We got to sit down with the creators of RIFT at GDC for a presentation and update on the game. RIFT is now at its one year anniversary and the game continues to innovate with its amazing updates and tweeks to game play. When people say an MMO is a marathon not a sprint, RIFT is the game that can be used as the example. It continues to get better as it grows and more content and game mechanics are added to the game with each update. Players are listened to and have an impact on changes, and RIFT is proving how well it runs a live service.
So to recap: the 1.7 event launched with the Carnival of the Ascended and players have been enjoying the mini-games and festivities surrounding the one year anniversary. This is a concept that the development team plans for each year to show the deeds of the heroes of the past. Parades, masks, and more vanity items have been added into the game to create the carnival atmosphere and players are enjoying their triumph over the past several events. They better enjoy it while it lasts, because soon with 1.8 there will be some serious battles coming.
Infernal Dawn is the main centerpiece of Patch 1.8 and comes in as another top end raid instance. Twenty heroes can undertake this journey to bring down some serious bosses and explore the fiery depths of the volcano. There is a massive warship called the Dread Fortune which has an evil crew and as you fight them you realize the ship is tied to their Captain. She controls the ship with her will and challenges the players to take out not only her crew, but the ship itself. These types of boss fights are something that RIFT continues to try and innovate on. They want the main fights of the dungeon to all have a very distinct and strong flavor, changing up the traditional ideas behind an MMO raid.
Another boss that we heard about was Maelforge who is a dragon with some serious abilities that set it apart from anything MMO players have seen. The team wanted a dragon encounter in the game with some great tricks for players to figure out on their own. One of the main factors in the raid is that there will be multiple stages and stopping points. So if you cannot commit the full hours it takes to complete the raid, you can stop at any point and start up again later. There are also loot points as well so you can complete the dungeons in your own time frame and not feel tied down to your computer. We really liked this game mechanic and it works well of players or guilds who have limited time.
One of the main elements the RIFT team wanted in the combat was the idea of the environment being a threat. So the volcano is definitely a factor in all parts of the raid. The party fights upwards inside the volcano from the lava depths all the way to the peak of the mountain. Each area has adds, lava, eruptions, oh yea, and the boss to tackle on the way up. This third dimension of the raid will really test player teamwork and give them a fight to remember. The raid will be rewarded throughout so don’t worry your efforts do not go unnoticed as heroes.
Also coming to 1.8 is more instant adventures on the Ember Isle. Another addition is the new Looking for Guild tool which is designed to get new players into guilds with experienced players so they can learn the ropes and become part of a valuable team effort on raids. They are also adding in leader boards and will be setting up more of these as the game progresses. They want to have leader boards for a lot of different things in the game to give players lots of chances to shine. These will come with a ranking system that will put the top players into tiers based on their gameplay. There will be boards for PvE, PvP, Crafting, etc. All of which will list the top players in the game on each server.
In the content to come there is a lot the team is working on. Adding more “non-stabby” content as the Rift crew calls it, so more rewards and vanity items as well as new social aspects to the game: like say, Birthday Parties. These tools have been around MMOs from the beginning but usually it is the players driving them. Now Rift will be adding in features for players to use as well as rewards for hosting them. Also, Guild Taverns is on the table as a new element which will give the guilds a place to meet and discuss their adventures. Rift is showing no signs of slowing down. The game is supporting a great player-base, listening to them, and taking action to make a better game. We are very psyched to see what Rift has for the future, the game truly is a top service for its players, something I know the team takes very seriously.