The Carnival of the Ascended celebration is coming to an end as the world of Telara prepares for the next major update, Infernal Dawn . The past year, full of consistent and large updates for Rift, has us wondering what's next. I had a chance to attend a Rift roundtable discussion with Trion CEO and Rift Executive Producer Scott Hartsman, Producer Adam Gershowitz, and Design Director Hal Hanlin to gain some insight on fishing, new raid content, and what else we can expect in the future.
Ask any experienced raider to name the biggest challenge Rift offers, and their answer is almost assuredly Hammerknell. The 20-man raid is the first of the Tier 2 encounters and is what Hartsman described as "face-punching content." While some enjoy the intensity of the challenge, the team noticed that it was starting to cause issues within guilds. Hartsman says that a number of the encounters in Hammerknell were guild-breakers and it's never their goal to make content that makes players angry with each other.
With their new raid, Infernal Dawn, they've taken the lessons learned from Hammerknell to make an experience with fun challenges that don't cause guild burnout. Success and failure will be more team-based to avoid situations where one person missing a cue would wipe the entire raid. They've also toned down the devastating effects of some single target debuffs to help alleviate the negative social consequences for individuals who make a mistake or have a sudden lag blip.
This doesn't mean they're taking out the difficulty. Hartsman explained that Infernal Dawn is designed with the top Rift guilds in mind, ensuring everyone will have a challenge that will bring guilds together rather than tearing them apart.
In a push to add more depth to the non-combat side of Rift, Gershowitz told us that fishing and survival skills were two of the most requested activities by players and developers alike. Fishing will use crafted poles and lures to snag up everything from basic supplies to mini-pets and was promised to be more advanced than similar systems in other games. Trion also plans on tying the skill into community events, such as fishing derbies, to make fishing more than just a fun sideline activity.
Survival sounds like an odd mix of cooking and the crafting of items that provide unique bonuses. Tents and bedrolls, for example, will give players a small amount of rested experience when they're not able or willing to go back to the city. The rested buff in the cities is substantially better, but it gives a nice perk to going afk on a mountainside while you replenish snacks between rift invasions.
While not part of the upcoming patch, Hartsman, Gershowitz, and Hanlin talked openly about some features coming in the future. Instant Adventures (think instant rift events that group you with fellow players for loot and xp) are coming to lower levels. Since their release, they've been one of the best features for players looking for some action on a limited time schedule. Adding them to lower levels will make it that much easier (and more fun) to level new characters.
Towards the end of the discussion a question was asked about the letters "XP" on a whiteboard in Trion's anniversary video . Hartsman stated, "We covered up everything on the whiteboard that we didn't want people to see. Feel free to draw your own conclusions from there." It could mean an actual expansion for Rift, but the listing of their upcoming mentoring system (which allows lower levels to gain more XP and higher levels more ways to gain Planar Attunement XP) leads us to believe this image has more to do with that, and less to do with the existence of an expansion.