Rift: Is Dungeon Design Finally Evolving?

Dungeon design has stagnated over the past few years, can Rift help take it to the next level?

If Charles Darwin were alive today he may begin to rethink his most profound theory if he were to observe the course that MMOGs have taken since their inception. While there has been a considerable amount of evolution in the genre, some of the core concepts seem to have stagnated over time rather than make great strides forward. One of the best examples of this two steps forward, one step back crab walk is dungeon design.


Rift
Lower Guk
What began as deep, dark, foreboding zones with few named mobs, tons of brutal trash pulls and highly prized loot has morphed into little more than a currency accumulator. Players are now running the same instances with the exact same mob placement and stagnant loot tables so many times that many do them half asleep with muscle memory guiding the way. While Rift has featured a slew of emergent gameplay types aimed at small groups, and continues to excel at keeping it fresh and exciting, their dungeon system had closely followed the accepted norm made popular by games like WoW.

Rift dungeons, for the uninitiated, follow a level based progression that features normal versions for the leveling crowd and expert versions for the endgame folks. The recent addition of Master Mode, a third tier of difficulty, has helped break the monotony by giving players a legitimate challenge,  but the real innovation may be the introduction of the newest Rift dungeon – Caduceus Rise.

What differentiates Caduceus Rise from the instances that preceded it? It allows the player a greater level of control over their experience and removes the linearity that has become the thorn in the side of most instanced content. Caduceus Rise has three current play modes, with a Master Mode version already on the PTS and slated for an Update 1.7 release.

rift

Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons Rift Dungeons

The normal mode features 4 bosses and players can get a feel for the enormity of the zone even though they are blocked off from the expert areas. Normal mode features 4 boss encounters that are fun to play and provide decent rewards for the effort. The Tier 2 expert version of the zone is actually split into two instances with 11 bosses divided between the two; the fights are engaging and well paced with some very nice drops to be had. Master Mode will be truly monstrous with all 11 bosses available and with near raid-like difficulty.

Giving players the ability to better control their own play experience and time commitment is a positive step forward in dungeon design. While it isnÂ’t a major leap forward by any means, TrionÂ’s ability to quickly implement player feedback is a good indicator that we can continue to expect innovation from Rift.

About the Author

Last Updated:

Around the Web