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Beta 5 preview.Follow

#1 Jan 24 2011 at 1:42 PM Rating: Good
This was posted in the trion forums, by the dev team:
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Beta 5 Preview - It's been a busy couple weeks!

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Beta 5 Preview!

We’ve tried to take as much advantage of the relative calm between Beta 4 and Beta 5 as we possibly could. Here are some of the highlights to look forward to in Beta 5 tomorrow. We'd like to detail a number of them and also shed some light on a few things for Beta 6 and beyond.

New For Beta 5

We're expecting Beta 5 to be at least twice as big as beta 4! By the end of Beta 4, we were running a total of 18 servers. 8 in our Europe datacenter and 10 in the US. This time we're opening up with 16 in each region, for a total of 32 servers, all with higher population caps, more than doubling the number of people who can be online at once.

If you get caught in too long of a queue during the middle of beta, know that we'll be keeping an eye out to see if we need to open even more.

Public Grouping. This was a big one for us -- just about the single most requested item -- and we're really happy to have it in game for you to try out already.

First, as you're wandering around the world and target people, if they're solo or ingroups/raids that are willing to accept new public members, you'll see a new button in the target frame that lets you join their group or merge your group into theirs if it fits.

Second, when you walk into an area where there's an event occurring (or an event like an invasion walks up to you), if there are other friendly players in the area who are open to grouping, you'll see a button up on the top of the screen that lets you join the nearest Public Group.

Note that if your group merges and gets automatically upgraded into a Raid, you shouldn't take a huge XP penalty as with most games. Since Raiding is a valid way to play through the levelling up experience in Rift, most notably in mass zone events, we want to ensure that XP gains there are meaningful and fun.

Planar Foci and Currencies. An entire new character sheet awaits! Foci weren't as clear as they could be and Planar Currencies were taking up too much inventory space. The stats display was a little crowded at times as well. We've got a new version of the character sheet in place the addresses many of the issues people had been commenting on. Expect continued polish and functionality here in the future, and we hope you enjoy the inventory space reclamation in the meanwhile.

In terms of currencies, to make the whole system make more sense in general, the older per-zone token currencies are now various tiers of Sourcestone, and the common event tokens are now a single currency called Planarite. Expect to see more uses for these over time, including expansions of wardstone reinforcement and other world offense/defense metagame elements.

Rogue Energy. Rogue energy regeneration got a rework this update, and it definitely does feel a lot better. Give it a crack and let us know if you like the new responsiveness and lack of energy starvation!

Tab Targeting / Target Nearest. Tab targeting got a significant usability upgrade, and Target Nearest Friendly / Target Nearest Enemy are now bindable functions with F6 and F7.

Key Bindings. "How do I bind hotkeys?!" If you've been in beta, you've seen this question. A lot.

Our method of keybinding hotbars where you just mouse over the hotbar then press the letter was confusing a lot of people. It was the most asked "how do I" question throughout the beta so far. Our original way is still there, but the old-school method of listing out each keybind in the keybinds window has been added as well.

Discoveries and Firsts. As items, creatures and achievements get discovered for the first time, the game now keeps track of how many you’ve been the first to find. The messages around this are going to be a bit too frequent through the opening of beta, but will calm down rapidly as elements in the world are Discovered. It’s a system that we’re still tuning, and your feedback is definitely appreciated.

Ranged Weapon Sounds. We've had comments in the past on the sounds of these not being meaty enough. We've been taking those to heart, and we agree. We’ve started to improve some of these sounds and will continue to do so throughout the life of the game. See if you can pick out the new ones, and let us know what you think!

PvP Auto Flag. This is now an option available under Settings -> Interface -> Combat. You can disable it if you wish to not be automatically flagged while in PvE areas/servers.

Invasion Improvements. Invasions as a whole got some significant love this update. Expect a lot more variance in their size, and much better adaptability to the sizes of defending forces. (Which means you'll be a lot less likely to see a rift send out three waves of elite packs to deal with a relatively undefended area. They’re not supposed to be Global Steamrollers.)

On their Leashing and Social Aggro: Invasions were previously an all-or-nothing kind of experience. With larger numbers of players getting involved, they would leash and reset the whole invasion too frequently, and it was an item we got a lot of feedback on. We've addressed this in Beta 5. If you can peel one off while the others are distracted, more power to you!

New Visible Stats. Along with the new character sheet, you're going to see two stats that were previously not being displayed: Toughness and Valor.

Toughness is a PvE Tanking stat. Its purpose is provide a defensive upgrade path in upper tiers of PvE content, and is one more way to ensure that tanks can progress in PvE without being broken-overpowered in PvP due to their PvE gear. (PvE gear is still very useful, just not overpowering.)

Just like high end casters need Focus and physical DPS need some amount of Hit, high end tanks need Toughness to deal with more difficult monsters. All that said, Toughness, Focus and Hit make up a small amount of the overall stat distribution that you’ll see on your PvE items.

