Rift Storm Legion thumb

Gamasutra are reporting that 40 members of the Rift development team - around one third of the game's staff - are being laid off. Trion Worlds have confirmed job cuts in a statement, but haven't commented on how many roles are being lost, or which teams are affected.

"As a response to market conditions, product timelines and the natural evolution of our company," Trion writes, "we have made some organizational changes, which include a workforce reduction. This was a difficult decision and we wish the best for those affected by these changes. At Trion, we remain focused on delivering top quality online game experiences, and are committed to supporting RIFT and launching our highly anticipated new titles Defiance, Warface, and End of Nations in 2013."

Trion Worlds launched the ace Storm Legion expansion only last month. While the MMO has retained its subscription status, despite a free light edition covering levels 1-20 and a Storm Legion trial for returning players, the company has never divulged any information on how many subscribers it was serving.

This news follows on from the 19 lay-offs at Petroglyph, who were working on End of Nations before Trion moved its development in-house.
No idea what it was, but I'm glad it's dead.

If you've let your Rift account lapse even though the recent Storm Legion expansion has piqued your interest, well here's good news: between December 14 and 18 former Rift players will be able to play Storm Legion for free. The bonus will be ushered in by the latest game update 2.1: Endless Eclipse, which goes live tomorrow. In their announcement Trion Worlds assured that "former subscribers can dive deep into Storm Legion with no restrictions, while anyone, including RIFT Lite players, can celebrate a huge new Fae Yule World Event and build in private or public, personal or guild Dimensions."

It's worth giving a go if you've got even the vaguest interest in Rift, with our review of the recent expansion promising that "the vast amount of content added makes it practically essential for Rift fans."

RIFT - Andrew Yoon

Trion Worlds has laid off some of its staff, a new report confirms. According to Gamasutra, about 40 team members were let go, including developers, artists, and designers. "As much as one-third of the development team working on MMO Rift" could be affected, according to the report.

While Trion has confirmed layoffs, it would not elaborate on which parts of the company were affected. The company told Gamasutra that the layoffs were "in response to market conditions, product timelines and the natural evolution of our company."

Rift most recently expanded with Storm Legion, which promised to triple the game world.


Blimey, it's big. Rift wasn't exactly slight to begin with. Set in the fantasy world of Telara, its vast continent was more than just a world to fill with quests. The titular rifts - tears in reality brought forth by the six elemental dragon-deities - were constantly haranguing the beleaguered player-faction, the Ascended. The result was a world that would dramatically shift around the efforts of the community. Left unchecked, these rifts spawned raiding parties of monsters, who'd assault strategic outposts to establish deadly footholds. It then provided regular and expansive post-launch updates, making it one of the few subscription MMOs that justified its monthly toll.

Storm Legion increases Rift's size dramatically. It isn't an expansion so much as it's a second Rift bolted onto the back of the game.

Two new continents have been added, each roughly the size of the original, to take level 50 players to the new cap of 60. But sheer acreage alone means little if there's nothing going on inside of that space. Fortunately, the new lands of Brevane and Dusken are filled with content. There are two new questlines, dungeons, raids, a PvP warfront and plenty of sidequests to discover.

Oi you! Stop that.

That said, you're not going to find anything that shakes up the formula of the base game. Storm Legion's overriding adjective is “more,” not “different.” Take the new Carnage quests. They're Kill X Things quests, and there are loads of them.

It's hardly the most innovative idea, but, to damn with faint praise, they're one of the better implementations of dull quest churn. Automatically activating whenever you kill the relevant mob, they don't require collecting from a quest hub, so there's never any wasted kills. The downside is that it's blatant content padding; an easy and rather transparent method of keeping you busy.

While technically optional, Carnage quests are a significant percentage of the potential XP gain. Levelling in Storm Legion requires that you bounce between the two continents, questing through the lower level areas of both, before being able to move on to the higher levels of either. But story quests alone won't be enough to keep you competitive. That means either taking the extra time to hunt out and complete Carnage, or grinding out dailies and PvP to make up the shortfall.

Hunt rifts put you on the defence.

A game-wide change does reduce the tedium of monster hunting quests. The 2.0 update that released alongside the expansion changes the way credit is awarded for kills. Now anyone involved in defeating a mob, be it through direct attack or healing assist, is given a share of the XP, and the kill counts toward their mission objective.

It's a clear nod to the way Guild Wars 2 handles questing, and it's a move that accentuates the shared experiences that should be at the heart of a massive online game. Playing Rift feels less like being part of a thousand separate single player campaigns running parallel. While some will take advantage of the system, one-hit tagging each mob to steal a share of XP, the positives far outweigh the actions of a few inevitable jerks.

Storm Legion seems to have been designed to focus on the ebb-and-flow of dynamic content. At one point, while attempting to clear my quest log before hopping over to the other continent, I instead spent hours closing rifts, attacking footholds, completing Instant Adventures and, yes, even finishing a Carnage quest or two. Rift's strength has always been the ability to offer you more than just quest hubs full of static exclamation marks, and here the vast majority of your time will be spent adventuring.

Groups naturally emerge to complete dynamic events.

