[Rift] Trion was able to build this in a cave … with a box of scraps!

Another day, another set of Rift patch notes. Trion have been adding stuff to their game at a fairly spectacular pace, and the next patch promises a slew of new types of rift, cosmetic clothing, and a massive amount of tweaks to classes, zones, quests, and instances.

Further in the future will be the Rift random dungeon finder, of which screenshots are here. Yes, it’s looking remarkably like the WoW version although you’ll note there’s the option of a support role in addition to tank/heal/dps. (Wonder who would use that, maybe off-healers and buffing souls such as Bard and Archon.)

Whilst all this activity is deeply impressive and makes you wonder what else they have planned, it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed by changes to the game. I don’t know how exactly they will be able to introduce all this new stuff to players in future, but it feels right that their main priority right now is throwing in more stuff for the first wave of players, be it endgame or fluff. Later in the game’s life, they may have to choose between maintaining this level of new mechanics and supporting newer players.

Still, the release rate is astounding compared to other MMOs I have played. They knocked up a whole cosmetic clothing system very quickly there, something which WoW still hasn’t done (and there was a suggestion at one point that Blizzard would do something along those lines for Cataclysm, so it isn’t purely on game design issues that it doesn’t exist.)

The one reservation I do have is on trying to figure out which way the game is going. If LFG going to be good for Rift in the long term? I suspect the answer to this really comes down to the player base and the instance tuning more than the random group maker itself. If players build a social expectation that LFG groups will be friendly and co-operative then it could work fine.

However, what we can’t see from the screenie is whether there will be gear requirements for the higher tier dungeons. Or whether people will queue for the best rewards possible regardless of whether or not they’re able to contribute …

But what do I know, I’m still just level 34 on my main and trucking along happily. May have to ease off a bit due to upcoming exams, sadly, which means that Trion will probably have introduced at least 17 brand new dynamic game mechanics by the time I reach max level.

14 thoughts on “[Rift] Trion was able to build this in a cave … with a box of scraps!

  1. The ‘support’ box is presumably for people playing support – Bards, Archons, Dominators, Warlords all come to mind, plus some hybrid builds.

    A follow-up comment from one of the devs indicated that there would be some level of gear requirement to queue for Expert and higher content – I’m guessing a basic Hit/Focus/Toughness check at a minimum, depending on role, but there weren’t any details.

  2. Yet, through all this, we still don’t have a guild bank! I don’t get it. Cosmectic tabs, LFD tools ….no guild bank. At this rate we might have player housing before a rather standard feature like a guild bank…

    As for the LFD tool, i think it is needed, i am at 50 and while the guild is not all up there, it’s a real mission to get into dungeons.

  3. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that they keep the Dungeon Finder shard-only, or at least have the matchmaker try first to put you with people from your own shard. One of the great things has been the emergence of a shard community – it’s taking a while, people still aren’t used to having reputations any more.

    • If you read carefully it says in the patch notes that it’s a tool to “group with people from your server.”

      That, my friends, is learning from the mistakes of others. One hopes the gamification won’t consume RIFT, though.

  4. One of the merits of releasing finished playable games: no need to go on a fixing frenzy after release. Still, I guess a lot of this new stuff was in development since before the game was released and it will be interesting to see if they can keep up the pace.

  5. Have to say that I am really enjoying Rift, I may only be level 25 on my main but I’m enjoying the more casual playstyle I have with Rift from the way it seemed to be in WoW. The fact that they are buffing my Assassin soul is also going to be welcome, looking forward to seeing how that plays out when it hits the live servers.

  6. Funny, that support role looks exactly like WoW’s ticky box for being the group leader, right down to the flag icon.

    Even as someone who doesn’t play Rift I’m curious to see how its dungeon finder will pan out, hopefully other games will be able to learn something from it.

  7. When you’re in a raid or warfront players are colour coded by role. Blue is healers, there’s also tanks, dps and support.

    What you are is defined as what you have most points in. So for example when I played my Justicar/Sentinel/Templar aoe healer it defined me as tank.

    Support is Bard, Archon, Warlord.

