Things are a-changin’ over at Trion Worlds. Over a week ago, Scott Hartsman announced his return to the company as CEO. We also heard about the closure of Trion’s San Diego studio as well as the closure of the European Trion branch. This week– last Friday, specifically– the RIFT community suffered a pretty big bombshell when we found out that Elrar is with Trion no longer.
Anyone who’s ever enjoyed any of Trion’s TwitchTV live streams couldn’t help but instantly fall in love with James “Elrar” Nichols, former Community Manager. The guy’s just got one of those goofy, fun-loving personalities that showcased his love for the RIFT community and for the game perfectly. He was professional, quick about providing updates, and was always a pleasure to work with. He’ll be missed– there’s no question about it.
After the news of Elrar’s departure was announced, Elizabeth “dahanese” Tobey, Director of Community, explained that Trion is in the middle of going through some major restructuring. She’ll be taking over being our RIFT community spokesperson, main forum representative, and will head the community teams for all Trion games. During Friday’s live stream extravaganza, we found out a little more information and were also reassured that while Trion is going through major restructuring, any changes made to RIFT will be improvements.
Scott Hartsman also made an appearance during the live stream to answer a few questions and talk a bit about the future. With any luck, we’ll be hearing more from him in the next week or so specifically regarding RIFT, but for now it seems we’re left with the following reassurances:
- RIFT won’t be seeing a ton of changes since the update plan is moving solidly along.
- The RIFT community team will now consist of dahanese, Greg “OverloadUT”, and Morgana. OverloadUT and dahanese will be taking over the live stream reins.
- The RIFT development team has not changed. Daglar is still leading the charge and doing a solid job according to Hartsman.
- Hartsman loves RIFT, always has, and has no intentions of straying anywhere near “pay-to-win”.
- End of Nations will be temporarily placed on hold while Trion concentrates on RIFT, Defiance, and ArcheAge. Defiance will be seeing some major changes from the sounds of it.
- ArcheAge‘s development is going strong. We’re still a little ways away from hearing too much about it.
- We’ll see performance updates for RIFT in both 2.4 and 2.5. Here’s a hint of one update coming in 2.4.
- Trion won’t be appearing at PAX or Gamescom this year.
- Despite the closure of Trion’s EU branch, the team plans on continuing European support and is working on additional details for the the French/German communities.
- The odd rumors floating around about EA buying Trion are false.
- The team rewarded winners of a recent dimension-building contest with new Guardian/Defiant PvP mounts. We’ll also be getting these mounts soon from the looks of it.
Are these reassurances enough? It might be hard to say for sure until the dust settles a bit and we see an official statement or community letter from Hartsman or Daglar. The loss of Elrar came as quite a surprise to most members of the community, but just as we’ve adapted to past staff changes and the move to free-to-play, we’ll take one step at a time and move forward.
Luckily, keeping an open line of communication is extremely important to dahanese and the rest of the community team. While they could not disclose the details of Elrar’s departure, Elrar himself did make an appearance on MMOChampion to thank members of the RIFT community for all the support he’s received.
If you see this, Elrar, good luck and thanks for all the fun times, awesome communication, and tasty mead! Oh, and sheepings. Lots of sheepings. May the cosmic rhino forever guide you. That… may have sounded better in my head. Whatever.