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Rift: Through the Looking Glass - Rift Predictions for 2012

Posted Thu, Jan 12, 2012 by Medawky

Rift PvP

2012 is already a year made famous by either an innocent omission or dire prediction from our ancient Mayan friends. It is also an election year, so there is plenty of polling and pontificating going on. So in that spirit we felt it was high time to cast our gaze forward at the coming 12 months and see what the future may hold for Rift.

Admittedly, some of these forecasts are as so easy that even your local hack weatherman could get them right, but we didn’t get into this business for the difficulty level. With 2011 being a fruitful year for Rift, this year should prove to be much more interesting as several new challenges in the MMO space crop up.

Content

Given the ridiculous amount of content that the Rift team has pumped out in the past 10 months, it isn’t much of a leap to predict that this trend will continue. Just what sort of content and the methods of implementation are the only real mysteries.

Raids

Rift predictions

The recent announcement that the Rift team is seeking testing guilds to help tune their new raid content harkens our first prediction – more raids! I know, I am truly a seer. Even if that announcement hadn’t gone out, it only stands to reason that a focus on end game content would be a major part of the 2012 strategy as the largest part of the population is sitting at level cap.

Expect to see an equal number of 20 and 10 player encounters released this year as the team continues to refine their approach. With the current population trends however, the move to more 10 player content may happen towards the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2012.

Zone Events

The original focus of Rift, or what had set it apart at launch, was the large scale group content of rifts and invasions. I expect there to be several new forms of gameplay launched this year as part of the regular update process, but I also believe that this is the year where the team analyzes the most popular facets of open world gaming and devotes more time to upgrading and tweaking what players like as opposed to creating entirely new things.

My only bold prediction here is that there will be some form of co-op gameplay introduced to allow members of both factions to work together inside the same structure towards a common goal. I know there was an announcement that was blown up out of context about driving a wedge between the factions, but I think bring them together, at least temporarily, will be a more likely scenario (and of course once the objective is accomplished then they can kill each other with reckless abandon).

PvP


Expect to see more emphasis on PvP in the coming year in the form of new content and greater attention to balance issues.  Trion has done an admirable job of trying to keep everyone happy in Rift, but many PvP’ers feel slighted. While this is probably more a perception problem than a reality problem, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a greater focus on this aspect of the game in the next 12 months. Hal Hanlin told us back in October that he didn’t like to artificially incentivize PvP as it is much more compelling in its rawest form, but some tweaking needs to happen to keep folks coming back for more.

New mechanics for better open world PvP, or a new gameplay type that facilitates player vs player combat is a pretty safe bet for 2012. With SWTOR adding some new wrinkles to the mix, expect to see Rift raise the bar to attempt to recapture some of the defectors.

Expansion


2012 will bring us the announcement of Rift’s first full expansion.  I predict that players will be able to take some measure of the fight to the planes themselves, using either technology or divine intervention to cross over.  Expect an increase in the level cap to 60, giving players new skills and abilities. The game world will be growing as well and not only will there be the new planar zones but also new areas of Telara made available for exploration.

Rift Predictions

Hopefully the best part of the expansion will be huge refinements to existing aspects of the game such as crafting, customization and UI improvements. While I don’t expect to see a new race or calling announced, it wouldn’t be shocking to see some wholesale revamps of current souls and improvements in the early stages of the game. Improved zone flow and quest updates will help new players integrate into Rift and give core players a better reason to roll up new alts. Rounding out the expansion should be improvements to racial differentiation, giving players a more compelling reason for choosing one race over another.

Rift Team

Finally, I suspect that 2012 will see a small shakeup of the members of the Rift team at Trion. With a new MMOG in the works and the need for new ideas, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that one or more of the big names have their role revised or move on to new projects.  Hopefully the same core principles that guided the original team will remain intact as their commitment to player satisfaction has been superb thus far.

What do you think about the future of Rift in the New Year? What predictions would you make about the world of Telara and what we have in store for the next 12 months? Let us know in the comments section below.

Unless they fix server imbalance.. there won't be man players left, atleast not on the guardian side.

Open persistent world, separate from leveling zones, a frontier style PVP, with objectives that effect the game world in some form. It's about time Defiant and Guardian focus on their war.

I love Rift, what a great game.

Merge the servers and fix the 3d engine!!! i have i7 920 and ati 6870 and i cant play with more than 30 fps....

I have AMD Phenom II x6 and Ati Sapphire HD6950 and i can easily run 30-60 fps. It's not the best idea to combine parts from different manufacturers. AMD and ATI, Intel and Nvidia.

The engine could be better though, not denying that.

My Prediction --- Free to play by end of 2012

your prediction is flawed in every way and you would know that if you actually played the game instead of trolling forums.

Not really trolling, just stating my opinion. On Eu servers this game is dead

Been playing since beta and LOVE the game (and play way too much), but honestly if Trion doesn't figure out a way to make LFG/LFD/PVP "world wide" vs. relying on pairing a few shards together I don't see it being much of a game in 2012 no matter how much content they crank out. If you make the wrong decision on which Shard to join when population drops on your shard, your queues can take hours. In a game that supposedly has "millions" of players waiting two hours for a queue to pop is just silly. But if you are paired with other low-population shards, that is the case.

With today's technology and speedy connections between servers the ability to have parties that span the entire Rift arena, vs. 2 - 3 shards seems a no-brainer. That would solve the low server population issue once and for all, make the game a lot more fun, and take pressure off "OMG where are we going to move the guild because our shard is dead" discussions that happen every time a new game comes out and people go play it (SW:TOR being the prime example).

A global Auction House would also be nice but that is an entirely different discussion.

With the advent of another fierce competitor (in regard to volume of subscribers) SWTOR may very well eclipse Rift this year. Particularly in regard to achievement and notoriety. Rift is very fondly appreciated by myself, as I've enjoyed raiding as a Chloro Mage well into Hammerknell with fights up to Sicaron and Prince Molinar. Sadly an obvious decline in population along with Trions inability to take care of its player base will likely be it's downfall. Trion fails to meets its players needs but will happily, if not incessantly try to please its subscribers. This archetype will always yield poor return for gaming companies. Once this mold is broken and the companies realize a finished product is fiction.. the audience is in fact the product and as consequence a fluid one. Investment in people will reign supreme.

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