There’s no doubt in my mind that most people have not heard of Rift. Even though the game is not as popular as other MMOs such as World of Warcraft, Trion Worlds has put a lot effort into creating something they can be proud of. This leads to an important question. How does creating this game make Trion Worlds a group of artists? To answer this question, we must delve into what an artist actually is. Howard Becker says that “Artists are some sub-group of the world’s participants who, by common agree-ment, possess a special gift, therefore make a unique and indispensable contribution to the work, and thereby make it art” (35). With this, we can say that an artist wants to create something special that may be unconventional.
While playing this game, you’ll come to understand that everyone plays it for a different reason. Some play it to socialize with the people they have met, while others play to be the best player they can be. My personal reason for playing is to beat the raids and get the best gear possible. Nothing makes me more happy than having the best pixelized gear a game has to offer. It gives me a sense of completion when I look at my character and realize I can’t do anything more to improve myself. With so many people working on Rift, it gives a different meaning to each of the individuals that play the game. You have people doing their best to create things like a good storyline or fluff items to collect. Trion Worlds used their gifts to create a representation of something they wanted to show the world in the form of Rift. Without each artist working on this game, it would be an incomplete piece of work. Can you imagine taking away things such as a storyline, sound, text, or design from a game? That would make it so that there is no uniqueness to the work. Hunicke et al. states that “Game design and authorship happen at many levels, and the fields of games research and development involve people from diverse creative and scholarly backgrounds” (1). This translates to an artist creates multiple features of a game and thus, an artist puts mechanics, dynamics, aesthetics into a game. Each of these factors makes it so that each individual consumes games differently. Each designer that worked on the game wants a player to see the game from their own perspective. The art designers at Trion Worlds may want people to enjoy the aesthetics of the game, whereas raid developers wants people to understand the difficulty of the bosses and their mechanics.
I’m a nerd and would like to point out I was in this video and I also happen to be top dps. :^) (I also apologize for the crappy music. It’s not my video.)
Understanding each aspect of a game brings a new road that we are able to explore. Maybe we now have a new and mutual appreciation of what time and devotion an artist puts into their work. When you appreciate someone’s work, it gives them a sense of validation that what they made mattered. The artists that created this game made it so that it has so many different mechanics that a player can learn depending on what they want to do. The code written can be a piece of art the developers put in so the players follow their rules. As for dynamics, it is how we interact with the mechanics that are given and provided to us. Most importantly, the aesthetics of the game makes it so it means something to us. It gives the work an interpretation for each individual. So yes. Trion Worlds is a group of artists that created Rift and it matters because their work is an example of how something great can come from people work together to create something like this game.
Howard Becker. (1982). “Art Worlds and Collective Activity” in Art Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press: pp. 1-39.
Hunicke et al. (2004). “MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research”