Let’s say you are the developer of a massive online role-playing game, and you want to give the players everything they want, and even more. What do you do?
You make your world even more massive.
And so popular MMOG Rift is to soon become even broader: developer Trion Worlds is crafting a full expansion, called Rift: Storm Legion. Just how vast will the world of Telara become upon the expansion’s release? We chatted with Executive Producer Scott Hartsman, who told us that the team is going all out in terms of virtual real estate. Storm Legion comes with not just one, but two entire continents; all told, Rift will more than triple in size. And of course, with new space comes new content.
Of these two continents, Dusken is the more fearsome. It’s a dark place, where death figures prominently in the world and the story; the themes are closer to horror than anything Rift has explored in the past. This is as it should be: it’s here that you follow the story of Regulos, the dragon god that hails from the plane of death. The other continent, Brevane, isn’t so obviously terrifying, though it’s no less vital. It’s on this continent, in The Eternal City, that Telaran civilization developed, though the warring factions that reside there aren’t necessarily always civilized.
Rift will more than triple in size.
Both continents are to feature epic story content, and Trion Worlds continues to move away from the exclamation point as the primary means of delivering quests. The instant adventures that began with patch 1.6.1 shall continue into the new lands, so at any moment, you can press a few keys and be instantly transported to an action-heavy zone where a number of objectives and tremendous battles await. Rift’s story shall be told through such adventures, as well as new world and zone events.
Storm Legion also brings with it a new city to call home: Tempest Bay, a bastion for both Guardians and The Defiant. The expansion also brings with it a brand new soul for each calling, though Hartsman was frustratingly (and charmingly) mum on just what these souls may be. Of course, souls are the cornerstone of character advancement in Rift, and Hartsman was at least forthcoming about the the team’s philosophy regarding souls: make them fun and interesting, give players new mechanics to use, create enjoyable new combinations that didn’t exist before, and synergize with souls and callings that needed a bit of a boost.
Like so many expansions, Rift: Storm Legion is about more, more, and even more. There’s a new level cap (60, up 10 levels), new dungeons, new raids (2, to be exact), and a new Chronicle (that is, a challenging, story-driven instance). There are individual stories to be told in each of these content types, though they culminate in Storm Legion’s primary narrative arc, which involves Crucia, the Queen of Storms, and the legions she hopes to bring to Telara through the mysterious Infinity Gate.
Of course, zone events continue to be a core element of Rift’s popularity. These will be leveled up to suit Storm Legion’s new areas and level cap. More importantly, a new creature--the colossus--will attempt to ravage the land. Facing such a beast will be an exciting prospect: it’s a hundred times more massive than an individual player. It climbs bridges, knocks down walls, and interacts with the world in ways Hartsman says no MMOG has yet accomplished. We haven’t seen any such legendary battle yet, but the wait is short: Trion Worlds will be showing off colossus battles next week at E3 2012.
Rift: Storm Legion is about more, more, and even more.
Other additions relate more to Rift’s social aspects than to its battles. Capes are coming, for instance, along with player areas called dimensions that function somewhat like player housing in other MMOGs. Let’s say you rested at a Telaran inn that overlooked a shimmering waterfall. How great would it be to claim that inn for you and your guildmates? What if there was a parallel universe, where you could decorate it and furnish your inn just as you wanted? That is precisely what dimensions will offer: a way to own your very own corner of a very big game.
More mounts. More tradeskills. More pets. Trion Worlds intends to give players what they wanted in an expansion and then some. The team has certainly proven that they know how to steal away dozens upon dozens of your precious hours. Should they have their way, Rift: Storm Legion will steal away many more. Expect to lose more sleep in fall of 2012.