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RIFT

Trion Worlds grows to over 12 million players

Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, RIFT, ArcheAge, Defiance, Trove

Trion
In an interview with Forbes, Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman revealed that his studio's game portfolio and distribution has resulted in populations that number in the millions. "A year ago we were a company with two games," he said. "This year we are a company with three of our own MMOs, plus our first published MMO, plus 10 other distributed games [through the Glyph digital storefront]. So, we're seeing user numbers in the 12 to 13 million range."

For most of the interview, however, Hartsman discussed the positioning of business models in a changing market. If you've ever wondered why MMOs keep launching with a subscription model in this F2P era, Hartsman has a notion: "There are two reasons why companies can't do it from the outset. Number one is that the larger the company, the more public, the more they have to aim for predictable revenue, and there's not a lot of information sharing on free-to-play on the PC and console markets. The other big challenge is the technology it takes to do sales effectively in a free-to-play game -– there's a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than a lot of people would think, where an initial purchase plus subscription model doesn't take nearly so complex a model to drive sales."

One Shots: Life isn't fair

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

ff14
Today, this boss mob woke up to the harsh realization that life just is not fair. Even with his impressive stature and the rather expensive sword that his grandma gave him for Christmas, he's unable to hold down any full-time job. What's worse is that every would-be "hero" in the world keeps ganging up on him. Even if he emerges victorious, everyone sneers and jeers at him. He just can't win.

So let's meet our first antagonist, reader William, who documented this shameful moment from Final Fantasy XIV. "The new hunts are incredibly fun and have added a lot of variety to the game!" he chirped. "My friends and I recently tackled this S-Rank Hunt, Agrippa the Mighty, along with some additional help from people in the zone. Don't worry; I healed that poor Black Mage lalafell after taking this screenshot."

But did you heal Agrippa and try to make friends with him? That's what would lead to a true storybook ending!

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Trion boosts RIFT's subscriber benefits

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

RIFT subscribers are getting some benefit boosts, according to a new Trion website blurb. Patrons already enjoy extra currency, summons, mount speed, artifact tracking, daily quests, bonus loot, and store discounts. Now, though, they'll also receive 40 percent experience, favor, notoriety, prestige, and token boosts.

New benefits also include faster planar ability cooldowns, a fast pass teleport, and more!

In other RIFT news, Trion adjusted the Stormcaller soul in yesterday's hotfix.

RIFT producer's letter reveals Nightmare Tide expansion

Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

RIFT's latest expansion is called Nightmare Tide, and Trion producer Bill Fisher says that it will release before the end of the year. The new content will take players into the Plane of Water and will feature new open-world zones, new story quest lines, a new rift type, an increased level cap, and more.

Fisher also mentions RIFT's ongoing Summerfest as well as the new Blighted Antechamber Warfront. Finally, there's a blurb about auction house changes coming in the pre-expansion 2.8 update. Click through the links below to read all about it!

RIFT to unify Euro region on a single cluster

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

July 3rd is reunification day for European RIFT players, according to a news blurb posted yesterday on the fantasy MMO's web site. All Euro Ascended will play on a single cluster and will be able to transfer "between European shards to participate in activities on whichever shard they choose."

Trion has also increased its player capacity and is merging several shards as a result. Check out the firm's FAQ for full details.

One Shots: Child's play

Screenshots, EverQuest, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, One Shots, The Secret World, RIFT, Miscellaneous

TSW
Today, my friends, you are going to be disturbed by this column -- disturbed and delighted, puzzled and tantalized. But I'm afraid that we're going to have to begin with a sight that is quite unsettling, so if there are any small children in the room, get them to hold your hand because there's no way you are brave enough to witness this.

"I recently returned to The Secret World and have been having a blast, but I think this is the scariest scene I have come across whilst playing," reader Balsbigbrother. "OK, so it's a little gory with the meat cleaver in the head but those dolls and the shadows they make on the walls, eeek! The game atmosphere kind of builds up to a point where your own imagination takes over. So while I was in that room, I kept thinking if all those dolls suddenly turned around to face me, I would seriously lose it and maybe need psychiatric counseling for several months afterwards."

You're not alone, man. The Nursery was one of the most terrifying places I've ever visited in a video game. Let's see who dares to see the whole tableau after the break!

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Hellbugs invade RIFT once again

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

RIFT
To celebrate the second season of Defiance on TV, Trion Worlds has triggered a new invasion of Hellbugs... in RIFT. Hey, even Telarites watch Syfy when they're not out battling planar forces.

These aren't your old Hellbugs, but a different strain that will appear in various rifts, footholds, and new zone events. Players have a shot at earning a Hellbug mount or pet for killing their brethren en masse, so good luck if you're aiming to get one!

RIFT's Temporal Flux returns through June 18

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

RIFT's Temporal Flux event has returned, and it's brought with it a new quest, vault, and mechanized mount. Players level 30 and up can speak to Planar Research Institute reps in Sanctum, Meridian, and Tempest Bay to pick up daily quests, while players of all levels can scour the game world for Temporal Flux rifts.

