RIFT: The Next Evolution in Boss Battles
At the Trion booth at E3 2012, VP of Development Russ Brown was showcasing a boss fight event from Rift’s upcoming Storm Legion expansion, which raises the game‘s level cap to 60 and triples the size of the game world. If you’ll permit me the tired expression, it was epic.
Starting with the literal awakening of a sleeping giant, a mammoth door set into a mountain opened, and out crept an armored titan with a mighty bellow. This was Volan, a Colossus, freed from his prison.
I was only truly able to appreciate the size of the Colossus once our character moved in close and was visibly shorter than a segment of Volan’s toe. I’d hate to say bigger is better, but… Bigger is better. The ponderous footsteps, the epic scale… There’s a reason Godzilla is 150+ feet tall and not 15+ feet tall, and that reason is explained by another clichéd expression: the bigger they come, the harder they fall. And the better the loot.
As a small army of players engaged Volan in combat, Brown explained that the goal was to target pieces of his armor: shin guards, chest plate, tail… After taking enough damage, armor pieces would fall to the ground and spur Volan into a different combat state. The order in which armor pieces are destroyed will affect which state comes next, a measure that will ensure variety in subsequent runs.
Jump plates conveniently located in the combat area allow players to boost into the air and attack Volan from different angles. By striking a certain part of his body at a certain time — like his chest plate as he’s charging up a powerful attack — players can receive a buff as an added element of risk vs. reward.
Eventually, the army of players triggered a combat state that set Volan on the move — and toward a nearby city. As he approached the city wall, catapults pelted him with boulders, and players were able to take control of these siege engines.
With a couple powerful smashes, Volan bore a hole through the massive wall and lumbered into the city. I’d never before seen that level of interactivity between character and environment, and it was exciting. Players could now pour through the hole in the wall, where before their passage was blocked. The city — and its vendors — could now be accessed. This was no instance — this was a zone event taking place in the open world.
The presentation ended before Volan was taken down, which was, for me, the biggest cliff hanger of E3. Volan is apparently just the first of his kind; there will be more such boss fights, and I eagerly await what Storm Legion has in store.
You can check out Volan in action for yourself in this video: