The latest Rift producer's letter has been published on the official site. The discussion begins with a recitation of some of the best things that have happened to the game in the past re months including technical improvements. The letter then goes on to dissect some of the challenges encountered with v4.0, how those challenges will be met and what the future holds for Trion's MMO.
4.0, the letter acknowledges, has some serious shortcomings, both those noticed by the developers themselves and by the community. "We heard you, we agree, and we are pouring heart and soul into improvements." the letter states. Several factors have slowed the process of bringing updated features to Rift, but the team has overcome most and is back on track.
We have an incredibly passionate and dedicated team of people on RIFT. Many of them have been on the team since before launch and still take great pride in making RIFT as great as it can be. Do we always get it right? Of course not, but it is not due to lack of effort, skill or love for RIFT. Experimentation drives innovation, and we adjust as needed. When we make missteps all we can do is review feedback and take action to improve things going forward.
To that end, the immediate future is bringing v4.1 with Eternal Weapons. Other improvements include:
Further into the future, Trion devs are considering a Hard Mode server and have actually been experimenting on it internally. However, that "fun" testing has led some to wonder how sustainable such a thing is over the long haul. As such, it is possible it would be a limited time server. After lengthy discussions, the team is also considering something called Rift Challenges that is in the very experimental early stages of development.
You can read more of the details by visiting the Rift site.