Design Director Simon Finch and Lore Lead Nick McDowell reveal some of their perplexing puzzles and lush new locations in a Zones roundtable with community members
With RIFT: Storm Legion launching imminently, we were fortunate to grab a seat at Trion’s latest community roundtable. Fiendish Design Director Simon Finch and passionate Lore Lead Nick McDowell took time out in the final days before launch, meeting with members of the RIFT community to talk about the new zones that we’ll explore in the expansion.
The topic itself is as large as the new continents of Dusken and Brevane, covering the new puzzles, the inspirations and development process for the new locations, and how we’ll navigate the new continents. We also talked about some of the unused or greyed out areas in Classic RIFT, the team’s plans for future updates post-launch, and what they’re excited about with player Dimensions.
If all this leaves you hungry for more Storm Legion details, don’t forget to check out our report on the previous roundtable featuring those key Class changes, along with our own preview of the expansion. You’ll also find a trove of Storm Legion information in our freshly updated RIFT Wiki!
Are there more puzzles, riddles and hidden treasure in Storm Legion?
Finch: Absolutely! Funny you should say that, because that’s exactly what I was testing, making sure that everything was working just right before I came in to do this. There are six new puzzles developed on the two continents, and there are a whole ton more cairns and artifacts.
McDowell: Yeah, Simon has made sure that they’re 100% more evil.
Finch: [chuckles] The puzzles are a lot more evil, that’s for sure. There are a few which actually, if you’re not careful, you might find yourself dead. There are also a lot more artifacts, probably about another 200+ at least.
Can you give us a teaser on one of the new puzzles?
Finch: Okay, I’ll give you a couple of teasers. There’s one of them where you’re going to need items from the old world. So if you’re wondering where you might actually find something, don’t forget you can go back. And another teaser might be… hrm… practice fishing.
We know someone in beta who’s been attempting the puzzle in Eastern Holdings, and having an enjoyable time with it. Could you explain what it’s like?
Finch: That one is called Bogling Boggle, and it actually takes place underwater. You need to trap five boggling genies, but to do that is a little bit tricky. To even work out how to make them appear is part of the puzzle. Once you make them appear, you need to get them to follow you around, which is another bit of the puzzle. And then once you’ve done that, you need to figure out how to get them back into their genie lamps. Working out which boggling wants what thing, goes in which lamp, and what activates that lamp – it’s a lot of things to work out before you can complete that one.
I almost forgot to mention that in order to even attempt it you’ve got to complete a collection. Once you do that, you’re given a bunch of pages from a book. You then need to find the Mistress of Puzzles, and she will make a book for you as long as you provide payment, with a different payment required for each of the different books. So before you even start solving these puzzles, you need to figure out where to get the payment, before she even gives you the book. As Nick was saying, we went a little extreme this time.
The other thing is you never know when I might be sitting on a rock, invisible, watching some poor person try to do one of these puzzles. I find that very enjoyable too, I have to say!
Where do the evil ideas for these puzzles come from?
Finch: The thing is, there’s a very specific crowd of people - and I myself am one of those people - that just love really challenging puzzles and trying to figure out how things work. They went over really well in Classic RIFT and people enjoyed them a lot, so I just wanted to make them even more involved this time.
Yes, you can say they’re evil, but people also get a great deal of satisfaction once they figure out how to solve them, and there’s some new, wonderful items that people can get this time. It’s not money or some random purple item that you’ve probably outgrown by the time you figure out the puzzle; each one has a unique item you can get. For instance, there’s a polka-dot version of the wedding dress that’s rather nice. Out of one of them, you can even get your own dimension. And then there are others which have items for your dimensions.
The one we’ve been talking about - and I’ll give it away right now - Bogling Boggle, if you actually manage to solve it, you will get a dimension key that will give you the area the puzzle takes place in as a dimension.
Just so our eyes don’t end up bleeding trying to find these new collections, can we have them in a new ‘Shinies’ scratchcard on the phone?
Finch: [laughs] I am not going to promise anything on that right now. I do know that the team that put the scratchcards together is working on some new ones. You probably will have noticed that we’ve had ones that were available for limited times during some of our seasonal events, so I’m not going to rule that out as a possibility, but it certainly won’t be appearing at launch.
McDowell: At launch you’re going to have to do it the hard way, so suck it up! COME ON! [laughs]
There have been times when we’ve been waiting for mobs to spawn in beta, or where mob density feels low. Has this been tweaked?
Finch: I think that depends on where you are. There are some areas that are quite dense and others not so much. But I think what you’re actually talking about there is not so much mob density as respawn rate, if you are waiting for creatures to respawn. We do use things called population controllers that ramp up the respawns if there are a lot of people in the area, so I hope that you don’t encounter that too much.
McDowell: We’ve also changed some rules on how we deal with mobs. So don’t stand in line waiting to all get a mob. You don’t have to do that. If you’ve done something to a mob, you’ll get credit for it, like quest credit or XP. So be social, group up together in one big happy family, and murder everything in sight.