RIFT celebrates 6 Years! Archonix sets down his heavy load of final 4.1 launch tasks to share some thoughts and ideas with us all…
It has been an amazing 6 years, and it’s clear that RIFT is here for the long-term.
I personally love RIFT, both playing it and working on it, and am proud to work with a bunch of like-minded developers and supportive staff in all departments here at Trion. Thank you so much for your support over the years. All the feedback, encouragement, ideas and criticism have been invaluable and I want you to keep it coming.
Some Serious Wins
This past year has seen some significant success for us all. As well as the frequent small updates provided, we focused heavily on tech upgrades to improve the game into the future. This was no small undertaking.
We introduced multi-threading and 64-bit to the client, and although it may not have a direct impact right now for all players, it finally provided our team with 64-bit tools. Every RIFT Dev is incredibly excited about this, because it makes us faster. The data sets were getting so big that we were having significant issues, all of which have now gone away. This is truly HUGE for us. Our productivity will increase, and that can only be good news for you and RIFT as well.
While we recognize that the amount of end game content was lacking for 4.0, we also feel that Starfall Prophecy offered something for every play style, served within some of the most beautiful content we have produced. It remains a large and gorgeous canvas for additional content in the future.
Meeting Challenges Head On
This last month has been incredibly challenging for the RIFT team. We have all been working very hard to address what we ourselves and many players saw as some shortcomings of 4.0.
We heard you, we agree, and we are pouring heart and soul into improvements.
Several issues beyond our control have conspired to try and thwart our efforts. Without derailing this letter too much, I’ll mention just a few.
We encountered a catastrophic hardware failure of our version control server that required a full backup of the entire depot. This consists of multiple terabytes of data and the process took days to recover, during which we were unable to add any new code, art, design. We were dead in the water while we waited.
Prior to that, the team (and much of Trion) suffered through rounds of a particularly serious flu in January and February that took normally stalwart people down for three or four days each, making tasks requiring team coordination particularly hard to progress.
Finally, moving the entire office was a massive undertaking, and we are still working out some of the kinks of wiring, power and rebuilding the new space.
It was a challenging situation to say the least, and made it very difficult to progress as fast as we wanted to.
We’re not looking for sympathy here, we just want to be very open with all of you. It sucked.
The upside of being unable to work for several days at a time is that it provided opportunities for some of the dev team to hop on the servers and interact with you all. This was a lot of fun for all involved, and you can expect more of this in the future.
We have an incredibly passionate and dedicated team of people on RIFT. Many of them have been on the team since before launch and still take great pride in making RIFT as great as it can be. Do we always get it right? Of course not, but it is not due to lack of effort, skill or love for RIFT. Experimentation drives innovation, and we adjust as needed. When we make missteps all we can do is review feedback and take action to improve things going forward.
We want to thank all those who offer constructive feedback on a regular basis – you help us out daily, and more than you can ever know.
For those who offer snark, rude comments and trolling, that helps no one, and certainly does nothing to move the world of Telara forward. Please consider your approach when posting – imagine that you are sitting right across from us when you start your conversation, one human speaking to another. I can’t imagine anyone making cruel, cutting comments to folks like Vladd, Keyens or DeadSimon in person – please remember we are all real people. We all care about the game as much as you do.
Even the most passionate, critical post on our forums shows us that you care – just be courteous or the Dwarf will get you.
There are untold thousands of players to every one Dev, so it’s hard to engage in direct, one-on-one conversations, but we can accomplish so much through good feedback and useful suggestions. Let us continue to work together to make RIFT the best it can be!
The Future of Telara
Now, on to the future of RIFT, as that is what really counts, right?
- Just around the corner is 4.1 and the introduction of Eternal Weapons. These come with an involved and long quest line to upgrade them to something truly epic for each calling.
- A Planar Crafting Revamp that will lead to Best in Slot Helms and Ranged Weapons.
- The 10-Man Raid “Tartaric Depths” will go live (also using the recent Looking for Raid feature).
- New weekly quests are in the works.
- Carnival follows right on the heels of that, as we celebrate an amazing 6 years of RIFT.
- Next up, we have already started on update 4.2 (yeah, I know, great name, isn’t it? We’ll get a cooler title soon).
- This will usher in a new level 70 zone! Looking back again for a moment, this has been something we have done with all our our major releases. We followed up our initial release with Ember Isle. Storm Legion was followed by The Dendrome; Nightmare Tide by Tyrants Throne and Plane Touched Wilds.
- The new zone for Starfall Prophecy is Vostigar Peaks. As with the previous zone followups, this is a high end zone designed for max level players. There is even an elite area for level 70 group content. The lead image in this blog post is from this new zone!
- On top of that, 4.2 will offer new daily and weekly quests with awesome rewards.
- A full new quest line is in development, with much of the content replayable for max level players.
- New zone events and at least two new Instant Adventure lines are on deck.
- New Raid Rifts, Chronicles and the final installment of Primalist souls are also included.…in short a ton of stuff is coming for max level players in SFP. We heard you loud and clear!
There will be far more detail about both of these updates as we get closer to their release, as well as others we have in the pipeline. Watch for blog posts and livestreams as we develop this new content!
Looking Even Further Forward
So file the following under crazy experiments and absolutely no promises. We’re letting you know what we’re considering. I am so excited about it I’ve just got to spill the beans, probably to the chagrin of our Marketing folks, who are now rolling their eyes. Remember, this is all subject to change!
One of the threads that pops up pretty regularly in our forums runs along the lines of, “I remember when RIFT was actually a challenge, and wasn’t that cool.” Funny thing is, we have been feeling nostalgic too, so we started playing around with the logistics of a “Hard Mode” server. We set one up internally, and guess what? It is a heck of a lot of fun! Damn, that Jakub hits hard! OW!
We were not sure exactly how long this experience would remain fun, though. Would this be something that players would pursue for a long time or would it become boring once the novelty and nostalgia wore off?
Then someone suggested that perhaps this sort of server should be a limited time thing. That is, after a set period of time, it would be replaced with something different. The lights came on for everyone and the ideas came thick and fast: some crazy, some cool, some doable, some we only wish we could implement!
For instance, after Hard Mode, maybe next time you are buffed off the charts on an easy mode server, enabling you to take on some of the content you never even got a chance to see the first time through.
After much discussion, the concept of special rule set servers called “RIFT Challenges” was born.
Now, as I said, this is still very much in the experimental stages and we have no idea in what form, if any, this will eventually be taken LIVE, but the initial idea is that you play on the challenge server to reach a specific goal, which then awards you something truly awesome for your main live server character. Amazing new armor, weapons, new *cough* race *cough*… there are many details yet to be worked out and again, NO promises. No dates. This is a HUGE project that may or may not work.
We are anxious to hear your thoughts on it! In fact, we have an official feedback thread on it for you!
State of the Game Summary
All in all, it is an exciting time here for the RIFT team. We have finally all moved in to our awesome new offices and people are energized to try out some of these “out of the box” ideas.
Rest assured, aside from the crazy-town special ruleset ideas above, we have long term plans past 4.2 for our current servers too.
The idea is to revitalize those servers, not replace them, so stay tuned for future updates as we solidify the plans. Remember though, nothing is solid until the formal content announcements are made.
THANK You, Ascended!
So please, keep playing, keep posting, keep caring.
I look forward to playing alongside you for many years to come.