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Does RIFT Expansion = Raised Level Cap?

By on May 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm, in Buzz, RIFT  |  Comments: 21 comments

With all of the speculation about a possible RIFT expansion happening sometime this year, one of the most hotly-debated topics within the community is the idea of Trion raising the current level cap. Will they give us another 10 levels of content to plow through, or will they keep lining up content packages for the current endgame? There are definitely key arguments on either side of the fence. Here are a few opinions, straight from this thread, where a large portion of the speculation is currently happening:

“New zones are fun, but seeing all that gear you strove so hard for become useless overnight and superseded by level 51 greens will probably be too much to bear. Went through this a couple of times in other MMOs; as much as I love Rift, I don’t think I can do that again.

They’ll also have to find a way to keep the old content from becoming totally irrelevant. The mentoring feature will keep downlevel zones (somewhat) relevant in case of a level-cap increase. However, no such feature yet exists that would keep the current dungeons and raids from becoming obsolete before a majority of the playerbase ever experiences them.”

This is a very solid reason to be against a level increase cap. Increases often make gear, entire maps, entire cities (Shattrath, anyone?), and entire raids and instance zones obsolete, except when it comes to nostalgia and achievements. Many MMO players like the fact that expansions force an in-game wipe of sorts that knock entire raids out of the ballpark, others don’t. Mentoring may solve this issue somewhat in RIFT, but possibly not, since the reward factors may not line up unless Trion adjusts how rewards scale from older content.

And here’s the other angle of the argument:

“New level 50 player, post expansions: Rift is awesome! I’m now level 50, how do I gear up?
Longtime Rift Player: You have to do Expert Dungeons, GSB, HK, Inferno Dawn, Crucia’s Temple, Regulos’s Fortress of Dread, etc, etc.
New 50: K… I’m goin back to WoW.

Raising the content cap in this sort of game system means you have to raise the level cap. If you don’t the game becomes inaccessible.”

“Content iteration is the key. If you stack too much content in front of a new player they won’t do it.”

New players need content to be accessible in order to play ‘catch up’, otherwise they may quickly lose interest in the game. Higher level caps accomplish this nicely, and actually even the playing field, at least for a short time while everyone is leveling and exploring the new expansion content. This allows developers to adjust stats, introduce new abilities, mechanics, loot systems, and more without upsetting current content progression.

RIFT doesn’t have to go this route, but many players feel a level cap increase is just the ticket for getting new players to try out the game:

I feel Rift really needs an expansion to draw some players back in potentially and breathe some new life into the game.

Expansions are exciting. New content to devour is exciting. New soul points to allocate, and new skills to play with is exciting. But do we need a level cap increase to generate this sort of excitement? Hard to say.

RIFT’s unique soul system also offers a unique spin on this issue. By implementing a new level cap, players will, of course, be granted new soul points. Since the system is so wonderfully flexible, it seems possible that unless major balance adjustments are made, some specs may be a little difficult to balance. Trion may be able to handle this, however, and any new abilities or souls added may make up for this balance issue. There’s also PA to handle.

Either way, Trion has their work cut out for them. The community seems pretty split on the matter. What do you think?

  • mortis2600

    This is one of the major failings of Rift right now. New players to end game have a much harder time getting caught up to where current end game players are at. A new player doesn’t have the right access to gear effective enough to get them into current content. To get geared up, they have to run experts for gear, then save those marks for more effective gear so they can run Raid T2 content for the minimum gear for Infernal Dawn.

    That’s very daunting for new players. I’m now of the mind that gear grinds are the major issue with the current MMO model. It doesn’t make the game accessible enough to new players. The vertical progression model makes it so new players have to work harder depending on how long off they are from launch. The longer they waited to get to End Game, the harder it is to get ready for current content.

    I’m of the opinion that if Rift is going to survive and thrive in the long run, it needs to introduce more of a horizontal method of dealing with progression. Where it becomes less about the carrot and more about the performance. Skill over gear. Both in PVE and PVP. This is the direction that Guild Wars 2 is going and I think it has the right idea. Trion needs to really re-think their design model in the near future.

