To help keep things fresh titular rifts spring up; zone-wide events that – if completed – leave you with a sense of accomplishment, and quite possibly some new and exciting loot. These happenings lend a living quality to the areas you are questing through and can quickly take you away from the grind of quest-based levelling.
Rifts, a crack in the Ward - a barrier protecting the world of Telera - are where the outer planes intersect, tearing holes and unleashing the chaos of the outer dimensions.
Far from take-or-leave random events happening around the map, if left unchecked these rifts unleash waves of invading forces that will make footholds in the area, transforming the environment and killing off valuable quest givers or merchants and grinding the whole area to a halt.
To close a rift, you must group up with fellow players and fight through levels of monsters spewed from the rip. Each level of minions destroyed leads to the next, stronger wave until eventually killing off the invasion and closing the rift.
To make this easier for the solo quester, upon nearing an active rift with players attempting to close it, you are given the option to click a “Join Public Group” button which instantly has you teamed up in the fight. These public groups can quickly turn into raid groups which is especially helpful for the zone wide invasions that occur.
Every few hours – sometimes frustratingly often – a much larger invasion will take place and every player in the zone will be given a new quest. Multiple rifts will open up across the map, and you and your allies will be tasked with beating back the invading forces before a final confrontation with a world boss.
These bosses give as good as they take, and a raid group with no healers or tanks can quickly be dispatched. These events are not only good for possible loot – or currency to buy loot – but as a starter for those looking to get into raiding. They can help you to test out your tanking or healing skills, or to check out your new damage set up.
These multiple events all combine to take away some of the possible boredom related to the level and questing grind. It can often feel, though, that just as you get back into your questing, after helping destroy the latest threat, it starts all over again and you are surrounded by rift minions.
Player versus Environment, the all important feature in a game like Rift, will win or lose with its dungeon content, the means by which players obtain the ‘best’ loot. Currently there are ten dungeons spread through the world offering a satisfying challenge to players as they level, with bosses that gently prod you towards the fighting strategies you will require later in the game.
At 50, the current level cap, all of these dungeons offer an expert mode. In this mode you will explore new areas of the dungeon and get greater story development as well as tuned up bosses.
At present there is only one raid on offer, though more are promised along with a dungeon finder system.
Still being considered is the implementation of third party add-ons, currently a hot topic in the Rift forums. Programs to let players crow about their current DPS, or to make well-designed boss encounters a matter of reading instruction prompts is a debate that may not end soon.
As with any newly-released MMO, as long as there is interest in the game, there will be change. Bugs and server instability usually abound, and anything not enjoyed can quickly be altered.
Trion has released a polished, content rich MMO that is sure to be the new level expected for upcoming releases. That they have managed to satisfy most, if not all of the expectations created in the last few years – and to do so while bringing the occasional innovative change to the genre – is a sign of the drive behind Rift’s development.
The game asks you to explore and to experiment, be it where you are questing or with the character you are building. If the idea of another MMO levelling grind sends shivers down your spine, Rift may not be something to invest your time in, but if you are in the market for a new world to explore that is at once both recognisable and original then Rift may just be for you.