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Live Forum Q&A Scott Hartsman - Trion Worlds

HartsmanHartsman Trion Worlds CEOFoster City, CAPosts: 23Member Uncommon

Hi, everyone!  I’m Scott Hartsman, the CEO at Trion Worlds.    

I’ve been working in online games of all sizes and shapes and MMOs for almost my entire career, as everything from a GM, designer, engineer, director, producer, to this current gig as a CEO.  This most recent job is all about making sure that great people are able to make and run great game services that provide the best experience for our communities that they possibly can.

The most notable games I’ve been involved with were launching Rift as its exec producer, and working with EverQuest and EQ2 different roles in the years prior.  In that time I’ve worked at companies of all sizes, too – From bootstrapping a couple startups, to working in midsized companies, to working in an MMO division of a massive multinational company.

In my own time, I’m a dedicated (mostly PC) gamer – I’ve been a hardcore RIFT and EQ/2 player (among other MMOs), am a more recent Defiance player, and still try to check out as many MMOs as I can.  I also enjoy the Skyrims and Borderlandses and Bioshocks of the world, while being a Minecrafter, a former Puzzle and Dragonner, and a recovering Magicholic.  

I kind of like games. 

Also, earlier this year we adopted a corgi.  His name is Kirby.  He’s just about the greatest thing ever.

Feel free to ask me anything about what’s going on at Trion, in games online or off, the business side of games or startups, being half of a pair of new dogparents, or anything else, and I’ll answer whatever I can beginning in a half hour!

 

I should probably also be a good CEO and mention:  In honor of RIFT's return to Steam, which just launched minutes ago, we're kicking off a week of celebration in both RIFT and Defiance, with all kinds of bonuses and excitement in both games -- details going up on our blogs shortly!

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Comments

  • wrzosekwrzosek BrzezinyPosts: 3Member Common
    couldy you say something about date of 3.0 and 2.5?:) 
  • FreasFreas MönchengladbachPosts: 3Member

    Do you still have to decide which payment-model you gonna choose for ArcheAge?

    If yes, which one do YOU(!) prefer?

  • Informer80Informer80 Stefferson, IDPosts: 91Member
    Hi Scott,

    i´ve got 3 questions for you today :)

    1. European Rift/Defiance community: Since the day Trion Worlds closed their EU office and all european CMs lost their jobs Trion Worlds stopped taking care about their loyal customers from France and Germany.
    Take a look at the Defiance/Rift DE/FR forums & community, they get nearly no support, no streams, no community management anymore.Even before the closure you had only ONE DE/FR community manager handling all of your games which wasn´t enough imho.
    Now the german and french community are suffering.
    Are there any plans about Trion Worlds re-opening an European office soon/hire german and french full-time CMs or do you plan to sell the EU publishing rights for your games to another publisher?
    I personally think your german and french community support isn´t working as intended.

    2. ArcheAge: ArcheAge lost over 90% of its playerbase in Korea since launch, which was only 9 months ago.
    You can say for sure the game flopped in Korea, full of bugs, unbalanced features/classes and an unfair pay2win payment model, which is aldso announced for the russian version!
    Do you really want to translate and publish this game at its current state or will you wait for the announced expansion in Korea including many game changes ?
    Imho it would be a wise decision to release the game in EU/NA including the upcoming Korean expansion!
    I know there will be many people asking for a beta/release date, maybe they´ll complain, but i want to let you know that there are MANY players out there willing to wait for a better version.
    Just take your time and relax, Rift 3.0 and the Defiance DLC 2 deserve more love than ArcheAge at the moment!

    3. Payment models: What are your personal thoughts about the Rift F2P change, since you weren´t part of Trion Worlds when they changed the payment system?
    Do you plan the rebirth of a Pay2Play model for (one of) your upcoming games?

