It has been two weeks since Trion announced RIFT: Nightmare Tide, and the playerbase is buzzing with anticipation. Since our announcement interview, the development team has taken to the forums and social media to tantalize us with new tidbits of information. A series of behind the scenes articles went up detailing their inspirations and intents, and a slew of new screenshots and concept art gave us our first glimpses of what the team has already crafted. With all of these things in mind, I think it’s time we outline just what we’re hoping for – and what we’re afraid of – in the next expansion.
10. Hope: Storytelling Will Be Better Than Ever Before
Around RIFT’s launch, one of the biggest criticisms levied at the game was that storytelling just wasn’t its strong suit. Since that time, the team has made numerous strides. Two-person Chronicles became more important than ever and quest hubs shifted toward key story arcs instead of shopping lists of quest items. Listening to the team, Nightmare Tide is all about story. Insanity and dreams drip with potential, and heading into the Plane of Water presents opportunities for delivering story that just weren’t possible before. What’s more, the team seems to know it, and they want us to know it. That’s a very promising thing.
9. Fear: Carnage Quests Will Still Play Too Big of a Role
Storm Legion focused quest hubs for story but it also cut the experience off at the knees. In answer to this, the team designed for discovery; naturally stumbling across quest items and important NPCs became the norm. Unfortunately, so did Carnage Quests. We know these rote, grind-centric quests are coming to Nightmare Tide but the team is still discussing what form they’ll take. Carnage Quests made Storm Legion feel like a checklist of Kill Ten Rats than never stopped being added to, so let’s hope they play a much reduced role in Nightmare Tide.
8. Hope: Nightmare Rifts Will Become the Most Fun Rifts to Play
When I first heard about Nightmare Rifts, I was a skeptical. They seemed, for all intents and purposes, like a horde-mode too-often seen in console games. The more I sit with the idea, the more excited I become. Two words: Power ups. We don’t know yet what these will be but they stand to shake the entire landscape of play, allowing taking on waves of enemies to be more fun than it has ever been. There are also lots of possibilities to change things up in the waves themselves. If Nightmare Rifts make me feel like a badass, and reward me with loot and currency for doing so, I’ll be coming back to and through the level cap. Even if they didn’t offer loot, Nightmare Rifts may be, dare I say, fun for fun’s sake.
7. Fear: Nightmare Rifts Will Feel Too Repetitive
But those power ups are a big “IF.” The fact of the matter is, we don’t know what they are. If Nightmare Rifts don’t take push things beyond what we’ve seen in the rift system to date, they’re likely to feel repetitive. Rewards aside, taking on a never ending rift will feel like more of the same and be a bigger turn off than a turn on.
6. Hope: Nightmare Tide Will Set a New Precedent for F2P Value
Storm Legion was big. At the time, many bloggers, myself included, that it set a new precedent for how much content could be included in an expansion. Nightmare Tide aims to deliver the full expansion experience while only charging for an equipment slot (and the pre-expansion souls, if you include those). If it is anything resembling Storm Legion – and it just may be, while also being more focused – Nightmare Tide may challenge what we expect from a free-to-play MMORPG.