Bill Fisher, producer at Redwood City, California based developer Trion Worlds, announced the next upcoming expansion for the studio’s fantasy MMORPG Rift in a letter to the game’s community. The update, known as Nightmare Tide, will be the second major expansion to the game since its launch in 2011 and plans to take players on a journey into the elemental plane of water to face off against a host of new enemies, dungeons, and open-world challenges.
Nightmare Tide will give Rift players their first opportunity to set foot on the other side of the game’s signature feature after which it takes it names. Rifts are dynamically spawning challenges which center around a tear in the fabric of reality, linking the world of Telara in which players live with an elemental plane. Nightmare Tide plans to let players step through the rift and into the plane of water and, while little is currently known about what might be on the other side, it seems likely that it will be a major expansion to the size and scope of the game world given that Rift’s first expansion, Storm Legion, approximately tripled the amount of territory available for players to explore.
The Nightmare Tide patch will increase the game’s level cap from 60 to 65, only half the increase brought about by Storm Legion. Whether or not this means that the expansion as a whole will be less ambitious is yet to be seen, although a host of changes to the game have already been announced. First among these is the Mastery system, a customizable set of skills and buffs unique to every class but unaffected by the other skills chosen by the player, unlike Rift’s main skill tree system. Nightmare Tide also plans to add additional gear slots to characters, although what these might be or what impact they might have on the game isn’t yet known, as well as “Nightmare Rifts,” which offer a greater chalenge than standard rifts in the form of “scaling difficulty and nearly endless waves of foes.”
No release date for Nightmare Tide has yet been set. With at least one major patch for Storm Legion still in the works, Nightmare Tide is likely still a long way off, although Fisher’s letter promises that it will come at some point in 2014. The expansion is planned to be free to play along with the main game itself when it releases, although Fisher indicated that some content may be accessible faster and easier to paying customers. Rift and Storm Legion are currently available free of charge for Windows PCs at the game’s official website.