One of the main tenants of Rift
has always been that of fostering community, so it was no
surprise when only a few months into the adventure we were invited to a
community summit to discuss the state of the game. Ahead of the summit
we were given an advanced copy of a “Summer State of the Game Address”
from Senior Producer Scott Hartsman, that will be posted later today on
the official Rift
forums. Scott was on hand, along with our host Chris Schmidt from
Trion, to answer questions from ourselves as well as from many other
major MMOG sites.
Among the most popular topics were questions about world PvP, new
styles of PvE content, ways to advance your character after level 50
and much more. Below is a list of questions submitted by the various
outlets, read on to enjoy;
Curse Gaming: Are there
any future plans to add low level content to the game? Anything to help
encourage players creating alts?
the general idea of expanding the world and adding more stuff for
people of all levels is something we have been excited about working on
essentially since we started planning out post launch content. It's not
something that's in the immediate future though, so I wouldn't go
looking for it in the next couple of weeks, but it is something we have
plans for expanding out in the future.
Curse: Are you planning
to add cross server instances for PvE dungeons or PvP warfronts? Or
anything else to help reduce the lengthy instance queues that some
players are reporting?
in fact there is a really longer stretching plan around that whole
thing and I would like to explain it in it's entirety so it makes
sense. The short version is this: Warfronts are already cross-shard,
wargroups have been working out pretty well. For instances themselves
we have been evaluating that very thing. Ever since we upgraded the
dungeon loot and made them much more available we have seen a massive
boost in the number of people who are running instances up at the level
50 range. The main problem is that while we have a lot of people
queuing, they aren't queuing at the same time so we would like to
introduce cross-shard for that – in the same way that warfronts work.
The larger plan goes something like this; we started out by optimizing
the servers, the next step was to buy a whole lot of server upgrades to
act as sort of a force multiplier so that we could up the wargroup
capacities and then two months ago we boosted the wargroups from 4
shards to 8 shards. The next step after that was to introduce free
server transfers, which was implemented in the last content update, the
current step is a lot of prepping behind the scenes involving swapping
server hardware around so that we can put people into as large a
wargroup as possible. Once the densities match the destinations that
everyone has transferred to then things will get even better. Once we
have all of that done we have a greater concentration of cross-server
pools for everyone and that will allow us to make much smarter
decisions about a whole bunch of subjects that will improve overall
gameplay. We have this internal checklist of things we need to do and
were on step 5 of 6 towards completing the plan.
GameReactor: Can you
expand on the new warfront gameplay type; Escalation.
new warfont gameplay type will be occurring in Whitefall Steppes, and I
won't be getting too far into details on that, but it is something that
is going to be available very soon on the Public Test Shard. I would
strongly recommend checking it on in its test phase.
GameReactor: What can we
expect from the new instant adventure events?
is an integral part of what I would call the method to the madness. We
have a large plan that wraps up instant adventures, the post 50
experience as well as the chronicle instances. The idea behind doing
the instant adventures is pretty simple; Rift is at it's best for a lot
of people when they get to take part in the insane over-world gameplay
of getting involved in gigantic events, but those are so dependent on
being online or being in the right place or not being busy when one
starts up. So we have been brainstorming on how we can allow players
who are interested in that create critical mass on their own, and what
gameplay systems can we put into place to make that happen. The idea is
going to be that you can come online and indicate your interest in that
by clicking a button and you will be put into rapidly escalating
encounters that take advantage of the various dynamic content that is
available in the world today as well as new systems that will be added
just for these encounters. The underlying theme is to make the massive
scale fun more accessible to more people.
changes to Valor that were on the PTS didn't make it to the live
servers, are there any future plans for changes that effect PvP players
and PvE players differently?