One Shots: Agents of S.W.O.R.D.

Screenshots, Star Wars Galaxies, One Shots, Champions Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Miscellaneous

CO
Ugh, every time I see a great Champions Online screenshot I lament to the universe how such a good-looking game flopped so hard. Shouldn't have been that way. Or maybe it's not; maybe it's the best-kept secret in MMOs and I don't know it.

Reader Sean sent in this picture of his team, the Agents of SWORD: "I used to play quite a bit of this game from closed beta through about four months after launch. Before the dark times. Before the patches. At any rate, I loved this game with a deep passion--mostly because the costume designer was near limitless. But then I was also able to run the game at max settings at 1920x1080 and it was glorious."

We have more gloriosity (go with it) for your starved eyes after the break!

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RIFT calls players to arms for in-game event

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

RIFT
RIFT's Moonshade and Droughtlands zones are under attack, and it's only the courage and bravery of players sitting safely at home behind a computer screen that can save the day!

Trion Worlds is hosting a weekend event during which these two areas will see an increased frequency of invasions. From now through June 9th, there will be more rifts, double currency, and the chance of getting a Lavender Hellbug or Sapphire Ki Rin by participating in these zones. Trion reminds players that they might need to mentor down to the zone's level in order to get participation rewards.

One Shots: Mount up!

Screenshots, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, RIFT, TERA, Miscellaneous

Whether it's a real-world or fantasy version, we apparently can't resist showing off a sweet, sweet ride. This week's edition of One Shots is dedicated to all of your spiffy-looking mounts and the paint jobs that you had done to them while they were asleep.

The first one comes from The Lurker, who might become one with his horse in EverQuest II: "Arriving at the magical teleportation spires in the Commonlands. Stepping into the magical wortex will dissolve even a Deathknight and restructure him in a distant land. Is it really safe? If I ride into it on my horse, will we arrive as a centaur? And must I then join the Centaur Herds in the Thundering Steppes? Is that how they came to be?"

Get the picture in full Technicolor as well as several additional ones -- at no extra charge! -- all after the break.

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RIFT's Unicornalia event runs through May 29

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

RIFT
"They're here, they're horned, and they need your help," according to a RIFT' website update. Trion's latest in-game event features unicorn refugees from the Plane of Life, who of course require plenty of assistance from RIFT's ascended players.

Trion also wants you to know that you can acquire onyx unicorn mounts as rare drops from the Hooves and Horns zone event in Moonshade Highlands or by completing the Rainbow in the Dark achievement. Alternatively, you can buy them in the game's cash shop. Opal unicorn mounts can be similarly purchased or acquired through daily quests in Sanctum and Meridian.

The event runs through May 29th.

RIFT opens up new raids and improves ascend-a-friend program

Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Promotions, Dungeons

RIFT
RIFT's Update 2.7 wasn't released in one giant package; Trion Worlds held some of it back to deliver piece-meal to the community. As such, today we've been treated to the second pair of new tier 3 raids with the Binding of Laethys.

Trion also announced that it's improved its ascend-a-friend program with even more goodies than before. Players will earn referral coins when their recruit makes a purchase in the game, while recruits can teleport to their mentor, earn a 25% XP bonus when grouped up with their friend, and pick up several freebie items. These items are a 16-slot bag, a weapon-glowing rune, a cloak, and a title.

Perfect Ten: Great MMO time travel adventures

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, RuneScape, The Secret World, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

BTTF
Writers and geeks alike can't seem to get enough of time travel, although the ratio of horribly crafted time travel tales to fun and smart ones is pretty lopsided. I've come to realize that MMOs are positively littered with ways that players are invited to jump around the internal timeline of the game, and I wanted to share a few of them in this week's countdown.

When you think about it, the proliferation of time travel quests makes a lot of sense from a developer viewpoint. There is a ton of lore that goes into each one of these virtual worlds, but for the most part the players are affixed to a very specific (and unmoving) point in time. Hopping about in time is a great way to experience other eras and actually see history instead of just reading it in a quest box. Plus, if done right, these quests can be quite memorable.

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RIFT 2.7: Binding of Blood delayed [Update: It's live now!]

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

RIFT Binding of Blood
Trion has identified a "major issue" with RIFT's 2.7 update and will not be deploying the Binding of Blood patch today as planned. The firm does not have an ETA on either a fix or the revised update as of yet.

Update: As of this evening, the patch is now live! Here's what today's part of the overall update includes:
Four new souls: Available at the RIFT Store, the four new Souls allow Warriors and Rogues to heal, Mages to tank, and Clerics to support like never before!
New Quests: All new multi-chapter Soul Quests (available to everyone) will explore the lore behind the origin of these new souls.
UI Upgrades: Crafting, Quests, Macros, Wardrobe, and Achievement Tracking UIs have all been improved for RIFT 2.7. Trion is also adding all new text color options, to grant players full control over text displays.

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