Tonight I was going to write about megaservers, but the Rift livestream trumps that.
Rift is creating a unified gear track for all playstyles. If you’re only interested in expansion news, skip down.
Megaservers Are Like Cow Houses
In the pilot episode of Breaking Bad, the two anti-heroes have arrived at a remote location to do their first meth cook together. Jessie stands on a rock outcrop and looks back at civilization.
All he can see is a “cow house”.
This is a great characterization of Jessie through dialog. It’s also symbolic of an outsider looking at civilization. And “megaservers” are like cow houses.
I disagree that megaservers are the “gold standard” as Wildstar makes the move to mega. Megaservers are horrible. Most people in the game are faceless entities you’ll never know or see again.
If you additionally take away all nameplates in your game a la Elder Scrolls Online, and add multiple guild joins, and you’ve got a recipe for a lousy community and no connection to other players. Why not also stick your head in the sand and ignore the need for an Auction House and fixing the bug that disallows beta players from joining the live forum. (…)
Meanwhile, Rift’s cluster system is perfect, maintaining community identity and name recognition on servers while retaining megaserver perks, i.e. cluster-wide group finding. I’ve started using the Rift shard hopping a lot–instantly teleporting from shard to shard when I want to do an event or gather materials and artifacts on a low pop.
The point is that it’s my choice. In a cow house game, you’re a cow. If cow pen #2523 needs more cows, you’re going to be teleported to cow pen #2523. In Rift, I pick my pasture, and I like it a lot. Queue times are still shockingly short, and plenty of players show up for zone events, while keeping a sense of friends and a home shard.
So vote no for cow houses. For more on fighting the dehumanization in today’s games, TAGN shared a great video recently.
Towards A Parity Of Gear Between Playstyles
Today’s Rift expansion dev chat (it’s an hour long, so don’t go clicking just yet) discussed PvP changes and the new mastery system.
The main take from the PvP was that there is no more PvP gear. All playstyles in Rift will acquire a unified currency that will allow purchase of gear. So you can PvP and get the same dungeon and raid gear as the people doing that content.
According the Bill Fisher (Daglar), the reason is that the vast majority of Rift players dabble in different things. The subtext (in my opinion), is that not enough people are getting to raiding. They’d rather do a little of this and that–in other words have fun.
Going forward, whatever activity you choose will contribute to a background feeling of progress. This helps the raiding agenda while also helping casuals have a progression track, something that Khellendross said he’s strongly advocating.
In short, this sounds fantastic.
The hardcore PvP set has legitimate concerns, such as the ancient problem of PvE raiders coming in and owning them. To answer this, Trion is using a complicated power cap system, and assertions (i.e. by Ocho) that skill in PvP will always trump the Greatsword Of Godly Doom.
I’ve always wanted a system like this. I hate organized raiding but love unorganized raiding where I can make my own decisions. This means I can do raid PvP and not feel like I’m going down a dead-end path, an inferior outsider to the real PvE game.
Daglar also mentioned regular weekend PvP events where all players are normalized to the same gear, so skill and build is everything. The subtext may be that players aren’t enjoying or playing PvP when they are outgeared. This is why I’m not doing PvP right now, actually. I’m waiting for the gear reset.
Hit = Toughness And Masteries
In another good move, the Rift devs are changing the tank gating stat, Toughness, into the DPS gating stat, Hit. This will make builds and roles more flexible. You’ll still want different gear to tank and PvP (endurance), but it’s less of a pain.
Daglar also explained “masteries” in the Rift stream. Your soul trees won’t gain more points or expand in Nightmare Tide. Instead, characters will gain meta-skill “masteries” that can be paired with any of your existing builds.
Best of all, you can swap these meta-skills on the fly for an extra level of customization for your chosen activity. Rift is playing on its strongest points by allowing you to create your own strategy. An additional set of meta-skills is unlocked with each level in Nightmare Tide.
That’s all for now. Kitty out.