Trion's Rift released just a little over a year ago, enjoying a much more successful launch than most MMORPGs released in the past few years. Since then, the developers have been actively updating and upgrading the game, releasing new content on a monthly basis, and treating the subscription as a service, rewarding players for continued play.
In celebration of Rift's year of success, we've gone back and gathered up all of the things that have been added since launch, just to show how much has changed in the year, and giving players who might have let their subscription run out a glimpse as to what has been added since they left Telara.
There's nothing more rewarding than finding that awesome new piece of gear in an MMORPG... and there's nothing more upsetting then finding that it doesn't match your character's style at all. Sure, you can dye it, but if it's completely counter to the rest of your gear that might not be enough.
That's why Trion added a wardrobe system, which allows players to equip items via the wardrobe tab that will override the physical appearance of the actual gear. You'll still get the awesome new gear's stats, but you'll be able to make sure your character looks as cool as you want. Cue the dressing room montage.
Some players don't care for the "massively" part of massively-multiplayer online RPGs. For those individuals (or for anyone just looking for something different), Trion added Chronicles story-based, instanced missions aimed for one or two.
There are a number of these, set in different dungeons and locations, but the coolest is likely the one unlocked at level 50. Upon hitting cap, you're invited to a celebration in your faction's main town, thrown specifically for your character. It's great to see a game celebrate attaining max level, as the milestone is usually fairly anticlimactic in other MMOs.
...and for those who prefer "massively" to be a part of their MMO, Trion also added Instant Adventure, a feature we expect to see copied in every MMORPG from here on out. It's an amazing concept, and one that provides the best elements of the genre served up on a platter for easy consumption.
The concept is simple: select Instant Adventure and you're immediately thrown into a group of similar-level players and given dynamic quests in the open world. These missions have a rhythm to them, rising and falling in quality before hitting a rare quest, rewarding the team with additional experience and items. Once it peaks it drops back down, giving you an easy out if you're looking for a chance to leave, or continuing forever if you're not. It lets you always have the experience in fighting in large, group battles, even when you're just wandering around Telara and leveling up.
Huge world events
...and if you want to go even bigger, there are the occasional World Events, which require everyone to join together to work towards a common goal. New ones show up in just about every major content update, giving players a story and a reason to collect items, shut down rifts, or complete other missions to attempt to save the world, yet again.
Best of all, they're multi-tiered, with each section lasting for a week or so before the next kicks in. This means new quests every few weeks, as well as the feeling of working towards a mutual outcome across the entire server.
Not every worldwide event is world-changing, though. Trion has celebrated some real-world holidays as well, adding themed content to releases surrounding Christmas, Valentines Day, Halloween, and others.
Some are small and silly, like the Halloween costume contest, while others were a bit larger and better tied-into the story. The Christmas event, called the Fae Yule, was likely the most extravagant, with plenty of content and items to gain by playing during December.
The most recent holiday celebrated in-game was Valentine's Day, which added player weddings into the mix. Now, you're able to get hitched to another player, pledging to stick together for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do you part. Or until you change guilds, or whatever.
So far, the weddings have been very successful. In fact, Rift currently holds the world record for most virtual weddings in a day, breaking 21,879 in 24 hours. That's a lot of holy matrimony.
Free server transfer
This one might not be all that "exciting," but it's still a neat addition that might make restarting your subscription more feasible. Most other MMOs try and keep server transfers under lock-and-key, forcing players to pay actual money for the feature, if it's available at all. In Rift, not only can you bring your character and literally everything about them to another server for free, but you can do it once a week. No punishments. No level or item loss. Guild leaders can move their guild, too, keeping the guild level and experience intact.
Trion's reasoning is simple: "MMOs are all about playing with your friends no matter which server theyre on, and thats why were offering this as a free service to our subscribers," said Scott Hartsman, Executive Producer. "RIFT is both a game and a service, and adding free server transfers is just one more way we can make this the best possible MMO experience available."
For many players, MMORPGs don't really come into their own until the end game. Rift didn't launch with many large raids, but Trion rolled out additional 10 and 20 person raids in the months after launch.
Now, there are three 20-person raids, including The River of Souls and Hammerknell Fortress. There are also a few 10-person raids that take the form of Slivers, which are...
