An exclusive look at RIFT’s 2015 plans with Game Director Christopher Junior

    
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Massively OP: We’re here with RIFT Game Director Christopher Junior to talk about the state of the game and what’s coming up this year. So Christopher, following the excitement over Nightmare Tide, it feels as though RIFT has fallen into a quieter time in its cycle. What do players have to look forward to for the rest of 2015?

Christopher Junior: I wouldn’t say it’s been a quiet time! After the release of Nightmare Tide we’ve certainly focused a lot of our time on features that improve players’ quality of life rather than the big, flashy, news-making stuff. We’ve added a ton of content and new features including two sets of raids, an expansion to planar attunement, a new nightmare raid rift, a whole new type of instant adventure that takes place in raid zones, a massive upgrade to our wardrobe system and more. Now that I think about it, there’s plenty of flash in there!

And all that doesn’t even include all the great new things coming with our milestone Update 3.3: Waking Nightmares.

We have even more coming in 2015, with a brand new calling to add to the classic four and the Planetouched Wilds zones that we’ve already announced. We’ve got plenty more in store, but we’ll have to wait a couple more weeks for other big announcements!

Is the expansion model still something that Trion is pursuing for RIFT? Will we be visiting other planes in future expansions if so?

We are currently defining new exciting content delivery plans for RIFT’s future, but we aren’t quite ready to share them with the world yet. More in the next few weeks!

We love the idea of visiting other planes; no reason to stop now! There are way too many cool ideas and stories for us not to want to go there.

Looking back at Nightmare Tide and its metrics, what would you say was the expansion’s greatest success? And in all honesty, where did you see it falter or not perform as expected?

On an individual system level, I’d say our biggest success was with the minion system. We definitely knew we had something right during development when we’d find devs playing with minions during their lunch break (some much more!). It’s been enormously popular with the players and internal team alike.

On a larger scale, I’d say our biggest success was in delivering an entire boxed expansion’s worth of content completely free to our players. Nightmare Tide is deceptively huge; the vertical nature of the Plane of Water enabled us to pack a huge number of quests and points of interest, creating all new experiences for players exploring its zones.

At the same time, taking that much content and delivering it all at once rather than when it was ready was also one of Nightmare Tide’s bigger challenges. That sort of content release model means that we have to hold back on some really cool stuff that could be ready for players to do now. It’s a difficult balance, and something we constantly juggle to make sure we always have something exciting for players to keep coming back for!

The minion system seems quite popular since its inception. What plans does the team have for it?

Players definitely love the Minion system, and we’ve got plenty of future ideas on how we want to keep adding to it. We’ve got big things in store and lots of new stuff for players to do with their minions, but that’ll have to wait for the next update after Waking Nightmares launches.

How is the new calling coming along? Could you explain what this is and how it will work? Will it be a hodge-podge of souls from other callings or a completely new set?

With 1,400 abilities currently available in the existing souls, and over 17,000 different abilities created so far for various parts of RIFT (and that’s not counting things like planar attunement and our mastery system) it would have been easy for our designers to mix and match previously disparate abilities to create a new calling, but that isn’t good enough for RIFT, and not good enough for us to offer to our players.

We’ll be talking a lot more about the new calling in the near future, and we can’t wait to show it off to all of you, because it’s got completely new abilities and mechanics never seen before in RIFT. It’s absolutely awesome — and a lot of fun!

If you could deliver a message to former RIFT players who haven’t been in the game for a while to entice them to return, what would you say?

Log in and play, we’re better than ever before! We offer the best free-to-play experience and we have a lot of amazing content that you haven’t seen yet. We’re not stopping anytime soon: The next release has an amazing series of quests in the Nightmare Saga that has you visiting Port Scion during the Second Age of Dragons and exploring its fallen grandeur. A bit further out this year we have the new calling and Planetouched Wilds, both of which have to be experienced to be believed!

Thanks for your time!

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blackcatcrosses
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blackcatcrosses

Zuji Hmm. I haven’t seen a single example of any of the first three. Unless the ‘sudden shift in day/night’ cycle” refers to the stuff going on around rifts which is clearly intended. But no lag at all, no FPS drops.

Lctwo
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Lctwo

Embarrassed to say I don’t remember the guild name but I know it’s a newbie one! My character name is Arshne. Defiant side.

Luckinrio
Guest
Luckinrio

Lctwo Guild? Char? (:

Lctwo
Guest
Lctwo

I really, really enjoy my time in RIFT. I’m a casual player that doesn’t have a ton of time, and in my personal opinion the game’s F2P system is very good value. Like WoW and EQII, there is a lot to do in the game that can keep one occupied. I also think they do a damn good job with keeping old content relevant with the mentoring and side kicking systems. I’m sure there are a couple of Massively readers that still play regularly. If you’re one of those folks, come join me on Faeblight!

DugFromTheEarth
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DugFromTheEarth

teppic DugFromTheEarth I felt the same way when i found out that the earing slots were locked to free players until they earned enough platinum to buy the unlock for it. (or paid 5 bucks for some store credits).

Either way, my first thoughts were “pay 2 win”, because more equipable items = more stats = more power.

So far, im level 50, still dont have earrings unlocked, and honestly, Im not really feeling gimped in any way. That may change come 65 and raiding, but by then, earning platinum will be MUCH faster and easier, and I wont really have an issue buying the unlock.

The way I see it now, since its limited to just the earring slot, is that its not much different than a game like WoW, and their “legendary ring” that you have to grind and slave away for weeks and months to have, in order to have BIS. The only difference with Rift, is you can skip the grind and pay money to unlock it (even though you still need to actually FIND an item to equip in the slot)

teppic
Guest
teppic

ZenDadaist You’re not jaded, it is blatant PR speak. I mean, ‘it has to be experienced to be believed!’. Cheesy, nonsense PR crap.

ZenDadaist
Guest
ZenDadaist

I think I’ve become just too jaded. That whole thing read like such stage-managed PR speak. It felt like a cover, lacking depth and with no insight into what is actually going on underneath. No honesty.

“It’s all awesome! Everything is perfect! It’s going to become even more perfecter!”

teppic
Guest
teppic

DugFromTheEarth Locking equipment slots behind a paywall was pretty vile. They disguise all this crap with ‘oh you can get it all for free’, which means weeks of grinding on every single character to be able just to equip items. This is not free, it’s like saying ‘you can have this cake for free! you just have to walk around the shop 20,000 times’.

Sargonnax
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Sargonnax

This interview talked about pretty much nothing….

paragonlostinspace
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paragonlostinspace

Wandris Coolit  Not just a Nvidia problem, I’ve seen that flickering shadows issue with both Nvidia and AMD gpu’s since the release of Rift. :( And I run high end gpu’s. (currently a Nvidia Titan Black Edition on this system)