Whew, this one took a while to finally get out.  I apologize for the delay, but real life often gets in the way of a LOT of things. This interview was conducted during Gamescom 2017, where Seshatar had an interview with Rift’s Producer – Archonix.  In a 48-minute Video (click here to view it), Seshatar and Archonix had a long discussion, going over a large number of aspects of Rift.

Below is my transcript of this video.

As usual, ALL of this is Archonix’s thoughts, and doesn’t represent ANY GUARANTEES!  Do not assume that any future content or ideas being discussed here will arrive UNTIL they land on PTS or Live servers! With that, let’s get into it.

  • Raiding
    • On a scale of 1-10, which 1 being not important at all and 10 being a key feature of the game, what relevance does raiding have in RIFT in your opinion? – 8-9, it’s not THE most important, but it’s the most important for a small section of the playerbase.  We have removed 20-mans, but we won’t remove raiding.  We are able to do internal 10-man raiding
    • Why do you think Raiding is important? – It’s a great community aspect, for all levels of the PvE players.
    • LFR – how many people are participating in raiding with the introduction of LFR? – It’s roughly 3-4x as many players entering into the LFR raid compared to before. (EDITOR’S NOTE: It was not clear what this was compared to).
    • How many people are using the LFR tool compared to pre-made groups? – We don’t count pre-mades in that, we count anyone who has used it to enter the raid.
    • What is the ETA for the first Tier 2 raid? – We hope to have it out this year.  Working title is “Bastion of Steel”.  The team is actively developing and testing the encounters right now.
    • Rumors that Cadeuceus Rise will come back as a raid.  – It is true that there are rumors.  We have talked about it and considered re-releasing it either as 2 separate raids or one single one.  It’s on the list of places to revisit.
    • Will it be a brand-new raid or an Intrepid version of an old raid? Any hints where you will take us? – Bastion of Steel will be an all new original raid.
    • What is the anticipated difficulty level of Tier 2? Will there be way more challenging mechanics in the higher tiers or is the main difference in the gear requirements? – Expecting to require T1 gearing to be able to start in T2.  The LFR version will be on par with the current LFR difficulty, maybe a little harder with different mechanics.
    • Any plans to reward players for queuing for undused roles? – We’ve definitely talked about it, but we want to find a way to encourage players to queue in those roles that they will succeed in, instead of just to queue to get a fast pop.
    • Will we see 20-man raids back during this expansion or maybe raids that scale with the size of the raid group? – No, we are focused on 10-mans.  We get this a lot.
    • Scaleable raids? – We think this would be amazing.  It’s a topic that has been talked about, and is on the table, but not in the plans right now.
    • If you could instantly change or add 1 thing about raiding in RIFT, what would it be?  – If it could be instant, we would like to have LFR for all of the raids in the game.
  • PvP
    • On a scale of 1-10, which 1 being not important at all and 10 being a key feature of the game, what relevance does PvP have in RIFT in your opinion? – Around a 5.  It’s something we all love, but it’s not the main focus of the game.  Below raiding and dynamic content.
    • PvPers got kinda screwed with Prophecy of Ahnket, as only 5 warfronts were available at the launch and when most of the others returned Port Scion and Conquest were retired. Are there any plans on new and exciting PvP content within this expansion? – Archonix would love to bring conquest back, but it would require an entire overhaul.  The previous version is never coming back.  If we were to bring it back, it would probably be back next year as a special time-limited event.  Conquest was Archonix’s favorite PvP zone aside from Port Scion.  However, Port Scion was the one map that was difficult to balance.  It was the only warfront that was not built from the ground up to be a warfront, it originally used to be a separate area for cut content.  If they bring back port scion, it might be for a 10-man queue.  Black garden and Library of the Runemasters are the top 2 warfronts in Rift.
    • Many players report WF queues on lower levels do not pop up anymore and there are huge class balance problems on all levels. Wouldn’t it be easier to streamline all player levels & stats completely, so you only must balance once, instead of being forced to balance all the time when new gear comes out? Instead of stat-based rewards, PvPers could get special items with abilities or cosmetic rewards and unique titles. – One of the biggest challenges is disabling specific abilities.  We are considering increasing the queue sizes (level ranges) for lower level warfronts.  But locking people into a subset, and allowing others to play their own class, is something we want for PvP, even though it is problematic and challenging to balance.
    • If you could instantly change or add 1 thing about raiding in PvP, what would it be? – Archonix would like to bring back PvP souls, though not as a replacement for your current souls, it would be an additional soul, existing as a 4th tree of sorts.
