trion worlds

Studio known to MMO players for games like RIFT, Defiance, Trove, and Devilian.

RIFT's Forged in Flame update today will treat endgamers to new content, LFR tools

MMORPG players can use some happy news today, yeah? How about this: RIFT's Forged in Flame patch is officially live.

The core of the update is Tartaric Depths, a 10-man raid, as well as the new Life Fortress Siege dubbed Xarth's Skull and level 70 reworks for Rise of the Phoenix and Gyel Fortress. How will you access the raid if you don't have a giant mass of friends? Why, with the brand-new looking-for-raid tool, of course.

"Similar to Looking for Group in dungeons, the Looking for Raid (LFR) system gives players the opportunity to quickly and easily join up with others and take down epic bosses where they are rewarded with gear that will help them progress into normal raids. Players are rewarded individually through the Individual Reward System."

Trion's promised to talk more about the update in its weekly Stream on Friday; in the meantime, the patch launch trailer and new screenies are tucked down below. Anybody giving it a go?

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ArcheAge begins Lantern Festival, ignites currency controversy

Over on the ArcheAge Reddit, people are grumpy. No, stay with me; they might have a point here. Trion kicked off an odd sort of promotion Monday in which players can purchase APEX packs and get pretty big additional APEX bonuses for doing so, which players suggest has never happened before, not even when the currency (which is traded in-game as well) was inflated.

What's made them grumpy is the note at the bottom of the sale that tells people to "act fast" because "this bonus could disappear at any time." Redditors suggest is part of a quarterly financial push -- do you agree?

In less puzzling news, ArcheAge is beginning the Gweonid Forest Lantern Festival today and running through April 19th, complete with daily quests and prizes.

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The Daily Grind: What anticipated MMO expansion turned out to be a disappointment?

It's with a heavy heart that I have to admit that RIFT: Starfall Prophecy kind of let me down. I was really, genuinely looking forward to playing this expansion last fall, especially since I would get in on the ground floor at release. And while there were some great aspects of the release, such as the concept and some of the quest lines, the overall product felt half-baked and the combat became such a slog that I gave up three zones into it.

I'm sure this has happened to all of us at some point. We get really hyped and excited for an MMO expansion, drinking in all of the promise that the devs feed us... and then that anticipation is deflated by the actual release. It just doesn't live up to our standards or it has some major issues. You look at it and say, "Son, I am disappoint."

When you look back at your MMO gaming career, what expansion turned out to be a disappointment to you? What could have been done better by the dev team?

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The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we're going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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RIFT acknowledges expansion issues, talks about new zone and challenge servers

If you felt let down by the execution of RIFT: Starfall Prophecy, you're not alone. In this week's producer's letter, Trion Worlds admits that the expansion had "shortcomings" that need addressing. To wit, the studio said that it is "pouring heart and soul into improvements" to shore up the content as it moves forward.

Speaking of moving forward, there's certainly a lot of exciting things on deck for RIFT, starting with the imminent Patch 4.1. This update will add eternal weapons, a planar crafting revamp, a 10-player raid, and new weekly quests. Following that is the return of Carnival and the release of Patch 4.2 with its brand-new level 70 zone, Vostigar Peaks.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 109: We are all Dragonborn

Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week's show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Trion will gquit its old studio tonight, moves into new digs this weekend

You might not notice, since the servers are fine and customer service is operating from Austin, but Trion's Redwood Shores studio is packing up and moving "just a stone's throw away" over this coming weekend.

"Your RIFT team will be out of office from 5:00 PM PST on Thursday, March 16 until 10:00 AM PST on Monday, March 20!" says the studio. "All of Trion is excited to be moving into a new space, one that looks more like a game studio than a cube farm – plus it saves us money!"

That does mean there won't be the usual round of Friday livestreams for those lucky folks who can watch livestreams on Fridays, but somehow we figure there are thousands of other streams to watch if you're in that lofty position. Good luck on the move!

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Albion Online AMA on pay-to-win, free trials, and global servers

Sandbox Interactive ran an AMA for its in-development indie MMO Albion Online on Reddit last night, covering everything from the game's business model to how players in far-flung locations fare on its global server. Here are the highlights!

  • There are no plans for a freebie weekend or trial as a result of fairness to founders and botting issues -- as well as performance issues. "The game is extremely well populated as it is, and we'd be worried that free trial could slow down the servers."
  • Likewise, SI will be sticking to its original plan to reward founders with early access, though players have expressed concern over the potential for an ArcheAge-like land-grab.
  • In response to players bringing up pay-to-win and the game's $30 buy-in, SI explained the game's business model is based on EVE Online's and that while players can essentially gain an advantage by buying and then exchanging real-money currency for in-game currency, it won't afford players a guaranteed win. As for the currency exchange, it should be possible to play the market.

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Tamriel Infinium: Battlegrounds will change Elder Scrolls Online PvP forever

I've read all the impressions from the PAX East show that I could find, and they were all overwhelmingly mild -- including ours. As you hopefully know by now, Elder Scrolls Online showed off its instanced PvP battlegrounds, and the media consensus is that they are... coming. And that's it. This really surprised me. It's superficially hard to tell whether people have come to expect one thing from battlegrounds (because so many other games already have them) and ESO really isn't changing the formula -- or the battlegrounds really aren't anything to write home about.

If you were to take Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler's word for it, battlegrounds will change PvP in ESO forever because they're a type of PvP that ESO has never had before, which is true. Personally, I do believe not only that battlegrounds will bring something special to Elder Scrolls Online but that other games should pay attention to ESO because it's actually doing something innovative without drawing too much attention to it.

Battlegrounds aren't perfect; there will be some drawbacks, but let's take an honest look at what this new PvP type means for Elder Scrolls Online and maybe other MMOs in the future.

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Star Trek Online offers a broad overview of upcoming space combat balance changes

The space combat of Star Trek Online is pretty much the crown jewel of the game. It's intriguing, diverse, engaging, and pretty much everyone who plays the game is all but contractually obligated to praise it. But it's certainly not perfect, which is why the game is rebalancing the space combat. A new post on the official site details the core philosophy behind the changes to keep the gameplay fun and vital while adding more choices, and the barest skeleton of the changes are also outlined.

Beam Overload is becoming slightly less powerful, while targetable kinetic weapons like torpedoes will be harder (but not impossible) to shoot down and no longer will be affected by abilities like Tyken's Rift. Several profession abilities are also being buffed up significantly to have a greater impact on combat, like a big boost to Miracle Worker's effects and a new Science ability to improve healing and exotic damage. The full list of changes will be detailed point-by-point in an upcoming test patch, so players can look forward to the full set of shifts with the upcoming change for feedback.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Michael for the tip!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 108: PAX East power-up

As Massively OP is on the scene at PAX East this year, we've got plenty of juicy news and interviews to discuss on the show! What game is coming to console this year? What secret is Eliot hiding? Which MMO just got a name change? Find out in today's episode!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Trove officially launches for Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Voxel sandbox Trove has formally launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One today, having been in open beta on both consoles since December. Trion says it's now "captivated nearly five million" players across both consoles, which by our estimate makes for about 10 million players total, including those already on PC.

Trove "has become one of the largest free-to-play console releases of all time during its successful Open Beta," the studio says, "with thousands of unique worlds being built by players and tens of millions of hours logged in the game before it’s even officially launched."

Existing beta characters and plots should be just as you left them as the studio promised no more wipes past closed beta. The game is free-to-play on both platforms. Check out the launch trailer below!

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