Rift Tides: More Casual-Friendly Innovations Unveiled

cow house breaking badTonight 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.

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About Silverangel

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11 responses to “Rift Tides: More Casual-Friendly Innovations Unveiled

  • tsuhelm

    So MEGASERVER means no name tags?

    • Silverangel

      I meant the additional design decision in ESO just exacerbates the problem. Sorry the text wasn’t clear.

      • tsuhelm

        No problem I just wasn’t sure…I quite like the idea of a bigger world…maybe not MEGA big!

        I have to admit quite selfishly that my main problem with small server populations is simply the game functions that need quantity suffer i.e. the Auction House in LOTRO. There is a huge difference of usefulness of the AH between Landroval and Withywindle.

  • Silverangel

    That’s a very good point, Tsuhelm. I was told the Rift AH is shard-specific and not cluster-wide, which seems not ideal. There may be shard-economy reasons for this, but there may also be technical reasons. I’m satisfied with the AH performance on Faeblight. I haven’t used the Landroval AH in forever.

    • Vagrant Zero

      I’m not sure this is correct. I believe the AH is shared now. I base this off the fact that I’ve server hopped (freaking awesome) standing in front of the AH and checked it within seconds of all the servers and never noticed anything different on sale.

      Or maybe it doesn’t matter what server you’re actually on and the AH will only ever display for your home server regardless of your present shard?

      • Silverangel

        Things sell so well and quickly on Faeblight that I thought it was cross-shard, but that wasn’t what I was told when I asked about shard-hopping in the forum. A quick Google search doesn’t contradict that. So yes, I suppose it would show your home shard AH no matter where you are.

      • Cupcakey

        Shard hopping only changes the map’s instance. AH is shard specific. If you want to sell on another shard’s AH, you need to have a “mule” for that purpose.

  • Wilhelm Arcturus

    I think the megaserver thing can work in the right circumstances.

    This is where I bring up EVE Online and that we all play on a single server again.

    However, in EVE, people tend to be very geographically bound. You tend to have a home area where you keep all your stuff and hang out with the same people during the same times. In part, this is because travel takes effort and because you probably chose your location based on what you want to do. So you tend to see the same people over and over again. Friendships and rivalries form. It generally works.

    The argument for megaservers has always been the WoW problem, where anybody I meet who plays WoW never plays on my server. I do not know how Rift has addressed this (I launched it the other day, then it told me I needed to install Glyph, so I stopped.), but WoW’s cross-server grouping actually seems to work pretty well, so I am less inclined to moan about there being a couple hundred servers.

    • Silverangel

      In Rift you can change shards (servers) every 7 days within your region. It’s free. No $20 or $30 charge for this. Guilds on other servers often come and advertise on Faeblight, for example. You can join the chats of other shards. Alternatively, you can temporarily hop shards within your cluster (of like 6-7 servers) whenever you want, to play with a friend, gather, do events, whatever. Group-finding is also across this cluster, and it works well as you say, Wilhelm, the same as in WoW.

      Geographical regions having an identity in Eve is impressive! And has a more roleplay feel. That would work if your game world is big enough for it. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • RunicPortal » RIFT offering multiple paths to the same endgame gear

    […] Kitty Kitty Boom Boom was ecstatic to hear of this change from a recent RIFT Livestream: “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.” […]

  • RIFT offering multiple paths to the same endgame gear

    […] Kitty Kitty Boom Boom was ecstatic to hear of this change from a recent RIFT Livestream: “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.” […]

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