  • Dungeons & Chronicles
    • On a scale of 1-10, which 1 being not important at all and 10 being a key feature of the game, what relevance do Dungeons & Chronicles have in RIFT in your opinion? – 10, they are up there as the top content run alongside open world rifts and zone events.
    • There are currently only 4 Expert Dungeons available on max. level that can get boring and repetitive very quickly. Are any more dungeons in the making at the moment or are there any plans to make more or even all of the older dungeons available as max. level versions? – We are planning on new dungeons, and bring back some intrepids to create more variety.  It’s a catch-22 though, because you get the flashback of “oh, it’s just rehashed content, we want something new!”.  Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just tuning up health and damage to level 70.  If Archonix could snap his finger, he’d have them all at max level, with auto scaling of hp/damage outputs.
    • What do you think about master-mode dungeons? – They were good in concept, but wound up being a barrier.   They never got enough play to make developing more worthwhile.  Only a small subset of raiders ever ran these.
    • What about a script that increases the damage/health of a dungeon up something like 50%, then provide double reward for special dungeons like that? – That’s nice, but our expert players will still easily blow by that.  Though bonus dungeons with new effects are something we have discussed and is something we would like to bring.
    • Besides the “mini-chronicles” in the zones, this expansion had no big chronicle in a raid zone like we had before. Is there any plans to add one? – We wanted to implement the new IAs we promised (Gedlo Badlands & Vostigar Peaks), and a new dungeon.  So nothing immediate right now.  Archonix wants to do a Volan chronicle, but it scares the crap out of Tacitus whenever the idea is brought up.
    • If you could instantly change or add 1 thing about Dungeons & Chronicles in RIFT, what would it be? – Archonix would want to double down and make the veteran dungeon runner benefit better to entice expert/hardcore players to play a variety of dungeons more often.
  • Open World
    • On a scale of 1-10, which 1 being not important at all and 10 being a key feature of the game, what relevance does Open World content have in RIFT in your opinion? – 12-13! Open world content is Rift’s bread and butter.
    • Fortress Sieges were announced as one of the key features of Prophecy of Ahnket. So far we have only seen one of them and it doesn’t seem to engage a lot of players, as there are several problems with it (like lag) and the rewards are not desirable anymore. Can we expect major changes and additional Fortress Sieges during the expansion? – There are plans to revisit Fortress Sieges.  It is very difficult to marry open world and raid tier content.  It is not on a level that we are very happy about.  
    • Planar Assault Adventures were advertised as pushing the forces of the Bloodstorm back within the planes. At the end, it was only closing a series of normal rifts followed by a piñata boss after a few rifts. Now they are even mixed with Gedlo Badlands adventures. Will there be a rework of that feature to make it truly epic or will it stay as it is? – We like the idea of Planar Assault Adventures, we would like to have more elements to them. Both Fortress Sieges & PAAs need a lot more fleshing out and rewards.  Perhaps rotate rewards every 3 months, increasing them as time goes on? It’s an idea.
    • If you could instantly change or add 1 thing about Open World content in RIFT, what would it be? – Set up zone events so that we could support 600-700+ players to be able to fight the same boss in the same area.  We are working on new server tech in the backend to help make more players in one area smoother.
  • Systems
    • It was already announced that planar fragments are being reworked Do you have any details on that rework? Will the amount of RNG be reduced and will they have more or less impact on your character’s power after the rework than before? – The goal is to make it much more “fun”, more rewarding, less RNG.  It’s high on Vladd’s list, but he has been occupied with a lot of other tasks.  RNG will always be a thing, but Fragments, has too much RNG that it makes it frustrating.  The idea originally was that these would drop like candy, and everyone would be able to use them to upgrade and send to alts.  Part of the rework will most likely reduce the amount of fragment drops.
    • Talking wardrobe, will we ever have the option to show whatever weapon we want no matter what we currently have equipped? For example, having the Cleric Eternal 2-Hander equipped but showing 2 1-handed swords instead? – Probably not anytime soon.  We like the idea, but not right now.  Eternal weapons did change things a bit by forcing players into specific weapon types, it’s something to discuss.  This is one of our favorite systems.
