Rift? is an upcoming fantasy MMORPG from Trion Worlds. It is a fantasy online game where thousands of players adventure together to save a world being torn apart by magical rifts that unleash deadly planar invasion.

Rift? has all of the traditional quests and deep story arcs you expect from a fantasy MMO role-playing game but there is unpredictability to life in Telara that guarantees even familiar terrain can offer new dangers and opportunities.

Whether it?s a previously peaceful farm being ravaged by demons a tranquil forest glen suddenly ripped apart by a violent rift or merely an unassuming traveling merchant with astounding wares spontaneous events are taking place all across Telara for you to discover and take part in.

The ebb and flow of activity in Telara is always changing. Thousands of unexpected encounters are occurring at any moment making every adventure unique?with more being added all the time. And just like in real life you can revisit favorite haunts to see what’s different adding a novel sense of exploration to even well-trodden ground. Every player experiences a different adventure in the living breathing world of Telara.

What is a Rift?

A Rift is a place where the veil between Telara and the other planes has gone weak. These holes in the fabric of reality allow the destructive influence of otherworldly planes to invade Telara threatening the area and people surrounding it. Over time creatures that spawn from a rift may attack towns or even other rifts and it is up to players to counter this threat.

Rift events are the main Player versus Environment (PvE) combat that will exist in the game which lives up to its title of Rift?. Rift events begin with tears which can open to form rifts which turn into footholds if unchecked. The foothold can spawn invasions. The locations of tears rifts footholds and invasions are indicated on the player’s map.

Rifts spawn creatures which players have to combat in order to seal the rift. The creatures come out in waves growing stronger and stronger and sometimes appearing with certain conditions like requiring players to meet a certain quota of kills or doing it under a time limit. Upon completing the challenges players are rewarded for their participation. The more you participate the better your reward and some rewards may be rift-specific.

Players receive rewards directly for combating rifts so there will be no “random rolling” for rewards. Players earn contribution via effort for “doing stuff to help win the rift” including healing buffing holding aggro and dealing damage; effort will be adjusted by a player’s level so a higher level player will not always contribute more than a lower-level player.

The developers explained that the game is smart enough to slow down the process of rifts appearing and opening when players aren’t around (say in the middle of the night) and to move the action to where the crowds are.

Trion Worlds has designed the rift system to not only offer dynamic world events but to entice players into working together by increasing the rewards when more and more characters are involved.

Player Factions

The world of Telara is divided up politically between two major factions: the Guardians and the Defiant. The Guardians are blessed by the gods and are chosen to be their Holy Knights while the Defiant take the anti-hero route and rely on their own technology to wage war. Both factions have plans to save the world from planar destruction but in very different ways. Players will have to choose between the two factions before they can create their character.
The factions are engaged in open conflict and battle frequently. Because of this warfare the factions cannot group up or form guilds with one another in Rift?.

Races

Rift? provides many playable races to choose from. Each race has its own characteristic look unique racial ability and distinctive background story. Races also belong to one of two opposing factions either Guardian or Defiant. The Dwarves High Elves and the Mathosian Empire formed the Guardian Races while the Bahmi Eth and the Kelari formed the Defiant.

Each race will offer players its own set of advantages and disadvantages during gameplay. For example the Dwarves have a racial ability called Bahralt?s Mettle which passively increases the character?s endurance by 5%.

Character Creation

In Rift? players are one of the Ascended a Telaran slain during the great Shade War and resurrected to combat the forces of Regulos. As an Ascended players have access to special powers the greatest of which is “Soul Attunement” the ability to commune with and embrace the souls of Telara’s ancient fallen heroes.

Players choose an Ascended Soul from one of the four callings (Warrior Cleric Mage and Rogue) at character creation. These initial souls which grow in power as they become more specialized are flexible and have well-rounded abilities that make them great for both solo and group experiences. Players can later choose to augment or even replace embraced souls with other souls from within their calling. The process of enabling souls that players discover in their adventures is called Soul Attunement.

Players will also gain more specialized “Heroic Souls” that open up a number of new and exciting gameplay experiences offering special achievements and rewards for players who discover them all.

In Rift? the initial class selection is only the first step in an extremely deep and advanced class development system that allows players to customize and alter their classes in potentially hundreds of different ways. Unlike most MMOs Rift doesn?t want to pigeon-hole players into a rigid pre-defined class with little room for individuality. Instead players will collect ?souls? to mix-and-match in order to create a unique build.

Eventually players will have the option of a three-soul build where players can pick three out of the many souls they?ve collected in order to make a class of their own.

The Soul Attunement system offers players nearly endless customization. In Rift? players are encouraged to experiment with many combinations of souls and abilities to discover the path that?s right for them! The Rift? class system will certainly be an innovation in the MMO genre.

