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RIFT

Enter at Your Own Rift: How to tell a great story in an MMO

Fantasy, Lore, Opinion, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Enter at Your Own Rift

rift
My character still hasn't (ahem) ascended to Nightmare Tide levels yet, so today's RIFT story will instead be about Storm Legion. I had been working my way through the Eastern Holdings in Brevane when I encountered a quest chain that floored me with brilliant storytelling that showed exactly how MMOs can utilize this platform to tell tales in ways that other mediums cannot. It is audacious, bold, and incredibly dark, especially for RIFT. And I cannot praise it enough, especially in light of long-held claims that RIFT is often weak on story.

I have two caveats before we go through what made this quest chain so great. First, I'm going to spoil it from start to finish, so if you haven't played it and want to remain innocent, just bookmark this column to read later on. Second, there are some truly edgy themes in this recap. Got it? Let's go!

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RIFT adds extra days to its Autumn Harvest

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, RIFT

rift
Grumpy that Christmas music is already blaring in the stores? Then take solace in the fact that at least one MMO isn't prepared to let go of Halloween just yet.

RIFT announced yesterday that it will be adding a few extra days to the ongoing Autumn Harvest event. Previously, it was scheduled to end on November 13th, but after "listening to feedback from [its] players," Trion Worlds said that the event will now go on through the end of Wednesday, November 19th.

Global Chat: Why we blog

World of Warcraft, Culture, Opinion, The Secret World, RIFT, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar

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Why an MMO player decides that he or she needs to take up an additional hobby of writing about these games isn't much of a mystery. We may all blog about a huge variety of topics, but the impetus behind it tends to be very common: We have so many thoughts about and so much love for these games that we can't hold it in.

To blog is to open up and share experiences, observations, and hopes. It's to connect with others and to perhaps give another layer of meaning to the time that we spend in-game. We don't blog because we have to; we blog because we simply could not not blog.

So let's see a few examples of what MMO bloggers couldn't keep inside of them! From spooky stories to rapturous tales of exploration, it's a testament to the power of words and goofy rejoinders.

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One Shots: Snowblind

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, Champions Online, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

Water comes in many forms: gas, liquid, squirt gun, and cheaper beverage option to Olive Garden's wine menu. It can also be frozen in a variety of ways, which makes it perfect for an aquatic-themed expansion as seen in our first screenshot for the week.

"Here's a picture from RIFT's expansion, Nightmare Tide," reader Bill sent in. "This is from the glacier area above the main city. The main city is deep underwater and is protected by a blue 'bubble' that extends just above the water line. To reach the upper areas, you use a bouncer (near portals) that shoots you up and into the water."

Caution: Do not look at this screenshot for too long, lest you be robbed of your sight by the blinding glare.

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Enter at Your Own Rift: Do my bidding, minions!

Fantasy, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Guides, Enter at Your Own Rift

rift
RIFT: Nightmare Tide is here at last, and the one overriding thought that permeates my every gaming minute is this: I am going to get totally addicted to minions. Heck, I already am.

I'll be getting into other aspects of the expansion in coming weeks (spoiler: sidekicking is way tubular), but since this one feature is available to everyone right now and it's completely new to the game, I wanted to discuss minions today. There isn't a lot of information out there on the minion system thus far, which is surprising considering how much I've seen guildmates and general chat buzz on about it. Perhaps it's simple enough not to require detailed explanations, but there's still enough depth to elicit a few questions.

So what's the minion system like? How does it benefit players? How much money does it require of free players? What are some good strategies for it? I'm all over this today, so let's get into it!

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RIFT's Autumn Harvest returns

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Patches, Free-to-Play, RIFT

rift
Starting this afternoon, RIFT's annual Autumn Harvest will return, bringing back the special fall-themed realm and all of its related quests and activities. In addition to Halloween rifts and the monster mash, this year's Autumn Harvest will activate seasonal minion adventures and a trio of new followers to boss around.

RIFT is also hotfixing several small issues today, such as tweaking the minion system, increasing XP in Nightmare Tide dungeons, and making sure hit was added to various quest and crafting rewards for endgame activities.

The Autumn Harvest runs from today through November 13th. Both Junkies Nation and RiftGrate have excellent guides for those looking.

The Stream Team: Touring RIFT's Nightmare Tide with Trion's Daglar and devs

Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Interviews, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Livestream, The Stream Team

The Stream Team: Touring RIFT's Nightmare Tide with Producer Bill Fisher
RIFT's latest expansion Nightmare Tide just launched last week, so there are plenty of new things to do and new places to see. And who better to guide you though those than the folks who made them? Executive Producer Bill "Daglar" Fisher, Senior Development Director Simon "DeadSimon" Ffinch, Senior Systems Designer Chris "Archonix" Junior,and Senior Community Manager Eric "Ocho" Cleaver join Massively's MJ for a romp through the new content. Bring your questions for the team and join us live at 2:00 p.m. to ride through Nightmare Tide.

Game: RIFT: Nightmare Tide
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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RIFT performs extensive rollback following hardware outage

Fantasy, Bugs, Patches, Free-to-Play, RIFT

rift
Denizens of one of RIFT's more populated servers are experiencing the raw end of a 23-hour rollback following hardware issues. Trion Worlds Executive Producer Bill Fisher announced that a hardware outage hit three servers early this morning, with one of them -- Faeblight -- lacking a recent data save point and requiring a one-day rollback.