As well as each area being full of new enemies and higher level dynamic events, Storm Legion introduces Hunt rifts. They work like regular rifts, but in reverse: with players attempting to summon a planar commander while waves of enemies attack their position. Successfully defend the rift and the commander emerges, with specific lures allowing you to choose which one you fight. They're great fun and seriously tough. Where normal minor rifts can be easily tackled solo, even the simplest of Hunt rifts requires a few players working together.

With so much focus on dynamic content, the story acts as more of a throughline between each area – a forgettable diversion for all but the hardest of lore nuts. Dragon god Crucia has roused up her storm legion to assault the two continents, and sorting the mess out involves a whole lot of fetching, delivering, destroying, escorting and helplessly watching as villains enact their plans.

Far more noticeable is the world design. While the areas in each continent are less wildly variable than Rift's Mathosia, they contain much weirder landscapes and features. Dusken is huge and barren, with its four areas themed around death. It's the less striking of the two places, but the bone graveyard of Seratos makes for an impressive centrepiece. Brevane's life theme offers the opposite: a warren of ruined buildings overgrown with creepy red tentacle plants. Both are more interesting locations to explore than the rather standard fantasy offerings that Rift originally offered.

Pile on the particle effects.

Thanks to the Storm Legion threat, Guardians and Defiants are now working together. Not only does this mean that both get to share Tempest Bay, the new island city hub, but also that grouping, dungeon running and guild registration are no longer faction specific. Players can now join up with anyone using the expansion, which helps reduce the time spent queueing.

Unless, that is, you're waiting for something specific. Rift only awards daily quest bonuses for joining random queues, and as such, that's what most players are doing. After over 35 hours of questing, my character had two of the new dungeons unlocked and, even in the launch week, the grouping system could spend hours looking for a party without ever finding a result.

The same is true of Warfronts, although the impact is much less. Finding games of Karthan Ridge, Storm Legions new battleground, takes longer than jumping in the random queue. But for me the enjoyment of Rift's PvP comes from the quick-fire bouts of action over the map objectives that cause them. The eponymous ridge makes for some nice dual-level combat, but it's an arena that fits nicely into the rotation rather than one I've gone out of my way to play.

No idea what it was, but I'm glad it's dead.

Storm Legion has less to offer players who are yet to hit the level cap, but there are still some additions available worldwide. Dimensions are self-contained homes that you can teleport to at any time and, rather than simple static locations, they let you build and place down objects. The build mode is a relatively simple drag and drop affair, but assuming you've got the talent, it's possible to create extremely detailed structures and objects.

For me and other cack-handed laymen, what saves Dimensions from being ultimately pointless is the social features. A ranking system lets the community rate public Dimensions, allowing players to easily drop in to mooch about the towering structures and fiendish jumping puzzles that others have created. It's not likely to be something you'll spend loads of time investigating, but it's a nice diversion to have nonetheless.

Character classes have had an overhaul, with each getting a new soul to expand the potential roles they can occupy. The simplest additions are for the warrior and mage, who gain ranged and melee attacks respectively, increasing their effectiveness in situations they would traditionally be weak.

The rogue and cleric have more tactical shifts to their combat style. The cleric's Defiler soul is a healing-focused subclass that works by creating links between players and re-routing damage back to themselves. It's a tricky role to get the hang of, but should be ideal for masochistic doctors everywhere.

So... eaten anyone lately?

For versatility, however, the rogue's Tactician is the best of the new styles. With it you can throw down static cores that provide AoE buffs and use torrents of flames that can heal or deal crowd-control damage. It syncs nicely with the bard soul, essentially letting you role-play a folk-singer with a flamethrower.

While the sheer amount of things to do is Storm Legion's greatest strength, not all of it works. For example, the Secrets of the Deep Event in Seratos ends in a 434,247,104 HP endurance test through Nautilian, a world boss that does a whole lot of not much except take 40 minutes of idle key-tapping to kill. Or there's the Storm Breaker Protocol dungeon, that has you piloting a mech suit with limited abilities through endless processions of bugs.

But the occasional drop in quality is balanced by the strength and size of what does work. Storm Legion brute forces brilliance through the number of things available for players to experience. It increases the ways in which Rift can be Rift, making an already great game even better.

If you've yet to hit the level cap, you're best off waiting. The new souls provide some great variation in PvP and grouping, but they're not a dramatic enough change to justify buying the expansion. But if you've hit level 50 and want even more Rift to get stuck into, Storm Legion is exactly what you're looking for.
Rift Storm Legion thumb

Rift's first expansion, Storm Legion, will finally land today, so Trion are marking the occasion in the traditional fashion, with a trailer full of massive beasts getting royally duffed up. The new expansion trebles the size of the game world and fills it full of gargantuan critters, many of whom can be seen being accosted by wandering adventurers in the screenshots below.

Storm Legion promises to add not one, but two new continents, raise the level cap to 50, add four new souls (Rift's sub-classes) and offer players and guilds the chance to settle their own dimension as a form of housing.

