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.





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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.


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

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