    • Ewoud Hemstede

      Yet again, this is Rift. I see alot of people playing this game and not caring about what the newest raid is. They do what they like and progress in their own way: they enjoy doing DH, GP, GSB, ROS and perhaps even a few bosses in HK. On all servers I’ve been on I always see new guilds being created to start with the first tier of raiding.

      The question is, why do people need to raid the latest tier in order to have fun?

      • Vanity

        Because after awhile it gets repetitive and boring, I love how Rift pushes out new content.
        However I’m not sure about the lvl cap increase.
        So many existing souls need fixing.

        I love raiding but it’s been hard so many players in the Eu servers have left with new guilds coming to icewatch everyday to recruit.
        So I’m really happy with the new ten men raids.
        Even though there is two t1 one t2 and new t3 coming! Yay but hoping there will be another t2 one soon with more then 4bosses.

        • Rdh4176

          I am not sure about the lvl increase either.  I think that Trion should make content for ALL ranges of endgame.  Give those people something new who are not eat ready for the hardest endgame content. it doesn’t always have to be about those at the top (the 1%!!!!).  

          I personally stay away from guilds and players like that and enjoy the majority of players who are just happy working together on dungeons and 10 mans and things like that and play the game.  

          So, why not create a new teir of raiding, and then create a dungeon that is in line with the current experts.  Create a T1, a T2 and a new raid?  

          • mortis2600

            Because Trion follows the same design philosophy as other MMOs. Better gear only comes from harder content. This largely alienates a majority of their player base like you said. 

            Honestly, you’ll find what you’re looking for (in terms of play style) at GW2. 

      • mortis2600

        It’s because the game is largely designed for players to do the following: 

        Level to Max. 
        Gear up to Current Content
        Get better gear
        Do newer content
        Get better gear

        Or if you’re doing PVP, you just grind Warfronts until your eyes bleed while buying better gear. 

        That’s what a new player sees and thinks it’s expected of them. So when they see that, not many of them stick around long enough to get to end game. Again, that just makes new players look elsewhere. 

        Game designs like The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 that have less of a vertical progression (carrot on a stick style gear grinds) and have more of a horizontal progression (gear stats doesn’t change much but the look gets better over time). This puts a focus on player skill and gear doesn’t bar new players from getting into new content and older content is just as valid as current. 

    • ptpnl

      Gearing up ppl up in rift is not that hard. we ha to do it couple of times and in a time around 4 weeks those ppl went from barely T1 ready to ID ready. yes they miss the 4 set cristal bonus and don’t have a top and source machine. But that is just something that comes with time and a little bit of time.

      • mortis2600

        It’s not that it’s easy to gear people up. I know it can be if you’re in a decent guild that is active (those are dying off too, btw). It is the fact that new players who start to look at what it’s going to take to get to end game, and they see that they basically have to run Dungeons, save marks, run older raid content and otherwise do a gear grind, it’s daunting to them. They don’t stick around and play. That’s why Rift doesn’t have the infusion of new players that it was getting during the first 6 months after launch. 

        Let’s face it, Rift’s numbers are trailing off and without making content more accessible and a progression path that is not as much of a grind to new players, it’s not going get better. 

  • Lisa

    Want to take a wild guess at how many prestige levels are going to be available soon? Or do you just not play Rift enough to think of that? 


    • JasonDodge

      We’ll have to get through the next two patches and see if they do anything about Prestige in any expansion.  We know they won’t raise level cap, but you don’t know about PVP since they are currently revamping the PVP game.  Also the next two patches will be totally focused on PVP from what we know.

      Also, you seem to have a strong opinion about Rift and against Laura.  Why don’t you email me at and we can discuss you guest writing for us here at Rift Junkies.

  • Alex

    I would like to see 8 new souls added instead of 10 more levels.  Add Raids that are inline with River of Souls where you go to another plane of existence and instead of getting gear you can get your current gear augmented.  It would be a way for the new guys to play catch up and not have to progress through the same content unless they want to (great for alts as well).  Keep the “Dragon” Raids and some 10 man raids for serious gear progression. Expand the PA system to add more character personalization.  Get rid of PVP gear and PVE gear.  It should all just be usable gear.

