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Sep 22

Ruin for PS Vita: Lairs, Relics, and the Social Web

Sid Shuman's Avatar Posted by on Sep 22, 2011 // Director, SIEA Social Media

Ruin (working title) was last seen on the E3 2011 PlayStation stage, when the presenter wirelessly transferred his PS Vita game session to a PS3 without missing a frame of the action. As technically impressive as Ruin’s cross-platform compatibility is, I’ve learned that it’s only the beginning of what co-developers Idol Minds and SCE San Diego Studios are planning for this ambitious multiplayer action-RPG.

Ruin for PS Vita

Ruin is still early in development, but it’s being eagerly anticipated for its PS Vita-to-PS3 cross-compatibility, addictive action-RPG gameplay, and expansive social features.

Ruin’s developers are quietly building a wide, deep social network designed to keep you interacting whether you’re on the couch, on the bus, or someplace in-between. Travis Williams, Ruin’s energetic senior producer, walked me through the game’s social ambitions several weeks ago at a media showing in New York City. From the earliest days of Ruin’s development process, Williams told me, the development team was motivated to find a way to make its multiplayer competitive mode accessible and socially sticky — important considerations given PS Vita’s always-on wireless connectivity and the game’s Vita-to-PS3 cross-platform support. “We were obsessing over find a better way to do PvP (Player vs Player), a better mechanism for getting items that you wanted from other players,” Williams said.

Enter the Lair. The Lair is your inner sanctum, your pride and joy, your seat of power. ”It’s an extension of you. It’s an outwardly facing construct that other players interact with,” Williams explained. “You’ll spend as much time equipping your Lair as you will your character.” The significance of your Lair is twofold: it adds to your offense when you’re playing, and it acts as your defense when you’re not. “If you and I were rivals, you wouldn’t attack me,” Williams said with a mischievous grin. “You’d attack my Lair.”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair - Altar

Your Lair enables you to enhance your offensive power – but it serves as a tempting target for other players. Luckily, you can assign monsters and boss creatures to guard it while you’re away.

Your Lair is deeply customizable, enabling you to tweak everything from its physical layout and visual style to the types of monsters and bosses that protect it while you’re off conquering the world. As you earn enchanted relics, you’ll be able to place them in your Lair to grant synergistic bonuses that enhance your character’s defensive and offensive options. You’ll be able to swap these items in and out of your Lair’s sockets at will, and where you place them in your Lair can radically change their effects. “There’s a relic called the Poison Ivy Trophy, and you could place it in your Armory and any weapon you use will drip poison,” Williams elaborated. “Or you can put it in your Beastiary to enhance your Lair’s monsters with poison damage.”

As you encounter other players over PSN, your Lair also becomes a vehicle for advertising your social status. Case in point: If you meet another player who is adorned with spiked armor, it’s a visual clue that his Lair is equipped with a powerful relic called Heart of Titan. “If you want to take that item from him, you can challenge him,” Williams explained. “You can bet on his Heart of Titan with another valuable item. If he agrees, the game will put both items into escrow while you beat the hell out of each other’s Lairs over the next 24 hours.” And, 24 real-world hours later, the player with the highest aggregate score will claim both items – and bragging rights. “The best part,” Williams said, “is that the competition and stakes were mutually agreed upon.”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Heart of TitanRuin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Reaper

A first look at two of Ruin’s relics, the Heart of Titan and the Reaper. Where you place them in your Lair determines what enhancements they grant your character.

Though Williams confirmed that Ruin will include a co-op element of some kind, he kept our conversation firmly planted on the game’s competitive mode. “It’s important for us to create an environment that’s helpful,” Williams said, “so our matchmaking service works a bit like a dating site. We match you up with players who are the Yin to your Yang.” The ultimate goal is to pit you against other people who play at the same times as you do, who have the items you want, and who provide a good match for your skill level. Meanwhile, in the background, Ruin’s social system will serve as an instigator, goading you into action against other players with an in-game messaging system and notifications. “We’re in the role of the kid who starts trouble on the playground,” Williams said. “We’ll say, ‘sure, you could go and attack that random dude on your friends list and we’ll give you 100 XP…But this other dude just hurt you, he attacked your Lair. We’ll give you 1000 XP to go hurt him back!’”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair - Library

Your Lair is comprised of different sections, from an Armory and Beastiary to the Library shown in this new screenshot.

Ruin’s sturdy social backbone also gives the developers an opportunity to correct a host of longstanding gripes with social gaming, beginning with public enemy number one: the meaningless social game updates that clutter so many Facebook and Twitter news feeds worldwide. “Tom earned Gold, Tom earned Gold, Tom earned Gold,” Williams groaned. “Why can’t they just say, ‘Tom earned a lot of Gold today’ and leave it at that?” Williams wants Ruin to add context to your activities and accomplishments in a new and useful way without spamming you and your friends. Though the details are still being finalized, Williams envisions an “uber town crier” that intuits trends based on your play style and behaviors, then broadcasts it to your social network. “We can essentially craft a story from the way you interact with other players,” Williams said, “creating some context around these everyday social interactions.” Williams points to an example involving two imaginary players called Travis and Tom. “If Travis attacks Tom 10 times in one day, we may broadcast that as ‘Travis is being a jerk to Tom.’”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Unfinished WarriorRuin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Goblin Idol

Two more relics: the Unfinished Warrior and the Goblin Idol. Wonder what they do?