    I’m a little uneasy about how it will build groups. Is every group at every level to be tank + healer + support + 2 dps? Or will we be able to control group make-up somehow?

    I’m smiling at the idea that the best way to get groups as a Warrior may be to have a deep Warlord spec. There’s clearly a disconnect between what the game considers Support and what the players feel is Support (bard or chloro).

  8. I would think it would be fairly simple for Trion to code in a basic check for Hit, Focus, or Toughness before allowing a player to queue for Expert dungeons. As “elitist” as a gear check may sound, it is preferable to unprepared players being allowed into the system which would cause more people to dislike the tool. If groups formed by the tool do not have any expectation of success due to the presence of undergeared or unprepared players, then it is doomed to fail and cause all the problems that people have predicted that it will. A gear check is almost a necessary evil.

    • I agree with the necessity for a checks and balances for the LFD system, but I’m not convinced that gear is the way to do it. As players did in WoW in Cataclysm, they can just equip enough gear to reach the benchmark that the system is looking for – even if it’s less than ideal, or for a completely different role/spec. Then they just equip their “proper” gear when they get into the instance.

      Tanks needing a Toughness check? Just grab gear with a lot of Toughness on it – even if it completely lacks other important stats. Same for Focus, Hit, etc.

      The other problem with WoW’s gearing system is that a higher gear level is not – in and of itself – indicitive of more experience. When you allow players to get high level gear without going through high level challenges, it defeats the purpose of using gear as a measurement of past performance. (E.G. “badge gear” and epic craftables.) I’m not quite max level in RIFT yet, so I don’t know how (or if) Trion has done this differently at max level.

      There’s also the larger problem that gear is not the reason for failure in max level PvE content – but lack of execution (or lack of skill if you want to call it that). Pick any fight in WoW and remember what causes groups to wipe, or even an individual player to die. I’d guess less than 5% of the time it is due to lack of gear – unless you’re in a bleeding edge guild. Most of the time, it was because a player failed to react to an encounter mechanic (standing in fire, etc). More gear can not fix this. (Again, this is a problem in WoW, but I’m not sure how RIFT content is designed.)

      • I agree that gear is not the only metric, or even the best metric, by which to measure a person’s preparedness for difficult content. However, it is pretty much the only one that the game itself (and by extension an LFD tool) can measure. And I think using a stat (hit, focus, toughness) would be better than WoW’s method. Those stats are a bit more concrete in the sense that your group will be very hard pressed to succeed in Experts without them. A tank without any toughness is going to have a very hard time in T2’s. Whereas WoW’s “item level” metric is much more nebulous and easier to manipulate, as you mentioned.

        Until some developer comes up with a way to measure a person’s ability to adapt and respond to in-game situations, gear is going to remain the standard by which we can be judged, for better and for worse. (And yes, I realize that can be measured by completing the content itself, but what we are talking about is a way to evaluate it prior to being in the middle of it.)

  9. The gear divide exist currently, without a LFG tool.

    For go to expert T2 dungeons the toon need have a better gear than she uses for expert T1 dungeons.

  10. They (Blizzard) had a decent way to take past experience to assume future performance. They were called attunements, and everyone hated them. Vanilla attunements were obnoxious and irrelevant, but the way they did (most of) the TBC ones were great.

    The Karazhan key attument was more or less perfect. A player had to go through a handful of dungeons to get pieces of a key. Gaurding each of these key fragments was a boss (or bosses) that had abilities or mechanics that were also found in the raid itself. If you could get the key fragment (by killing the boss(es) gaurding it) then one would assume you knew the mechanics and abilities of that boss – and could apply them to future bosses.

    The community deemed this cumbersome and unnecessary, so they were removed. The current implemtation of “readiness” includes a way for players to not kill any bosses at all. A player can be considered “raid ready” without having stepped foot into a 5 man dungeon. Gear no longer equates to experience in WoW. Therefore can not be used as a metic.

    To use gear as a measure of experience, they must remove ways of getting gear that do not require appropriate challenge (I.E. craftables, “badge” gear, etc). Until that happens, it’s just as irrelevant as any other arbitrary measure of player experience.

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