Rift Developer Interview

Today, the developers of the hit MMORPG Rift held an impromptu interview on their IRC channel. Content Designer Larry Boles, Systems Designer Andrew Krausnick, and Rift Events Lead William Cook fielded questions from fans regarding tomorrow’s–and future–Rift World events.

Here’s the transcript.

Will Phase 2 start tomorrow morning, or tonight at midnight?

Rift team: Tomorrow noon, PST. On EU servers, the event starts at noon, GMT. I would recommend being there on time; this phase will take a different form than the current one.

Can we expect any more items to be added to the World Event vendor?

Rift team: What you see is what will be there. We won’t want to surprise anyone who has planned out their acquisition rate. We’ll most likely be adding ‘burn’ items in the future (consumed items of some kind) for people who collect additional currency.

Do you feel that the sourcestones, and the major invasions to earn them, are being enjoyed by an appropriately large amount of players?

Rift team: I’m assuming this question is referring to the major zone events and the epic sourcestones. We definitely want more of these to happen than have been, we made some changes in 1.1 and are continuing to adjust. These are major events which require large numbers of players in a zone to play at the level we want them to–part of the issue is messaging, only players in that zone will know about it.

Will River of Souls or even a 20 man Rift event be added tomorrow?

Rift team: We’re going to be working to improve messaging so you’ll know they’re happening when they’re happening, if you’re interested.

Do you have any plans to change the rewards/currency to summon Raid rifts?

Rift team: We’re going to be adding additional sources for the components, specifically through doing zone events and other rift content. We found a bug that was causing issues with invasions to sometimes not spawn, they should be fixed soon.

Is the same currency going to be used for other World Events in the future?

Rift team: No, future events will have different currency. Once this event is over, you can safely sell/get rid of any currency you didn’t spend.

How long will phase 2 be active?

Rift team: Until players beat it; this phase will be based on player participation. It will likely last a matter of hours, depending on the server.

Will tomorrow’s phase be worth it for max level players to partake in?

Rift team: Very. Everyone will be a winner!

Will these world events be an ongoing thing? Do you plan to launch another right after we complete this one?

Rift team: About the future of world events in general: We’re very excited about them, we think they’re a great way to show off this content and keep things interesting and fresh. We’re already working on the next one based on things we’ve learned from this one. The future depends on a large number of factors, including community feedback, but it’s an area which we think sets us apart and there is continued development.

Will you be increasing the drop chance of the weapon cache and rare mounts for the second part?

Rift team: Yes, the weapons cache will be very available tomorrow.

I’ve noticed that the mobs in a rift can sometimes be all elites. What determines whether elite or standard mobs are at the rift?

Rift team: We do balance the mobs based on how many people are in the area/zone. So in heavily populated areas we will try to make sure the experience of the encounter is appropriate.

Will I be able to purchase world event items after the event ends with the currency I’ve earned?

Rift team: Yes. The world event merchant will continue to be available.

Can you give us any information about Phase 3?

Rift team: Yes, once you complete it the raid instance River of Souls will become unlocked – but you’ll have to go through Alsbeth’s reanimated minions to do it!

As the Gaming industry goes, more and more people are obviously comparing you to World of Warcraft. What future updates are you planning that will push you further away from being compared with such huge Gaming names?

Rift team: While I can speak to the surprises we have in store for our next update, I can say that we are already working on our next world event, which will be much more involved than this current one. As Andrew already mentioned, we’re learning a lot from the current event and can’t wait to apply that to the one we are working on now. Through these massively social experiences you’ll start to see RIFT diverge more and more from the MMO pack as something special, and it’s our hope we can bring them to you as often as possible.

A significant number of players on my server, including me, have been complaining of a lack of events. How do you plan to help fix that in the future?

Rift team: We’re constantly watching feedback like this, and one thing we’ve heard is that players want to participate but aren’t always in the zone (maybe in an instance, the capital cities, or just running around the world). We want to improve our messaging so we can get more people to these events when they do happen, and make them happen at a rate that makes sense with the increased attention this should place on them.

Will public groups ever be made more fluid? Right now everyone disperses from a rift so people in a raid may all end up at different locations. An auto reforming pub group would be helpful.

Rift team: We’ve discussed this issue a lot in house and are looking at several possible solutions.

Will players of every level be able to participate in Phase 2?

Rift team: Yup. That’s actually my primary goal when designing these things. I scream and holler if there isn’t chunky content for all levels to participate in.

