Amazingly Awesome War Front Report.

Ok, you know how much I like PvP, right?  And we all like videos, right?  Especially concerning PvP, right?

Well, take a look at this one from BFF!!


Great look at the two War Fronts in this week’s beta test.  I must say, that warrior ability is sweet.  No warrior in World of Warcraft can do that!!  Yeah, Rift kicks ass.

Great Rogue (Assassin) PvP Video from Beta Four

Thought I would post up this nice PvP video from Beta Four.  This was done on my server (Lotham) and is really a nice video.  Take a look:


You can find the thread where the creator talks about his spec and such right here.


Updated:  I meant Beta Four, not Five!

Fantastic Fan-Made Video Trailer for Rift

Check out this video!  Everything turned up and in HD.  This just looks fantastic!


I just have to laugh at the people who try to say that Rift has poor graphics.

A Collection of Rift Beta Three Videos

The fact that there seems to be a burgeoning video community in Rift fills me with excitement.  I feel the popularity and excitement of a gaming community is in direct correlation to the number of videos you can find on You Tube.  No, its not scientific by any means but there is no doubting the fact that WoW has tons of videos on You Tube, while Age of Conan, WAR and most others are largely absent.

Players creating videos show that they are excited about the game and are impressed enough with it to take the time to create a video and show it to the world.  I really hope this continues throughout Rift’s life because there has already been a deluge of videos in the last week.

I decided to feature some of them here, on HorRIFTic Intentions.  Thanks to all the players and video editors who have taken the time to make these videos!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

First one up is a video of the Xan’Thaerid invasion, filmed by The Forgotten Guild:

This one is a video of the Dragon Greenscale and a bit of PvP.  It is obvious that the graphics are turned to low but its still a great look at an invasion event.

Same fight, different perspective and video setting turned up:

Riftblade PvP:

Jakub the Tyrant Invasion Event filmed by The Forgotten Guild:

Full Realm of the Fae Instance run:

The Acolytes vs. Guardians PvP:

More Bloodpact PvP Fun:

Hopefully these videos will keep you busy for quite awhile. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Thanks again to all of the players who created these fantastic videos and I hope to see more in the future!

In Rift, the Rides Come to YOU!

The coast under attack from a Foothold on the small island.

“Help!  My God, we need Help!  Help NOW!!!”

Those were the exact words I was greeted with upon logging in to Rift Beta Three today.  Typed in General Chat no less.

Now, stop for a minute and think about that.  Just think about it for a minute.  How many themepark MMOs can you imagine that being said in?  Not many I would bet.  Now how many of those could you imagine that being said when it does not involve PvP and when the person saying it is level 12?

I bet there is not one.  WoW certainly never has any real danger at that level.  Ditto for LotRO, Aion, Age of Conan or any other themepark MMO I can think of currently.  Yet, you see it all the time in Rift.  Constantly.

The world of Rift is a dangerous place.  Much more so than any other MMO I can think of that is not named Darkfall or, perhaps, Everquest.  There are constantly invasions happening and an invasion will wipe the floor with a solo player of the same level.  It is really a whole new experience.

Syncaine, of Hardcore Casual, got into the Rift beta this go around and I really look forward to what he has to say about it.  I know that he will say that it is a themepark MMO because it very much is one.  However, this one is a bit different.  You see, in Rift the rides sometimes come to you. Quite often, in point of fact.

Imagine walking around Disney World with your family, merrily eating your cotton candy and talking about what ride you want to hit up next.  When, suddenly, a trap-door opens underneath you and whisks you off to some random roller coaster.

That’s Rift in a nutshell.  Its a themepark but one so different from the norm.


In Rift, the rides come to you!



One second you can be merrily going about your questing business and the next you are smacked upside the head by a Fire General and his elite minions.  It is really a unique experience that I have not seen in any MMO to date.  Guild Wars 2 might have this feeling but we don’t really know yet and its a long while until its out.  Right now, Rift is it.  It is the only MMO that encourages grouping this way.  It is the only MMO in which you could be crafting one second and fighting elite mobs the next.

