"There are countless unwritten rules for creating an MMO world that successful designs in past games have impressed upon the entire industry. No monsters on the roads; never stop the player from questing or doing what he plans to do; group content should always be separate from solo content. While I will acknowledge that these sorts of rules of thumb are the guidelines that we designers live by, challenging them is where we have found a lot of success in RIFT."
Thus sayeth Will Cook, Trion Worlds'
content designer for RIFT
. In a new developer diary over at ZAM
, Cook explains how challenging stale MMO conventions opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the dynamic content in the game. By allowing enemy invasions to use roads, bosses to conquer quest giver outposts and rifts to pop up unexpectedly, the team was able to make an "anything goes" atmosphere over top the traditional PvE treadmill.
One of Trion Worlds' biggest goals, Cook says, is to create "emergent experiences" that are never quite the same twice. Even though such content can be and often is disruptive to players running quests and working on other solo projects, it's proven to be exciting and interesting enough to draw these players in without complaint.
Cook thinks that if you give it a chance, you'll get hooked: "You can't help but get carried away in the fun of a living world where you can see the effect of action and inaction."