NYCC ’11 – Rift Panel Highlights

At Trion World’s main panel, developers discuss the next six months of content.

Mike Whiteby Mike White

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The Ashes of History patch 1.5 just came out two weeks ago and rocked our minds with Planar Attunement, Chronicles, a new Warfront and super Rogues. So why then are we already talking about stuff that won’t be out until months from now? Because Trion showed it to us and it looks awesome!

In the upcoming patch 1.6, Rift is going to slap level 50 players in the face with more content than they can handle. First up are Instant Adventures. These are a new way for max level characters to quest, earn rewards and group with new players.

Instant Adventures can be queued into just like a dungeon or a Warfront. Once a group is assembled, the players are instantly transported to one of the end-game zones. Once there, the entire group receives a new quest and is sent on their merry way to complete it. These aren’t instanced events. The Adventures will happen in the persistent world for other players to witness and join in. These are hunting parties on crack.

Completing Instant Adventures will not only drop loot and give Planar Attunement experience, but also currency towards purchasing more gear. Clearly dungeons, rifts, daily quests, chronicles, raids, crafting and PvP weren’t enough.

The icing on the cake is the brand-new level 50 zone, Ember Isles. Packed with mobs that are level 52 and up, including plenty of elites, Ember Isles introduces two new factions to grind out rep with in order to obtain another new mount. Players can progress through the zone and unlock more daily quests than my brain can comprehend.

The zone itself is twice the size of the next largest zone in the game, Shimmersand. From screenshots and videos of the new map, Ember Isles looks to be one of the most visually stunning areas in any game I’ve played. Kudos to the art and lore teams at Trion for introducing a host of new NPC models as well. These little (and not so little) critters are some of the more imaginative and downright cool looking mobs in the game.

Yes, there are sure to be a few creatures here and there that are just copies of other mobs in Rift, but that is to be expected. Ember Isles will most likely be home to the next major raid in Rift, but they haven’t yet announced if that will come directly with patch 1.6 or if this is all just a lead-up to unlocking that instance.

Along with the new Instant Adventures and Ember Isles zone, Trion is promising to continue to pump out more Chronicles and Master Mode dungeons to keep all of its devoted players logged in for hours on end.

There is no news on any new Warfronts in the near future. During the Q&A session, the topic of a possible open-world PvP zone came up, but the devs claimed that isn’t something at the top of their priorities list. They worry that the addition of a new zone in the persistent world for PvP would have an adverse effect on the number of people queuing for Warfronts. Thus, creating the problem of PvPers waiting for hours just to get into a Warfront while everyone else stayed in the new zone.

Damn you Trion and your logic.