Rift Gamescom 2011 Preview -- Chronicles of Telara Patch Brings Quick-Hit Instances InstancesBy Sinan Kubba - Posted Sep 05, 2011
Rift has been one of the recent success stories for MMORPGs. By spicing its game with basic dynamic content on top of an amalgamation of the best things from other headliners like World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, and Lord of the Rings Online, Trion Worlds has reaped the rewards of an enthusiastic community and growing interest in the world of Telara. One only has to look to see how that Trion-engineered buzzword of dynamic content has translated into a new crop of MMOs with worlds that look to change and bend to the swell of player’s actions. It’s an exciting time for the genre.
Yet Rift is only six months old. While players and developers alike are celebrating that milestone with a special event, the team at Trion is well aware that Rift has a long way to go yet. So what’s in store in the coming months for Rift? What will we be talking about when it hits the ripe old age of one? At Gamescom 2011, the focus was clearly on content for high level players, but also around accommodating players like me who eventually get to the higher levels but don’t have the flexibility or enthusiasm to schedule large-scale raids with tons of other players.
The upcoming 1.5 patch will introduce the Chronicles of Telara. These are instances designed for one to two players, and not only will they provide decent rewards for players who can’t put in the raiding hours for super-spec loot, but they’ll also uncover some of the back-story for game events. I’ll admit that I’ve found Rift’s fantasy-fare plot mostly impenetrable, but players invested in the lore will be intrigued by the Chronicles of Hammerknell. The instance will delve into events that took place between the unsealing of the ancient Hammerknell fortress in the summer’s Waves of Madness event and the lore of the 20-man raid event. Speaking of which, in Germany, Trion told me that no player has made it past the first seven of the 11 bosses contained in the city. Make of that what you will.
Another introduction with players like me in mind is the planar attunement system. Level 50 players will earn supplemental points from quests, and these can be invested into bonus skill tress. Players will receive enough points per one to two hours of play to make a change, but each change will be minimal, more like fine-tuning than anything else. The idea is to keep the player progressing even if they’re only able to log in for an hour or two each session, and it sounds smart enough to me.
I reckon the smartest introduction of the bunch is that of Master Mode dungeons. These are basically harder versions of high level instances players have already completed, although they’ll be harder in different ways. The bosses may be slightly different, or even completely different, or it might be as basic as spamming the place with more enemies. We’ll have to wait and see, but Trion promises each one will keep players on their toes, and that the rewards for completing them will be huge. It’s a simple, neat way of evolving old content into new content, even if it’s not wholly original.
But that’s what great about Trion. They take ideas, and they evolve them, and I don’t think there’s any shame in that. I asked the devs in Germany about what it’s like to see the likes of NCsoft’s Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar taking dynamic MMO content to new kinds of extremes, but they’re not worried by it at all. They see it, and they take it on board, but they’re not suddenly going to change their style. As far as they’re concerned, their game is out, and those games are yet to come.
What’s also yet to come for Rift is the brand new zone expected before the end of the year. It’ll be the largest adventuring zone in the game to date, and we know Trion is keen as mustard to take the foundation of dynamic content some steps further with that update. With two new MMOs already on their plate, and both of them seriously ambitious, all eyes are on Trion in the coming months.