In just its first 6 months of Rift,
Trion Worlds is on the verge of releasing their 5th major content
update. With Rift
Update 1.5 – Ashes of History
they have upped the ante and
raised the bar once again in delivering content of exceptional content
in an amazingly rapid manner.  We joined several other leading
MMOG sites in a roundtable discussion to get the scoop on style="font-style: italic;">Rift Update 1.5 – Ashes of
History directly from Executive Producer Scott Hartsman
and Design Producer Hal Hanlin. Here is the first part of that session,
as hosted by Senior PR Manager, Chris Schmidt.

Chronicles of Telara

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style="font-style: italic;">A Guardian proves their mettle Why did the
developers feel the need to overhaul the end game content to meet the
needs of solo and or small group players? This seems to fly in the face
of conventional MMO wisdom.

Hal Hanlin: Overhaul
isn’t actually accurate because we aren’t getting rid of old stuff and
replacing it with new stuff. We are flying in the face of what’s
traditional certainly, but what we’re doing is making sure everybody
gets to be part of this story. There are a lot of folks who can’t
participate in raids and what we are doing for them is to give them a
direct connection to the lore and the events that can be done with just
them and a buddy. There is a great engagement that happens at the end
of our game and opening that up to people outside the raiding guilds is
an important step.

Scott Hartsman: 
This is part of a third track in MMOs that nobody else really has, you
already saw it earlier on with our events and the rest – which is all
about accessible awesomeness.  Chronicles are a big part of
that. Everybody wants to be part of the story, to see new places, to
have better social gaming opportunities and to us that’s what live MMOs
should be all about.  How
do you answer those players who say you are catering to the casual

Scott: I
would ask those people:  give the content a try. On test
server right now it’s just as popular with what you might call a
hardcore player as it is the casual ones. Hardcore vs casual isn’t a
solid line you have people with a hardcore attitude with limited
playtime and people with a casual attitude and unlimited
time.  It isn’t about hardcore vs casual it’s about accessible

Hal: We
aren’t softening up existing content to grab new players; we are adding
more 10 and 20 player content than most MMOs do in an entire expansion.
We continue to add more for the players at the bleeding edge, we think
everybody deserves great gameplay.


Massively: How casual
friendly are the Chronicles’ instances? Will a level 50 in solo quest
gear be able to tackle them right away or will they need to gear up a
bit first?

Hal: We have
been testing it in our level 50 quest gear. The goal is at level 50 you
are invited to a celebration of your ascension by some of the key NPC’s
in your faction and that will be your first solo Chronicle which will
then open up the other two that are designed for two players. 
The two player versions can be soloed by players with top tier gear or
done with a friend in quest gear – but both will be a challenge.

Scott: Think
of it like its own progression. You will solo the attunement chronicle,
duo the others for a while and then eventually solo them.

ZAM: The first two
Chronicles are based on existing raid content, Greenscale and
Hammerknell. Will there be other chronicles not tied to raid content?

Hal: We
haven’t locked ourselves into that, but raid content was the most
logical and tempting content to expand upon because it is something you
can’t experience unless you are raiding. It was a great way for us to
repurpose some great art, write a new story for it and new vignettes.
We aren’t locking into it; we have some new Chronicles in the pipeline
that expose you to parts of the story not yet told.

Scott: Which
is how they got their name, Chronicles are all about exposing you to
the key stories in the game.  The natural first place to put
it is in these raid areas where the main story is over-arching already. 
What level of gear will be attainable in Chronicles? How will this
affect the raiding population of the game?

Scott: We
are looking at expert quality loot to drop in the Chronicles. We expect
that one of the main values to our current raiders is that they will
use these as a means to gain a good chunk of their Attunement
experience. There are also artifacts and chest with consumables inside
the Chronicles that we feel all players will find beneficial.

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style="font-style: italic;">A new spin on Hammerknell

Planar Attunement Can you
explain about the 6 trees? Will it be more advantageous for players to
focus on one or two, or should they try and max out all 6?

Scott: Sure,
the trees are based on the 6 planes, which is why it’s called Planar
Attunement. It’s you choosing which planes to draw more of your
personal power from. We do expect that there will be a fair amount of
picking and choosing based on individual desires. The system is about
giving additional freedom to customize and have fun with your

TenTonHammer: What, if
any, is the cap on Planar Attunement?

Scott: There
is no artificial cap on this system. If you see a particular
enhancement you want, you can work towards it. One thing I want to
mention about this system is that it isn’t designed to be something you
are actively grinding away for – Planar Attunement is a context to hold
all the experience you are gaining for doing what you already do at
level 50. There will be three different tiers for each plane and with
1.5 we are releasing the first tier for each plane.  Future
tiers will be discussed

Massively:  Will
players be able to switch their Planar Attunements like they do their

Scott: This
is an interesting system and one that is totally separate from the soul
system. Since this is an open ended system where people can eventually
get all of them, we expect that people will initially invest in their
primary role first and then spread out to their others.

GameSource Italy: With
the introduction of Planar Attunement is this the beginning of an
imminent raise in the level cap?

Scott: This
is independent of and parallel to the level cap. They are not related

Veteran Rewards

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style="font-style: italic;">Rewards Pane

TenTonHammer: How will
Veteran Rewards be distributed? Will it be through the mail?

Hal: Yeah,
it’s going to be coming through the mail. We are actually doing lots of
fun things with it, but right now the challenge is – if you play style="font-style: italic;"> Rift for a long
time you get cool stuff!

They are visible in the achievement window also, so you will see what’s
on deck for you next.  The idea is to make sure that people
are always aware that these things exist and what they are in store for

ZAM: At what intervals
can players expect to see the rewards?

Hal: 1
month, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and 24 months

Scott: 18
months as well! We are adding them pretty frequently and the way that
we are adding them lets us add more over time. The greatest thing about
this is that when add them to any stage or step, players will
automatically gain them if it applies to them, all rewards will be

Hal: We also
don’t wait to give them to you at the end of your subscription – if you
purchase a 6 month subscription you will get those 6 month rewards
right away.

Zam: Will there be a cost
associated with any of them?

Scott: Some
will have a cost associated with them yes, but we think that there is
enough uniqueness to them that it will be worthwhile. 
Will the rewards be retroactive or will we start gaining them when 1.5

Scott: It’s
from all of the days a person has been a paying subscriber, all of
those days count.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our RIFT Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016