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The Stream Team: Happy Holidays from RIFT's Fae Yule

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Events (Massively's Coverage), RIFT, Livestream, The Stream Team

>It's that time of year again! Digital presents and pixel snow are cropping up in our favorite MMOs and RIFT's yearly holiday event, Fae Yule, is in full swing with everything Fae-y and Yule-y. Join Massively's Jasmine as she quests her way through the holiday cheer live at 8:00 p.m. EST!

Game: RIFT
Host: Jasmine Hruschak
Date: Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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Field Journal: The true meaning of MMO holiday events

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Opinion, Star Trek Online, Guild Wars 2, Hands-On, Humor, RIFT, MMORPG, Field Journal

No, this doesn't belong on WoW Insider.
Field Journal is a bold and exciting new take on MMO journalism. Or the meandering ramblings of a chronic game-hopper. I haven't decided yet. Each week I'll be setting for myself a new "adventure" or "field trip" into a game to explore some aspect of it in detail. I'll be sharing my thoughts and experiences, especially on games without a dedicated column. Anything from the most obscure indie to the elephant in the room is up for consideration. There just has to be something in it we think is worth gawking at and talking about!

Given the timing, I wanted to kick things off with a look at seasonal events in MMOs. To make it special, I thought, why not tackle the events of a few games in one go? Oh how naive I was. Let me tell you, there's nothing like seeing the same flavor of holiday cheer over and over again in supposedly different worlds to strip away one's capacity for goodwill to all developers. Fortunately, there were a few bright spots.

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RIFT celebrates Fae Yule with festivities

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

It's holiday time in Telara, and that means the Fae are back to their old tricks of hiding, stealing, and re-hiding gifts during RIFT's Fae Yule celebration. Will players find all the gifts stolen from the dragon cults that are scattered across the zone? If so, they can collect and complete six different artifact sets!

This year's celebration also includes a Very Merry Warfront, tours of Telara's holiday Dimensions, and plenty of special festive zone events, Instant Adventures, rifts, footholds, special gifts, and more. Even raid bosses are in a giving mood during the season, occasionally dropping an extra loot chest for adventurers. Get a peek of the wintry wonders in the trailer below. Fae Yule lasts until January 9, 2014.

[Update: Fae Yule has been extended a week until the 9th, and store items will be available for purchase through the 15th. Thanks to Potaco for the tip!]

[Source: Trion press release]

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The Stream Team: Fairies and wine in RIFT's Realm of the Fae

Fantasy, Massively Meta, Hands-On, RIFT, Livestream

In RIFT's first instance you'll learn many things, like to avoid standing in the bad stuff, don't poke the pretty fairies, and let the satyr finish his wine. Come along with Massively's Jasmine Hruschak as she takes her Cleric through this magical land of fae and pain at 3:00 p.m. EST!

Game: RIFT
Host: Jasmine Hruschak
Date: Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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Here's how RIFT's weather works

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dev Diaries, Housing

RIFT weather-blocker
Have you ever wondered about the weather systems in RIFT, and more specifically in Trion's much-loved dimension system? If you answered yes, senior systems designer and meta-dimensioneer Lisa "Faratha" Boleyn has a blog post for you.

Boleyn explains how RIFT's weather is determined by where your character is standing, and consequently how this presented a problem when coupled with the fact that the game's raindrops and snowflakes "neither have nor respond to collision" due to performance considerations.

The solution for dimensional weather, then, is something called weather-blockers, which will be "brought live as craftable items" in RIFT's 2.6 update. Click through the links below to read further details.

One Shots: The storm has passed

Screenshots, EverQuest II, Culture, Warhammer Online, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

"Here is a picture from my days playing Warhammer Online," reader John submitted. "It will be missed."

You know what, John? It really will be. Heaven knows it's been kicked around enough in the larger MMO community, but people doing that oh-so-conveniently forget the great times that were had. In a sea of fantasy games, it's still hard to find Witch Hunters battling mutated madmen or suicidal punk Dwarves getting swallowed by a giant squig. Except for here, of course.

So take in that lightning and be kind to those who will go through the grieving process this month when WAR is shuttered. Do it for me, will ya? The Gipper. And as you're doing that, also check out our other player screenshots from this past week!

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Massively's exclusive sneak peek of RIFT 2.6: Dreamweaving, Fae Yule, and the state of the game

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

While we're descending into the insanity and fun of the holiday season, Trion Worlds is looking ahead to 2014 and its road to RIFT's 3.0. We hopped on the phone with RIFT's team earlier today for a sneak peek (sneak listen?) of the game's 2.6 content update and how it will tie into the expansion later next year.

RIFT 2.6 -- there is no official title as of yet -- is a ways out still. Trion is targeting early February for its release, primarily because so many employees are taking time off for the holidays to be with friends and family. That said, 2.6 should arrive on the public test server in January, and the devs promise that it will be well worth the wait.

So what's coming with 2.6? Dreams, crafts, and conclusions, my friends! Let's dig into it.

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RIFT shows off its customer service department

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

The full picture includes more worldess stares around the central group, you get the idea.
What's it like working a day in customer service? Most of you probably don't have to speculate, since the odds of you having worked retail at some point hover right around almost certainty. But have you worked customer service for a game before? If you have, then you probably don't have any need to look at RIFT's new post about the perils of working in the game's CS team. If you haven't, maybe you'd like to know a bit more about the people you're cursing about as you try to get your character bugs resolved.

