Hi, folks. Now that we’re coming out of a fresh round of releases, demos, conventions, and a bunch of other excitement, we wanted to take a minute to give everyone an update on the state of the game, its testing, and this past convention season — all with an eye on the road from here on out.
BUT FIRST, A QUICK LOOK BACK…
Since we opened these forums in April, we’ve been consistently blown away by the passion and dedication of those of you who’ve come to join us.
We’ve seen new game-related sites open up, we’ve seen existing sites embrace the direction the game’s taken, we’ve seen the return of friends from games’ past, and we’ve been enjoying seeing this turn into a healthy, growing community that’s always willing to welcome newcomers.
Thanks so much for helping us get to where we are so far. You’re a lot of the reason that people have heard about us. Your dedication to the game, telling your friends, and letting others all across the Internet know what we’re building helps out more than you know.
You get a lot of credit for that, and we’re definitely grateful. 🙂
OUT INTO THE PUBLIC EYE
When you sit back and think about it, it definitely doesn’t feel like it’s only been a few short months since we first announced what this game “Rift: Planes of Telara” was all about.
This was the year that the game went from the stage where it was “this game we’ve been playing internally” to having our first outside hands on it.
The first externally visible version was front and center at our unveil event in April. Then we went on to E3 in June where some lucky folks got to take it for a spin, and then finally on to GamesCom and PAX where both European and US players could get some real, quality hands-on time, ask developers questions they wanted, and write freely about their experiences.
On the inside, it can be a pretty nerve-wracking experience. No matter how experienced (or even jaded) a developer ever gets, I think that deep down we all want everyone to enjoy what we’ve made.
So far, we’ve been thrilled to see that most people who try it see that it’s going to be something special, as they see the unique, cool things we’re adding to what people think of today as AAA MMOs — and that the game they’re playing is far more polished than they ever would have expected.
Even we were shocked when a group of folks who weren’t even attending PAX made the trip just to come to our first US community event a couple weeks ago, and the enthusiasm of the European audience at GamesCom was really infectious. (Especially the guild that kidnapped one of our systems designers and showed him around the bars in the city — Thanks for returning him, by the way.)
If that kind of excitement doesn’t leave someone with the desire to do a great job, I’m not sure what would.
Once you have something that people enjoy, MMOs still take a lot of testing to get right. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we’ve been building a fully featured publishing and operations platform at the same time we’re building the games to use it. That makes for a whole lot of moving parts, a lot of lessons to learn along the way, and means for some very careful alpha and beta planning.
At the same time, we’ve been consistently thrilled by the interest from all fronts in helping test out the game, from really early on.
Most who’ve tested other MMOs in the past already understand that the more times we can iterate everything before launch, the better the whole package is going to be in the end.
No matter how much we’d like to invite everyone who’s interested the instant they want to come help, we have to have plans that will let us perform those iterations as quickly as possible, which also means scaling up in the smartest way we can.
Please do know that what we’re doing is all aimed at making sure the game we end up with is the best quality it can possibly be the day that it launches, by taking the best combination of experiences from all of the MMOs our team members have launched in the past.
ALPHA, BETA, AND BEYOND
We’ve made no secret of the fact that our game has been in Alpha for a little while now. It started out with close friends and family like most games, and we’ve been slowly ramping it up ever since — with some people who’ve been excellent testers on some of our team members’ previous games, as well as with testers from different places on the Internet that have no problem sharing their 100% blunt opinions at all times. (We firmly believe that you don’t improve by only having people around who agree with you.)
While this has been going on, there is a ton more that’s going on behind the scenes that no one really ever hears about — we’ve been building out everything from our processes, to our QA, to the all-important ability to react quickly and smartly to feedback.
We still have a long road of testing ahead of us, and we’ll continue scaling up our alphas and betas. There are still a whole lot of chances ahead to help with the game.
One thing we want to make absolutely certain that people understand is that we’ll always be keeping a special eye on those who choose to participate here in our forums and continue to support us both here and on other forums and blogs far and wide. You’re a lot of the reason for our success so far, and we definitely plan on doing as well by you as we possibly can.
Whether you’re hearing about special promotional chances to get into beta events from a convention, or a focused testing phase totally unrelated to future beta events – There will be a lot of different ways to get into our tests in the future, and we’ll be sharing details on specific programs and phases as their times get closer.
In the meanwhile, do know that we are genuinely grateful, and we look forward to having you help us out as soon as we can!
Thanks very much,
– The Rift Development Team
Posted on September 15, 2010 by brannagar