Updated Wed, Mar 30, 2011 by Medawky
On the eve of Rift’s first world event, Ten Ton Hammer sat down with Producer Hal Hanlin to discuss exactly what players can expect in River of Souls, the 1.1 content update that promises to change Rift forever. What levels can participate, how rifts and invasions will change, what sort of rewards players can expect, and hints as to how River of Souls will impact the lore of the game, and what not to expect this time around will be discussed in Ten Ton Hammer’s Rift Update 1.1 Q&A.
Jason Bolton, Ten Ton Hammer: We’re all excited to hear more about the River of Souls update, the introductory parts of which kick off tomorrow. How exactly will the content update roll out?
Hal Hanlin, Executive Producer: We begin a series of events that lead up to our next raid encounter, and one of the first things people are going to see is that we have some new UI elements. We also have a world event that’s going to explain what you’re supposed to be doing at this time.
At this time, players can progressively start working towards some great items. The first two stages are going to be throughout the entire world, and if players are a high enough level, they’ll be able to participate in the final stages. We’ll set a date and time for when the final stages are going to begin.
Ten Ton Hammer: What level will players need to be to participate in the event and in the raid?
Hal: For the raid, you’re going to have to have very high level gear from the gear progression in order to succeed, and you’ll have to have a team that knows what it’s doing. That said, anyone can participate, provided they can actually get to the final areas – and these are scattered throughout a number of different locations – but it’s going to be at their own risk. They may draw aggro and get one-shotted if they’re just too low a level.
Ten Ton Hammer: What can you tell us about the items that will help players through the event? Are these temporary items that will only last as long as the event?
Hal: The idea is that there will be some things that are only given out during the event, but they are long term items that you’ll be able to hang onto. There is a mount, the Spectral Horse, that will be provided during the event and it is a permanent inventory item, but it will only be available during this period of time and not afterwards.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will this final raid be for 10 or 20 players?
Hal: We do have 10-man Rift raids in which people can participate, but currently this is slated for 20 players.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will the event length depend on how quickly players move through the content per server, or does the event run according to a script?
Hal: Some portions will be player-driven, other portions will depend on when we pull the trigger.
Ten Ton Hammer: How long will this event run?
Hal: The event is going to heat up towards April 9th, but it will run long past that.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do you hope to iterate on the emerging gameplay that occurs around the rifts, invasions, footholds, etc. in this content update?
Hal: That’s one of the great things about our system – we are creating entirely new invasions, entirely new bosses with new abilities that are going to be spilling out during this period of time. Then, once we have gone past the opening of River of Souls, the lion’s share of these new invasions and colossi and rifts will become part of the core of our game. Just because they haven’t been here before doesn’t mean we don’t think they’re valuable; they certainly continue the story of our world.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will any new factions be revealed in River of Souls, either to fight against, learn lore about, or gain reputation with?
Hal: This really goes to the core of the update. The Cult of the Endless helps perpetuate the story about Alsbeth the Discordant. People that have been playing probably understand that she’s a major player, but they might not understand how important she is, and we clarify her relationship with Regulos.
Video: Alsbeth - All Will Serve
Ten Ton Hammer: How has the response been so far to the current endgame content, and is River of Souls a response to the feedback you’ve gotten?
Hal: It’s been phenomenal. We took a few chances prior to beta, and as Scott pointed out, we kind of wrung our hands for weeks trying to determine what we should do – should we allow different areas to be overrun, what if questgivers die, etc. As soon as that content met the public, we realized that it was ok, because it gives players the opportunity to take the fight to the planes. They clear out the spaces, they have the sense of achievement.
That, on top of the core questing, crafting, etc., became radically popular. All the sudden you hear a trumpet or the sound of a zone event starting and you drop what you’re doing – you know this is where the great gear comes from, they’ll be able to experience this in a massively social way. All the sudden, an hour has passed, the dust is settling, and they go back to what they’re doing. But they’re always expecting something to come charging down on them.
As far as what we’re rolling out now, we’re demonstrating what our platform can do. Players who have gotten used to seeing rifts of a certain planar type in a certain zone – Silverwood’s always going to be fire and life – no, we chose to do that because it helped tell our story. Guess what? We’re about to tell a different part of the story, so different planes come into play.