RIFT content designer reveals plans for Ancient Wardstone system

RIFT offers so much in dynamic content – from rift invasions to the new Sliver raids – that it’s easy to overlook the Ancient Wardstone system.

Designed for explorers who strike off the beaten track, the Ancient Wardstone system unlocks quests and zone bosses when players use their Ascended power to turn on inactive ancient wardstones hidden in Scarlet Gorge, Scarwood Reach and Droughtlands.

Even though the drops from these bosses offer the highest level gear for these zones, only a small fraction of the RIFT community knows about or even cares to activate these hidden ancient wardstones.

Senior content designer Gavin Irby talked to Rift IRC fans on what’s holding back the Ancient Wardstone system, as well as the changes and plans for this under-appreciated feature.

“More attractive and intuitive”

Mr. Irby hinted that it will take time before the Ancient Wardstone system becomes available in all contested zones – not just the current three.

“I think [the expansion] will be determined by how we can make the feature more attractive and intuitive to players. Not many players are aware of how it works. So how wide we go with it would depend on how well we are able to solve the problems in the basic design,” the designer said.

A few hotfixes have been rolled out as of Patch 1.2 to achieve this goal. These include easier tracking tools for factions who want to control all wardstones at the same time:

  • Ability to see who controls what wardstone
  • Ability to see how many are controlled by a faction
  • Cooldown timer for the 24-hour boss respawns

No more hidden wardstones?

There is a sense though that Trion Worlds might tone down the discovery aspect of the Ancient Wardstone system for the sake of player convenience.

“This system was really designed with explorers in mind. But it became obvious pretty early on that the whole system was a little too hidden. Like pretty much invisible,” said Mr. Irby. “So we’ve already made a change so that the controlled wardstones display on the map. Whether or not we display the dormant wardstones is up for discussion.”

When dormant wardstones are revealed on the map, any player – even those who have not taken time to explore the zone to discover them – will be able to activate it as he or she pleases.

If this happens, then the Ancient Wardstone system will be less about exploration and more about faction warfare as both the Defiants and the Guardians will fight tooth and nail to control all wardstones for exclusive boss unlocks.

Wardstone bosses offer drops that are “comparable to the highest level gear for that zone” as well decent RIFT Platinum rewards, so let’s see if increased visibility is just the push this feature needs to be as popular as rift hunting and raiding.