Last week, Trion opened its doors to some of its most dedicated players and invited them in for an inside look at their favorite games. They called the event “Trion Community Day 2014” and attendees have returned with a whole slew of new information on RIFT’s upcoming expansion, Nightmare Tide. This week we’re talking new zones, nightmare rifts, mentoring UP, minions, and more. Read on for all the details.
Firstly, let me point you to Neilie Johnson's hands-on at the event, as she attended on behalf of MMORPG.com. Also, a big thank you goes out to attendees Seatin, Techie Will, and Baramos for sharing the details we’ll be discussing today and RiftGrate for breaking it down into a handy written form. If you’re not already subscribed to RiftGrate, you should be.
One Continent, Three Zones
After much speculation, Trion revealed that Nightmare Tide will consist of three zones, though each will be much larger in scale than previous regions of the game. Have a look:
The zones are: Tarken Glacier (top), Draum Heim (mid), and Goboro Reef (bottom). The developers also confirmed that each zone will consist of multiple layers. This makes it sound likely that we will be going underground. And, of course, underwater.
Three zones might seem like too few compared to Storm Legion’s dozen, but I’m not perturbed. This is an expansion about focus. Three zones allows them to keep a theme and really explore it to its fullest. And by sheer landmass, we’re not too far off from a Storm Legion continent anyhow.
Not long ago, Executive Producer, Bill Fisher, cryptically told us that the team was testing out new ideas to hasten players into Nightmare Tide. A new twist on the mentoring system; something different, but not totally unfamiliar either. This is what he was hinting at: Patch 3.0 will allow players to mentor UP instead of DOWN. If you want to play with your friends but haven’t leveled all the way through Storm Legion, or even vanilla, you’ll be able to. With some limits, of course.
Players will need to be at least level 10 to use the new mentoring system. When they mentor to a higher level, they will receive all of the passive bonuses from their soul choices, but none of the active abilities. Questing will also be limited and anything higher than the player’s actual level will be locked out. Gear is much the same. This isn’t a “get out of leveling free” card. Instead, it lets players scale up to participate in world events and dungeons (minus LFG functionality).
What this will allow, however, is the ability to level up outside of Storm Legion and Vanilla content. From level 10 on, you can hop in and experience a little bit of what Nightmare Tide has to offer.
Minions will be acquired randomly as drops and through specific actions, such as quests. It sounds like these drops will take the form of cards, and I’m a bit unclear on whether minions will actually exist in the physical world. Each minion will have its own level and stats, and this handy bit of datamining indicates they’ll receive their own experience gains too. Sending minions on missions can be done anywhere in the world using their own UI panel and will take varying amounts of time to complete. Choosing a minion better suited to a task will result in better rewards which can include experience, platinum, crafting materials, and artifacts. Minions will also be account bound.
I am intrigued but also a little leery of this system. I had envisioned minions more like mini-pets, so the chance of their becoming cardstock is disheartening. We don’t need a minion system like Neverwinter’s crafting: all a menu, all timers. I also hope Trion stays well away from iOS “pay to finish now” territory. Should we also be concerned that this all still sounds conceptual and the game is set to launch within four months?
Gear Changes (PVE and PVP)
A number of new tidbits were released on this front. There will be a number of changes coming to PVE gear, one of the biggest is the removal of Toughness from tank gear. A new stat “Guard” is being introduced to support players standing within a set radius of the tank. This could allow for new mechanics in future raid design.
The team is also looking at ways to revamp PVP gear. They won’t be implementing normalization, as seen in other large MMOs, but they do acknowledge there’s a gear gap that needs to be addressed. That said, they were vague on what this change will actually be. They stated that the changes will be universal and also apply in the open world. Whatever the update may turn out to be, the developers shared that they also intend it to help PVP players in PVE, as well.
Attendees spent hours hanging out and talking with the team and lots of other tidbits of information came out in the fray. A couple of the old-world dungeons may make a reappearance, for example. Account-wide storage is on the developer’s minds but it won’t make it in time for Nightmare Tide’s launch. Ditto for updates to the RIFT Mobile app. One interesting thing of note is that the team is looking at raid zones for future Instant Adventures. And yes, they’re working on optimization, right now with the improvements to shadow rending in Patch 2.8.
All in all, I would say that Community Day 2014 was a success. Events like this show a return dedication to their most dedicated fans and gives Trion the opportunity to pull back the curtain just a teensy bit more than normal. Good on them for making the most of a good opportunity.
Does this inspire you to pick up Nightmare Tide and give RIFT another look? Let us know what you think in the comments below!