I have heard many complaints about quests in Rift and I agree; they aren’t anything special.  They are your normal “kill x of these” and “take this to that bridge” type quests.  But on top of that is a layer of dynamic content that can make you forget all about questing.

I spent the majority of my night fighting off invasions, destroying footholds and closing Rifts.  Questing was reserved for the “in-between” times.  I still leveled fast and I still got loot but I did not feel a slave to the quests.  That is a nice feeling.

The footholds and invasions are such a unique feature and they react in such interesting ways, that I soon forget about questing.  When two Invasions come together some really cool things happen.


My Bard, Bragi, jamming his lute while defending Argent Glade.



Tonight I found myself unable to turn in a quest due to an elite Fire Invasion taking over my quest hub and my little Guardian Bard was stuck.  Unfortunately, there was no one around at the time to help, so I stayed at the periphery and attempted to pick off the elites one by one.  Suddenly a Defiant NPC  Invasions attacked the Fire Rift from the side and the battle was on!  I stayed back and helped the Defiants by picking off the Fire minions in the back.  After the fight was over, the Defiants stood victorious but seriously wounded and weak.  I was able to finish them off and destroy their foothold, thus freeing my quest hub.

There is nothing else like this out there.  Nothing.  The fight was amazing to watch and a far cry from any other MMO experience I have really had before.  The fights can get really chaotic.  Just wait until you find yourself in the middle of a fight between Life, Fire and Defiant forces!  It can not be described.  It is so chaotic and dangerous and all around fun that I can not help but love it.

Yes, Rift has its problems.  I still have a few issues with the Global Cooldown.  I still think that the world suffers from a distinct lack of “fluff” and could use some farms, village and signs of every day life to spice things up.  I still believe it is too linear and could use some racial starting areas.  I still have my problems.

But, in the end, none of that really matters because what Rift does well, it does really, really well.  It creates a very unique, dangerous world to level in, with constant activity and real reasons to group.  What other theme park MMO gives you that?

None, I tell you.  None.

To end this post, I leave you with some video I shot outside Sanctum.  I arrived to Sanctum to find the small encampment right outside destroyed by a Fire invasion.  I was invited to a group and we began valiantly defending our City.  Everything was going well, when a Life Invasion attacked our flank.   Take a look and see if we survive!

A little warning though, I am terrible with video editing.  Thus the video is pretty much raw footage, with no music and no real edits.  Still, I hope you enjoy!

Dueling Video from Beta One and Two!

Anxient over on the official Rift forums has posted a nice ten minute long HD video showcasing some of his duels from Beta one and two.  You can find the original thread here and the video below.  It is well worth the look and it showcases the fluidity of movement and combat in Rift PvP.  Keep in mind that this is all very low level stuff and classes are not perfectly balanced for low-level PvP.  Still, the video is pretty nice and really gets me excited for full-on PvP in Rift.

I imagine there will be tons of dueling in Rift.  I believe we will see dueling akin to WoW in the early days, everyone outside of Sanctum and Meridian dueling for hours on end.  With the number of Soul spec possibilities, you should see players dueling just to fine tune their specs.  I like that.  I enjoyed dueling in WoW, even though it was just for fun and you didn’t get any “rewards” out of it.  Imagine that, people doing stuff in-game just because its fun. Who’da thunk it?

Thanks to Anxient for the awesome video!


From Beta:


On the Eve of the First Beta Event, I Return.

Howdy folks!

Yes, I am back.  Where have I been, you ask?  Well, working a lot for one.  Working retail during the holidays is a time consuming, soul destroying experience.  But, that is not all I have been doing.  There have been other things. Can’t really speak of those but they have been keeping me busy!

