genre fans everywhere boggled just a bit when Daybreak laid her off along with a number of other high profile employees last February. Carlson landed on her feet at Trion, and Massively OP recently caught up with her to ask about the new gig as well as her plans for managing Trion’s rambunctious playerbase.