Part One of My Trion Visit

Just arrived home from my visit to Trion for Gamer Day 3 and I am exhausted.  It was a very busy few days and between the plane flights, the tour and the drinking I am pretty exhausted.  However, I wanted to put a little something up to tide you over until the “embargo” is lifted on Monday morning.  So, today I am going to start with the general outline of our visit and tomorrow I will go in-depth about the round table discussion.

At the end of the studio tour yesterday, we were able to sit down with Scott Hartsman and Russ Brown, the Executive Producer and VP of Development, respectively.  I am going to cover what went on during the round table, as well as some details of my trip and experiences.  This will all be covered tomorrow so stay tuned for that.

Arriving in San Francisco and Dinner

I arrived in San Fran at about 1:00PM local time and I was totally beat.  A long night at the airport and two plane flights, just about did me in.  I went straight out and caught a shuttle to my hotel, the Sofitel Hotel in Redwood City.  The hotel was amazing and, conveniently enough, right across the street from Trion’s studios.

After checking in and getting up to my room, I went straight to bed for a nap.  I must be getting old. 😦

I woke up about four hours later and got ready to meet Trion and the other fan site operators downstairs in the hotel bar for drinks.  I want to take this time to thank all of my fellow fan sites whom I had the pleasure to meet during this trip.  Each and everyone of you were fantastic and I think I made some long term friends during this trip.  Thank you to Ciovala of Telarapedia, BCTrainers of RiftIRC, Draegn and Teljair of Rift Junkies and Arithion of the Rift Podcast.  You guys made the trip that much better and I thank each and every one of you!

At this time we all sit down for drinks and the Trion team started arriving.  We were lucky enough to meet Cindy Bowens, community manager for Rift, MissDoomCookie, Defiant Lore Lead, Erick ‘Zann’ Adams, Assistant Community Manager and even Dead Simon himself, Simon Ffinch.  There were other Trion folks there as well so forgive me if I don’t name them all.  I had much to drink that night!

After a few drinks, we headed out to the Mistral Restaurant for dinner and more drinks.  We were joined by even more Trion folks, including Scott, Russ and Hal Hanlin.  The dinner was fantastic and so was the company.  I was able to make some suggestions about the PvP servers to Scott and Russ but I am sure they won’t remember them!  Worth a shot though!

I will say that it was awesome to see that Russ feels the same way about PvP, ganking and griefing as I do.  I bet he is a terror on the PvP server and it is pretty obvious why he has played a rogue in all of his demo videos.  I have thoughts of him ganking some poor sap on his rogue and giggling like he does on all of his videos.  Just perfect.

 

Dinner with Trion, Rift Junkies, Telarapedia, RiftIRC and Rift Podcast.

 

After much fun, drinks and laughter at dinner we all loaded up in various cars and taxis and headed back to the hotel.  A few folks made a pit-stop back in the bar for a nightcap but I was just too tired.  Yes, I am getting old.  I went to bed in preparation for the big studio tour the next day.

The Tour

I want to warn you before you start reading this part that I have to be really careful with what I say.  The majority of hard information about Rift and what we saw will be in a post on Monday morning but I can give you some generals thoughts on the studio and the people we talked with.

 

Trion's Building Reminds Me of the Decepticons.

 

As I said, Trion’s studio is right across the street from our hotel.  So, it was a quick walk over Friday morning.  Trion takes up two floors of the building, with art, animation and design on one floor and human resources, public relations and such on another.  They have a lot of space and they make use of all of it.

Seeing the studio just makes me want to work for a game company even more.  The studio is full of “geek” memorabilia.  Everything from movies posters, to anime, to games and everything in between.  It is divided into ‘departments’, with art and animation in one space, raid design in another and UI design in another.  We were able to visit each department and ask questions of each.  I will have more on that on Monday, as well as some pictures of the inside of the studio.

After that, it was demo time and we all were able to sit down to some honest-to-god Rift fun and then off to lunch.  Lunch was served up inside the studio, which was good because I don’t think anyone wanted to leave.

 

Playing Rift with the folks from Ten-Ton Hammer, Curse and MMORPG.com!

 

 

The day at the studio finished off with a Round Table, attended by all the fan-sites, a few press members, Scott Hartsman and Russ Brown.  We were able to ask an hour worth of questions and Scott and Russ answered everything they could answer, with much humor and laughter.  It was a great time and I will have a break down of it tomorrow and if you happen to read this Scott, I still want a look at that damn Power Point presentation!!! 🙂

After that it was off to dinner at a local brew-house, with much beer drinking and talking about the days events.  Sadly, we had to say our good-byes to Cindy and Amary as they headed home while we went back to the hotel for one last night in San Fran.

Luckily, Erick ‘Zann’ Adams was staying in the same hotel with us and he came back for drinks.  The rest of the night is a blur as we attempted to put together a drunken podcast, listened to Zann sing an original song about Madden football (wtf?!?)  and watched Teljair piss off Draegn by using ‘netspeak’  all night.