    Thank you for your time, Scott!
  • syriinxsyriinx New York, NYPosts: 1,063Member Uncommon

    Hey Scott,  best of luck in the new position at Trion Worlds

     

    Question:

    What did you learn from Rift's first 2 years and what (if anything) would you do differently if you could do it over again?

  • dakotaaoc08dakotaaoc08 rush springs, OKPosts: 76Member Uncommon

    What direction do you see Defiance heading in the near future as well as long term?

    With the tough launch and constant delay's of DLC 1 a lot of players left Defiance and many other future players are refusing to give it a chance, what if any are the plans to help bring those old players as well as entice new players to return to the game?

    What are the plans for Defiance in the off season?

    Are there any plans for other races to become playable?

    Thank you for your time,

    Joseph

  • jfoytekjfoytek tigard, ORPosts: 150Member

    Scott,

     

         I feel like I am part of a Playerbase that has been ignored for quite some time because of the success of theampark style games like World of Warcraft.

         That's Right I am a Sandbox player that enjoys robust crafting (Like SWG and Wurm Online) I also enjoy open world PvP and No instancing....  We are seeing some Sandbox's on the horizon but while they are exciting they are not hear yet so I like many others are skeptical....

     

         Honestly the Last great Sandbox other then Eve was SWG Pre NGE....  As has been proven by a large follow base on this sight alone.  There is a large un tapped market of guys like me, waiting for the next UO/SWG.  Does Trion have any plans to investigate this genre and market in the future?

     

    UO,Shadowbane,SWG,Darkfall,MO,Wurm Online,Secretworld,GW,GW2,PotBS,LotR,Atlantica Online,WWII Online,WoT,Battlestar Galactica,Planetside2,Perpetuum,Fallen Earth,Runescape,WoW,Eve,Xsylon,Dragon Prophet, Salem

  • Ultima2Ultima2 Carlsbad, CAPosts: 4Member
    As CEO of Trion, what does your average day entail? Do you spend most of your time handling the business end of things, or do you end up being the final arbiter of any game design decisions? Has it been hard to adapt to being CEO rather than a designer?
  • muchavezmuchavez asdf, VAPosts: 200Member
    any word on the status of archeage?  Its been radio silence for the past few months.  I am really excited about this game.  Hoping for more info.
  • AtlysAtlys Summerville, SCPosts: 69Member

    Thanks for doing this Q&A. It's cool to see game companies communicating directly with their fans.

    I don't have a question, but I would just like to say thanks to you and the team behind RIFT. It is one of the most fun, rewarding MMO experiences I have ever had with probably the best free-to-play model out there. Thanks again, and it is great to see RIFT on Steam.

    On the eternal quest for that one perfect MMO.

  • LtcobaltLtcobalt WorscPosts: 1Member

    Hello Scott, I'm also interested to know what is going on with ArcheAge.

    We haven't heard anything about the game since Elrar was fired months ago.

  • maccarthur2004maccarthur2004 SPosts: 510Member

    Hi Scott, salutations!

    Already have some idea (even a vague one) regarding the date to Archeage CBT in West?

     

     

    "What we are aiming in ArcheAge is to let the players feel the true fun of MMORPG by forming a community like real life by interacting with other players, whether it be conflict or cooperation." (Jake Song)

    image
  • BeckAltarrBeckAltarr Red Deer, ABPosts: 18Member

    Hi Scott,

     

    Beck from K-TAM Radio. 

    As you know we are have been working hard to bring some kind of story/lore content to Defiance via K-TAM Radio and work with other Fan/Community web sites including some of the largest Clans on PC. 

    What kind of a relationships would you like to see between Trion and fan Sites such as K-TAM who have the means to create and distribute story and lore content at no cost to Trion and do so effectively?

    I realize SyFy Owns the IP, as stated by Grant Bowler at the NYCC and that you hare hamstrung by that relationship. If you could distribute story/lore to the fan sites would you? Would you trust us to do it justice? Do you think giving fan and community sites any info on story and lore would help with player retention?

