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Scott Hartsman: A fully dynamic RIFT 'lacked clarity'


It's a well-known fact that throughout a good portion of its development process, RIFT was designed to be a completely dynamic world free from the traditional questing system. So why did Trion Worlds feel the need to shoehorn in these established MMO elements?

Scott Hartsman doesn't duck the question in a recent interview but gives an open explanation for how the process came to be. He said the team originally began with a huge concept of a world where everything could change and be transitory but discovered that it had one big flaw: Players didn't feel connected to the world they were supposed to be saving.

"A lot of it came down to a lack of clarity," Hartsman admits. "People need to feel like they have a place in the world in order to feel like it's a world they want to keep coming back to." To provide a way to anchor players in the story and place of the world, the team went back and added a static layer in addition to the dynamic one already present and created new ways for the two to interact.

Hartsman reveals that everything in RIFT is created, balanced, and scaled by designers, as the team rejects fully machine-generated content (although the devs have used programs to assist in the design). He says that the team's main focus, from before launch until now, has been to get its subscribers to play together, as those relationships help "stick" a player to a game like nothing else.

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