    • Will there be any improvements for guilds in the near future? More vaults, new quests, new level and perks, better member management etc.? – We had to push a lot of new features back, but we are talking about increasing guild levels, fleshing out how the perk trees work, and making them more friendly.  We are also discussing the concept of “Guild Loyalty”, where guilds can work to be able to earn temp buffs and other features, though this is still being designed and most likely will not come out until 2018.  Keep an eye out!
    • Is any improvement for the collection management already in the planning? Having hundreds of mounts and pets, it becomes very hard to find what you are looking for. – This is highly desired internally, and something is in the works, but it is not in a state to talk about yet.  Most likely to see something in 2018.
    • If you could instantly change or add 1 system in RIFT, what would it be? – I would love to have forced mentoring to scale you down to a zone’s level to allow us to reuse old zones better without reducing their challenge.  There’s a lot of land there that we could reuse, but can’t because of power scaling.  Mentoring right now makes you super powerful.
    • Can you give us some details on the Challenge Servers? – It is something we are actively developing internally right now, but can’t go into any more detail yet.  The first one will be “Fresh Start” in style, 1-50, open world zones, and probably some polished and cleaned up systems alongside it.
    • How would this fit in with the main game? I recall this causing issues in Archeage. – This is the NUMBER ONE question we are dealing with.  We want players to be on the same playing field from the start, but we want to make sure there is something beneficial to 6-7+ year old accounts.  There will be other kinds of challenge servers in the future that will let you copy over your live character.  What we are calling challenge servers are different rulesets and different styles of plays.  Permadeath server, free-for-all PvP server, maybe around for a month with rewards for participating and higher rewards for top rated players.  Think closer to seasons that you see in games like Path of Exile or Diablo 3.
  • Tech
    • 2016 was a year of huge tech upgrades for RIFT. Can we expect any more major tech upgrades in the future, like for example DX11/12? – No plans for DX11 or 12.  We are doing a lot of rework of textures for the ground on the world in an attempt to lower memory usage, since these textures really eat up a lot of memory. (This is the texture splatting changes that have been pointed out before on the forums).
    • Character and combat animations are often stated as outdated and one of the weak spots in RIFT, is there any plan for an overhaul of the animations? – Overhaul, no.  We are always looking into creating newer and better animations.  Everyone wants to do it internally, but not something we can do anytime soon due to time to implement vs. time to create new features.  There are a few animation issues that are definite bugs, and a few improvements we are working on.
    • With 4.2, the shard name was suddenly shown behind the player name in the guild tab. Are you currently working on extended cross-shard support for i. e. guilds, mail and auction house? – Yes.  All of this is coming in some capacity.  We have floated around the idea of mega servers – an NA/EU cluster.  Everyone logs in and is playing on the same shard, with instances for maps being generated as population changes.  Auction House is the last thing to do, it’s easily the largest and most complex.  Moving to mega servers will require all of these to be cross shard first.
    • If you could change or add 1 thing about the tech in RIFT, what would it be? – We would LOVE to get a new tutorial.  We are hoping to taking some artist time to go back to these older zones and update their graphics to what we see in newer zones today.
  • Monetization
    • Are there any new patron perks planned? – Crafting trainers was one idea, but has complexities.  Maybe more appearance perks? We’re discussing and brainstorming on this.
    • Individual Rewards Charges are very controversial. While in dungeons they only increase your chance for loot, in other content you receive nothing without them anymore after your free rolls. What’s your opinion on them? – Archonix believes they both have their place, but we don’t have this perfect yet.  We love to try new things, and sometimes they don’t always work.  When that happens, we know we need to go back and fix it.  It’s not perfect, and needs tweaks.  Using a charge in a dungeon should give you some sort of reward.
    • The lockboxes have recently been reworked completely, did you get any feedback by more or less purchases than before on them yet? – So far, the feedback seems really good, and players like the prize ticket system.  Archonix is happy with what the team did with this and split up the rewards so you get something from multiple tiers of content.
    • If you could instantly change or add 1 thing about monetization in RIFT, what would it be?

How do you feel about an AMA? – We would love to do another one in the future, we’ve enjoyed them in the past.

Do you want to say something to the RIFT community? – We love you all, thanks for playing!

Thanks for sticking with us and all of the support you have given usfor 6 ¾ years, and hopefully to 7+ more after this! Thank you!

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