Hail, Ascended!

A busy six weeks have passed since our spring update letter, and while it's not quite officially summer, the Rift team is full steam ahead preparing for long days and too-hot weekends where you can escape the heat outside by playing Rift! (If you're in the southern hemisphere, clearly you should also bundle up in a blanket with some Rift in the chilly evenings, just saying.)

Grab your sunglasses and a cold drink and let's get to it - and don't forget your towel!

Latest Balance Updates
The recent work on soul balance picked up speed with a significant set of ability updates in 4.4 Hotfix #13, published live on May 16th. This first pass brought a lot of focus on Warrior souls, with the goal of bringing them up to a more competitive state and more fun to play. If you were considering a new alt, now would be a good time to try a Warrior! Additional fixes went in for Clerics, Rogues, and Mages, as well as overall buff stacking groups between callings.

These balance changes are definitely not considered the end of ongoing soul work, but so far appear to bring us to a more even baseline for soul performance from which more targeted changes can be made. High on that list are Legendary Abilities, additional Warrior improvements, and a look at Clerics for both healing and DPS.

We'd like to offer great appreciation to those players who joined us on PTS Omega to review, parse, and give feedback on the combined changes prior to them going live! You can expect some more future patches to roll out in a similar manner, where a set of changes gets compiled over time, sent to PTS, then reviewed before integrating into the Live and Prime update schedule.

Speaking of PTS and content testing, we're about to have the ability to run both PTS Alpha and PTS Omega at the same time with the same patch, with the shards running different (Live and Prime) rulesets. When we get ready to enable them, we'll be taking PTS offline for a couple of days for behind-the-scenes work. It'll be worth it to be able to get both types of testing at the same time!

Latest Content Updates
The Seeker scavenger hunt event started on May 16th, and to be completely honest, there's some pleasant surprise at the collaboration we've seen! You've been teaming up to share coordinates and discussing the hunt on the forums - Rift players are the best. Good luck to those still working on the collection, and to those awaiting the challenge results!

Over on Prime, Greenscale made his grand appearance and many of the Ascended rose to the challenge - some of them even met with victory. If you're not quite raid-ready yet, don't fret! Additional changes went in to adjust overpowered Sliver boss abilities, and to smooth out the Prime experience curve. The update also reduced the platinum costs of expanded Role slots for those of you who prefer to have a spec ready for every situation.



The Near Horizon
While the recent hotfixes have a strong balance focus, on the mid-term horizon we have folks already working on some really great summer events and laying the groundwork for some of our longer term content goals for Live as the Prophecy of Ahnket storyline continues . More frequent bonus events, like this last weekend’s bonus experience on both Live and Prime, are also in the cards. It's hard to talk details on some of these until the patches get closer to complete, but there are definitely some beans to spill . Not too many, though - don't want to spoil the picnic!

Summerfest approaches with the promise of relaxation in Telara - who says an Ascended can't take a vacation from saving the world? New art and dimension items are rolling in, and this writer might be biased, but our artists are killing it! There's also some cleanup work being done to improve the event experience this year.

Summerfest isn't the only world event on the horizon. We've mentioned previously that the team is working on the prelude event for River of Souls on Prime. While these events may not be in the timeline for Live, they’re going to be fun and challenging content that we’ll be looking to release on all worlds! In that process we've uncovered other events from Rift's past that were not tied to specific holidays or raids, and the team is working on bringing these back for an encore on both the Live servers and Prime.



Live
We have more than balance updates and events planned for Live servers this summer. The team is committed to improving the overall experience on Live servers, and some of the short- and mid-term focuses are:
  • Bring more exciting rewards to the Daily Reward Calendar on Live, more in line with the Prime rewards.
  • Add rare mount drops to Expert Dungeons and Raids on Live. These extra rewards for play have been great on Prime, and this one is an idea that’s definitely worth taking to all servers.
  • Revamp and reduce the credit store on Live. We're looking keenly at player feedback, especially some recent well-presented player discussions, to improve this area. While we view the store as a place for cosmetics, convenience, and some amount of ability for newer players to catch up with their friends, we don’t want it to be perceived as gameplay replacement, so we’ll be making upcoming changes with that in mind.
  • Some may have noticed the recent trend on the Rift store to offer the latest mounts without releasing them inside of a lockbox, and you should expect more of that.
  • As an advanced Soul Balance topic, revisiting the Eternal Weapons and their impact on builds.
  • Planar Fragments, addressing their level of RNG and costs to upgrade.
  • Warfront queue level banding is going to be getting a look in an upcoming test. The more level bands and warfronts there are, the longer queueing takes. Our goal here is to speed up the queues while keeping gameplay fun.

We’ve got a jam-packed summer ahead of us, Ascended. We hope to see you well and victorious in Telara over the next few months!

– The Rift Team