Combat and Achievements

Combat in Rift? is similar to most MMORPGs. Players have to target an enemy and then select abilities from their hot bars. However Rift will feature a global cooldown which triggers after any skill or ability is used as shown in the latest GameTrailers video.

Rift? features an Achievement system keeps track of players accomplishments within the game. It will have an elaborate achievement and collection system that will reward players with various cosmetic items such as mounts pets and vanity titles. Rift? will track your achievement points across the player?s account but not the achievements themselves.

Achievements are sorted into the following categories:
ú Milestones
ú Quests
ú Exploration
ú Collection
ú Crafting
ú Player VS Player
ú Dungeons
ú Raids
ú Rifts
ú Heroic Legacy

Player vs. Environment (PvE)

Rift? also features other PvE combat events such as Raid and Instance events.

A raid is a type of mission where the objective is to use a very large number of people relative to a normal team size set by the game to defeat a boss monster. Raiding is large-scale combat against a common enemy; one source says groups are of 5-20 people. There will be some pre-level 50 raids as well as a tiered raid progression.

Item drops from raids are often very rewarding including unique or maximum stats items thus giving players of the game an incentive to participate. Other rewards may include large amounts of experience and money. The high rewards often come at the cost of high risk to the player.

Instances are special areas in Rift: Planes of Telara where player?s group or raid party is able to interact with a dungeon privately; that is without interference from other parties or raids. There will be both group and private instances.

Some instances “scale” to some degree. If players come back at a later level they will have a different experience. Every dungeon will have 2 versions a normal one for its original level and an expert version that expands the story and intended for level cap. For level 50 instances the expert version would be referred to as “heroic” in some other games.

These are some of the known Instances in the game so far: Darkening Deeps Deepstrike Mines Iron Tomb Overwatch Keep Realm of the Fae and Spring Terrace.

Player vs. Player (PvP)

Player vs. Player (PvP) combat will definitely exist inside of Rift? in many forms and fashions. PvP in Rift? will be between the two factions in the game – the Defiant and the Guardians – who disagree violently regarding how best to deal with the apocalypse that is facing the world.

The game will feature both PvP and PvE rule sets have both open world PvP and “battleground” PvP and will feature city raids. Players can encounter areas and zones where players can experience open PvP. But these zones can be avoided by players who are not fan of PvP but are keener in exploring.

Rift? will also feature PvP Battlegrounds called Warfronts that are level-based tiered which features maps such as capture the flag. In city raids faction leaders are attackable and can be killed but will not provide loot.

PvP will reward players in several ways. By doing PvP you can gain favor which in return will unlock the ability to purchase new things. Players will also increase prestige by doing PvP which will allow them to rank up ranking up allows the player to purchase new gear and get new abilities for their PvP Souls.

Quests

Quests are a major feature of Rift: Planes of Telara which has a wide variety of quests that may be zone-specific linked to the larger story of Telara or purely for fun. The quests will be geared to solo group or raid gameplay and offer a large variety of rewards including equipment crafting items and even souls.

The bulk of the quests found in each zone tie in with the story of the zone usually culminating in a large battle at the end of the quest line for that area. The story for each zone in turn is linked to the overarching story of Telara. The majority of these quests are geared towards solo or small group gameplay.

The storyline of the game is told from the points of view of each player faction – Guardians or Defiant – so certain quests may be specific to particular player factions. Quests are also used to obtain new souls. When a quest offers a soul as a reward players are allowed to choose from any soul they do not already have. This allows players to pick up new souls in whichever order they wish.

Other than quests linked to the main story of Telara and quests to obtain souls there will be many other types of quests including:

ú Off-story quests for special rewards
ú Quests associated with non-player factions
ú ?End-game? quests
ú Quests linked to rifts
ú Daily quests automatically given upon entering dungeons
ú Hidden quests that are obtainable via items or exploration
ú Quests that purely for fun

Other Features

Explorer types are rewarded with experience for discovering new areas as well as a collection system. Rift? will also feature a robust and comprehensive crafting and gathering system. Unfortunately the developers couldn’t share much about collections and crafting at this time.

The game will also offer a comprehensive guild system that will be accessible for player organizations both large and small. With some features stated above and more which are not yet unveiled; coupled with a compelling and stunning graphics; Rift? could definitely re-shape the MMO gaming world.

Release Date

Trion Worlds is currently targeting an official release of March 1 2011. Beta Testing started on Dec. 3 2010 and will run right up until the official release date. Currently Rift? is scheduled to be available in English French and German. Rift? is a pay to play game charged on a monthly subscription basis.

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