Yes, I am still very, very excited about Rift.  Perhaps even more so than I was, if that is possible.  The beta events are starting and the hype is starting to build.  Even some of my favorite bloggers are starting to talk about Rift.  I eagerly await their impressions, which will have to wait until after the NDA drops unfortunately.  I think, of the three bloggers I linked, Syp and Keen will probably enjoy the game but Syncaine will dislike Rift because of its “theme-park” attributes.

Still its nice to see Rift is finally garnering some attention.  The Trion team deserves it.  Even if Rift does not end up being the “holy MMO grail” that you hope for, Trion has certainly done a fantastic job getting it ready and interacting with the community.

Speaking of which, there is a fantastic new “teaser/hype” video that was released today on Massively.  This is the first video that I have seen in which Trion actively turns up the hype-dial to 11.  It is a great video, take a look at it below!

You will be seeing a lot more from me in the upcoming weeks as the beta events get into full swing!  I am back baby and I am ready for Rift!

Lots of News and Videos Too!

Been pretty busy at work the last couple of days, so I have missed a bit.  Consider this the “catch up post”!   Onward to the Rift: Planes of Telara news!

Let’s start out with the Fride Dev Chat on IRC!  You can find it right here.  Below is a transcript!

  • %Abigale> Welcome Scott and Russ 🙂
  • %Scott_White> Hi everyone.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> hello all
  • %Abigale> I asked the guys to tell you a little about what they do before we start with the questions. 🙂
  • %Scott_White> Hey all. I’ll just talk a little about who I am and what I do here.
  • %Scott_White> I’m Technical Art Director on Rift, pretty much specializing in anything environmental or special effects related.
  • %Scott_White> THe most visible stuff I do is the visual effects, but also setting up a lot of under-the-hood stuff, working on optimization…
  • %Scott_White> Figuring out challenges with the team, stuff like that.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> I am the lead animator on Rift. I work with various groups of people to make sure the animations in our game work well with gameplay
  • %Russ_Cahalan> and of course to make them look as good as possible =P


  • Daft asks: Are we going to see weather affects?
  • %Scott_White> Well… yes.


  • Oabe asks: Weather effects? Will we have dynamic weather animations?
  • %Scott_White> I can talk about weather a bit. A few of our zones have a particular weather occuring within them now, you may have seen rain or snow.
  • %Scott_White> As far as dynamic weather we can accomplish that and would love to see it in the game actually.


  • Ciovala asks: How do you create your animations? Do you use any motion capture or NaturalMotion?
  • %Russ_Cahalan> Early in the project we decided to hand key all of our character animations for several reasons:
  • %Russ_Cahalan> one was that we were certain that the motions would have to be pushed larger and faster than they would be in real life, and that is easier done by hand.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> two was that in my experience it’s more difficult to change motions that have been mocapped. When we hand keyed we have more control over the motion and can do more iterations
  • %Russ_Cahalan> that results in motions that work better with the gameplay
  • %Russ_Cahalan> and finally, we realized it would be hard to put a mocap suit on dragons and other fantasic creatures


  • Nalerian asks: can you describe what you think is the coolest looking thing you have helped create/place in Telara so far?
  • %Scott_White> For sure the coolest thing is the rifts themselves.
  • %Scott_White> Was a serious team effort to bring the rifts to life, visual effects, animation, modeling, audio, huge amount of work in those things.
  • %Scott_White> We got to see the life rift on a 3d display early on, and it was pretty awesome.
  • %Scott_White> One more cool thing is I’m really happy how much animation we’re able to accomplish on world objects. We’re able to bring a lot of motion and life to the world itself.


