I got a chance to sit down with Trion Worlds at GDC 2014 to look at the upcoming changes to Rift, and I'm happy to report that their flagship MMORPG is looking better than ever. With new souls coming out shortly and another expansion expected soon, the future for Rift is very promising.
If you've been following the Rift news on our site, you've most likely already seen the four new souls that are being developed, each of which adds a new class role to one of the game's callings. In my preview, we looked at the Physician, a new healing soul that rounds out the Rogue calling and seems to be poised to make everyone's favorite sneaky DPS machines even more survivable and group-friendly. The Physician's abilities still operate within the Rogue's combo system, and earned combo points lend themselves towards self-heals and life taps. Unlike a traditional caster-type healer, the Rogue doesn't have a mana bar, so you'll just be managing your energy bar as per usual.
We requested our guides to build a 61-point Physician/15-point Ranger, which proceeded to destroy everything in its path with ranged abilities, while utilizing DoTs that healed the Rogue. The Trion team also showed us Physician skills like Group Therapy, which activates group heals that vary based on your amount of earned combo points. My Rift main happens to be a Rogue - which should already be readily apparent if you’ve heard me talk for like 5 seconds about my preferred MMO playstyle - and I'd like to try out a combination of Nightblade/Physician for solo survivability and Physician/Bard for party support, but I'm sure the min-maxers out there will figure out even more creative ways to use this new soul to great effect.
All four of the new souls are currently available to tinker with on the Public Alpha Server, and will be bundled together as a pack - which will probably be a wee bit more expensive than that which came with Storm Legion - for update 2.7.
There's a whole lot more coming down the pipe for Rift, as the Trion team has changed their update cadence to a biweekly schedule. Last week saw the addition of a new version of Conquest, with new rewards, and forthcoming will be the new Bloodfire Stronghold region. This area will tell more of the story leading to update 3.0, and will mentor you down to the 25-30 level range. Expect Bloodfire Stronghold this week or next.
If raiding is your cup of tea, look forward to the Binding of the Dragons, which will be the third tier of raids in Storm Legion. You'll be tackling new raid bosses and taking on the roles of Ascended binding Rift's evil dragons. Get some!
Players invested in Rift's user-generated content will be happy to know that PvP Dimensions are on the PTS right now and will be on the live servers in a couple of weeks. You can build your own 2- and 3-team battlegrounds where other players will be able to duke it out for supremacy, although there will not be a reward scheme in place for PvP Dimensions upon release, to discourage exploiting. Get ready to put your Dream Weaving skills to work!
I'm excited not only for the nature of updates coming for Rift, but also for their consistency. The developers assured me that not only are the game and its community growing, but so too is its team expanding. There's never been a better time to dive back into Rift, and it looks like Trion Worlds is dedicated to spicing things up for a long time to come.
Som Pourfarzaneh has been hanging out with the MMORPG.com crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.