Although I wouldn’t suggest lower level people should run all over the world without friends; the native monsters in the zones may pounce them.

In the future we’re going to look into ways that lower levels players can view or even participate in some of the more high-end story elements, but for now we’ve provided everyone with large pieces of content to play during the various phases.

Besides the new Raid coming soon are there any more new PVE options coming out for the End Game players who are already done with everything to date?

Rift team: While I can’t give you any concrete details on this (yet) and it likely won’t be in front of you as soon as our next round of instanced content, we definitely intend to support our level capped players with content that isn’t just instanced and plays to strengths when it comes to big messy open world content.

Is it worth me carrying on to play my rogue in its current weak and pathetic state, or should I just reroll a pyro?

Rift team: You should stick with your Rogue. There is much rogue love in the office, and that will end up in game.

If PVP escalates in phase 2, will the zone wipe?

Rift team: On PVP servers the world combat should be… Glorious! We do have systems in place, however, should there be any issues to make sure the event is completable.

The inclusion of Twitter feeds and the in-game Youtube video feature are spreading the game across social networking – are there any plans to add further social networking features to the game?

Rift team: Integration into social networks is a very cool frontier in MMOs, especially the popular western MMOs. We have some plans for further integration for our next world event, so stay tuned.

Can we expect any possibility of crafting recipe drops from events like these, possibly even for on-of-a kind or one-shot items?

Rift team: That came up in discussion again just the other day, so I’m sure it won’t be too long until you see crafting making its appearance in our world events.

Are the world events recyclable content? Ie will we see Alsbeth try to run the same scheme with the river of souls in a few weeks with identical dialog?

Rift team: You’ll see some of the content stick around, but in the background (the rifts, the Colossus based zone events), but also much of what you’ll see – especially in Phase 2 and 3, are one time only. And the merchant rewards and daily quests will be gone forever as well.

Andrew, this question is for you. How do you feel being a developer for Vanguard has helped you in Rift?

Rift team: I think that for better or worse Vanguard was a very ambitious game, and working on it taught me quite a bit about both needing to take risks and do what no other games are doing, but also focusing those risks and ambition into big wins for the game.

Among the legacy achieves, it seems that there are 3 that can only be done within a couple hours tomorrow. Is this accurate, and if so, what’s with so many legacy achieves and such a small window?

Rift team: Because there is so much going on tomorrow! We’ll see how that works out. And a word of advice: you might want to take Alsbeth up on her final offer, if only briefly ;)

In the future, we hope to offer achievements throughout the week. However, we always want to offer some special moments that can only be achieved during the intense days of a world event.

Any plans on letting us turn lower tier sourceshards into planarite?

Rift team: Yes.

Will phase 3 be initiated right after a shard has completed phase 2 or will there be some delay?

Rift team: Phases without specified date/times will often chain after the preceding phase based on player actions/participation in that preceding phase.

Any chance we’ll see these temporary Achievements have point values in the future?

Rift team: Very highly unlikely; we intend for a character to be able to get all achievement points that any other character could, if not all achievements.

Any plans to let us turn planarite and/or sourceshards into sourcestones? Vile sourcestones drop too rarely.

Rift team: Also unlikely, but what is likely is that we bump up the frequency and accessibility of these events so they are more generally available. It is, however, worth noting that these will still be rare (but they are too rare right now).

If you are level 50, where should you be when Phase 2 starts? Stillmoor?

Rift team: We’ve included messaging tomorrow that should tell you where to go. However, for the bulk of phase 02 you can pretty much pick any zone and you won’t be wrong.

Why is it that all rare planar items at the merchant always 5-10 levels behind the current zone?

Rift team: Take a look at the actual quality of the item rather than their equip level–these have had their stats bumped notably from what their equip level would dictate. The only reason the equip level is that low is to make sure they’re usable when they can be acquired. Usually, they’re on par with items from the end of a zone.

Any Plans to allow us to turn crafting Marks into crafting plaques?

Rift team: We have some plans for plaques – from the forums: “Tradeskill Plaques – We realize the random nature of plaques can be frustrating at times, so we’re going to take a look at plaque deliver & cost and see what we can do to make this more enjoyable without trivializing the effort needed to obtain them.”

You can read more about upcoming crafting changes here.

I assume we should be in at-level zones tomorrow. Is this correct?

Rift team: That’s probably the best strategy.

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