Last time I blogged about Rift I complained a bit about having a hard time "finding" the fun in the game anymore. After talking more about the topic with my guildmates in Infernal Dawn last night, I think most of us agreed that Rift is ready for more than just flat content: we want an expansion.
We've done what there is to do with the current character options, we've cast our spells or wielded our abilities ad nauseum. My role, Archon, has become bitterly depressing to play, as I simply cast 10 spells every 5 minutes, then push one button until they come up for renewal. I often just afk in trash because my 1 button attack is so meaningless and trivial that the 5 Archon auras are all that really matter. I used to enjoy casting Illuminate, at least, until Coda of Jeopardy came along and utterly trivialized that.
I'm also really disappointed with the trend towards more and more resists. I was annoyed at having to spend time grinding to build a water resist core for Hammerknell Fortress. I'm downright furious at having to build both fire and earth resist cores for ID. It's time consuming, it's not fun, and I don't want to have to do it. This isn't what playing a game is supposed to be about.
I think there's an interesting ebb and flow in MMORPG design, what I call the "vertical" stages and the "horizontal" stages. The vertical stages come in big jumps: when you produce new content that overwrites old content. Expansions that boost player level by 10, for example, and introduce new skills or abilities. The horizontal stages are the content additions that stretch out the periods between vertical additions: the extra dungeons, raids, and what-not that keep people entertained with the same set of tools they're already using.
I think, depending on how those tools are designed, the horizontal stretches can go further or... well... not quite as far, before they're scraped too thin to be fun. Rift is definitely starting to feel thin. The soul tree system is fantastic, but due to problems with level scaling I discussed in my last Rift entry it cannot keep going in this horizontal manner. You can't keep making monsters tougher to keep up with gear when different classes inherit such different values from gear. I already feel my Rogue, with a smattering of Tier 1 raid gear, is way more viable than my Mage decked out in full Tier 2 relics.
Rift is ready for a vertical leap. A leap that will hopefully set the stage for a longer horizontal period in the years to come, but a leap is needed now. I don't think Rift is in the position to hold out for 3 or even 2 years before its first expansion. Content additions are great and all, but Rift needs a jolt of new life now.
I just hope that Rift doesn't leave its old content completely behind when it does leap up. I think Ember Isle should definitely be ratcheted up to the new level (I'm assuming 60?). I think many of the old raids should be ratcheted up too. Why leave them behind? They're great. They're the most fun I have in Rift right now. Actually, I'm still clamoring for the removal of weekly lockouts on Tier 1 raids. I wanna do those raids at 60 too. There's no point leaving them at 50. They could definitely be re-built as "master" mode raids at 60, leaving the original "normal" mode raids intact at 50.
So what say you, Telarans? Time for a vertical leap to 60?