use the public test shard to test things. We tested out some pretty
crazy valor changes last month and then didn't roll them out to live
servers. We test things on Test, it's what we do. We knew
going into that test that we wouldn't roll these changes out, but we
needed the healing metrics from the test to help implement further
changes that are targeted strictly to PvP healing. We use data from
test to make target changes to things that need adjusting. The ability
to change aspects of healing and damage that affect people who are only
involved in PvP combat is just common sense to us. We don't want to go
nerfing every healing class in the game just because its overpowered in
PvP. If something has a problem in PvP, we should fix it in PvP and the
same with PvE issues.
satisfied is the team with current drop rates in the world events, such
as the current water mount?
quick thing to clarify on that, it is more than just doing one type of
rift, the mount is dropping from invasions, footholds and rifts. In
general we are pretty happy with the way things are working but one
thing we haven't made public is that the items won't be exclusive to
this event – they will become rare drops in Hammerknell related
encounters after the world event is over. That includes the new
Chronicles of Telara content as well, they won't just drop for raiders.
KillTenRats: What if any
plans are there for Oceanic and Asian Pacific servers?
is very important for us. It's a complex issue that even in 2011 we
have to forge so many relationships with so many ISPs. Things such
as traffic shaping, traffic limits and other obstacles that
make it hard to run an MMO business. We have an entire group whose
mission in life is to establish these relationships and
setting up arrangements that allow our players to patch and play the
game. In my perfect world we would have local light-speed hosting in
every country that people play in, but that is not realistic. One of
the things Trion is doing is to set up arrangements for hosting a
publishing with people in other countries.
Massively: It seems as
though interest in rift-running has decreased lately, any plans to make
rifts and other dynamic content more attractive?
are a building block for us, the were the starting point on which we
built other forms of content. We didn't assume rampaging through rifts
would be something people would do indefinitely. If
you look at the content we made out of those building blocks, they are
actually as popular as ever. It's just that the activity types have
become much more diverse. For example the improvements made to the
level 50 reward currencies in patch 1.3 has made those rewards very
attractive. We have also introduced the Planar Theme of the Month,
which are Water and Death rifts currently to coincide with the world
event. Crafting rifts are also fairly popular but we do have some cost
issues to tweak that we think will make them even more attractive. Raid
rifts are off the chart right now due in large part to the daily quests
that were recently introduced for them. I would say on most servers now
that there are a dozen or two dozen PUG groups of both factions running
raid rifts, which is phenomenal and pushes us to develop even more of
them. We also recently announced PvP rifts which we think will be crazy
popular as well.
Massively: Is there any
further word on the end game PvP zone, Port Scion?
do have some more live zones in development, but that will be farther
off in the future. We will be working on enhancing world PvP through
PvP rifts. We are happy the way that world PvP has increased sense the
last update. Some of our attempts to bring PvP players out into the
world to have fun have worked and some haven't. The daily
hotspots have worked out well and we think that the PvP rifts will be
the next step in that evolution.
Massively: When will be
able to go into the rifts and take the fight to the planes?
I can't give a specific date on that, it is definitely a theme that we
like and are planning for in the future.
MMO Reporter: Will the
new Chronicles of Telara instances be the standard trash then bosses
style of gameplay, or something new?
we are aiming for are epic settings, places you wouldn't get to see,
fighting opponents you wouldn't get to see and fighting along NPC's you
wouldn't normally get to fight along side with. This isn't just a
scaled down version of a raid instance; it's a unique and exciting
experience. The first one, which we have playable and fun right now in
our internal testing, is in Hammerknell.
MMO Reporter: Are you
looking at further separating ranks in PvP
ties right back into the big picture of creating larger pools of
concentrated players, the hardware upgrades, the free transfers, ect.
We want to create the best play experience for everyone and we will
make good decisions based on the data we collect at that time. We find
that even when ranks are blended that as long as the split of ranks is
even, the experience is enjoyable. We don't want to due anything to
extend queue times.
