Interview: Trion Worlds goes in depth on RIFT Prime
Massively OP: From the announcement, interview, and comments on Twitter, it sounds as though many of the details of RIFT Prime are still in flux. Could you elaborate on what some of these conversations and debates that are happening in Trion? What decisions need to be made before the server can be built and tested?
Amanda Fry: Work on the progression server is underway and moving fast! As we work through tasks and start making changes, we come across plenty of cases where the question is asked, “How do we do this the best way?” Discussions take place among the team constantly because the “best way” is a combination of doing what our players will enjoy, doing what our tech is capable of, and doing it in a way that works alongside our live server players’ experience.
In the interview last week, Chris Junior seemed to be very firm that there would be no character preservation or transfers once the Prime server ends its run. Yet when questioned about this on Twitter, Trion and Scott Hartsman said that this was still under discussion and may change. Why make a clear statement about this detail and then hedge? Also, what drawbacks are there to allowing subscribing players to retain a character (and dimensions) that they put in a year of time and money into enjoying? Are there angles to this that we are not seeing from the outside?
The best outcome for anyone playing on the RIFT Prime server is to have their character remain after the server runs its planned course. Our greatest concern internally revolved around the shortened pace of raid-level gear progression, with shorter raid lockout timers and faster gear gain. It’s important to the team that we don’t undermine the effort put into raid or character progression on RIFT live servers with the way Prime characters are ultimately handled.
That caution drove the initial decision around preserving characters, and we wanted to be as direct as possible up front so interested players understood what they’d be getting on the new server! Between the time of the early statements to players and now, some good ideas have come up internally for how to “do this the best way” — i.e., keeping Prime characters permanently — and we’re letting people know this consideration is happening.
Could you go into more detail about how this progression server will roll out its content? Are we talking vanilla first and then expansions every few months? Or doing it patch by patch? Zone by zone?
We’ve planned out monthly “chapters” of content to unlock throughout the Prime server, roughly mirroring the order that content was originally released to RIFT through monthly updates or expansions.
Dungeons and raids have the most individual tiers, where they’re grouped into monthly sets based on general difficulty and drop power. For example, at the start of Prime the server will begin with a maximum level cap of 50, original launch zones up to Stillmoor, the Greenscale’s Blight raid, early normal-mode dungeons through Charmer’s Caldera, and the first tier of expert-mode dungeons.
The level cap will remain at 50 for several months while the additional expert dungeons are added, the first two slivers are released, Planar Attunement is introduced, and so on.
The content progression isn’t only for raiding, so throughout the Prime schedule we’ll unlock other additions like Planar Attunement, crafting rifts, the Saga questlines, even whole expansion chunks like the release of Storm Legion. There’s talk among the team about whether we can rebuild the pieces needed to re-run the original world events that preceded the opening of major content updates such as River of Souls or Storm Legion, as well. We think that would be awesome, but it has some challenges to make them run properly.
Some readers have wondered why Trion isn’t considering older soul versions that hew more to the vanilla format. Were these saved? Is it technically feasible to revert back to previous versions of the classes?
The short answer is no, for multiple reasons that we’re unable to work around. The more useful answer is that we should look at what specifically made those souls memorable and enjoyable for the people playing them, and use that understanding to influence the current live soul design.
Will players on these servers have access to account bonuses that they have unlocked, such as mounts, bags, and other promotional goodies?
Starting out fresh with equal access to collect unique things or complete goals is really important to us with the Prime server. Some unlocks, like bag or bank slots, will be included with the Prime access and be unlocked for all accounts.
Once the Prime server ends its run, will it be restarted? Are you considering different rules for its next “season,” as you were discussing with the challenge server idea?
The participation and feedback from our players on this first run of Prime will heavily influence what happens as we approach the end of the planned content chapters. We’d like to turn this into a multi-seasonal offering and are considering all sorts of options on alternate rulesets and features for later iterations.
Is RIFT working on a new expansion for 2018? 2019?
The RIFT team is hard at work right now making sure that the progression server will offer players an exciting experience that is both worth their time and their money. That being said, we do have a ton of content planned throughout the year. While we can’t get into our specific plans just yet, be aware that 2018 will be a big year for RIFT!
If the RIFT Prime server proves to be popular for its different business model, will Trion consider creating a permanent server with that model?
Never say never. We would love to see this option should the demand be confirmed.
Will all expansions and classes be included with the subscription on the Prime server? Any “extra” purchases required, like the earring slots?
The Prime server includes all expansions and DLC features like classes and earring slots (Primalist is not expected to be available, definitely not on day one, but would also be an included feature if it were).
For souls specifically, we’re discussing ideas to have them earned through gameplay in a way that rewards certain accomplishments, like earning notoriety with certain factions or participating in open world content.
Thank you Amanda, we appreciate the answers!