In the most recent episode of The Sanctum, the guys talked, as they often do, about when Trion will announce an expansion for Rift and what such an expansion might include. Among the options suggested were a new raid, an open world PvP zone, and another new zone.
It seems to me that the most natural progression for the game is to let Ascended cross through the rifts and fight the denizens of the planes on their own turf. We already have the alternative timeline slivers; Ascended crossing over to the planes seems like an inevitable development to me.
This could also provide Trion a means to scratch the itch of PvPers who have been clamoring for an open-world PvP zone. I think it’s safe to say that the majority of players on PvE servers aren’t comfortable with the idea of a zone they can’t enter and explore unless they’re willing to risk being attacked by another player. And let’s face it, PvP rifts aren’t exactly Rift’s best feature.
But adding PvP that takes place in a dynamic, self-selected zone with players competing for meaningful objectives could be just the answer. I’m not envisioning just a new type of warfront built on the same kind of rigid parameters we already have but, rather, a complete set of mini-zones appropriate to each plane. A well-designed plane would have a variety of available topography; a wide spectrum of small, medium, and large objectives; and no set order or progression like dungeons have. (Griefers who want to gank PvEers in open world won’t be satisfied with this but I, for one, am not concerned about them.)
The possibilities are wide open. We could even have a class of PvP rift that requires the two factions to work together at least part of the time. One thus-far undeveloped idea in Rift lore to date is that, for all that Guardians and Defiants disagree vehemently on means, each does actually have the same goal. Occasional cooperation for the larger purpose of defending Telara makes sense.
For “regular” Ascended invasions, I envision something more structured. Not a replication of the way rifts work on Telara, nor a set piece dungeon, to be sure. But there would need to be a series of objectives to accomplish. I’d like them to be more dynamic and variable than current content tends to be. Introducing some Rogue-like elements to Rift would, I think, add to the overall quality and replayability of the game.
So what I’d like to see are new rift lures that let players open rifts back to the source. Obviously, as with the current system, some rifts would be PvE while others would be PvP. While these new rifts would definitely need to be group-oriented, they should scale to the size of the group. Thus, a group of three or five could find a challenge and so could a full twenty-man group. And there’s certainly room here for full-on raid invasions, too.
The amount and scope of the free content we’ve been given raises the stakes for the size and breadth of any expansion Trion releases. The need for several different planes and multiple types of objectives would fill a sizable chunk of the necessary content. Other much-needed additions include player housing and guild cities; an expansion is a prime opportunity to provide them. Add in some new raids to complement the theme, new achievements, and the usual assortment of new items, mounts, costumes, and the like and I think Trion would have something it would be proud of that would make people want to stay or even come back to check out.