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The eighth major content patch in the Rift saga is on the horizon! This patch brings a new 20-man raid, new professions and a new streaming client. We had the opportunity to test some of the new content and pore through the patch notes for the key features up and coming.

We were also lucky to be able to sit down with Hal Hanlin, Adam Gershowitz and Scott Hartsman to discuss the content. With the patch up and coming, we have brought you their comments with our rundown.

Infernal Dawn

Infernal Dawn will be the second 20-man raid published since Rift's release. In this new high level instance, players will fight through seven bosses amidst a boiling volcano to defeat the forces of Maelforge and Laethys.

When asked about the new focus of Rift's lore upon Laethys, Adam Gershowitz explains, “As we delved deeper and deeper into the lore, we found a greater and greater importance that Laethys plays in the universe. Her cult, therefore is climbing into ascendency. We are going to be seeing more of her effects both in the world and in future instances.”

The developers also went into detail about the lessons learned from Hammerknell, the first 20-man raid released post-launch and how those lessons will be applied in the new tier:

Scott Hartsman: “One of the biggest things is, 'What is the right amount of challenge? What is going to be hard enough, but still fun?' We basically don't want to be punching people in the face with the difficulty of the content. One of the other core things we're trying to avoid is creating situations where the success or failure of an entire encounter can messed up by one person getting a lag blip or one person missing a single queue... and the social difficulties those create. In a normal, healthy raid environment, we have players angry with us. We have players angry at the content. We have them really excited about a challenge. We don't ever want to create a situation where we create content where they hate each other.”

AG: “A big part of it was making sure the encounters were more team-based. So people succeed or fail as a team. When we released Hammerknell, we were still a rather immature game. We had only been out for a couple months, and our high level players had only been high level for a couple of months. And our testing reflected that. Not only did we not have a good handle on what the best players in our game could do, our best players in the game were still figuring out what they could do.”

SH: “From the outside, I can totally see how it makes sense that Hammerknell came out some number of months after the game launched, therefore the developers must have had a really different perspective. The development started about six months before the players even them. So that was content that began development before our high level game even existed in live.”

AG: “So as an end result we put out a really good raid, but it's not going to be as well-polished as Infernal Dawn. With Infernal Dawn, we have been very closely working with our raid players to make sure we're making fun and challenging encounters that don't also cause guild burnout. That we don't unnecessarily punish individual people.”

AG: “We talk about how important helping players maintain social connections in their guild is. We know, we play in these guilds. We saw there were a number of Hammerknell encounters which where quite bluntly guild-breakers. Our goal is to be sure we don't do guild-breaker content ever again, because that's definitely an indication that we have gone too far on the difficult side.”

New Professions: Fishing and Survival

Patch 1.8 will also be bringing the first release of new professions since the game's launch: Survival and fishing.

The fishing profession allows players to use fishing poles and lures to fish in Telara's waters. Players use the fishing pole to gain an AoE reticule to aim their cast into the waters to bring up fish and even buried treasure as well as to prepare some tasty foods from their catches!

In survival, players will learn to live from their environment, crafting various foods as well as the ability to pitch tents and bedrolls.

Adam Gershowitz talks about the initiative to include these new professions:
“Fishing and survival came a long way. The first thing that rolled all of this is us sitting down and saying 'We've put a whole year into putting nice core content, and we wanted to do a lot casual-oriented things you can do without fighting. Things you can do while a little more relaxed while you're watching TV, talking to a friend – kinda 50, 25 percent engaged in the game.

So obviously we started this off with weddings, and then we went down the list of things that were popular in the office as well as what players were asking. We look at giant lists player feedback every single day. They are live reports. And at the top of the list there are just some things that came up over and over again, and fishing was one of those things. So when it came time to put non-combat activities into the game, that quickly bubbled up to the top.

The tents and bedrolls started out as an RP item and we also wanted to give them a little bit of an effect. It really has two purposes. From an RP standpoint, you go ahead and pitch a tent or a bedroll wherever you want and have your own little campsite. From a gameplay perspective, it's also a way to get a little bit of rest experience outside of the main cities.

You might be in a situation where you're out and adventuring, and you really don't want to head back to town. You might want to take a short break, take care of the kids. And you don't want to travel all the way back to where you were. That's where tents and bedrolls come in really handy. Obviously they are much smaller buffs, so you're not going to go, 'I'm going to pitch a tent and go log out for 12 hours.'”


When asked if fishing and survival will become an integral part of gameplay, Gershowitz commented, “It's definitely going to be much more than an RP way to kill time. There will be some very distinct tie-backs into the game content.”

Trainers for both professions may be found in the capital cities and are trackable as profession trainers.

Class Changes

As with every patch, there are many class changes on the horizon.

Many of the Chloromancer changes undo previous balance tweaks. Voile vivifiant and Voile de biosyndesmos healing in PvP will increase by 15% and Lianes desséchantes duration will increase to 16 seconds.

Warriors will see some sweeping changes while rogues will see minor tweaks, especially in regard to saboteur damage throughput. We asked Adam if the changes made this patch bring Warriors and Rogues to more of a final form, or if players should expect more sweeping changes in the future:

“In terms of making large, more dramatic changes, I feel it's safe to say we're coming to a pretty good location where we are happy with the classes we released originally. The warrior changes recently are probably the last big ones. So the big push was getting them to scale better and more in-line with the rest of the classes in the game. Which wasn't as important when the game released, but has grown more and more important as we added more and more content to the game. So we really did want to get that resolved ASAP. That way, warrior players can fully enjoy their class as we continue to expand upon the game.”

Leaderboards

Patch 1.8 will be bringing leaderboards to the game. This will track various gameplay statistics and see where the player is in relation to their shard.

When asked if leaderboards are the beginning of a more incentive-based reward system, Gershowitz said, “We are looking into down the line, if leaderboards are super-popular, tying things like rewards into them. We do want to be very careful, because an activity like a leaderboard can do one of those things that breaks guilds apart or breaks communities apart. Especially if there a reward that only one person can get.”

Additional Features

There are also additional features being added to the game. These include the Seal slot added to the character equipment slots. These will be able to be crafted by all professions (except for Runecrafting) and will offer some modest bonuses to player stats.

An additional Instant adventure will also be rolled out. This adventure will be located on Ember Isle. There was no comment about if there will be increased rewards in step with the higher level NPC's on the island.

A third tier for planar attunement will also be available with the update. As with the other tiers, these will offer relatively small bonuses to player stats. The most notable of the additions allow players to gain additional planar charges.

There are also some quality-of-life additions with the patch including a reduction in the level required for Nimble mounts to 25, a “Sort by Progress” feature for the artifact window and resistance runes will be added to faction merchants.

Into the Future

Currently in testing on Public Test is a streaming client. This client allows players to download a base amount of game files (approximately 250MB at this time), and allows the player to enter the game while streaming the remainder of the game in the background. When asked, we were told that this will not be published with 1.8 but will be seen prior to 1.9.

Hal Hanlin also shared some future plans in the works for newer and low-level players:
“We're doing some really nice things for new players which will be coming in over the next year. One of those things is Instant Adventure, which is one of the more popular features we added to the high-level game. We'll be going back and putting that into the low-level game. Couple that with a really good mentoring system, and we are going to have tons of ways for low level characters to get into the game, experience new things, level up and get grouped up with their high level friends.”


The developers had no comment as to if a new expansion is in the works as players note a near-end to 1.x version numbers.

Patch notes currently in testing may be found here. Please note that all changes are in testing and are subject to change before going live.

We will bring you updates and announcements as they become available.