03 June 2012

This Just In: Trion Edition

Ever have one of those weeks where you meant to do all kinds of things but didn't get half of them done?  Yeah that was me this week.  I literally have three different posts saved in "draft" form here on Blogger but I never got around to finishing any of them last week.  Hopefully I can polish them up and this week can make up for the lack of content last week.  And speaking of content, the big news of the week comes right along those lines, so let's get to it!  In fact, all the news is going to revolve around the same company this week.  It's all things Trion Worlds.

RIFT Announces First Formal Expansion

You have heard me say it before, regardless of your feelings about RIFT the game, you have to give the people at Trion Worlds credit for one thing... they crank out content for their game at a pace that is practically unheard of in the MMO industry.  Most of that content is good, some of it leaves a bit to be desired, but there is no doubting their commitment to expanding their game and keeping their players busy.  So it should come as no surprise that just shortly after celebrating the one year anniversary of RIFT's launch, Trion has announced the first formal expansion to the game titled Storm Legion.

The details of the expansion are fairly standard for what you would expect... an increase in level cap, new zones, new classes (sort of), and new raids and dungeons to tackle.  But while the expansion doesn't offer anything out of the ordinary, it is an awful lot of content.  Trion has said that it will include two entire continents for play.  One of my biggest complaints with RIFT as a game was that it just felt too small.  Well, if both of these new continents are similar in size to the current Telara, then that problem will be solved.  And I like their approach to adding new classes to the game.  Instead of adding a new base class (Calling) they are instead just adding one new soul to each Calling's current selection.  Hopefully this will expand options for current characters and not force people to feel like they need to reroll new ones to experience everything.

Perhaps most impressive though is the timing.  RIFT is just over a year old.  If they hit their target date of Fall 2012 for Storm Legion's release, the game will be about eighteen months old when the expansion hits.  It took Blizzard almost two and a half years to release The Burning Crusade, although they have picked up the pace a bit since then.  But when you factor in what Trion has added even prior to this formal expansion, you really get a feeling for how much and how fast they are adding on to the game.  When it comes to post-launch content addition, Trion is the undisputed king of that particular mountain.

The Grand Experiment:  Defiance 

I've gone back and forth on Trion's bizarre MMO/television collaboration entitled Defiance.  In the interest of full disclosure, I absolutely detest SyFy Network so that does influence my opinion.  I am not going to recount all my gripes with them here as this is not the proper venue, but suffice to say after their treatment of Ron Moore and his revamped Battlestar Galactica, I was through with them as a network.  So with that said... Trion announced the launch date for their MMOFPS project in conjunction with SyFy.  The game and the TV show will hit simultaneously in April of 2013.

I really don't know what to make of this whole thing.  The MMOFPS sub-genre is tricky enough as it is, and is about to get surprisingly crowded.  Sony has Planetside 2 on the way.  CCP is getting ready to drop Dust 541 (interestingly enough another collaboration, just of a different variety.)  And Firefall is out there too.  Is the TV tie in going to help Defiance in the long run, or hurt it?  Better question... will the game itself actually be fun to play?  I know, what a strange question to ask about a game.  I will be watching, if for no other reason than to see how this plays out, but will I be playing?  That remains to be seen.

Trion Trifecta: End of Nations

This last bit isn't so much a news story as it is simply sticking with my theme.  Trion has yet another project in the works, the MMORTS End of Nations.  Now strategy is probably one of my least favorite gaming genres.  Ok, to be more specific, real-time strategy is not a favorite of mine.  I really enjoy turn-based games such as the Civilization series, but RTS's are not my cup of tea.  I'm too slow, too calculating, too deliberate.  I stand no chance in a genre where your success is largely determined by "clicks per second."  

But that said, I may end up giving EoN a try.  I was generally unimpressed with Starcraft 2.  I played it for the story and then uninstalled it.  I'm not too keen on dropping another $60 just to see the next chapter in the story.  So if I do end up wanting to scratch an RTS itch, the free to play EoN might be a much better option than dropping the premium price for Blizzard's next offering.  Of course the catch is, EoN actually has to be enjoyable.  Not much has been seen so far, but with E3 right around the corner, I'm hoping Trion will have a lot more to show off in terms of how this title will actually play.

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