In Part 2 of our interview with Hal Hanlin, Senior Design Producer for the MMORPG Rift, we continue to chat about the From The Embers update, and talk about some features players can expect to see in the near future. You can read Part 1 of the interview here.
Carl Phillips: Throughout Ember Isle players will be working towards building up a new currency that they can spend to purchase improved gear. Can you give us more detail on what sort of rewards players can gain from this?
Hal Hanlin: Well we’ve continued the progression [from previous content]. You see, Ember Isle is incredibly difficult, this is not a “oh hey, I just hit 50 and I have my green and blue gear from questing, I’m going to go over here and faceroll!” area. This is a “hey, I’ve put in some time and effort either auctioning or crafting or raiding or at least dungeon-ing to get some better equipment” so the gear that you get [in Ember Isle] is going to be on that path [of progression.]
CP: We know players will be able to progress to the second tier of Planer Attunement with patch 1.6, how will players be able to unlock this? Will that have to do anything special?
HH: The way you unlock the second tier is by fulfilling the entire first tier, so if you put all of your points into Death you can then move into the second tier of that. We won’t make you fulfil all of the points in all of the different planes before you ever get to go up into tier two.
CP: There’ is a new World Event coming in patch 1.6 called Fae Yule. Could you give us overview of what the event is all about?
HH: Well historically in Telara there was the celebration of lighting candles which guided the travellers home and so the Telarans were planning this year to celebrate it as normal, but recently because of the destruction of Greenscale and other factors that the players caused, there is a sudden influx of Fae in our world and they want to have this holiday too! They think that it’s a little bit to serene and peaceful, so they’ve spiced it up a little bit so it’s more fun for them.
CP: As well as working on the content that is coming in patch 1.6, you’ve been working on other features that are expected to arrive fairly soon, and the Rift Mobile App is one such thing Rift players can look forward to. We already know about Guild Chat functionality and zone event alerts, but we’ve seen mentioned that there will be mini-games as well that will allow you to win loot you can use in-game. Can you elaborate on the sort of mini-games we will see and the rewards we can expect to earn?
HH: There are three that are similar to lottery scratch cards, each with different rule sets. You rub your iOS or Android device to erase some concealing image, and that reveals either winning or not-winning icons underneath, and if you win you click redeem which then mails it to your character in-game, so when log in to your character the next time you will see mail message delivering you your rewards. Now each of the three games has a different set of rewards; there is a game that is built around the idea of artefacts, so you can flesh out your sets of artefacts more, there’s one for crafting where you can get materials ranging from very simple to very hard to find materials, and then there are Planer rewards than get give you the consumables you gain from rifts or can be a Planer currency all the way up to the very high-end player currency.
CP: Will there be a limit to the amount of times players will be able to play these games, or will players be able to just play them and see what happens?
HH: (laughs) So basically you’re given a set number of credits, and over time you rebuild your credits. I think in the current Alpha version that I’m using the total number of credits is six, and when you’ve used all of those it says “the next point comes in…” and it shows you a countdown, so when you get the next point you can play again or you can wait until they’re fully restored. It’s a nice way [of doing it] especially as I use the App to communicate with my guild, it’ll be ticking away and then I realise “oh yeah, I probably have some points!” so I hop over there and play a quick mini-game, then jump back. I use it as my primary communication tool with my guild now, so I can be sitting in a meeting and if somebody says something I can quickly reply… wait, don’t my boss that I said that!
CP: Another upcoming feature that has been mentioned is the Instant Adventure function. Can you tell us a little about what that is going to involve?
HH: Absolutely. So the Instant Adventure is playing to one of our strengths and also fulfilling one of the small gaps in our game. One of things that our dynamic layer does incredibly well is it provides players with things to do, however is players are dependent on the system to eventually spin up something, so they wait for it, teleport to the appropriate zone, and then participate in it. What Instant Adventures are is the flip side of that coin. This is the players logging in, they press a button which brings up a prompt saying “Do you want to teleport to this adventure?” and if they say yes it puts an adventure on the grid that it joins them to.
Now you could be in a group of 1; if you’re the first person on your server or the first person to form a new group, you’ll have an adventure that is suited to a very small number of players, but as more players are added to your group the adventures become more and more complex to the point where you can have a full raid of 20 people rolling around the main world doing these adventures. Each of these adventures are only assigned to that group, so it’s unlike a zone event or a world event, it is just for that group to participate in, but it’s in the main world and it involves things like sometime it might spawn in a unique boss just for that group to tackle, though if other people want to punch it in the head that’s great but that group is getting the rewards for it.
CP: I take it that on PvP servers that Guardians and Defiants will be able to interfere with each other as they go about doing these Instant Adventures?
HH: Totally, the factional rules still apply. If you’re on a PvE server it might be a tip of the hat and wave to each other as they roll past, but if they’re on a PvP server mayhem will ensue!
CP: And finally, what would you say is the most bad-ass thing about the From The Embers update?
HH: Oh, it’s the zone events that are going on on Ember Isle where you are fighting against dragons and drakes that are flying over your head. For example, there’s this full-on dragon that you first have to use turrets to shoot out of the sky then fight, and you definitely need to be working as a team to take that guy out, or he’ll turn you into meat paste. THAT’S the most bad-ass thing!
Many thanks to Hal for taking the time out to chat to us! Patch 1.6 is out now, and if you have yet to experience Rift for yourself you can give it a go with the free 14-day trial available on the official website here.