I actually have video of Zann performing his Madden song and I will upload it for the right bribe.  Or I will not upload it for the right bribe. 🙂  I really want to hear what Arithion can salvage of our drunk podcast because the majority of it was unairable.  Good luck with that Ari, you will need it!

Unfortunately, my time at Trion came to an end last night and I had to fly back to Dallas this morning.  I had an amazing time, got to see a lot of really cool stuff and met a lot of really cool people.  Hopefully I will have the chance to this again and I hope to see all the Trion folks and my fellow fan-site operators again in the near future.  It was an amazing experience.  It truly was.

Again, look for my run down of the Round Table tomorrow and even more information about our tour on Monday.  There is a lot I want to share with you all and I think you will enjoy it!

Thanks!

 

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Trion Studios: Consider it Toured.

Just finished up our tour of Trion.  Have some great pictures to show everyone once I get them transfered.  I also have a lot of information to post as soon as I have the chance to sit down and post it. 

Right now I am sitting in Trion’s demo room and watching a few folks from Ten-Ton Hammer, Curse and MMORPG.com play an instance.  I think they just wiped.

Be back later with more!

Aaaah, Heat at Last!

So, my blow by blow account of my trip to Trion Worlds continues!  I have left the ‘E’ Terminal (the horribly ghetto ‘E’ terminal!) and moved over to ‘D’.  This terminal is the home to the Grand Hyatt hotel, with its horribly overpriced beer.  But it does have free heat and that’s all I need.

So, I guess only part of DFW Airport totally sucks afterall!

The Dallas Airport Pretty Much Sucks…

So, it is now 11PM and I am setting at the DFW Airport waiting for a flight that does not leave until 8AM.  Yes, I got here really early but it was either have a friend drive me to the airport early or drive my truck and pay 20 bucks a day for parking.

Needless to say, I got here early.

I have quickly discovered that DFW Airport sucks.  All the ticket counters are closed and do not open until 5AM.  I can not get to any of the restaurants or shops because to get there you have to go through security which is, you guessed it…..closed.

So, I am sitting in the part of the terminal I can get to and using my Droid (thank God for my Droid!) as a mobile hot-spot to surf the internet.  Don’t even think of using the airports hot-spot because its expensive.  Yeah, this airport sucks.

To top it off, the temperature in Dallas right now is officially cold as hell and the heat in this terminal is pretty much non-existent.  Going outside is out of the question because I think I will freeze solid as I walk around.

All this adds up to a loooong night sitting in the terminal and surfing the internet.  I do have a movie or two to watch as well and I imagine that will be on the agenda for later on tonight.

Still, it is well worth it for my trip to San Francisco!  Getting to see the Trion team and tour the studio is just too awesome.

Hmmm, I wonder if I would get in trouble if I laid down here and took a nap?

Go West, Young Man! HorRIFTic’s Upcoming Trip to Trion!

Last week I received a phone call with some very exciting news.  Abigale, Trion’s very own Community Manager, gave me a call and asked if I would like to head out to Trion’s studio in San Francisco for a community get together.  I have to say I was pretty amazed that Trion would think of a small blog like mine when picking out fan-sites for this event.  I also have to say that I am very, very excited about this opportunity.  Not only is Rift a great game but everyone I have ever talked to from Trion Worlds seems to be very cool people.  Their excitement for their upcoming game is contagious and they are very in-tune with the community.

In addition to myself, there are a few other fan-sites heading out west with me.  Telarapedia, Rift Junkies, RiftIRC and Rift Podcast will also be joining me in San Francisco and I look forward to meeting them as well.  I see a strong community building in Rift already and these fan-sites and all the others are really helping to make it that way.

Before I go, I want to invite all of you to post any questions you might have about Rift in the comments below.  I have a ton of questions myself but I am sure I will miss a few in my excitement.  So, post any (polite!) questions you might have for the Trion team below and I will ask as many as I can.  Of course, I will post the answers when I get back and I will also have a ton of pictures to show off!

Thanks everyone!

Something Not Rift Related

I am going to have a new post about Rift up later this evening but I wanted to post something real quick that has nothing to do with Rift.  My wife has been a very good artist for a long time but she has finally started doing some art work that she wants to make available for sale.  She does some really nice, unique stuff that I think is pretty awesome.

I am going to post the link to her websites, where she offers the art work, t-shirts and the like for sale and I encourage anyone interested in some pretty unique stuff to take a look.  She is really just getting started with this but she has been to a few art shows and the like and her stuff is pretty well received.  So, take a look, let me know what you think and feel free to order anything you like!

Her websites can be found below and on my links!

Her Etsy Shop (handmade items and prints)

Her Cafepress Shop (t-shirts, mugs etc.)

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.