RIFT remains a solid MMO for Trion. The game launched back in 2011 and continues to hold a solid audience. It added a free to play model back in 2013 and is now adding a second expansion. The team at Trion gave us a solid look at Nightmare Tide with some of the playable puzzles and zones in the game. It adds a water element which was not there before. The demo really surprised us and RIFT players have a lot to look forward to in Nightmare Tide.
Trion is making sure players in RIFT can get to the expansion very easily. They do not want their players to have to wait or hunt for content to unlock the new areas so they added portals to get started in the action. While Nightmare Tide hosts some of the best underwater graphics we have seen in a while, the team explained that only about 10% of the expansion is underwater. Most of Nightmare Tide is on land, but all of it ties in with the Plane of Water. The ice zone in particular was a nice twist on dealing with the water plane and hosts some great end game content.
The reason Nightmare is in the title is because the whole expansion is based on the dreams of the denizens from the plane of water. Players will first enter into the underwater zone to begin quests on why the plane is under attack by the plane of fire. The developers continues their approach of making things easy for the player to enjoy by boosting your power to breathe underwater and to swim fairly quickly. You also have access to underwater mounts. The shark hybrid mount could win best mount for 2014 in any MMO. It also can travel on land at a running pace.
Not to spoil too much of the story, but the plane of water is being attacked by minions from the Bloodfire Army, a demonic force from the plane of fire. The invaders are burning out zones in the dreamed world and setting up their own horrific structures to expand. Areas have been completely flame-scaped and charred as the rifts allow more of the army to arrive. Players will fight through these warriors in hopes of restoring balance. One of the most amazing areas we saw was the Nightmare Tide pools which looked like something out of a cave diving dream. This series of pools and underwater rivers hosts a bunch of quests and stood out among any of the areas we have ever seen in an MMO.
Nightmare Tide has very large zones that players can explore: Goboro Reef, Draumheim, and Tarken Glacier. Each zone has been affected by the fire plane invaders in some way. The expansion adds five new levels to the game and from level 61 forward you will get new masteries for your soul tree. This opens up new synergies for your soul tree which is already quite deep, but having more options will bring players closer to the character they want to have. Sub-themes were very important to the team as well and so they worked a lot with the lore to create some ancient concepts and add in cosmic forces outside the planes that impact the world. This is also the first expansion for RIFT to be fully voiced.
One area we got a close look at was the Tree of Life which had been taken over by the BloodFire Army. It has been scarred with fire by the plane and serves as a tougher zone for players. It also has a lot of hidden secrets as the team wanted to reward all of those players who like to explore. There are many hidden rooms and treasures to find in dark corners. Puzzles also play a big part in the expansion. One of the most impressive mazes we have ever seen was a cube which mixed water areas with dry land in a floating, constantly turning puzzle. The last zone we saw was the Tarken Glacier. This world of ice has a massive dungeon inside the belly of a huge beast. There is also a raid zone in the glacier called the Cosmic Mountain which takes players into some of the lore beyond the planes themselves. The theory for the zone is that Tarken is a glacier at the edge of the cosmos.
As if all of that was not enough, the team added in Nightmare Rifts as well. These are infinite rifts which act as a challenge mode. Once one hits players can see how far they get before falling to the largest minions. The developers will be adding timers and leader boards for nightmare rifts to the game as well. There are 125 bosses in these rifts to battle and they will appear in all zones. Even the low level zones will have them.
Last but not least, the game will now also support a minion system. The interface is great and you can send minions out on various missions. You have to also balance them so you can use their findings on upcoming raids. Each new minion you get will be account wide so all of your characters will have access to them. Minions will level up and advance upon completing more missions for your characters.
Overall, Nightmare Tide was extremely impressive. The expansion beings so much new life to RIFT. The release date is coming on October 8th. This is definitely the time to return to RIFT if you have not been playing lately. Nightmare Tide looks to be a dream for RIFT players. Watch for the expansion when it lands on October 8th.