    One last question: When would you like to be a guest on K-TAM to speak openly with the community for an interview and Q&A session? I know you said you needed to catch up on things a few weeks ago. Just looking for an update.

    Looking forward to your responses.  

    K-TAM Radio

  • PsychoPigeonPsychoPigeon UnkownPosts: 565Member Uncommon
    archeage is best
  • KinyaKinya SzczecinPosts: 1Member Uncommon

    Concerning Defiance

    - any plans for this game to go F2P?

    - when do you think social aspects of this game will be changed / improved (chat, searching for clans in game or even taking screenshots)?

     

    image

  • MelancholyxMelancholyx Posts: 8Member

    Dear Scott,

    nice to see you around! :)

    Speaking for the German fans of ArcheAge I want to ask you two questions:


    Question 1:

    When Trion announced to bring the game to the West we were really happy to get a publisher with such a good reputation. However, over the the past year our happiness turned into huge disappointment because we feel left alone by Trion. You got any words of love to share with us?


    Question 2:

    Are you taking the recent drama regarding mail.ru's presentation of the free-to-play model in Russia taking into consideration in your decision about the payment system of ArcheAge?

  • MarkJWMarkJW Columnist Rocklin, CAPosts: 226Member

    Hello Mr. Hartsman, I’m “ArcheAdmin” Mark. I run ArcheAgeSource.com, the ArcheAge fansite. I built the Facebook page Trion currently uses for ArcheAge and ran it for over two years. When I visited Trion's room at E3 2013 an early build of ArcheAge was being demoed for the press. Since then there's been very little information released about ArcheAge. The one Trion employee who regularly checked the ArcheAgeSource.com forums was James "Elrar" Nichols. He was part of the layoffs that came about after you took control, Mr. Hartsman. The remains of Trion's community team haven't bothered to be active members of any ArcheAge fansites (Dahanese is registered but doesn’t participate).

    Why hasn't ArcheAge been given more attention by Trion? Is there a legal issue preventing Trion from telling us about localization progress? ArcheAge fans need to be a part of the development process. The fans’ concerns need to be addressed. Their opinions and complaints have to be acted upon while the game is still in an "alpha" state, before a faux (marketing) beta is held and an irreversible, negative public opinion of ArcheAge is formed.

    Have Trion brand management, public relations, marketing and business intelligence employees been paying attention to Mail.ru's (the Russian publisher) handling of ArcheAge in Russia? If they have, you should have been briefed about how Mail.ru was willing to listen to customer feedback and make major changes to their version of the game, not just little tweaks, in order to please Russian ArcheAge fans. Mail.ru also attempted to introduce a poorly-planned Free to Play model for ArcheAge and thousands of potential customers rallied to force the company to provide an alternative.

    Trion's window of opportunity for successfully, profitably releasing ArcheAge feels like it is rapidly closing. Fans are losing interest and becoming excited for other sandbox MMOs in development. Potential fans are being turned off or turned away by the images they see of the Korean version of the game which show potentially immersion-breaking features that Western players don't seem to enjoy. These issues can be addressed and fixed, but no one at Trion seems to care enough to directly ask the ArcheAge fan community what needs to be done.

    Mr. Hartsman, here are my questions condensed into short form:

    [1] Why hasn't Trion been showing us more of ArcheAge's localization process?

    [2] Why aren’t Trion employees on fansite forums (not general purpose websites like this one) attempting to solicit feedback directly from the most knowledgeable potential customers?

    [3] Why isn't there dedicated community managers for each of Trion's game properties? Is it too expensive?

    [4] Why isn't Trion bringing ArcheAge to more conventions like Gamescom and PAX? Is the event budget being cannibalized?

    The time to start focusing on ArcheAge was three months ago.

    You can contact me directly at admin@archeage-online.com.

