RIFT‘s first major expansion hits in less than two weeks and Trion has opened up the current beta event — starting today — to everyone. Seeing as how many of you who may decide to participate will be returning after a long hiatus, I thought it might be nice to give you a rundown on some of the things you may have missed.
In this post, we will look at the following things you may have missed: Conquest, Mentoring and Instant Adventures, and Cross-Faction Game-play.
Update 1.9, titled Conquest, brought with it three-faction cross-server PvP by the same name. Not wanting to abuse the lore of the game by simply dropping in a third random faction, Trion came up with an elegant solution that allows players to continue to experience RIFT the way it was intended: as a Defiant or a Guardian while opening up the world to players in a new way.
Ascended of level 50 will be presented with a startling fact: Times have changed in Telara. Four of the dragons are dead and slivers showing that the world exists in multiple forms have appeared. As a result, the focus of the ascended has moved away from fighting about Defiant and Guardian ideals. The two groups of ascended have come together, only to break into three smaller groups fighting over the future of the world and their purpose in it.
Players wishing to participate in Conquest are able to choose sides based on three different sets of ideals that are to determine how they continue as part of Telara. Are they servants? Rulers? Or should they move on from the world altogether?
Once the decision is made, players will then be teamed up with others of the same “faction” from other servers to wage war against the other two factions. At this point it doesn’t matter if you are Guardian or Defiant. You will fight side by side.
The battle will rage across the an entire zone and even those who would rather craft than fight are needed to further the cause as team members in the fray can collect materials needed for crafters to make items that will help them in battle.
Conquest addresses a common complaint across the MMO genre and about RIFT in particular by giving players the much desired three-faction fight. It also brings with it features that make PvP more fun by including everyone — even those who don’t wish to fight — and rewarding players with benefits that will persist in the non-PvP world but will eventually fade if the player doesn’t return to battle.
In essence it’s several steps in the right direction to giving PvP-lovers something they can really enjoy.
MENTORING AND INSTANT ADVENTURES
Mentoring and Instant Adventures (otherwise known as IAs) are two separate features, but for me they go together so well that I have to mention them together. Mentoring — and Instant Adventures — are the answer to the age old question: “What happens to low level zones once most people have leveled out of them?”
Let’s face it, new players are often left with practically empty zones that they’re forced to grind their way through in order to catch up with everyone else. The content becomes less fun than it would be if you had friends, group quests are near impossible and eventually you may become so frustrated you quit.
But mentoring fixes that. Now, a new player need only to find a friendly guild with people willing to mentor down to their level and help them out. And, this is pretty easy to do as Trion has made mentoring beneficial to higher level characters in two ways.
First, players who are mentored down don’t lose anything by doing so. A level 30 player who has mentored to 15 to run a dungeon with some of his buddies will gain appropriate XP and rewards. For those who have not reached max level, this takes some of the grind players may experience out of the process. For those who are max level, it’s a nice change of pace.
The second reason for higher level players to be willing to mentor down is Instant Adventures. IAs are a series of quests in particular zones that players can complete. Like rifts, IAs scale depending on the amount of people who are the appropriate level in the area. Unlike rifts, players need to use a queuing process to join them. It should be noted that if a player queues for a lower level IA, they will be automatically dropped to that level when it becomes available.
IAs couple nicely with mentoring to give players something to do other than the typical round of quests, dailies, dungeons and PvP. They’re available to anyone who has reached the right level for the zone and anyone above that level can mentor down, giving high-level players a reason to return to zones they might otherwise forget. And, as with mentoring down to help lower level friends, doing the same for IA’s does make for a nice alternative method of leveling a character.
It should also be noted that mentoring is great for things like zone-wide events. One of your guildies in a lower level zone tells you things are hopping? Drop your levels and go join the fun.
I’ll just go ahead and let you know now — in case you haven’t figured it out by yourself — mentoring and IA’s are definitely some of my favorite additions to RIFT game-play.
The final feature I’m going to discuss is cross-faction game-play. This section won’t be as long as the others, as this is a fairly simple concept but still one that’s changing the game for a lot of people. As of update 1.10 players of both factions may play together cooperatively to complete raids, dungeons, PvP and more.
Obviously, considering how Conquest works, with both Defiant and Guardian players fighting on the same side, this would be a required feature. But it goes a bit further than just being able to play together. Ascended on PvE shards now have the ability to create cross-faction guilds.
I have to admit, it’s a little odd to go to sleep one night knowing you’re an all-Defiant guild only to wake up the next morning and see the Guardian emblem next to the names of some new members. But, it’s also fantastic. Smaller guilds are given the opportunity to add more quality players by having the other half of the population open to them and people who haven’t found the right guild yet now have more options.
Another plus is that people who may want to play both sides may now do so with a community they’re familiar and happy with. I can honestly say that the cross-faction feature has been a great addition for my little guild and I think it will make the game a more open and inviting place for new players.
Now, these are just a few of the features that some of you may have missed being out of game. But they are some that have had a pretty big impact on RIFT so far. If you’re one of those who haven’t had the chance to try these out yet, I do have good news: As stated earlier, the first open beta even starts today at 10 AM and runs through Wednesday, Nov. 7, 8 AM PST. Trion has opened it up to everyone. Those wishing to participate simply need to go to their website, sign up and download the client.
I know several members of the GAMEBREAKER crew — Including myself, Gary Gannon and Jason Winter — will be in there trying out everything Storm Legion has to offer over the next few days. So maybe we’ll see you in there.