Rift: Storm Legion
E3 2012: Hands-on Preview
"Storm Legion is about to make Rift players very happy and very busy."

Rift's upcoming expansion seeks to make everything bigger and more exciting. In the developers' own words: more badass. This is the game's first expansion pack, and as such will feature an increased level cap, additional Souls, and a new storyline involving the dragon lord Crucia. The Queen of Storms plans to destroy the Ascended, and players must slay her before she can bring her forces to Telara from the Plane of Air via the Infinity Gate.

Storm Legion introduces an additional ten levels, and a new Soul for each Calling. Professions are expanded with the new Grandmaster crafting, and the expansion includes the expected slew of new puzzles, artifacts, mounts, pets, and achievements. Aside from more of everything Rift players have come to love, Storm Legion also introduces a few brand new features, including Dimensions, which are Rift's answer to player housing. These customizable spaces allow players to feel more ownership of the world as well as permitting easier socialization.

The most obvious attempt at Storm Legion's increased sense of scale is the new world map, which triples the size of the world. Two new continents will be available for exploration, and each is approximately the same size as the original landmass. This includes the insular port Tempest Bay, a stronghold for Guardians and Defiant. These continents also introduce seven new dungeons, three raids, and likely dozens of new enemies. Including new bosses, bigger than ever before.

The showcase of our preview was one of the new bosses, who continue the tradition of Rift's specialty: memorable overworld events. The boss was one of the largest I've ever seen, literally dozens of times taller than the player characters on screen. The characters could hardly reach the top of the magical golem's feet, and it would take 80 to 100 of them to bring the titan down.

Characters damaged the boss by attacking one of about thirteen targets, knocking off pieces of armor in the process. The boss also dropped objects that bestowed temporary abilities, such as the skill to jump higher and run faster than usual. The expansion also introduces various other toys to make battles more dynamic and fun, such as jump pads that launch characters through the air. These aren't just for fun either; landing on the specific parts of the boss yielded a one-shot special attack of devastating effect.

After losing a section of armor, the boss entered a new phase, another new feature to make battles more memorable and compelling. The boss began advancing on a nearby city, climbing over an enormous bridge and interacting with the environment. That environment was also on a huge scale, and seeing the boss traverse the ruined city was breathtaking. When the golem reached the city, it broke through a wall, giving players access to a new part of the level.

Storm Legion seeks to imbue Rift with a sense of hugeness as well as infusing combat with as much action as possible. MMORPGs aren't always known for fun combat, so the developers are doing all they can to make battles as thrilling as possible. Evolving boss battles, interactive environments, and gigantic foes are all part of the solution to boring MMORPG combat. Storm Legion is about to make Rift players very happy and very busy.

© 2012 Trion World Games. All rights reserved.

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