The team believes that RIFT has two types of players: ones who want to enjoy the story and ones who just want to level already. Nightmare Tide is built with both in mind, allowing people to delve into the story as much or as little as desired. However, Trion's Bill Fisher told me at this year's PAX Prime that the story is so good this time around that he's had a hard time doing the MMO gamer thing of ignoring the quest text.
At one point, players will encounter the birthing of a clutch of Skelf eggs. Skelf are humanoid sea creatures (some are like sharks while others share similarities to angler fish) who tend to kill the weakest member of a clutch. However, player intervention will save a poor Skelf baby who will then follow that player around and become a key part of the expansion tale.
Nightmare Tide may be only three zones, but those are, as I was told, "deceptively huge" due to the use of the Z-axis. While only 10% or so of the expansion is underwater, the use of water mounts, faster swimming, and no "out of breath" mechanics means that it should be quite fun to explore.
The expansion will bring more than quests and water travel to RIFT. Mentoring will be improved so that players can now up-level to their friends as well as down-level. Collectors should love the new minion system that allows for the capture of almost a hundred critters that can be sent on timed quests to retrieve rewards. As players level to 65, they'll enjoy the choice of five masteries to go with their traditional skill trees. And new infinite stage nightmare rifts will be popping up all over the game to challenge players to see how far they can go.
It's so much stuff that "tide" is too mild of a word for this expansion. I'd go with Nightmare Tsunami if it were up to me.
Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 29th to September 1st, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about Warlords of Draenor, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!