Just shy of two months ago, I wrote up a preview for RIFT, an ambitious upcoming MMORPG. I detailed the soul system as well as the dynamic content system in that preview, as those were a couple things about RIFT that were particularly exciting from a group or cooperative perspective. Now, close to a month and a half after its release, I wanted to highlight some additional co-opportunities of the game that I didn’t have a chance to see during the game’s beta. These include expert dungeons, expert rifts, and world events (not to be confused with zone events).
The road the max level in RIFT (level 50) is not necessarily a particularly arduous one. Heck, some people were actually max level within three of four days of playing. That’s by no means the standard, but after just a month and a half, there are lots and lots of level 50s running around in the game - there’s no grinding for days or weeks to get a level here. Due to their friendly leveling system, Trion wanted to ensure there was a good amount of endgame content available when people rather rapidly hit the level cap. For PVE, there’s a dungeon progression which is strictly for the level 50s.
RIFT has 10 dungeons scattered throughout the different zones as players level up. Every three to five levels after level 15 offers a new dungeon where players can adventure and gain experience and loot. All of these dungeons have “Expert” modes which are strictly for a 5-person party of all max-level characters where the enemies are scaled up to level 50 difficulty. Five of these expert modes are considered “Tier 1” expert dungeons. These are the ones you can start attempting right when you hit 50. The other five expert dungeons are considered “Tier 2.” Tier 2 dungeons are a good deal harder than Tier 1 dungeons - the enemies and bosses hit harder and your party is expected to be pretty decked out in gear they got from Tier 1 dungeons.
While much is similar between the dungeons’ expert and normal modes (e.g. you’ll see the same bosses in expert as you did in normal, the layout will be much the same), there are some key differences: bosses that also existed in normal often get some new, nasty abilities; often additional areas of the instance are opened up for exploration; and each expert dungeon offers at least a couple of bosses specific to the expert mode. And, of course, there’s epic loot to be had in the expert difficulty mode! Well, this is all well and good, but where’s the co-opportunity here? It’s really quite simple: expert dungeons are much more difficult than any of the normal dungeons. Lack of communication and coordination can easily end in a party wipe, and the better your party members work together (not just simply performing well, but being flexible about changing roles when it’s beneficial), the smoother and quicker the dungeon will go.