Aside from showing off some anecdotes and company-wide teamwork for the team, the post also contains the helpful reminder for players of every games that things which seem to be exploits are probably better off reported rather than, well, exploited. If you want a peek behind the curtain to see how the service team operates within games in general and RIFT in particular, take a look at the full article.

The Soapbox: Seriously, we have enough fantasy MMOs

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Aion, City of Heroes, EVE Online, Fallen Earth, Lineage, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, RIFT, World of Tanks, TERA, EverQuest Next, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, MOBA, Neverwinter, The Elder Scrolls Online, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Let's play a game. I'm thinking of an MMO that features magic, monsters, humans, and a vast fantasy world full of steamy swamps, grassy plains, and deep, dark dungeons -- can you tell me which MMO it is? If you answered RIFT, you're right. You're also right if you answered TERA. Or World of Warcraft. Or Guild Wars 2. Or Neverwinter. Or... you get the idea.

We're people who play MMOs. Our hard drives are practically bulging with games featuring wizards and warriors. We've plunged our swords into millions of orcs and gnolls. We've looted more imaginary copper pieces than anyone could possible imagine. We've even slain so many dragons that you have to wonder why dragons even bother showing up anymore.

It's not the gameplay but the setting that can make the whole exercise so soul-crushingly boring.

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Trion Worlds overhauls RIFT's Iron Pine Peak

Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dev Diaries, MMORPG

Iron Pine Peak
Mid-level RIFT players have a new place to adventure after the game's 2.5 update; Iron Pine Peak has been completely redesigned. According to Trion Worlds, the zone has been rebuilt from the ground up with the challenges inside being tweaked to accommodate players from levels 27-35 instead of 40-48.

The questing content has been reworked, with main story arcs being marked more clearly and providing greater rewards. Additionally, kill quests have been converted to Carnage quests and paths through each set of quests have been streamlined to reduce repetition. Trion explained that the zone's level requirements were reduced so that RIFT players would encounter the Storm Legion storyline earlier in their RIFT careers, and so that give mid-level players more freedom in how and where they level.

Trion originally planned to rework Iron Pine Peak before RIFT's initial launch but put the plan on the backburner due to the risk of changing so many things so close to release.

Free for All: Five MMOs that deserve more of my time

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Polls, Culture, Wurm Online, Opinion, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, The Secret World, Casual, MMOFPS, MMORTS, RIFT, Free for All, Sandbox, Buy-to-Play

Five MMOs screenshot
There's only so much time in the world for playing video games. Yes, yes, I know it pains us to admit it, but it's true: We really can't sit around and explore MMOs all day long. Well, we could, but it probably wouldn't be very good for our relationships or health or finances. For me, this means that I have to balance playing MMOs for work and playing them for the sake of the hobby. I typically take one of my weekend days to jump into any number of MMOs. I might even spend a good hour just updating them all.

Let me tell you, it's plain painful to log into an MMO and realize just how much good content, events, and player interaction I have been missing. I'm sure this is a common issue though, right? In today's Free for All, I want to take a look at five MMOs that deserve more of my time.

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RIFT's single most engaged in activity is artifact harvesting

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

RIFT artifact graph
Trion data guru Barish Orhon is the author of the latest RIFT-centric dev blog. The piece touches on Trion's propensity for collecting game-related data and using it to improve the player experience. Topics include data collection systems as well as insight into the firm's daily activity report.

Said report tells Trion "how a game is doing day-to-day, week-to-week, but it also breaks down every in-game activity by user." The post also provides a couple of interesting case studies as well as the answer to what is RIFT's single most engaged in activity (harvesting artifacts).

One Shots: Sleep-deprived corgis

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

One Shots Sleepdeprived corgis
Extra Life, a fundraising marathon by gamers to help sick kids, recently concluded, and several MMOs featured events to support the effort. Reader Paul was part of one of these events in RIFT, although it quickly took a turn for the surreal.

"This picture is from the corgi run that took place in the last hour of Trion's event," he wrote. "Basically we were all turned into corgis (and occasionally sheep too), and we took a mini-tour around the world of Telara. Sadly my computer was not able to render everyone there, and many more people were present than my picture shows. I enjoyed myself a lot during all 25 hours and would recommend that people don't hesitate to take part in next years."

Now it's sleepy-time for Paul, but that doesn't mean that you can't stay up a few extra minutes to see what lies behind the curtain of secrecy in this week's column!

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RIFT's Deepstrike Mines dungeon revamped for level 60

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dev Diaries, Dungeons

RIFT - Deepstrike Mines boss
RIFT is returning to Deepstrike, according to Trion's latest blog post. The devs have revamped the dungeon for level 60, in large part due to the mass influx of F2P players who leveled right on by some of the classic game's dungeon crawls.

Deepstrike Mines was the winner of a player vote to see which classic dungeon would receive the upgrade treatment, and senior game designer Andy Kirton has plenty to say on said revamp's particulars.

Trion hints at 3.0 in RIFT state of the game letter

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

Trion hints at 30 in RIFT state of the game letter
RIFT game director Bill "Daglar" Fisher has released a new state-of-the-game post that you'll find front-and-center on the fantasy title's website. The letter contains some very general insights into Trion's development methodology ("keep listening, keep adjusting, keep delivering") as well as a bit of a tease for the game's 3.0 update.

RIFT players may in fact be getting some new goodies before the game's next expansion. "Why wait for an expansion pack to release a new crafting profession," Daglar asks. "Why wait to introduce new souls for each of the callings? Why wait to start introducing the story of 3.0?" There are no concrete details as of now, but Fisher says to expect more "as time goes on."

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