Trion Worlds has been hit with layoffs, loses ArcheAge associate producer

    
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Trion has confirmed the layoffs – we’ve updated below.

Trion Worlds in general and ArcheAge in specific are going through a turbulent time this week as the studio has levied layoffs in the studio that have affected an unknown number of employees. Among those affected include ArcheAge Associate Producer Seraphina Brennan and Customer Support/Environmental Artist Jessica Pate.

Compounding the bad news is word that ArcheAge Community Manager Joe “Muzzy” Brogno has left the studio of his own volition to pursue an opportunity elsewhere. Linda “Brasse” Carlson is taking over as interim CM for the time being.

“Another chapter in my life draws me from Trion and into a whole new adventure. I’m off to pursue one of my other passions, and if I am successful, it’s largely because of all that I have learned from being your CM on ArcheAge,” Brogno posted.

Trion had just launched Defiance 2050 and purchased the remains of Gazillion, saying it intended to bolster its publishing arm. It is unclear whether the layoffs are related.

Massively OP has reached out to Trion Worlds for clarity on this situation; it’s still early out there on the west coast, so we’ll update with the formal statement when we have it.

Update: Trion has confirmed the layoffs; here’s the official statement from Scott Hartsman sent to us from Trion:

“We’ve had to make the difficult decision to eliminate 15 positions throughout the company. We are extremely grateful for those who have been impacted for their hard work and contributions to Trion Worlds, and will be offering each of them severance benefits and job placement assistance. This is not related to the performance of the individuals affected nor of Trion Worlds as a whole, but was necessary to enable us to develop the upcoming projects that we have planned in the best ways possible.”

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Sekkerhund

Having been actively playing both versions of Defiance, the original for quite some time, now, (and by actively, I mean daily) I don’t believe that this layoff is related to the “2050 flop”.

In my opinion, there’s really not been a whole lot of rework to 2050 that would have involved a lot of man-hours and they’re only now being forced to address the exact same server performance issues, that have existed on original Defiance for years and that we’ve been submitting bugs about, to what has seemed to be just a “blackhole” support desk. I just don’t see 2050 as being “in the red”, by a long shot.

I’m more inclined to believe it has to do with the acquisition of Gazillion. It’s common for corporations to trim from underperforming assets, after a new acquisition. 15 jobs cut isn’t a lot for Trion Worlds, tbh.

Archeage being the hardest hit, is not something that I really find surprising. TW got the short end of the stick on that deal, XLG reamed them good on it. I don’t know the details or length of the publishing contract, but it’s possible that the term end is soon. If XLG won’t renegotiate a better deal, then Trion may (and should) decide to wash their hands of it.

I’m sorry to the Trion folks who were cut and I wish them the best of luck in finding something better.

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freeride05

Frankly, with the decisions made by upper management and Hartsman not seemingly either caring about the rampant loss of playerbase,or the revenue stream associated with it, where does it go from there?
Obviously, with playerbase declines at an all time high, the revenue stream has been heavily impacted.

Reasons are many and here are a few…

1. Pathetic efforts (Lack of sincere effort) in Rift 4.x.
2. Nonexistent content delivery.
3. Intrepid everything cause of sheer laziness.
4. The gambling fetish and pay to play paywall system.
5. Horrific customer relations at all levels..

Is there any wonder why Rift is going the way of Devillian? The only thing they have not done at this point is to release a server shutdown date and time.

I suggest they sell the title to a company that can represent the games and their customers with respect and dignity…

Sorry, but Trion et al has been packing sand up our rear ends for too long…

creepywhistle
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creepywhistle

I have tremendous respect for Brasse for her involvement in EQ2’s community. If she were let go, I dump that company and its games into the “No. Never.” pile.

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

It was just a matter of time. Once they stopped innovating and just starting playing shell games by adding grind for monetization purposes and trying to cash in on “fresh” start servers and appeals to nostalgia…

Sad that the people who make those poor decisions will have their golden parachute ready while those who work with the community get the ax first.

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Sorenthaz

I get the feeling that Trion’s going to start announcing games getting closed down over the next year or so. Doesn’t seem like they’re really making waves or having any real upward trajectory, and it doesn’t look like they’ve got any secret projects cooking in the oven either.

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Jack Pipsam

I dunno about that. Most of their games right now seem to do well enough to keep them going along in some degree or another for the time being or otherwise be placed into maintenance mode at least.

ArchAge could be the weird one being that they don’t actually own it.

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G Thomas Trammell Jr

Except that I feel the devs and Trion management are padding marketplace statistics by buying/selling their REX, Credit Pouches etc. I noticed in Rift that a lot of the people selling “real world cash buys” for in-game money are devs. I honestly think they’re doing worse financially then they’re admitting and using employee purchases to bolster marketplace numbers for sale of the company down the road.

There has been literally nothing new added to almost any of their games and most new items are just reskinned and rehashed old ideas which requires almost no financial investment to put out (while still encouraging some sales).

Outside of some die-hard fanboys, most of their games have seen dwindling numbers.

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A Dad Supreme

I think Hartsman is setting the company up for a sale to some Asian overlord in the next year or so.

I think they will shut down a game or two, leaving only the profitable ones running and then try to pair that with the “publishing” thing as a package, which is why they bought those assets of Marvel Heroes.

Asian company gets immediate access to Western names/markets (for all it’s worth) for a reasonable price.

That kind of thing looks good when selling (less employees to pay, less overhead for games, potential access to other customer’s info).

Since he owns a portion, I think it’s in his best interest to sell the company but to do that, he has to first make it lean enough in the right places.