But Ruin’s social rabbit hole goes deeper still. “There’s a reason why we want to attach importance to your in-game activities,” Williams continued. “Status reports in social games tend to tell you what somebody has done rather than what they are doing. If you’re building the ultimate sword in your Lair, and it takes a long time, we’re going to put that out there so others can see it – they might try to attack you, or steal something from you,” Williams said. “And if you acquire something huge, we’re going to make that loud. ‘Tom just found the Golden Rod of Power!’ and you’re going to be like, ‘SHHHH!’”

“Ultimately, we want Ruin to be your story,” Williams said. “When you start this game, we’re going to say, ‘This is the story of how YOU became the baddest warrior on the planet.’”

//Add Your Own

134 Comments   45 Replies

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+ Pukadon on September 23rd, 2011 at 2:10 pm said:

I think this game looks fantastic – it seems like a great take on a game that I play even when I’m not literally playing it. It’s one of the Vita games I’m most excited about.


+ Apollo4x on September 23rd, 2011 at 2:48 pm said:

Ok this is going to PROBABLY sound like a strange question, but…

I’m one of those guys that when I play a game and I have the choice of playing a male or female char, I always roll the female char. The only reason that I do this is I prefer looking at some attractive woman for hours on end rather than some ugly mussel bound lug that is ugly as hell.

So now to my question… do we get to pick the gender of our chars or do we just have to roll with the gender that you guys pick for the classes?

Sid Shuman's Avatar


+ Travis Williams on September 23rd, 2011 at 3:08 pm said:

This isn’t a strange question at all. There are no gender selections. But you can alter your characters looks.


+ Kedaro on September 23rd, 2011 at 3:10 pm said:

If it is anything like baldur’s gate meets demon’s souls, you can count me and many others in…

Who am I kidding, I was sold on this, the second they said VITA PS3 VITA… blah blah blah…Game sounds truly epic though, I’m excited

Let’s start a pre-emptive fanclub !!!


+ dark_doom_lord on September 23rd, 2011 at 3:11 pm said:

travis, in regards to the trophies, i was thinking a seperate in game list, and tie them into psn so you can earn achievements on one acc on ps3 and vita. so basically 1 list would be perfect


+ Apollo4x on September 23rd, 2011 at 3:19 pm said:

Personally the way I see it possibly being pulled off is to save the trophy info in the save games, but make it where you have to logged into the account the trophies were earned under when you load the save on the other system. Then when they are loaded up everything will sink up if there were any changes to the trophy info that is on either system. To me trophies don’t matter, the only thing that really matters is having fun and kicking butt. Though I do agree with dark that you really only need one list for the game. Besides if you are going to pick up the game on the other system you have to get online any way when you pull down the save. So just have to data update while that is being done.


+ Kedaro on September 23rd, 2011 at 3:24 pm said:

Oh yea I forgot to add…
That I find it truly impressive when Devs hang around until page 3+ of the comments on these blog topics, and Still continue to answer questions, and respond to us, It shows a certain level of care for the industry as a whole, I especially liked how the pain blog was always so populated by members of the team responsible, constantly answering questions, and not afraid of answering the feedback (bad or good), caring about our opinions goes a long way…

Glad to see that hasn’t changed… keep up the amazing work

PAIN rocked!


+ Kedaro on September 23rd, 2011 at 3:27 pm said:

@105 I believe the trophy system works regardless if you are playing on vita or ps3, it’s all about what has actually been done by that username, it is save file related, but with cloud-gaming/saving, trophies will most-likely carry over from one to the other via manual or automatically syncing them before and after play… I wouldn’t worry too much I think they got these bases covered… I could be wrong, but I’m almost 100% sure I’m never wrong…


+ DJNorthSky on September 23rd, 2011 at 3:44 pm said:

@Travis Williams. I appreciate the honesty buddy. The co-op feature wont stop me from getting this awesome looking game. My buddy is cynical about co-op play. But i think it would be awesome to compare the lairs with friends. I’ll be watching this game closely.

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Travis Williams on September 26th, 2011 at 10:05 am said:

    Well, you won’t just compare Lairs you will attack them. We will have some modes where you both attack the same lair and compare scores. You can wager resources/items on the outcomes.


+ freshking13 on September 23rd, 2011 at 4:42 pm said:

@ Travis Williams when u create ur character is it gonna be like classes meaning for example choose warrior magician etc.. or is it gonna be u decide at first what ur character is gonna be like in dc universe online and are yall gonna have mounts pets and if so can they guard your lair if u leave them there

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Travis Williams on September 26th, 2011 at 10:06 am said:

    The races, sex, and classes are static… How you look isn’t so you can change hair, skin, etc… but you will still be the same race and sex. I hope that clears that up.


