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Rift: Is Dungeon Design Finally Evolving?

Posted Wed, Nov 23, 2011 by Medawky

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
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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.

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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 isn’t a major leap forward by any means, Trion’s ability to quickly implement player feedback is a good indicator that we can continue to expect innovation from Rift.

"While it isn’t a major leap forward by any means, Trion’s ability to quickly implement player feedback is a good indicator that we can continue to expect innovation from Rift."

Umm..innovation? it's all the same dungeon instance. There isn't any real innovation here honestly. Besides, WoW did this before Rift did with Expert dungeons.

What it does is give Trion and easy, fast and cheap way to reproduce content.

They just added a few wings and different bosses in the same place that made it cheaper than inventing a brand new dungeon and content (which is what most other games do).

I mean seriously, this is like:

"We can make a lot of different hotdogs, more than any other company. You can order a hotdog with relish, a hotdog with mustard, a hotdog with pickles, or a hotdog with pickles, relish AND mustard. Or a hotdog with ketchup, or a hotdog with..."

That's not innovation, sorry.

It is sad that you do not see what rift does and why it has pushed the bar for mmo's beyond what was the acceptable. but you cannot please everyone and im sure your are just waiting for XXX title to drop and then your time with rift is done

MMO have done it before. will do it again. and will adapt and chance it

it being all possible imaginable content. I dont see you offering one single idea to the pool. but yet complainign that all the content is weak and lame ect. maybe you need a new genre of game to play if you cannot trult appriciate rift for what it is, rather then what it is not.

"I dont see you offering one single idea to the pool. but yet complainign that all the content is weak and lame ect."

Hmm.. maybe you have a point.

The next movie I pay to see, I'll be sure to write the director and tell them what they should put in there or for their next movie they are planning.

And when I go to watch a pro-football game, I'll be sure to run down on the field and tell the coach to run bootlegs more instead of screens.

Or when I go see a play, I'll be sure to yell to the actors better lines to speak instead of the ones they are saying.

Yeah, you got a point there. Why just pay money and expect to be entertained? I should be proactive in everything I pay to make me have fun in.

Or just move to another mmo. Yep, that's better.

"I dont see you offering one single idea to the pool. but yet complainign that all the content is weak and lame ect."

Good idea. Next time I go see a play, or watch a football game, or see a movie in the theatre, I'll be sure to tell the actors, coaches/players, and directors that not only does their movie "suck", but this is what they should do instead.

That always works so I'll try it with mmos too.

Not.

Steal many ideas from GW2? lol

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