It is the beginning of a new month, and with it closes the #NBIMMO fun. As a result Syp has posted a poll for the NBI Awards on Bio Break. You can cast your vote in categories like “Promising Star, Game Specific” and “Most Interesting Angle”. The categories have narrowed down the field with five blogs competing for each award. I am not really sure how long the voting is set to run, but get over there are show all these new blogs some love.
Entering the Storm
There had been some rumors circulating about this, but yesterday Trion dropped a 100 megaton bombshell on the community announcing their upcoming feature rich expansion: Rift: Storm Legion. The announcement of a new expansion is never that huge of a surprise. We have come to expect them roughly a year after release. However this is one of the most ambitious and feature packed expansions that I have seen in recent memory. Some of the features include:
- Two huge new continents, reportedly more than tripling the size of the existing game world.
- Dual-faction island city of Tempest Bay.
- Four new souls, one for each of the callings
- Level cap raised to 60
- Ability to “Instant Adventure” your way from 1-60 if you choose.
- Greater variety of onslaughts, rifts, and events.
- Seven new dungeons zones.
- Three new raid zones.
- A new single player Chronicle.
- Massive colossus battles that supposedly effect the world in ways we have not yet seen.
- Personal dimensions: Guild and Player Housing.
- New “Cape” inventory slot.
- New Grandmaster tier of crafting.
- New puzzles, artifacts, collectables, achievements, mounts, pets, titles and more.
The Past Year
A little less than a year ago, I made on post on this blog titled “It’s Not You, It’s Me”, where basically I admitted to cancelling rift and outlining some of my reasons for doing so. There are multiple reasons, some of which I have come to realize really were about me, and my lack of wanting to commit to doing any form of organized gameplay. I can’t hold any game responsible for that, because honestly it has been an evolution I have gone through, from very serious raider, to very serious casual player. Since then I have played a ton of EQ2, LoTRO, gotten bored with SWTOR, and been dabbling in Guild Wars 2 and Secret World betas.
The primary problems I had with Rift, was the lack of “fluff” the world had. Nothing in Telara seemed to exist, just for the fun of it. All things seemed to be tied to some purpose, or needed by the single questing patch per faction. I enjoyed the game, but just ran out of things I felt worthy of doing. There were plenty of collections and achievements that I could have gone after, and I had many factions I could be running dailies with, but when I ran out of quest storyline, I just ran out of things I was interested in. Rift events were a blast, but after a point they also became old.
I can’t say that Trion listened to me, I don’t have the ego to even imagine that, but what I can say is that my entire guild seemed to go through the same gradual leaving that I did. We went from having 50 active players, to 10, to 5, to none. So while they may not have listened to me, I can tell they heard the community as a whole that wandered off, because in the last year they have been insanely busy. I stopped actively playing the game sometime last June. Here is a list of some of the major content achievements as taken from this amazing “welcome home” thread, for folks coming back to the game.
- PVP Rifts.
- Cross Server Looking For Group.
- 3 “Sliver” 10 Man Raids.
- Chronicles Solo/Duo Instances Added.
- Planar Attunement Post 50 Advancement System.
- Master-Mode Dungeons.
- Support for player made Add-ons.
- Ember Isle – New questing zone for level 50 characters.
- Instant Adventures – LFG open world adventures.
- Cross-Faction Auction House.
- Rift Mobile App.
- In-Game Character Weddings.
- 6th Role Slot.
- Crafting from bank.
- Mercenary System to balance the sides in PVP Matches.
- New Fishing and Survival Trade-skills.
- New “Seal” crafted Inventory Slot.
- Nameplates for mobs and players.
- Streaming Client.
- Guild Finder system.
Expansion before the expansion
So in one year they have added an entire expansions worth of content already. I’ve always respected the folks at Trion, and thought given time, they would turn the product into a really amazing place to be. I subscribed for roughly a years time, even though I only played the game roughly 4 months. I had faith in the team, and figured my subscription was a “donation to the cause” of sorts. Seems like that “donation” has been repaid in massive amounts of hard work. Even before the expansion proper launches, 1.9 is waiting in the wings and seems to fill up any of the remaining gaps in the game.
The two big things for me that are coming in 1.9 are Conquest Mode, and Mentoring. Conquest promises to take us back to DAoC style 3 faction PVP. I have long held the opinion that what is wrong with PVPin general, is the fact that games focus on the Red Vs Blue mentality. I can remember in DAoC, the factions to some extent self balanced. If one team was a bit stronger, the other two would temporarily gang up to even out the odds. I think the Conquest mode will be a shot of adrenalin to a languid PVP culture.
If you’ve read my blog at all, you have heard me go on and on about mentoring and how great it is. Literally this is the one feature that I think every game needs. Being socially focused, it gets frustrating when new friends start and you can’t really help with out without absolutely steamrolling content for them. This is really no fun for anyone, for you laying waste without consequences is boring. For your friends, they end up just following you around aimlessly never actually learning how to play their classes. When you can mentor down to your friends, and run the content for real, you get to relive the experience and do so with your buddies.
A Pat on the Back
It is so easy to focus on the negative things in the game industry. Trust me there are plenty, and I have been a bitter ass for a very long time when it comes to the flaws in games. That said, I feel that it is all the more important that we point out what is going right in the industry. With the expansion, Trion will have added in every single one of the “must have” features I could even muster. On top of that, it triples the size of its game world, and with that comes a flood of new content for players to experience. Essentially they have answered the challenge posed by all of us who unsubscribed, and have done so in really heroic fashion.
I still very much love Norrath, and am having a blast still in Everquest II, but I almost feel like I need to resub to Rift just to applaud them for their efforts. At this point I have been gone long enough that essentially I will need to completely re-roll to remember how the hell anything works. That said I think I will be doing just that, and taking a tour of all the changes first hand.
I had already decided that I would not really be playing Guild Wars 2 or Secret World anymore until the launch. I played enough of the games to realize I liked it, so I don’t want to wear off that new game smell. So between the ever present EQ2, Rift, Diablo 3, and piddling around with SWGEmu… I think I will have plenty to do for the foreseeable future. It needs to be said: Great job Trion.