  • Oabe asks: Will there be emotes and can they tell us their favorite?
  • %Russ_Cahalan> We do have quite a few emotes for the player characters, and we have a set of emote-like animations on almost every creature as well (we call them attractors)
  • %Russ_Cahalan> my personal favorites vary depending on the character, but I like the dances, and some of our more humorous emotes like /facepalm and /rude.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> Because we made unique motion sets for each of our race/genders, each has unique emotes and dances


  • Anasazi asks: are there going to be weapons that drip acid or have live fire swirling around them etc doing elemental damage?
  • %Scott_White> Quick answer, yes!
  • %Scott_White> We’re currently working on a number of awesome new weapons which all will include visual effects.


  • brammator asks: will there be weapons with unusual animation, like flying around swords and bending staves?
  • %Russ_Cahalan> We don’t have any animation sets that will have flexible weapons like chain swords, whips, or flails currently
  • %Russ_Cahalan> the player animation sets are currently pushing close to 500 each, and those include 10 different sets per race/gender to cover the weapon categories we have in game
  • %Russ_Cahalan> those cover a pretty wide variety of weapons, and give a good amount of visual variety between players of different races
  • %Russ_Cahalan> We do, however, have some weapons that contain motion. But those are generally VERY special weapons, and are highly desirable. You will probably learn more about that as we get closer to release.


  • WarpCode asks: what kind of challenges have you faced in getting the static content and dynamic content to mesh together seamlessly?
  • %Scott_White> That has been a real challenge.
  • %Scott_White> The greatest question there was how much lies on the design vs art side of creating the world.
  • %Scott_White> I think we’ve reached a good balance on that, leaving enough dynamic while giving art enough control to make the world look great.
  • %Scott_White> We loved seeing a rift open, but then had to ensure as much as possible that the npc’s for instance, react to it and don’t just go about business as usual.
  • %Scott_White> Artists like to set much of the world to make it beautiful, but design needs to leave a lot which can be changed. Just a balance there.


  • Daft asks: For combat animations, are we going to see multiple movements for certain spells or single movements for each spell?
  • %Russ_Cahalan> We have a variety of combat animations per race/gender. Those include separate animations for melee and magic combat moves.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> We have taken a lot of effort to let designers (and players) have as much freedom and flexibility as possible, so we made sets of those combat animations in each weapon category as well.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> so for example, for fireball, you will have a different animation depending on whether you are holding a staff or a dagger. Melee moves are similar in this respect
  • %Russ_Cahalan> for melee, we have a variety of moves, light slashes, spins, thrust, uppercut etc, and magic we have ones that throw projectiles, or are more omnidirectional
  • %Russ_Cahalan> The designers have given each class a variety of abilities which can help vary the feel of the animations as well. Cast times, channels, instant etc
  • %Russ_Cahalan> and this is sort of tangential, but it was critical to us that the animations never restrict the player (except when the designers wanted). What I mean by this is that when you do an instant ability, you can do that while running, jumping, swimming etc.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> so we have “upper body only” versions of all of those animations across all of the weapon types as well. So you can see how all of that can add up quickly =P


  • Oabe asks: Particle effects… how about lag? We all love lush particle effects, but it sucks when they take our frame rates down to nil.
  • %Scott_White> There are a number of questions about particle effect performance, so I’ll try to address those.
  • %Scott_White> We haven’t yet optimized the particle effects so they will be getting faster. Also theres a system coming to adjust what you see more based on your settings.
  • %Scott_White> Right now everyone pretty much sees all visual effects and it can be pretty processor and graphics intensive.
  • %Scott_White> Pretty sure I’ll be spending a lot of time in the near future improving exactly that.


