RIFT can be quite an immersive game, especially for the role-playing community. The gorgeous maps, the risky world Telara’s lore is based on, the range of racial options, and the unique cultural environments– there’s a lot of material for creative minds to play with. Trion has recently stepped forward and offered a helping hand to our RP community, in hopes of creating a richer, more prominent and dynamic playground for not only RPers, but all players of RIFT.
Last week, during a developer Q&A post, it was announced that RIFT will feature a wedding system in the future:
We’re looking at ways to empower roleplayers to have the ability to run their own events and control over their RP experience. What that means is still being defined but to start things off we’re proud to announce that weddings will be making their way to Telara. You’ll have the dress, rings, and even an instance with a ceremony if you decide to use it! Expect to see them pop up on PTS in the near future and we’ll keep in touch as our plans for improving your RP develop.
Marriage systems aren’t new to MMORPGs. In fact, there are probably at least 10 successful MMOs that feature similar systems. Ultima Online, RuneScape, Final Fantasy XI, Runes of Magic, Maplestory, Perfect World, and Ragnarok Online are among the list of MMOs that feature systems that allow players to marry in-game. Most come complete with wedding ceremonies, rings, wedding outfits, gifts, and even cake for the guests.
Ragnarok Online’s wedding system, pictured above, was one of the first marriage systems many MMO gamers experienced. An in-game wedding ceremony gives role-players the perfect opportunity to create and carry out elaborate storylines that might be difficult otherwise. The tokens generally exchanged during the ceremonies are charming reminders of the event, and social events in any MMO are always a great way to get friends and guildmates interested in taking part.
RPers don’t necessarily need a marriage system built in-game, because many MMOs have regularly-held weddings that aren’t part of the game’s actual features. Players in LotRO and WoW, for example, commonly create their own. But with the option available, more players will take part.
For non-RPers, the system is both an opportunity to host a social gathering, and a way for couples to reaffirm that special moment or even create special moments anew. Trion’s intention of making their marriage system instanced means that player griefing will not be an issue, which is a huge step in the right direction. Players will need to feel comfortable with such a system, otherwise there is little point to its creation. Trion needs to continue this train of thought, and consider other options for lessening the amount of role-play griefing in general.
Sometimes, MMOs grant special buffs and bonus abilities to both participants of the wedding. They’re generally considered wedding ‘gifts’, and are sometimes tied to the rings exchanged. The most common ability granted is a summon ability that can be used by both players to summon their spouse. Another ability games like to offer players is a health and energy/mana exchange. On paper this may seem like a fun idea, but as with many bonus abilities and items, players often find ways to use them more often than intended, and they end up being abused.
Trion hasn’t announced any kind of bonus marriage abilities yet, but I could see a summon with a long cooldown working, and possibly some fluff abilities. Any kind of bonus ability or item would need to be monitored closely. The goal should be to encourage players to get married for their own personal or social reasons, and not for an extra 5% energy or whatever.
The other benefit of an in-game marriage system, of course, is the fact that suddenly there will be a whole new stack of unique items and wardrobe outfits for players to buy or collect. Most games tend to go the traditional white dress/black tux style as far as wedding attire goes, but personally, I’d like to see some unique RIFT cultural flair here. Costumes could be designed from either racial customs, or faction, and the actual wedding ceremonies could really take on a life of their own with some creativity on Trion’s part.
We could, for example, watch a Kelari couple wed inside an ancient shrine located on the ocean’s shoreline. Dwarves could travel to a temple near Hammerknell. Mixed couples could decide between the locations as they see fit. Trion has a lot of options here, and I hope the team has some fun with this. An addition like this is meant to be enjoyable, both for the creators and the players.
It would also be a unique opportunity to show players some of the festive, positive forces behind the lore of Telara. I’ve said this before in past articles, but the world of RIFT is one that’s somewhat dark, where dangers lurk behind every corner, and rifts threaten to pop out at any given moment. I like the darkness, but at the same time, I’d really like to see more brief moments where light shines through, and we see how the people of Telara celebrate life and the small victories.
There’s something else to consider when thinking about RIFT’s future marriage system, and that’s the issue of same-sex marriage. Different games have gone different routes when it comes to the issue. Many allow it, others do not. Others still, like LotRO, decided to opt out of the system altogether because of the complications with the game’s lore and same-sex/inter-species marriage issues. I sincerely hope that RIFT allows same-sex marriage, because frankly, Telara’s a unique fantasy world, and there’s no reason not to. Trion will have to carefully consider both routes before deciding.
At the end of the day, many players wonder about the necessity of a marriage system altogether. Is it needed? Probably not. Will it add something to the game? Of course. Any feature that breathes life into RIFT is an excellent feature. Any feature that adds to the game’s immersion is a welcome addition. Granted, it would be nice for our characters to be able to sit in chairs at a wedding ceremony. That’s not asking too much, is it?