ONCE UPON A TIME in a land called Telara, 573 Guardian players were minding their own business in a region called Silverwood. They were frolicking and levelling, and levelling and questing, and looting and laughing, collecting and crafting…. Ah! What a peaceful time it was.

And then, the world exploded.

Dozens of rifts, invasions, bosses, real gameplay objectives (and rewards coming soon!), dramatic skies, music shifts — the whole package. Our first event on a truly massive scale.

Beyond the gameplay, what you’re seeing is part of the story of Prince Hylas Aelfwar, and the Battle for Silverwood.

If you were there, we hope you enjoyed it. If you missed one of the times it ran: What you’re seeing is the first of many, and we hope you get to see them soon.

We’ve been playing this pretty close to the vest. We didn’t want to go promising things until we were able to prove this all worked and was fun, in front of a full-size Beta audience.

There are a lot of ways to tell epic stories in MMOs. Cutscenes are cool (we have a few of those). Voiced vignettes can be neat (we have some of those too). Giving you your own private experience can work well too.

In RIFT, we’d like you to be able to play through these events yourself. (The first M in MMO does stand for “Massive.”) That’s where we’re going.

In the event above, there were 573 player participants. All in one part of the world, and the world held up like a champ. Different raids, groups, and soloists taking on different parts of the event.

As a long time MMO player, I’d call it “exactly what I’ve been waiting for.”

We’re thrilled to see the comments from people who were pleasantly shocked that this is what we had in mind when we’ve been talking about epic scale events.

This event was for levels 8-20, complete with group encounters and raid bosses, and the reactions were amazingly positive.

It was a lot of fun to give you this preview of the first of many more types of events — both large and small.

We’ve had a ton of feedback on other subjects as well — Time is short and we have a lot to do between now and the next beta. Here are a few other key things we’ve taken away from all of the testing so far.

Classes and Souls: People like the system. They want more of it. They want to be able to play with more options, sooner — Both in terms of the numbers of points they can invest, as well as the numbers of souls and how they roll out. We hear you, and we agree.

The system really does play at its best once you have a pool of points to play with. That said, those high-end 51 point abilities look like fun too. What isn’t fun is asking people to make that kind of choice at the high end: Do I forsake the fun of the system to get the power I feel that I need in that 51 point ability?

In our system, it’s possible to give people even more choices by getting more points and more souls, faster. We can let people get all the way to a top-end soul ability if they choose, and still be able to have points to spend elsewhere into two other souls.

In time for Beta 3, expect to see all of the souls available to choose from the outset, more souls available earlier in the experience, and more total points to spend. The system is there, and it’s fun, and there’s no reason to hide it from people.

We’re confident that it’s the right thing to do to get more fun into the system. It’s more work, but it’s the kind of work we’re betting you’d want your developers focused on.

Soul Preview: This one was always on the list of things we’d like to do. After Beta 1, it got promoted to the top of it. It made the “We absolutely need this” list after Beta 2. The goal is to get it out there in time for Beta 3.

Pet Naming: I didn’t call this one out after Beta 1, but it was already on the list then. Since people keep asking about it specifically, we’d like to add that it should be out in time for Beta 3.

The Silverwood Music Bug: Yes, we’re fixing this.

There will be more improvements beyond these in time for Beta 3, but there’s a really short cycle between now and then, and we’re trying to make sure we can do everything above and more.

We look forward to seeing you next round, playing with more souls, and more massive events and more zone boss invaders!

If you haven’t seen them, you just haven’t seen RIFT.

See you in Beta 3!

- The Rift Development Team

Taken with permission from Trion Worlds