  • SereloSerelo HamburgPosts: 2Member

    - Will Defiance on PC ever get a suitable interface with a full chat like in RIFT?

    - Are there plans to make RIFT's world events more interesting? At the moment they are all a lot of grind and not very fun.

    - Will German and French players get new Community Managers (not only translators like atm) with live streams and community events like Kahuna did with us?

    - Any plans for a TRION party on gamescom next year?

    - Are there any RIFT 3.0 mayor features in work that you can talk about?

  • Soki123Soki123 Kelowna, BCPosts: 1,484Member Uncommon

    First of all, I love Rift, but have missed your input in that game, we could tell you were gone. I see there is a new Conquest map coming, are there plans for more, and different styles of play. I would also like to know if Dimensions are getting worked on , in where we could grow gardens, fight off enemies etc. Sorta a mini game within the game.

    Also is there any chance Merc type things, ala EQ2 will come to Rift. I would love to be able to tackle dungeons with my wife and our mercs, like we do in EQ2. We have subbed to EQ2 for awhile because of this feature. I know some people don t like the idea, but people are busier these days, and I think it s a nice option.

  • shifueshifue asheville, NCPosts: 7Member

    I am in the Archeage boat as well i kinda got a few questions as well.

    1) Are we going to hear about a release plan/date as this game is highly awaited and we have not hear anything concrete or really anything at all.

    2)The westernization as mentioned above will be be just on looks and not changing aspects of the game? And if it's changing gameplay what changes are being made?

    3)What is the payment model looking like for archeage as this has been a big area of discussion giving attitudes about the russian model,p2p,b2p and f2p and i know a lot of the big concern here is f2p being a botfest with gold farmers,hackers,and usually includes a fair amount of pay to win (ex items not gained in the game without someone paying real cash for that gives huge advantages) russia new model seems better but i like the buy to play myself with a fluff shop so what system is going to be in place? and details please price etc

    thanks for your time.

     
     
  • SkatchKtamSkatchKtam Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 1Member

    Hello.

    I am an on air personality for a Defiance themed radio www.ktamradio.com First I would like to thank your community team, and Trick for spending some time on the air with us.

    I would like to ask what Defiance specifically is doing to improve upon the original promise of a shared world? When i threw down my 60 dollars to purchase the game it was with wide eyed wonderment at the prospects of a game merging with an ongoing TV program. The show will impact the game, and what we do in the game will impact the show. I as a player can be a part of this world.

    Through the game i found, and and joined in along with the great folks at KTAM. What could be better a fan site that does in character Defiance fiction, this will surely help me inhabit this world even further, and it did in fact make my game so much more immersive, it became so fun to insert our own collaborative fiction into the world. It didn't much matter that the game was not advancing the story it was new, and the TV show was just fantastic, plus the game had so much potential.

    Then the show ended. The crossover content we received hit a high point with the plague sieges, but then it all just ended. The game stalled, and the story stalled. The contests to bring your character into the show rewarded grinding a few small events ad nauseam, and those who worked hard to be part of the world were largely ignored.

    The Defiance staff are often eager to talk about the next new mechanic or the next new game mode, but the story has ended. Volge sieges were added to the game with a switch, with no explanation of why they are even here. The story of DLC 1 was a few missions tieing into the new arena mode.

    What happened to the off season crossover content that was to keep the story going. Will we as players ever be able to shape our own path in the world. Can we have the social hub, and the social conventions of other games, even something as simple as chat doesn't work the way it should. When i dance i clap my hands. I cant even put away my gun.

    I simply want to be able to inhabit,and enjoy this game as an MMO, to be my own character in the world of Defiance.

     

  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKPosts: 8,575Member Uncommon

    I forgot my Archeage questions:

    I play AA on Korean servers and I've heard rumors that XLgames decided to do Russia and China first and US/EU last which would mean that XLGames has unintentionally delayed the US release.