"This is a significant loss for players on this shard and we fully understand that," Fisher said. "We are currently in the process of identifying and refunding RIFT Store purchases for users from Faeblight, as well as tracking down any Instant Sixty potions that were granted on this shard. This process may take several hours but we will ensure that any credits spent during this time are returned."

Fisher said that the studio is giving bonuses to the affected servers and is contemplating more compensation. Trion also implemented a hotfix that is giving a false error to players, stating that the update requires a full re-download. The actual patch is much smaller than that.

RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion launches today

Fantasy, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Launches, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dungeons

RIFT
After a brief postponement, RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion will launch today. It opens up the Plane of Water, introduces a minion system, revamps endgame classes with masteries, ushers in endless nightmare rifts of all levels, and tweaks the mentor system to scale players' level upward, not just downward.

Earlier this month, Massively's Justin Olivetti explored the expansion's key features and weighed the pros and cons of the collectors editions. He noted that free players who don't pay for the expansion will be able to play most of it but will lose out on earring slots, Planeswalker: Water gear, and the Manguo League, though some of the restrictions can be removed with in-game effort.

West coast-based Trion Worlds says to expect the rollout this afternoon.

Enter at Your Own Rift: Which Nightmare Tide edition is right for you?

Fantasy, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Enter at Your Own Rift

rift
I was fully expecting RIFT: Nightmare Tide to be out by the time I sat down to write this, but then the delay happened and I had a little unasked-for breathing room to figure out what I was going to discuss while we waited for the expansion to come out. The good news is that it should be releasing tomorrow, and we'll all be well on our way to enjoying both new high- and low-level content.

However, there's one big question that each RIFT player needs to answer for her or himself, which is, "Which edition of the expansion is right for me?" Unlike some other MMOs, RIFT is not charging for its expansion at all. Trion Worlds did announce a trio of collector's editions as optional purchases, and since each of these editions has an impact on how we experience the new content, I thought it well worth examining the qualities of each as well as the benefit of not paying for it at all.

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One Shots: Hello, autumn

Culture, Opinion, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Landmark

rift
House Stark once told me that "pumpkin spice is coming," and lo and behold, it is here. Autumn is in full swing, at least in the northern hemisphere, and with it come colorful leaves, scary decorations, and trips to the apple orchard.

Today we have several great fall-themed pictures from players to share, starting with this seasonal shot from reader Becca. "Here my character Tendryl in RIFT gets in the spooky spirit. Falling orange leaves, a storm on the horizon, creepy mask... oh, and a FREAKING SCYTHE! I think she nailed it," she writes.

Do you agree? Join us as we go crunching through the leaves in the rest of this week's player-submitted screenshots!

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RIFT's newest dungeon is called the Citadel of Insanity

Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, RIFT, Dungeons

Citadel of Insanity has a nice ring to it, don't you think? It'd probably make a swell guild name or at the very least, a subforum title on a particularly crotchety MMORPG message board.

Alas, Trion has already put it to work as the name of a new RIFT dungeon. It includes a giant armored crustacean called Glacieus, a "massive nightmare worm," and a couple of other bosses who may cause your party to break a sweat.

You can read all about the new dungeon on RIFT's official website.

One Shots: Hitchhorsing

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, RIFT, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

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I'm learning new things about ArcheAge every day. For example, did you know that you can hitch a ride on a mount in that game? Jef even informs me that you can do so uninvited, although the driver may shove you off along the way. That's pretty cool, even if it lends itself to a very specific new form of griefing.

Reader Sean demonstrates how one poor horse can handle two riders in our lead screenshot: "The picture is of my main, Kadrassius, and my wife's main, Keziah, as they take a ride through Marianople. I really liked this scene with the way the characters react when the horse rears up. Now I just need to get barding for my horse."

Now if we can only get a college fraternity to all pile on the same beast of burden, then we'd be making progress in this industry!

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Trion's games DDoSed again

Fantasy, Bugs, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

RIFT
E-thugs are at it again: Trion's MMO services are once again under attack. Last night, the official RIFT twitter account announced, "Ascended, our servers are experiencing a DDoS at the moment. We're working to restore network stability as quickly as possible." On the official forums, RIFT Executive Producer Bill "Daglar" Fisher confirmed that ongoing RIFT lag problems are compounded by the attacks: "Adding on top of the oddities that people are reporting, we've also been under DDOS attacks and our network team has been working to minimize the impacts of these."

Overnight, even the first few pages (five, as of the time of this writing) of the RIFT general forums were flooded with spam from attackers. Several low-traffic forums on the ArcheAge boards have also been spammed early this morning.

[With thanks to Omedon for the tip and apologies to Daglar for the temporary demotion!]

RIFT brings back a trio of fan favorite events

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Free-to-Play, RIFT

rift
Trion Worlds is hosting a reprise of three popular RIFT events that are running from now through October 15th.

Currently running is the Temporal Flux event through the 11th, followed by Budgie Madness from the 11th through the 13th; the events conclude with Unicornalia from the 13th through the 15th. Players can earn special rewards during these events, in particular bizarre and fun mounts.

RIFT is also running a 25% bonus to XP and various goodies from now through the release of the expansion on October 22nd.

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