Rift Unveils New Classes; What is the Cost of a Fourth Pillar?

Planes of Telara pulled the curtain back on a few more of their classes or “souls” this weekend.   You can see them here.

So far I am liking the variety they have put down into the game.  Combine that ingrained variety with personal customization by mixing and matching classes, and you have some fun character crafting ahead of you.

After the whole “Beta Upgrade” incident, I did get that apology letter and had a short,  but nice, conversation with Studio General Manager and Chief Creative Officer Scott Hartsman over the blip.  It gave me some good perspective on what faces a development team – a sleep copy editor can cause a tremendous uproar with one poorly worded email, in this case.  

With that said, the team also faces a tremendous challenge.  As Bioware has chosent to hang their hat on a fourth pillar of “story,” Rift aims to make its fourth pillar a “dynamic world.”  Its a tremendous challenge, but a very worthwhile one.   We  take that for granted in PnP RPG’s and even in most PC RPG’s these days – that the world will react to our presence and indeed, bear the mark of our passing when we come and go.

The question constantly on the back of my mind these days is – can any game, be it Rift or GW2 or SWTOR, simple *add* a fourth pillar?  What is the cost involved?  What will need to be changed to accomdate the addition of that pillar?  I would like to say nothing, but another part of me would like to say “many things.”  And I believe that part is correct.  To include that pillar – whatever it may be – then the other three pillars are going to have to make space, and that may mean saying goodbye to some features we have come to know, expect, and yes, maybe even love.

4 thoughts on “Rift Unveils New Classes; What is the Cost of a Fourth Pillar?

  1. The only fourth pillar that will stand up in the MMO realm is if its story of the player actions. Hardcoded story will always fall flat. that is why Eve is a great MMO to follow: player alliances and wars make the history.

    1. Kirith, I agree with you with regards to EVE, there are truly compelling storylines there, all player generated – and without the help of some artificial system. Unfortunately nobody has figured out how to do that in a fantasy setting yet, so I’m interested to see what the future brings as developers continue to work on that problem.

    1. Exploration, Progression, Combat. Bioware says that the fourth pillar is storytelling, and that it has either not been done at all or done in a lackluster manner in MMO’s thus far. I would disagree with their stance, but I do believe that it is generally the most negledcted and underdeveloped pillar.

      Others would substitute a different fourth pillar. I would argue that Rift wants the fourth pillar to be “dynamic world.” Darkfall would say its “hard core open world PvP.” Other games would agree to the four pillars but would argue that the pillars should be emphasized differently. GW2 for example, would probably lift up the four pillars that Bioware lists, but say that combat is the one that deserves the most attention and emphasis.

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