By the time PAX Prime 2012 started last Friday, I was already pretty excited about dimensions. I’ve always been a fan of housing in MMOs, and the video tour Trion gave at last month’s GamesCom convention was really promising. After seeing the system firsthand, I’m even more of a convert.
That’s not just idle fangirl talk, either. The versatility of dimension design is almost overwhelming. Storm Legion will launch with over 200 housing items, ranging from basic planks and rocks to hanging lamps and telescopes. Some items will have special on-click abilities, and everything can be resized and placed anywhere in the dimension. And they mean anywhere.
Want to create floating landscapes? Okay. Resize a dragon skull until it covers your entire house? Sure, why not. Placing two items in the same space will seamlessly blend their textures on the fly. At the PAX booth one Trion employee was building a giant step ladder “just to see how high we can go”. When asked about a technical height limit in dimensions, they teleported around the zone to various mountaintop vistas that were “near the ceiling”. And yes, you can die from fall damage in your dimension.
The dimension tools are modeled on RIFT’s own development tools, we were told, and the folks at the booth seemed pretty excited to see what players will come up with for their home. There was talk of holding contests for creative designs and special titles for the winners, so start working on those blueprints! (I’m thinking that I’ll greet visitors with GIANT BEES.)
Once Storm Legion launches on November 13, all players will have access to a dimension and its tools whether they own the expansion or not. The key to the first “starter” dimension is given out at level 7 as a quest reward. The keys for larger dimensions can be bought from vendors, looted from raid bosses, or obtained from quests. Player houses will be set out in the world or in 5-man dungeon zones, while guild houses will be a dimension of a raid setting.
While the idea of dimensions and the tools so far have looked very good, their success will likely in large part come down to the availability and variety of decor items. These will be “fully integrated into the world”, and obtained though vendors, raids, world events, crafting, and quests. The items so far already show a number of neat interactive features like coloring the sky or changing the weather, but diversity will be essential. As someone who likes playing virtual interior decorator, having enough model options so my living room doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s living room is important.
That can happen gradually over the course of the expansion, though. Russ Brown, VP of Development, even hinted at armor racks and spots for companion pets in dimensions the near future, so clearly RIFT is already thinking about the next step.
Dimensions have turned out to be one of the most talked about features of Storm Legion. A lot will depend on their integration with the rest of the world, but judging by what Trion has shown us and what I’ve seen for myself, so far this feature has earned its buzz.