+ wolfflame21 on September 23rd, 2011 at 5:32 pm said:

Im pleasantly confused, it looks great but i have verizon not at&t so how about mobile text alerts huh? And twitter FUN!


+ plaztiksyke on September 23rd, 2011 at 5:37 pm said:

Travis is being really awesome answering these questions, and obviously has a lot of passion for the game and making it stand apart from loot-obsessed hack’n’slash.

If I can get the Vita version as a deeply discounted download for buying the PS3 version, I’m sold.


+ nanashi17 on September 23rd, 2011 at 5:37 pm said:

The more i hear about this game, the more I’m interested in it; but it doesn’t have me sold on it


+ GEEWUN-96 on September 23rd, 2011 at 7:43 pm said:

Looks pretty good so far. Probably getting it just because you can play on both PS3 and PS Vita.


+ etur0 on September 23rd, 2011 at 7:47 pm said:

@Travis Williams you guys are mean for making use wait so long to play this awesome game

of course I know why you have to polish the game and fix all the bugs and stuff like that so in by that terms I can wait I just wish I could play this game now but I will have to buy me a new ps3 because mine broke back in May and I still don’t have the money to get it fix or buy a new one

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Travis Williams on September 26th, 2011 at 10:12 am said:

    @Eutur: You have time to save now. We’ll wait


+ etur0 on September 23rd, 2011 at 7:56 pm said:

I wish there was an edit button here because I saw mistakes in my post that I just made that I want to fix


+ MadMeat001 on September 23rd, 2011 at 8:10 pm said:

but I’d love to have the option to disable theses social features things and invitations stuff..


+ aspote on September 23rd, 2011 at 8:19 pm said:

aspote is being a jerk to tom… aspote is taking all of toms gold… aspote destroyed toms lair and took all his relics… aspote is realy excited to see those results xD

*sigh* i wish that the ps vita was out like yesterday i woulda had it the day bfor xD


+ poisonedsodapop on September 23rd, 2011 at 9:38 pm said:

I’m a bit late to this post but I’d agree on the one trophy list. Kinda like how Portal had the trophies and achievements sync across platforms, along with the save data.


+ Hatchetforce on September 23rd, 2011 at 10:00 pm said:

Speaking of the Social Web, any chance that the PS3/PSV/PSP will pick up Goggle Plus as a XMB entry?


+ etur0 on September 24th, 2011 at 2:08 am said:

etur0 is being a jerk to aspote….. etur0 destroyed aspote lair and took everything from him…. aspote is very upset about this


+ kratos840 on September 24th, 2011 at 7:19 am said:

this game looks awesome…. gonna get it along with uncharted.

I just wanna know if you have to have a data plan for the 3g and wifi model


+ mike1027 on September 24th, 2011 at 11:29 am said:

Travis, will this game release in Japan. This leads to the second question if the first is right, will be in the lauch window of Japan or America? What I mean is if it is in the launch window of Japan it should release at lauch for US.


+ rockinjs864 on September 24th, 2011 at 2:24 pm said:

I’m thinking about getting this game and it’s not even my type of genre but you guys are making it look and sound good will be hard to resist


+ M1riflecarrier14 on September 24th, 2011 at 7:22 pm said:

This game does look pretty fun, although im not really into medevil or magic stuff, wat kind of MP will Ruin have


+ ModernYorkster on September 24th, 2011 at 8:34 pm said:

In my opinion only one list should be required seeing as its the same game reguardless of platform, and seeing two Ruin lists on my profile would be pointless.


+ JCor-C87 on September 25th, 2011 at 11:50 am said:

Looks awesome! These are the types of games I drool over. :)


+ kongman15 on September 25th, 2011 at 4:30 pm said:

travis can u message me about the release date of the vita.



+ aspote on September 25th, 2011 at 7:45 pm said:

aspote comes back with rage… etur0 is very scared… aspote destroys and steals every thing of etur0… etur0 may not play anymore for aspote PWND him… :3


+ etur0 on September 26th, 2011 at 2:04 am said:

etur0 attacks aspote’s lair and destroys and takes everything from him… etur0 redesigns his lair… aspote attacks but gets wiped out at the beginning of etur0’s liar… aspote goes crying home for mommy and never attacks etur0 again because etur0 is just way to powerful


+ etur0 on September 26th, 2011 at 2:08 am said:

just made anther mistake that I would like to fix


+ homerjnick on September 26th, 2011 at 3:28 am said:

Hey Travis, have you forgotten about your PAIN followers? We would love to see you drop back into the PAIN blog and update us!


+ KANE8891 on September 29th, 2011 at 9:22 am said:

Will there bi an operator thet covers the EU PSP VITA UMTS users? (Orange and Vodafone maybe?)


+ albinopig123 on October 13th, 2011 at 5:00 pm said:

I trust that Idol Minds and SCE San Diego will price the game well. There will hopefully be an option of buying Vita version and the Playstation 3 seperately. I’m planning on picking this up for the Vita, day one.

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