Chris Junior took over the Game Director role for Rift back in December of 2014 right around the 3.0 launch for Nightmare Tide. Since then, the Trion Worlds team has been plugging away on content to lead players onward through the murky dark waters of the expansion. We caught up with Chris to talk about the most recent patch, Waking Nightmares, and what we can expect to hear about at Gamescom this year.
Waking Nightmares began, Chris told us, as a somewhat small patch. But then the tech and content teams just kept adding features to where 3.3 became something of an overhaul in terms of Quality of Life improvements for the game. Between tiered raids, new crafting rifts, and the Nightmare Saga quest line (among other things we’ll touch on too), Waking Nightmares became a really meaty patch and one that deserves a look from any past or present fan of Trion’s flagship MMO.
One of the big new quality of life features is definitely the addition of tiered raids. There are now three distinct levels of 40-man raids. An Introduction Mode, which gives item currency only (no gear or weapon drops), and serves as a way for players to gear up for normal mode raiding at the level 65 cap. Then there’s the traditional “Normal Mode”, which is basically the same as it ever was. And finally, there’s Hard Mode – this brings new mechanics to the boss fights to challenge the top guilds in Telara. All of this works with the new Intrepid Gilded Prophecy raid, and the team’s thinking about doing it for 20-man raids and such as well.
In terms of the story, the Nightmare Saga epic quest line will guide players as a sort of Prologue to the Planetouched Wilds story that the team has been working towards. Act 1 and 2 are already available, with level all level 65 players being able to participate just by checking their mail upon login. Act 3 is set to release on August 12th, with some hefty rewards for those who manage to complete the entire saga.
Planar Crafting is finally giving the crafters some love. Not only does 3.3 bring back Crafting Rifts across Tarken Glacier, but you’ll be able to make some truly epic weapons and armor right in line with the tier below the current top-tier items. Not only is the gear you can craft pretty epic in its own right, but the crafting rifts, upon completion will open up crafting stations on the spot for an added level of convenience. You may even get lucky and get a dimension crafting station which will let you finally craft in your own personal home.
And of course, there’s the Tarken Glacier Instant Adventure. All of the IA’s up to this point had been used as leveling content, and while Trion wanted the Tarken Glacier IA in for 3.0’s launch, it just didn’t make sense to be letting players who were only now leveling through the 60-65 content skip everything and play in the end-game zones. Now that Nightmare Tide has some time behind it, the ability for lower levels and leveling players to play around in Tarken Glacier during the IA seems less jarring, and there’s a whole quest line of the Glacier that ties into the planar phenomenon going on that brings it all together.
Additionally, two less in-your-face but still necessary features made it into 3.3. Interrupts have been standardized across the board for all souls and callings. In an effort to keep the game away from pigeon-holing players (Chris calls it the “Bring the Player, not the Class” mentality), the team wanted to make interrupts all created equal so players weren’t forced to have certain specs for certain encounters. Some had cast times, some were long range, some were short range… and you get where Trion’s dilemma lied. Hopefully the normalization will make it so that all souls and callings have viable ways to interrupt casting, making everyone necessary and helpful, without being forced to have a build just to please their guild leader. But as we all know… those Guild Leaders are never happy, and there will always be a flavor of the month. But kudos to Trion for fighting the good fight!
Lastly, you may log into Rift after this article and realize you can now harvest in areas well beyond your level of harvesting skill. Trion’s done something very helpful in allowing players of all levels to harvest anything, anywhere. You might still suck at harvesting a plant in a zone you’re not quite leveled up to, but even failing to get anything good from that harvesting node will level up your harvesting ability… negating the need to go back to lower level zones just to level harvesting. Simple, and brilliant really.
Rift’s Waking Nightmares patch is live now, and I’m told by Chris and crew that plenty of info about 3.4 and beyond will be coming out of this week’s Gamescom in Germany. In Chris’ words: 3.4 is HUGE in terms of content and scope. But when I asked him what was next for 3.5 (due out in the Fall/Winter), he could only say… “Who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see.” Expansion 4.0 confirmed? Ok, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Head on over to Rift and give the new patch a try while we wait for more juicy 3.4 details.