MMO Reporter: How is
reward system in instant adventure going to be implemented?
goal is to keep it closer to the Rift system and that method of
distribution. We have found that players enjoy the idea of
participation equals reward, it's compelling and it's a hell of a lot
PC Gamer:Will there be
any changes made to PvP to make it less of a grind to the casual player?
don't think of it as much of a grind, despite that fact that it is a
very long experience. The moment to moment aspect of the gameplay is
what makes PvP fun and what makes warfronts as successful as they are.
The daily world PvP quest is a great way to get big rewards, and the
PvP raids will help escalate that.
PC Gamer: Will the
Instant Adventures be more story driven or action driven?
underlying idea is definitely story driven. We want to allow more
players to have access to type of characters and events that are
usually the domain of raiders. We want everyone to interact with key
heroes and villains in a meaningful way.
MMORPG.com: Can you give
more info on the Alternate Use for Endgame Experience?
overriding goal is to find a sweet spot between a required continued
progression, and a system for feeling like you’re getting a reward just
for playing the game at the cap. If it’s not a grind that’s necessary,
people enjoy it more. As an Ascended it’s like this: you’re reborn,
ascended, you move up to level 50 and you’ve fighting the Planes
forever. So naturally after so much time you can unlock the ability to
take the power of the planes themselves and turn it against your
enemies. You’ll get points to use in all new planar attunement trees.
There will be more bonuses, specializations, and even (balance
permitting) ability modifications. It’s all a combination of this
system with the chronicles, the instant adventure, the PvP and the
rifts to keep people happy at level 50 for as long as possible.
MMORPG.com: Solo and duo
content can be watered down usually. How will the Chronicles of Telara
stuff be different?
actively trying to make sure we’re hitting the bar by making these as a
unique experience, and not just “look I’m in a cave”. They’re going to
be something big and epic but for less people. That’s the theme.
MMORPG.com: PVP World
Scale is hard to make catch on and be a big part of the game. How will
Rift make sure it’s actually used and enjoyed?
might seem like a risk, but to us we’re trying to iterate on other
features that did or didn’t work before. There were certain things we
thought people would love at launch that they just didn’t. Some stuff
just didn’t stick. PVP Dailies and Hotspots ended up being a success
though, and now that the incentive’s there they’re on the upswing. So
PVP Rifts will build on the idea that PvP is a point of the activity
and not just a distraction. We think the PVP Rifts are the next step
and we’d be really surprised if they didn’t take off into something
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
any timetable to the Chronicles of Telara release? Expansion level
content or patch content?
of Telara is definitely update level content, in fact everything we
have been discussing is short to medium term horizon content. The scary
part of that is that its less than half of the things we have in active
development. It is extremely mind-boggling at how much we have going
on, but these are things we have been working on for a good while and
are more than happy to talk about them.
Ten Ton Hammer: How are
shard populations doing now that the transfer system has gone live?
good, in fact in some cases too good. We have been closely monitoring
the activity and we get email reports hourly showing who is going
where, whats the velocity, whats the population on both guardian and
defiant sides look like, are they queuing and if so what are their
queue times like? For as incredibly complicated as this system is, I am
simply amazed at how smoothy it has worked. We have had hundreds of
thousands of people going though this system and its working very well.
ZAM: Chronicles of Telara
instance sound like an interesting way for small groups to get
involved. Can we get hints on the characters and stories we might be
That's a level of detail I just can't get into at this time. I don't
mind talking about the overall vision for the future of the game, but I
don't want to elaborate on that until I can be sure we are getting the
best information out there.
ZAM: Any details on new
warfronts that you can share?
have a brand new warfront that we are working on internally and we like
it a whole hell of a lot. We have plans and several early prototypes of
things we have planned for the next year to a year and a half. But
yeah, we have a new one that is chaotic new fun and in a setting you
wouldn't expect to see a warfront in. I really don't want to oversell
this one in case something happens and it doesn't go live, but we are
having a lot of fun with it and hope that it works out.
As always we would like to thank our hosts from Trion for putting
together this event, as well as the other participants for their astute
questions. We look forward to seeing and hearing more about Update 1.4,
it looks to be the most interesting and engaging content addition to