We got a chance to talk to Hal Hanlin and pick his brain about the upcoming addition to Rift: Conquest. We went over the basics of conquest earlier and now we get to ask some of the questions we’ve been wondering about. Conquest is currently on the PTS servers and being tested at specific times, so keep your eyes out on the official forums for updates on when the next round of testing is going to happen.
In the mean time keep reading and find out what Hal Hanlin had to say about RIFT’s new three-way faction war: Conquest.
When developing Conquest, what was the reasoning for using Stillmoor and not any other zone?
Hal Hanlin: Stillmoor is a terrific zone for open world combat because there are lots of good locations for the Extractors and plenty of tactical gameplay. That is not to say that other zones might not work in the future, but Stillmoor was an excellent start point.
If Conquest is successful will we see it expanded to other zones and perhaps other
elements of the game? Is the possibility that we might see it expand to PVE similar to Darkness Falls of DAOC?
HH: As we’ve demonstrated with many other features, when something catches fire, like Instant Adventure for example, we go wider with it. We develop content and features faster than any other premium MMO, and part of our strategy is to develop a cohesive piece, which could stand on its own, to as high a quality bar as we can before releasing it. When it succeeds, we dedicate the resources into making more. If it is marginally successful, we let it stand on its own and serve those who love it. If it fails, it gets cut.
We are dedicated to RIFT, not to a given feature of it, and we are hyper-responsive to the needs of our players. None of that is hype; it’s provable fact. Because that’s how we view our game, if Conquest in other zones or other challenges within Stillmoor Conquest are right for RIFT, we’ll go wider.
What was the motivation behind having three faction PVP? If it is received well, do you think we might eventually have a third hard faction where we might see some opposition to both the Guardians and Defiants?
HH: There is something incredibly engaging about seeing two enemies fighting and trying to sneak up and kill them both. I think that brings so much to open world combat, where every corner offers a new risk. Yesterday, for example, I was running with a large group up a hill. We saw a skeleton on the ground, then 2 then 10, then more than I could count. We were running up on a major 3-way battle where our force tipped the scales. Then reinforcements from another team came and mopped US up.
Russ and I were laughing as a wave of red names crashed down on my bruised warrior. Good fun!
As to the future, you guys know us well enough to know that we do things other companies would be terrified to try. I really don’t know if we will ever put in a PVE 3rd faction. We discuss all sorts of things, but we only do what we really think is right for RIFT and are guided to that by the voice of our players.
During testing on the PTS it was obvious that some sides had a larger population of players, are there any plans to better balance the sides once Conquest hits live?
Our first test had the balance limits set very wide, so it was sheer slaughter one way or the other. The latter tests have had a tighter focus and we are really homing in on the right balance, I think. My team went from dominating, to getting dominated, to fighting back in the course of 3 hours… It was never a rich-get-richer feeling. So I think we are getting very close.
In your announcement you said:
Even crafters play a vital role by refining the battlefield resources into upgrades and even more perks – you’ll find new recipes available at your crafting trainer!
Can you expand on what role crafters have and what kind of new recipes we will find?
HH: Crafters can make buffs that benefit their whole team. The specifics of that are being finalized, so I don’t want to give numbers, but it was important to us that people who craft actually feel important, too. It makes it more of a team effort. Maybe someone (like me) is not the greatest PVP-player, but is a good crafter and we’re willing to do our best. That feels really good. At some point, I may even get better at PVP! I certainly got a lot more kills last go-round than I usually do.
What kind of rewards should we see with Conquest? Will they be strictly PVP rewards
or will we see a mix of PVE and PVP?
HH: There is something called a Conquest Bar. This is charged up thought participation in Conquest. At thresholds along the bar, perks unlock, granting scaling buffs to speed, stats and such. The bar decays over time, making a return to Conquest a periodic thing at least, but is not intended to be a daily requirement to stay tuned up.
How long do you predict each Conquest Game will take? If all things are equal, is there any possibility that some of these games could last longer than 30-40 minutes?
HH: They take as long as they take. When a certain number of kills have happened globally or a certain percentage of control points are controlled by one team, the end-game begins. At that point it becomes time-limited. In our test last night, it was well balanced in terms of numbers and FAR more likely to lockdown because of kills than control. Control was an ever-changing thing. (Very cool to watch on the map, by the way.)
Is Conquest an alternative route in PVP rank leveling? Will there be any advantage of doing Conquest as opposed to Warzones?
HH: If you like quick-twitch PVP with finite time limits and raid-on-raid scale combat: do Warfronts! They’re there and they’re great. If you prefer the feel of open world combat, where tactics, strategy, communication and luck all play a part, you’re probably going to have a great time in Conquest. It’s not all or nothing. You can continue to progress in PVP gear through either.
Are there any rewards in Conquest that you can’t get in Warzones and vice versa?
HH: The Conquest bar buffs are unique to Conquest. They will be helpful, but are not scaled to be completely required.
What is one thing about Conquest that you think will surprise a lot of people?
HH: I think people who love the feel of open world PVP are going to love this, of course, but I bet there are a lot of people who have never really gotten into PVP who can try this and will find that they enjoy it more than they imagined they could.
There is no one right way to play! Do you want to rampage along with scores of other players? Cool! Do that! If you would rather be a ninja guardian of your controlled points, watch the map and creep up on the people trying to take away your control points. Then make them hurt really bad. If you like crafting, do that. If you want to run distraction missions where you hit a bunch of enemy extractors once or twice to get them flashing on the map to distract from your team’s actual goals, do that…
Really, I think people will fall into this and find a place for their play style.
When will Port Scion open in the open world?
HH: Heh… not in 1.9!