Editor-in-Chief Darryl "Togikagi" Gangloff sat down with Rift's executive producer to get some details on the game's next major update, which includes a Looking for Group tool and much more.
UPDATE: Trion Worlds just let us know that the launch date for Update 1.2 has been pushed back to May 10.
Rift's Update 1.2 is scheduled to launch on May 4 May 10, and we had the chance to sit down with Trion Worlds CCO and Rift Executive Producer Scott Hartsman to get details on a wide variety of features that will soon be added to the game.
We seriously cover a lot of ground in this interview. Hartsman talks with us at length about the upcoming Looking for Group tool, the wardrobe feature and some new zone events. He also explains that the new slivers system allows Trion to introduce 10-player raids that are focused on alternate realities or timelines. Lore fans should definitely keep an eye on the intriguing stories that can be told through slivers.
In addition, Hartsman told us that players can likely expect to see Facebook integration in Update 1.2, continuing Trion's push to connect Rift to all sorts of social networking sites. He even gave us some details on the new Refer-a-Friend program, and you may be surprised how long it will tie you to your friend in-game.
Hartsman also asked us to remind all players to log in and grab their River of Souls Event Reward Pack from their mailbox as soon as possible. You need to spend your Otherworldly Sourcestone before the vendor items disappear with the launch of Update 1.2, so buy some epic gear or other rewards before it's too late.
Keep reading after the jump for in-depth details on all of these topics and more!
ZAM: What can you tell me about the new Looking for Group tool that's coming in Update 1.2?
Scott Hartsman: I've been saying for a long time that we've always wanted to do one of these things, and it was just a matter of how do we do it so people look at it and go, “hey, I've played with these before and I like this one better.” It took us awhile to come up with some things that we liked and make it all work. The way ours works right now is you're able to queue up for dungeons and do random dungeons, help out players, all that stuff. And then obviously there's a pool that lets you play every day or just be a weekend warrior. There's basically a rolling pool that can fill up to seven bonuses, at least that's the way we have it tuned right now. We're tweaking it on the test server. Right now it lets you bank up to seven, and then you can go do your seven bonus dungeons a week any time you want.
One of the cool things that I like about ours specifically is you can be out in the wild, and let's say you're level 17 and get your first group quest. It's just a “group 2” quest, so we recommend you take another person. We let you queue up to find a partner just to do that quest right there in the same area. People love grouping together, they just don't like shouting and having to assemble it themselves. With seeing the way dungeon assembly stuff and group assembly stuff has worked in other games, that obviously is a big thing. You'd see people getting frustrated because they have these cooler quests and they're big zone finales, and you want to be able to do them because they're fun and you get a cool reward. We're trying to reduce the frustration level.
ZAM: So once you queue up and get a group, will you be ported to the dungeon?
Hartsman: We have rewards built in for finishing the dungeon. In order for us to be able to give you a reward, we have to port you in. These groups are different than a free-form group. You can't have a group going to get this bonus together, and then some players kick the strangers out and invite their friends in. Because of the pick-up nature, we wanted to make sure it was a little bit more tightly controlled. It's all to be fair more than anything else.
ZAM: What types of rewards will players get for completing the dungeons?
Hartsman: The initial reward for leveling up is bonus exp and cash, which is always nice to do. As you level up and do the Tier 1 experts, you start getting expert achievement plaques, which let you buy gear. For our Tier 2 dungeons, you get more expert achievements plaques. One of the directions we're looking to take it in the future is to also for the higher end ones give out an even better reward on top of that. We didn't want to hold back the feature long enough to look at that. We wanted to get it to a place where we're proud of it, launch it, check feedback, and make iterative improvements over the next month.
ZAM: Will there be a cap per day to earn the rewards?
Hartsman: There is a cap, and that's what we're tuning right now. You can keep using the feature over and over again. The only thing there's a cap on is how often the rewards kick in. If you want to dungeon your entire career, go nuts. Have fun! I imagine that will actually be a way I play an alt since I'm a huge dungeon guy.
ZAM: And you can queue up for any role you want?
Hartsman: Yup! Tank, heal, support and DPS. We do have support as a formal role because we've spent a lot of time balancing our support classes such that they add enough to a group to where they can occupy a slot while just making everyone else really awesome. We're officially supporting support as a role in the tool itself.
ZAM: Will the LFG tool be single shard?
Hartsman: Yes. We're going to keep it on the same server right now and see how it works. We could go cross shard with it, but there is definitely enough community concern about building server communities and we absolutely respect that. We'll give it a shot. If it does its job by letting more people do more dungeons and get more cool prizes for it, then we're good!
ZAM: What's your personal opinion about single shard vs. cross shard?
Hartsman: That's the thing, right? At the end of the day, it comes down mostly to opinions. It's very hard to back it up either way. There is definitely some amount of viewing people from other servers almost as disposable people. “I'm never going to see him again. Whatever!” But I think the people who truly act that way are just as likely to act that way around people from their own server. Some people play these games just to play and not to be social at all, and that's OK. It takes different kinds of folks.
Continued on Page 2.