We'll have a review of Storm Legion ready for you soon, but in the meantime you can take a look at our Rift: Storm Legion preview to learn what you can expect tonight. Otherwise enjoy the (carefully posed) screenshots below.

win 246

Fantasy MMO Rift is getting its first full expansion on November 13 in the form of Storm Legion, the massive content pack that we awarded ‘Best Update’ at E3 2012. To celebrate the launch of Storm Legion, and in conjunction with Trion and Alienware, we are giving away a top-of-the-line Alienware M17x gaming laptop worth over £2,000. The M17x is a fully capable gaming rig in a portable body, making it ideal for hooking up to a TV or gaming on the move. Find out all about the Alienware M17x.

And there's more: DJs Darren Emerson and Maurice Ashkenazi-Bakes have created the Rift Remix – and we’re also giving away a Hercules DJControl Instinct mixing deck to allow you to create and share your own music. The Instinct has been designed with budding DJs of every ability in mind, and comes bundled with everything you need to get started.

On top of all this, the winner will also receive a full copy of the Rift: Storm Legion Infinity Edition, which includes an extra set of in-game items including a handy teleporter and unique mount.

All sound good? Here's what you need to do: in honour of Storm Legion's addition of fancy new capes, we want you to design us a mantle of our very own. We'll accept photos of someone modelling your fine fabric or the wonder-garment itself. The swishiest, most creative cape will win the laptop. The closing date is November 25, 2012.

But to find out how to enter, you'll have to pick up a copy of PCG UK issue 246.
Click Here
In the meantime, here's a picture of what the Hercules DJControl Instinct mixing deck would look like if it was floating in a white void:

RIFT - Elrar
Hail Ascended!

RIFT: Storm Legion is now available on Steam for Pre-Order - you can get your hands on our first expansion today and unlock special pre-order bonuses:
<a href>http://store.steampowered.com/app/222960/</a>

<b><u>RIFT: Storm Legion - KEY FEATURES</u></b>
<ul><li>Adventure across two huge new continents that more than triple the size of the existing world
<li>A new Soul for each Calling expands the Ascended Class System - build the hero you want!
<li>Rise to new heights of power through 10 challenging levels, increasing the level cap to 60
<li>Dimensions: Customizable spaces allow players and guilds to own a sliver of Telara
<li>Become the talk of the town and boost your stats with stylish new capes
<li>And more!</ul>
Chase the Storm @ <a href>www.StormLegion.com</a>

We're working with Steam to make sure you get your pre-order codes in time for the early release of Exodus of the Storm Queen, the first dungeon in an epic expansion.

Should any issues arise, Trion Customer Support would be happy to assist in making sure you're taken care of - simply provide proof of purchase to our team when filling out a question form here: <a href>https://support.trionworlds.com/app/ask</a>

Rift Storm Legion - skelly army

A four day open beta for Rift's massive Storm Legion expansion is set to start on November 2. Trion say that "all expansion content will be available during the open beta period to those who create a RIFT account and download the client from www.stormlegion.com/beta." Storm legion's new lands "more than triple" the size of the game world, the level cap has been sproinged up by ten levels and players can customise their skills further with the help of four new souls.

Storm Legion also adds player housing, seven extra dungeons, three raids and lots more. Gavin's had a poke around the new areas. Read his thoughts in our Rift: Storm Legion hands-on, and check out the latest screenshots of the expansion below. Storm Legion will be released fully on November 13.


Unlike most of us, Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest Next—billed as "the largest sandbox MMO ever designed"—knows the feeling of getting your entire guts scooped out by a giant ladle. During the SOE Live convention held last week, President John Smedley said discarding Next's design was intentional to avoid aping "more of the same" from contemporary MMOs. Elaborating on that thought, Smedley told Massively the Next team saw "the writing on the wall" for the genre's trends in player retention when starting over.

"What we're really changing is what the game is all about," he explained. "All the design elements. We made one fundamental shift to emergent gameplay. Once we made that shift, everything else had to follow. And what we saw was Rift. We saw The Secret World. We saw the writing on the wall with Star Wars: The Old Republic. We saw all these games that we knew were in development and very high-quality, but we saw what was going to happen—this big spike and then it goes down."

"That's the truth of what's been happening with MMOs," Smedley continued. "The fans need to realize that if you don't change the nature of what these games are, you're not going to change that core behavior. We want to make games that last more than 15 years. That's why we made the decision to change it."

Check out the rest of the interview for more of Smedley's thoughts on EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, and SOE's future.
Rift Storm Legion

Rift's Storm Legion expansion pack will add two vast new continents that triple the size of the game world. It includes seven new dungeons, three raids, a new chronicle, new souls to equip and another ten levels to earn. Basically, it's so big you'll need a bit of a head start to see it all. We have 500 keys to the this weekend's beta event sitting right here. Fancy one? Waltz this way to find out how to apply.

All you have to do is click on the following link and fill in the form. The first 500 entries will receive a beta key via email when the competition closes on Friday.

Let me into the Rift: Storm Legion beta!

The beta is set to run from Friday through to nexy Wednesday. You can find out more about Storm Legion's quests, zones and monsters in our hands-on, or check out the official Rift site for more details. Storm Legion will give players a bit of personal space in which to construct houses. Take a look at a variety of abodes in the latest trailer:


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