Valor is a PvP damage reduction stat. It's been in the game for quite some time and is now showing up on the new character sheet and in the tooltips for items that provide it.

Our game supports both PvP and PvE progression. A stat like Valor gives us an important tool to use in tuning the high end of those progressions.

NPCs and Players are not balanced identically, nor should they be. The pace of play is very different between the two styles. Fun PvE and fun PvP are generally two very different things. Nerfing PvE abilities for the sake of PvP, as other games have found themselves forced to do, is something that we're trying to avoid wherever possible,

In providing a good PvP progression, we need to ensure that we can provide good rewards, without forcing people to play a part of the game they might not care to.

PvE gear remains competitive in PvP, and PvP gear remains competitive in PvE. It just won't be a trump card in the opposite style of play. You shouldn't expect to need to "grind" two full sets of gear just to have fun.

A stat like Valor is one more tool we can use to ensure that, for instance, the ideal PvP rewards do not become the de-facto best PvE Tanking rewards in the game. (Without Valor, significant PvP survivability also becomes PvE survivability…and, conversely, the best PvE DPS loot would become the de-facto best PvP DPS loot). We’d effectively be forcing people to gear up one way just to succeed at the other, since NPCs are balanced much differently than players.

Some people think these are a great idea, and others are less than thrilled due to negative experiences with related-sounding mechanics in other games that provide E-Sport style PvP, which we have intentionally not included and do not have plans to. Other games have their issues to design for, and we have ours. The two are definitely different.

Q: Am I going to have to "grind" two sets of gear the entire time?

A: No. Gear from each kind of play is competitive in the other side. It's just not overpowering to the other side. It remains a great head start. We expect that the highest end PvP and PvE'ers will choose to care, but the majority won't find that its existence impacts their gameplay in a negative way, since we are not balancing the game around any kind of E-Sport style Arenas, as other games have.

Q: Why can't you balance everything around Health?

A: Players are infinitely smarter than creatures, and abilities are used in both PvE and PvP. Having PvP damage reduction be purely about health would create a situation where almost necessitate PvE tanks to have to gear up via PvP. We are primarily trying to ensure that people who choose to only take part in one style of play aren't "forced" to take part in the other.

We like to think that we've so far been pretty good at reacting once things have proven to work or not work in Rift. As with any other mechanic in the game, we'll be keeping an eye on it. If it's making the game not fun, it will be addressed.

Here's what's on deck for future Betas:

Activated Racial Abilities. We know that some of them are overpowered and bring the whole concept out of whack. Our original idea was: "let's make sure these things are really fun." In our doing this, they've almost turned into a powergamer IQ test. It's not good for anyone if we effectively lock a race to a given play style. (e.g. all Tanks must be one race and all DPS must be another, or you're Doing It Wrong). Expect updates to the racials following this beta.

Master Loot. Yes, it's coming! Groups and raids will be able to have a Master Looter who's in charge of assigning out loot.

Collections merge into the new Character Sheet. "Where are my mounts? Where are my titles?" Now that we've designed a character sheet that can fit them in a way that looks good and is more usable, collections will make their way into it as well.

War Powers. We have a lot of consumable items in the game that are focused on the idea of the war between the planes and the rifts and the land-control meta game. Expect a special place for them in the Abilities tab and a resource to power them soon. Time to get them out of your inventory, provide a better sense of discovering them, and get them into a place where they make a whole lot more sense. Expect more details here in the future.

We're looking forward to this largest Beta we've ever run. While there will definitely be some bumps, we'll be right there with you the entire time to make sure everything goes as well as it possibly can.

- The RIFT Development Team

Edited, Jan 24th 2011 2:43pm by Teneleven

#2 Jan 24 2011 at 10:30 PM Rating: Decent
Repressed Memories
20,908 posts
Easier to read version.

I think these are all good changes. The Dev team seems to be really moving in the right direction.
#3 Jan 24 2011 at 11:22 PM Rating: Decent
11,576 posts
I love the beta patch notes. Not only does it lend the impression that they're capable of getting a lot done in a relatively short amount of time, but whoever writes them has a great sense of humor ;D
#4 Jan 24 2011 at 11:56 PM Rating: Excellent
Inkie in Disguise
239 posts
Aurelius wrote:
I love the beta patch notes. Not only does it lend the impression that they're capable of getting a lot done in a relatively short amount of time, but whoever writes them has a great sense of humor ;D

That would be Miss Amanda 'amary' Fry. A very nice lady, indeed!
Creepy Girl Extraordinaire
#5 Jan 25 2011 at 11:02 AM Rating: Good
I hope I like this game as much as I think I will like this game from reading all the stuff over at the official site. :D I've only been playing Cataclysm(way to much) for a little over a month and I already need a vacation game.
An old silent pond...
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

~ Matsuo Basho
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