    Does Trion solely get to decide on US/EU release dates, or does XLgames also plan the release dates?

    Also it seems that XLgames is working on adding a lot of new content (including new races, Dwarves and Warborn - yeah!) and revamping some early themepark-style elements into more sandboxy elements - is Trion and XLgames planning to have this completed first before the game is ready for US/EU?

  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKPosts: 8,575Member Uncommon

    Scott,

    In a massively interview you stated the following:

    "The traditional AAA style of development and distribution' is broken"

    followed by

    "With any luck, we'll see more endeavors where the balance of power returns to the product creators and the audiences they're trying to serve in the most direct relationship possible -- where everyone involved is a "product person" whose sole mission is to best serve the customer. That's powerful and exciting."

    It seems that the current model of crazy-expensive games that nobody gets to play until they've been in dev for years is completely ineffective and far too risky.

    it's a lose/lose/lose situation when the AAA game ends up bombing:

    - $100s of millions (potentially) of dollars wasted

    -Years of developer time wasted

    -Disappointed players (after following the game dev for years, the first beta bombs)

     

    Questions:

    How will Trion change the future game development to avoid the above AAA pitfall?

    When can we expect more information on that new game that you hinted at in a recent MMORPG interview "not ready to talk about yet" 

    Thanks.

  • ViciskanderViciskander HannoverPosts: 1Member

    Hey Scott,

    It's Erik! ;) Are there any plans for an official ArcheAge forum and how is your community management? Is this Interview the beginning for more community work? And, last but not least: is the ArcheAge EU release still going to be accomplished by Trion?

  • HanthosHanthos Antelope, CAPosts: 226Member Uncommon

    Concerning ArcheAge:

    1) Are there any plans to revert any of the crafting mechanics back to their Korean CBT state, such as item decay?

    2) Has any consideration been given to different rule/server types?

  • HartsmanHartsman Trion Worlds CEO Foster City, CAPosts: 23Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by wrzosek
    couldy you say something about date of 3.0 and 2.5?:) 

    I can say a few things about them!

    1) That is an excellent question for a future Q&A with the RIFT folks

    2) The date for 2.5 is posted on a wall right by Daglar's desk

    3) They are both dates in the future.

    4) Sorry, I can't spoil specifics for the RIFT team's turn. :)

    Originally posted by Freas

    Do you still have to decide which payment-model you gonna choose for ArcheAge?

    If yes, which one do YOU(!) prefer?

    1) We're still working with XL on the specifics.  They have a lot to do in supporting four different partners and their unique billing systems, and we want to make sure it's done right.

    2) I like RIFT's current model for a lot of reasons.  The zero barriers to trying and bringing in friends is the hugest advantage - People travel MMOs in packs.  Barriers prevent that behavior. 

     

    Originally posted by Informer80

    1.
    Are there any plans about Trion Worlds re-opening an European office soon/hire german and french full-time CMs

    1B. do you plan to sell the EU publishing rights for your games to another publisher?

    2. [ArcheAge] Do you really want to translate and publish this game at its current state or will you wait for the announced expansion in Korea including many game changes ?

    3. Payment models: What are your personal thoughts about the Rift F2P change, since you weren´t part of Trion Worlds when they changed the payment system?
     

    3B. Do you plan the rebirth of a Pay2Play model for (one of) your upcoming games?

    Thank you for your time, Scott!

    Edited down to just the question parts for length!

    1. No plans of opening new offices right now -- We've got EU native speakers in the headquarters office, including the FR and DE community reps.  There've definitely been some bumps during the transition, but making sure it's all working the right way is a big priority.

    1B.  Hell no. :)

    2. We have a lot of faith that XL is on the right track with what they're doing with the game.  We've been actively translating it for quite a few months.  It's quite huge. 

    3. I think RIFT's model is extremely well designed and well executed.  It's a big part of why I came back to Trion.

    3B. Not at the moment.

    You're welcome!

     

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