The rifts tearing apart Telara are also fracturing time itself, and when this happens, 10-person raids called Slivers open up. Slivers are alternate realities born "of every Telarans suppressed whims, unmade decisions, and chances left untaken," where different factions have risen to power and different events have shaped Telara. Delving into them provides an alternate take on the world, filled with new, powerful enemies to destroy.
These small, repeatable raid instances have proven popular since they released, allowing players to see the world they know in a much different light, and adding a nice medium-sized raid option
Free-to-play Rift Lite
Rift Lite is essentially a free demo for Rift, offering a fraction of the content without needing to pay for the game or to fork out a monthly fee.
Thing is, even a "fraction" of an MMORPG is a ton of content. Rift Lite offers the ability to play up until level 20, providing nearly two-dozen hours of play. That's more than enough time to decide whether or not you want to spend another 200 hours in Telara.
Rift had a ton of mounts availabe at launch. Collector's Edition players had giant, two-headed turtles, and leveling up opened up the ability to get horses, yarnosaurs, and other strange, exotic creatures. And then you could get awesome armored versions of all of them.
More have been added post-launch, often tying-in directly with the world events. Dark, ghostly steeds, crazy crocodile mounts, and things that essentially look like reindeer have found their way into Telara, rewarding players with new rides for completing different quests or collecting items.
Though only one completely new dungeon has been added since launch, Trion has been remixing and remastering the ones released at launch to make them more appropriate for end-game players. Two, Darkening Deeps and Deepstrike Mines, have been given "Master" versions, making them great for players who have already exhausted all of the end-game instances of the game, providing one last challenge before stepping into the game's raids.
The largest (physical) addition to Rift since launch is Ember Isle. It's, quite literally, a giant island, full of new quests to complete and monsters to enjoy. There are new cities, new factions it's all new.
And it's hard. The zone is essentially a playground for decked-out 50s, and going in alone is a recipe for disaster. But as you can expect, with great risk comes great reward, and there are some cool things hiding around the island just waiting to be uncovered.
Library of the Runemasters Warfront
PvE isn't the only area that Rift has seen improvements since launch. Trion has also polished up the Warfronts that shipped with the game to make them more balanced and added a new one: Library of the Runemasters.
Library of the Runemasters is similar to Black Garden in that points are scored by carrying around an item that slowly damages players, the difference being that there are multiple items to collect, and the number of points needed to win is higher. And it... takes place in a library instead of a garden. So that's different, too.
Rift's rifts are already a highlight, focusing players on completing large missions together and making the world feel absolutely massive. With the addition of PvP rifts, Trion took that same system and turned it towards player-versus-player combat. These create large, dynamic battles around awesome set-pieces dynamically.
Bonuses given for completing the rift (and bonuses for killing enemies near it) help keep players focused, guiding them to fun, dynamic content. This gives players a reason to complete PvP rifts instead of just wandering around and ganking enemies, making open-world PvP battles less chaotic.
Hitting level cap has always been bittersweet. Though it means you've reached your overall goal (yay!), your experience bar stops moving, preventing you from feeling like you're actually advancing (boo!). The addition of Planar Attunement in Rift fixes this age-old problem by getting that bar rolling again, giving players Planar Attunement points when they'd normally get levels.
These points can be spent on a hexagonal grid to gain bonuses to abilities, buffing spellpower and attack power. This allows for additional customization, as well as letting you feel like you're still growing your character post-cap.
Rift Mobile app
Rift's mobile app is one of the best we've seen released for any MMO. It's loaded with useful features, letting you chat with friends, talk to guildmates (in both regular and officer chat), and get notifications whenever a zone event occurs, just in case you're anxious to jump into a huge battle.
But the coolest element is the ability to earn loot in scratch-off games. Just scratch off the card like you would a lottery ticket and you can earn artifacts, crafting items, and planar treasure that you can use in-game. Oh, and it's free, obviously.
...and that's just in the first year
Trion has raised the bar when it comes to treating MMORPGs like a service, with more content patched into the game in one year than many MMOs add in a lifetime. With more content planned, as well as rumors of an expansion, we're anxious to see where Rift is heading, and hopeful that the frequent updates will continue giving us reasons to go back and play more.