Outside the game, Trion CCO and Rift Executive Producer Scott Hartsman posted a "State of the game," which outlined what they have planned for the fantasy MMO down the road. But it actually leaves us with more questions than answers. In this week's Enter at Your Own Rift, we'll look at the world event as well as the summer update, and speculate on what's really coming to Telara.
Justin recently explored the issue of whether rifts have gotten stale, and one point he made was that there might not be enough of a carrot to attract people to do them. World events like the current Waves of Madness actually do give rifts and zone events a greater purpose, and players have been jumping over to zones when an event is announced, in order to participate. The downside, though, is that it quickly feels like a grind as you work to collect the amount of currency needed to purchase rewards.
Overall, though, this world event has gone better than the first one so far. Each phase has stuck around longer, making it much more accessible to those who missed out on the "blink and it's over" finale of the first event. The world has also visually changed to help bring the lore right to the players, with the center of the action focused right at the gates of Hammerknell. I do wish, however, that there was a clearer explanation of what the new statues are in Sanctum. I was a bit surprised that the NPCs near it didn't offer up any story about what they mean or how they suddenly appeared in town. I even tried looking it up later on, but couldn't find anything, which is too bad because the statues are pretty prominent and just scream for a little backstory. In any event, the final phase should be due soon, and hopefully it will wrap up more smoothly this time around.
Another point that surprised me was the plan to add solo instances. I love the idea, especially because it will give non-raiders the ability to connect with the lore and major characters that are normally only found in endgame raid content. For some, raiding isn't about the loot as much as it is about being able to see unique content. Unfortunately, that content happens to come with a requirement of bringing along several other groups of people in order to experience it. The Chronicles of Telara is a great idea, but it does pose that tricky question of how it will be itemized. Right now, there's a pretty crowded field of sources that provide gear -- crafting, T1 and T2 group instances, normal zone rifts, raid rifts, 10 man raids, and 20 man raid instances. Where would the solo instances fit in with the picture? And if it's on the lower end of the spectrum, would players even bother running through these instances? It will be interesting to see how it fits in game when it finally arrives.
"Instant adventures also sound intriguing in theory, but how exactly does it differ from those borg-like flash mobs that are already tromping around Telara?"
Lastly, I was sad to see that Ancient Wardstones are going to be removed from the game. They've been problematic from the start, and the few times we tried them as a guild, it was hard to track which stones were activated, and whether the zone boss was even due to be spawned. Despite some tweaks, they apparently weren't as successful as Trion would have liked, and it sounds like they're going with a different system for zonewide PvP, through the use of PvP raid rifts and daily world hotspots. I was a big fan of Ancient Wardstones, and I liked the fact that we could quietly interact with the terrain and reap the benefit by summoning a boss mob. But what ended up happening is that as we flipped the wardstones to our side, we'd get accosted by a handful of Defiants who were annoyed that they couldn't do their quest turn-ins. A perfect PvP moment turned into short episodes of us letting the Defiants flip it back so they could turn in, and then us flipping it again once they gave the ok. I can understand why they're going to replace the system, and it's nice to see that they haven't given up on fostering world PvP, but I'll still miss Ancient Wardstones.
There's still a lot more that was covered in the State of the Game update, and I've barely begun to scratch the surface. What stood out for you? Was there anything that made you cheer in approval? What was missing that you wish had been addressed? Share your thoughts below!
Whether they're keeping the vigil or defying the gods, Karen Bryan and Justin Olivetti save Telara on a weekly basis. Covering all aspects of life in RIFT, from solo play to guild raids, their column is dedicated to backhanding multidimensional tears so hard that they go crying to their mommas. Email Karen and Justin for questions, comments, and adulation.