  • Samuel Serafim

    I will love 10 levels more. new pvp ranks, new maps and new levels are the most impressive and nice stuff that trion can release. WvW is incredible too. Trion is in right way sure. Some
    lvl 50 pve stuff like heroic dungeuns, raid dungeuns should be rebalanced to lvl 60. Another stuff, mainly pvp stuff, should keept open in lvl 50, and grow hard until lvl 60. After all, lvl 60 will be the new end game lvl. Gogo Rift, lvl 60!

  • Malcolm Swoboda

    10 more levels is just fine…if done right. AKA DON’T DO IT LIKE WOW.

  • Eckbard

    i’m out if they raise it thats for sure.. level cap increase was the sole reason for me to quit wow.

    and i for one dont see what the problem for new players is, i do however see a problem with other peoples mentality eg. highend guilds not wanting to take lower geared people.. 

    My guild for example gear up people in HK, even if they dont have the gear for it we just carry them, while the main raid grp goes through ID. if alot more guilds would do this there would not be a problem. 

    • mortis2600

      It’s not that guilds aren’t doing this. It’s more about what a new player perceives. For a new player they have to level up to max. Then run dungeons to get gear so they can run T1 Raid, so they can run T2 raids so they can run T3 raids. To do that, they need to find people willing to run them through a lot of that content when most players raiding are doing current content. 

      It’s a daunting task when you start to play a new game mid-stream. This is the problem with Linear based progression models. The longer the game is out, the harder it is to get into current content without some work on either the player or the game devs. Rift is particularly bad about it. 

  • Kait

    Another issue that hasn’t been mentioned wrt a level cap are stat caps.  Players are already pushing the soft caps on many stats (block and crit off the top of my head), while they do have some ways to go before they start hitting hard caps this poses a massive problem.

    As ratings increase, each percent becomes more and more valuable than the last.  EG: going from 10% armour reduction to 15% is tiny, but going from 90% to 95% reduces incoming damage by HALF.  It’s still a 5% increase, but because you are already so close to 100% it becomes more valuable.  Same goes for stats like crit or block or dodge, the more you have the more you want as it make for substantially fewer “bad” results.

    So long as content brings better and better gear, players will get better and better stats (duh).  This will eventually put players at or over various soft/hard caps.  There is only so long this can continue until the whole system collapses under its own weight.

    A level increase WILL be needed to reset progression… maybe not right now, but it will happen.

  • Grandevr

    Right now, Rift’s progression ladder is just like WoW-BurningCrusade.

    It is *great* just the way it is.

    Content is *relevant*  from T1 raids to T3 raids.

    New L50s just need to find a Guild to do Raids with.   DH/GP (Tier-1) is probably easy to ‘farm’ for an established guild, and they can just help gear up the new L50s.

    Established L50s still benefit from doing the ‘older’ Raids for +exp (and tokens for more exp) for increased planar attunement (which then helps them with T3+ raids).

    The one thing that Rift needs to do is add more Master-mode dungeons, and *increase* the reward of doing so (why in the world do the bosses not drop any tokens at all for that matter?).

    • Kait

      “New L50s just need to find a Guild to do Raids with.   DH/GP (Tier-1) is probably easy to ‘farm’ for an established guild, and they can just help gear up the new L50s.”

      See, the issue I most often see with that is that there are VERY few guilds that are willing to add extra days of raiding in addition to their current progression nights.  Even if you can carry the newbee and utterly roflstomp the old content, you still need nights to do so … and if the rng loot gods are not on your side it can take a while.

      While PA is nice and all, it really isn’t enough to keep people in on a Friday night if they would rather be out partying.

  • Balex2ro

    Or nerf “obsolete” content, increase mark drops/lower the price of items to enable new players to gear up quickly for new content. Keep the cap at 50.

    Took a long break from rift and now i need to go places no one goes anymore to be able to get ready for latest raids. A bit of a turnoff tbh. New guys need to farm Experts to get expert gear and also the entry level raids which not many people do anymore so they’re stuck in a way. You can get away as dps (groups can carry you) but as healing/tank this is quite a problem.

    • Balex2ro

       or normalize marks like wow did. just have two types.

    • Kait

      that wouldn’t fix the stat cap issue.

      Regardless of how you balance the rate at which people gain plaques, you still have the problem that as players get more and more stats, they get closer and closer to all the various caps (eventually invalidating further progression in various stats).