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Malcolm Swoboda

While I first have to say I have a, uh, ‘potential’ watch for Trion games (including ideas like Trove doing well, RIFT turning around, Atlas Reactor getting a surge of attention, and there may always be new and successful titles, etc), I also do a death watch.

First was the obvious End of Nations, which seemed clearly in limbo and then never launched. Devilian was pretty obvious too – it wasn’t really ‘Trion’, was quickly near dead, and wasn’t going to get support. Now it gets harder. RIFT and Defiance are the oldest but RIFT Prime – regardless of its issues – is indeed a thing they’re trying this year and the company still at least puts on a front that its a game they actively support, only differently than before (won’t be a 5.0 this year and there’s some other difficulties but content, fixes, and projects are still happening), and Defiance did get the relaunch so expect that to stay up through at least 2019(?) barring a massive collapse of interest.

Trove is successful, it seems, so scratch that one off. Atlas Reactor is tricky; its not nearly the most popular in whatever genre it may fit, but it also seems to be chugging along for now. They’re also all Trion games.

That leaves Archeage. Its not Trion developed. Its not really a big successful MMORPG. It often appears mismanaged. Its increasingly relying on fresh servers over new content (a concern I have about RIFT too, but not as dire given its form is more experimental than basic). The deal may be ending and even though I’m not at all certain about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if Archeage shuts down this year. Its at least becoming minor enough to be rolled into the community management ‘umbrella’ of other games.

With Trion’s roster being all of RIFT/Prime, Defiance/2050, Trove, Atlas Reactor, and any potential 1-2 more games that may or may not be in development, I can see Archeage being the closest to the chopping block. Its one of those games that not just in NA but globally gets shipped around and its made clear that its highest potential will never, ever be reached. But again, not saying a shutdown must be this year.

This all being said, way too many in r/MMORPG are being super disgusting about the matter.

Also lol at Trion bolstering their publishing arm. How many times has this been a failure for them? Or at least looked like it? Were their successes not the games they had more reasonable expectations of and developed themselves? Business folk, enlighten me.

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G Thomas Trammell Jr

Trove is largely stagnant (stagnation is almost as bad as shrinking) with both in game chatter and forums echoing “don’t waste your cash, just grind it” mantras. The servers still have lag, latency, disconnects, etc which has been an on-going issue for YEARS (at least 3 yrs). There was a recent surge in players after the Geode launch but 90% of the players find Geode boring/pointless and only the hardcore “mastery” addicts actually invest time in it. Most chatter mocks it.

Also, the kinds of people that have influxed to it are trolls, jerks, and people who use it to “kill time” when their uber competitive games are down. The chat has become toxic and a lot of people are getting annoyed at the pay-/grind-to-death model of the game.

And while Rift sees better server reliability they suffer the same issues and the community is horrid with fewer and fewer players. Even Rift Prime has been seeing dwindling numbers and they had to basically eliminate the different worlds (can freely play on any and they default log you in to the most populated server at the time to fluff the appearance of player numbers). I’ve literally switched to some servers on a day off and NEVER saw another player on the maps.

Most of their games are pay-to-win and they drove almost ALL their big guilds out with a lack of end-game, raids, and group content. They even announced that Rift will probably not see any big new group content.

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G Thomas Trammell Jr

Honestly with how laggy and horrid their servers are, how much they ignore their players and fan base, the numerous glitches they never fix, and the extensive p2w model they employ, I sincerely hope it’s because they’re starting to feel a financial crunch.

Don’t get me wrong, Trion has some phenomenal games – if only Trion didn’t run them. They’re literally worse than Comcast.

If anyone should be laid off, it should be their management team. They’re unprofessional, petty, and vindictive towards criticism – although I’m glad Brasse is sticking around.

I used to love and play most of their games but their management level decisions have driven me away. My advice, unless grind-to-death-, or p2w, is your thing, then Trion games is the place for you. But when they take things players earned away to lock them behind pay-gates, don’t complain to them, it will fall on deaf ears. I will NEVER give them a single cent again.

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ting

Agree, while I hate to see anyone lose their job, especially with families to support. I believe Trion and Aeria Games are the worst companies in the MMORPG industry with their business practices and player support.

If I had to guess, they needed to lighten the payroll to make room for new people with the skillsets to sift through the Gazillion assets for a quick re-branded cash grab game.

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Xijit

So I kinda believe Trion (for once) when they say this was not due to work performance or company performance: Archeage is firmly in the shitter & Probably headed for a “Sunset” at some point in the near future, since development on it has flatlined and the progression server attempt flopped (after Trion ignored the player base and packed it full of the same P2W cash shop items that people were moving to that server to avoid).

They probably got the word from XL that the show is basically over and then cut the support team for the game.

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G Thomas Trammell Jr

Actually, as a company their performance is bad. Their management level decisions make Comcast look like a premiere customer provider.

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Toy Clown

Ouch. I’m really sad to hear about the layoffs. I hope they find more work soon. As a side note, Ashes of Creation is pushing their team to 200 spots. I wouldn’t be surprised if they start snapping all these laid-off people up.

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BalsBigBrother

I just popped into the Trion twitch channel as they are due to start their usual Friday streams for all their games soon.

Maybe because its up first but all folks are talking about is how badly Defiance 2050 is running on consoles. So if the relaunch was to push it for next gen consoles they are not off to a great start it seems.

Sorry to hear folks have lost their jobs whatever the reasons it always sucks. I hope you all can find yourselves work elsewhere without too many problems