Hi, everyone – We’ve dropped a little below our own bar for keeping you up to date on the state of the game, and for that I definitely apologize.
It’s not out of any desire to not keep you informed, but purely out of how many hours a week that everyone is putting into the builds, features, and updates for Open Beta, Head Start, Launch, and what comes beyond. Not an excuse, just letting you know that’s where every waking moment has been going.
With that said, we did want to get updates out on a few hot topics that have come up since Beta 6.
Let’s start with PvP in the shared world.
Just before Beta 6, we made an anti griefing change that prevented enemy wardstones at hubs and towns from being destroyed by the opposing faction, and significantly boosted guard strength around PvE hubs. We’re pretty happy with how that worked out on the PvE servers.
In time for Open Beta, we’ve developed the ability to repeal those changes on the PvP servers only, to see if they can remain playable without it. Ideally, it’s our hope that there’s gameplay value in having people being able to band together to attack and defend those areas on PvP servers.
If you choose to play on a PvP server, it’s our assumption that you not only don’t mind that level of interruption from that PvP attack-and-defense style of gameplay, but are actively excited about taking part in it. If you want uninterrupted PvE questing, choosing a PvE server is definitely recommended.
On damage tuning from Beta 6
Beta 6 was the largest test we’ve ever done. We had the largest number of people across more level ranges than ever before playing Rift. As we’re fine tuning NPC damage for launch, we got a lot of feedback (and just as importantly, combat metrics from the servers) on how everyone is performing in different level ranges. Expect further updates to these in Open Beta.
So far, in our closed testing of the current tuning, things are looking pretty positive. Finding the right balance between “too easy” and “too hard” across this many level ranges and character capacities is a challenge, and we’re looking forward to seeing what people think, and how well they perform, in the next round.
Raid development strategies, in a world with an entirely new class of content
One of the things that makes Rift different from other MMOs is that we have this entire class of content that most games don’t – The dynamic content systems that provide us the ability to create invasions, events of all sizes, ancient wardstones, colossi, and rifts. To most everyone here, that’s no big surprise.
Once you start talking about rifts, you have minor rifts (largely for solo and small group players), major rifts (for group players), expert rifts (for high end players, on par with an expert-level dungeon), and raid rifts.
Once we’re talking about those rifts at the high end of the game, those give you the ability to lure out specific encounters by picking up specific Lures. It’s that layer of content that we’ve chosen to focus on for our 10-man raid content for starters.
Most people haven’t experienced this yet in this game or any other, so it can seem as if we’re trying to short the 10-man raids by not doing 10 and 20 man versions of every instance.
Our intent is actually the opposite: This strategy lets us tailor more raid encounters for 10 mans, and giving people cooler things to do, faster, without either a) unfairly forcing people to stare at the same raid zones twice every week if multiple versions of the same zones are available, or b) forcing someone to choose between two sets of friends, if they can only do a 10 or a 20 of the same zone in a week.
Both of those are dynamics that have a lot of downside, and we’re trying to avoid things that either force burnout or force wedges between groups of friends. The dynamic content system, and its ability to provide fun content, accessibly, makes a lot of sense as a potential solution to these problems.
We expect 10 mans to be a pretty huge number of raiders all in all, and we expect to continue creating 10 man content rapidly throughout the live run of the game.
With 10 man rifts (via Lures), just like with 20 man instances, people can go do them on demand, which is another part of the strategy that might not have been clear. So, please don’t think that we’re throwing 10 man raiders to the wolves. We're actually trying to ensure that both sizes of raiding can flourish.
As with any of our other development strategies, we’ll be keeping an eye out and seeing how it goes at mass scale, after lots of people have the chance to participate.
Do know that we’ll respond appropriately, to make sure that we’re always iterating to make the best experience that we possibly can.
- The RIFT Development Team