  • Haaken asks: Are we gonna see character mood stances / posture animations similar to EQ II, where you can choose a “mood” and have your character act accordingly in both walk and idle animation? (Sneaky / stealthy, shy, scared, proud etc etc)
  • %Russ_Cahalan> We do not have a SWG style “mood” stance change. We had considered trying to do this, but it would have severely limited the number of race/gender combinations we could have made for launch.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> Instead we focused on giving each of our race/genders more animations in general, and making their basic “personalities” significantly different from each other.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> MMO gamers come looking for a wide variety of experiences, of course. Some demand humor, some want serious drama, others want super aerobatic moves and others want realism.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> we tried to balance all of those things (and more), and provide as many diverse options for gamers as possible
  • %Russ_Cahalan> while not breaking the fun for any one group


  • Ravel asks: How do you combine effects with sound. Is that a team effort or done by one person per effect?
  • %Scott_White> Adding audio to effects is a team effort.
  • %Scott_White> We have a sequencer tool to combine visual effects and audio, as well as time the different visuals together.
  • %Scott_White> The audio dept has done some pretty amazing stuff with the audio in the game, effects and otherwise. It’s really an underappreciated part of the game but sooo important and powerful.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> since there’s limited time left, I am going to run down a few quick answers to some of the questions I see on the list:
  • %Scott_White> sounds good
  • %Russ_Cahalan> we have lie down (sleep) emotes already in game. We have sit on the ground already as well. We are in the process of discussing sitting in chairs.


  • %Scott_White> Someone asked about vfx on flowers, when you see something like that it generally means something can be used. In this case that’s likely a harvestable resource.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> we have limited face animation controls. Due to the amount of characters that we want on screen at any time, we limited these controls severely so it would not hamper performance in game for something that is usually subpixel
  • %Russ_Cahalan> We do not have cloaks, but we do have long robes
  • %Russ_Cahalan> there are currently no attacks that you can do while mounted
  • %Russ_Cahalan> your character will animate during crafting and gathering
  • %Scott_White> Someone asked about colorblind gamers. Yes we have that in mind, and at least a few of our team are colorblind as well. Different shape banners and symbols in addition to different colors, for instance.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> your character can be affected by explosions by getting knocked back, but it is up to the designer’s discretion if the gameplay makes use of that (we have both kinds)
  • %Scott_White> Generally buffs will not have a lengthy or permanent visual effect.
  • %Russ_Cahalan> there are camera shakes in game. Some large monsters and other things make good use of this =)
  • %Scott_White> Yes, there are camera shakes. A number of larger monsters use camera shake in animation or combat, as well as some seriously big visuals such as rifts.
  • %Scott_White> Ditto russ.


  • %Abigale> Ok, folks… that’s about all the time we have for today. These guys are pretty busy and have to get back to work 🙂

Next up, we have a great video interview with Adam Gershowitz from Realm: LFM.  This one shows some more footage of the fire Rift and a bit of character creation.  The video really shows off the graphic and environment effects well, probably better than any video I have yet seen.  It also is very obviously from a newer alpha build, as there are more character creation options, seemingly more and varied particle effects and animation and I also noticed “spell pushback” which I had not seen in previous videos.  One other thing of note, there are apparently at least 200 people in alpha right now.  That is two hundred people far luckier than I.  I am jealous.

Last up we have a another new video from G4TV.  This one shows some awesome footage of Scarlet Gorge.  It does an amazing job of showing just how large this zone really is and it looks beautiful as well.  One other great thing about the video is that, for the first time, we get a really good listen at the in-game sound.  It really sounds well done.  I can not wait to play!  You can find the video right here!


Rift: Planes of Telara on the MMO Report!

Hey, I remember him from WAR!

Rift: Planes of Telara makes its debut on the MMO Report today!  Adam Gershowitz narrates the almost six minute long feature.  Although there was not a ton of new information here, there are a few things I picked up.

  • There is a reputation system in Rift.  At a couple of points in the video you can see the character gaining “Notoriety” with the Order of the Flames faction.
  • Looks like it requires about 220K XP to get from 45 to 46.
  • A level 45 Rogue soul has around 3,300 HPs.
  • The UI is huge on screen.  I hope it is scalable.
  • Adam again confirms an early 2011 release date.
  • The game is looking very polished and responsive.

Other than those facts, nothing really new.  Still worth the watch just to see the game in action.  Also great to get new people into the community.  You can see the video in HD right here!