Rift (video game)
Standard edition cover art
|Release date(s)||NA March 1, 2011
AU March 10, 2011
EU March 11, 2011
|Media/distribution||Download, optical disc|
Rift (previously known as Rift: Planes of Telara) is a fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) from Trion Worlds. Rift takes place within a fantasy world called Telara. The game was released in March 2011. Rift received generally positive reviews from game critics. In August 2011, Trion announced that 1 million users/players have played the game and by January 2012 it had earned $100 million in total revenue.
In early 2012, Rift adopted a free to play model (Rift Lite) with some restrictions for new and returning players up to level 20. In October 2012, for preparation of the expansion, Trion Worlds created a new server structure, where server capacity was "effectively doubled" and confined to a single wargroup. Currently there are now a total of 8 servers for the United States and 10 servers for Europe.
In November 2012, the game's first expansion Storm Legion was released which notably tripled the land mass of the in-game world, raised the level cap to 60, introduced "Dimensions"–a form of player-housing, and added additional soul choices to each class among many other new features. The expansion received generally positive reviews from game critics. On 14th May 2013, Trion Worlds announced that Rift would be a free-to-play game starting from June 12th 2013.
Rift is a MMORPG set in a fantasy world called Telara, which is the focal point of several different elemental Planes. These Planes are realities representing the elemental forces of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, Life, and Death, and it is at the one point where every one of these Planes intersect with each other that Telara exists. Each Plane is governed by a Dragon-deity, which is the personification of that elemental force. Through the actions of the Dragon of Extinction, Regulos, the various Dragons have united in an alliance known as the Blood Storm, for the purpose of invading Telara and gaining use of the intersection of all of their realms. In the past, the Blood Storm was defeated by the inhabitants of Telara with the help of the Vigil, the most powerful of the native gods of Telara.
Regulos was cast out into the elemental Planes, while its five compatriots were trapped within Telara and chained beneath a Ward designed to close Telara off from external threats. However, recently, Regulos has gained entry to Telara, destroying the Ward and causing Rifts to open to the elemental Planes, feeding the strength of the trapped Dragons and allowing their minds to enter in a bid to destroy Telara's defenders. Opposing Regulos within Telara are two factions: the Guardians and the Defiant. The conflict between these two factions serves as another source of tension and gameplay. Players have the role of Ascended, superhuman resurrected warriors whose task is to defeat the forces of Regulos and cleanse Telara forever of the threat of the Storm.
The Guardians piously follow the religion of the Vigil, the supreme gods of Telara. They include the high elves, the Mathosians (a warlike culture of humans from the north), and dwarves. Ascended Guardians were resurrected by the Vigil after dying at the hands of Regulos during his return to Telara. Players of Guardians fight and die against one of Regulos' commanders, only to be brought back at the beginning of Rift.
The Defiant are those who, for cultural, historic, or personal reasons, do not follow the religion of the Vigil and have put their trust in science and technology as a way to conquer the forces of Regulos. They include the Eth (a highly advanced human culture from the south), the Bahmi (descendants of interbreeding between Air spirits and humans), and the Kelari (animistic, cabalistic dark elves). Ascended Defiant were resurrected through technology based on the study of the soul-structure of Ascended Guardians in an apocalyptic future in which Telara has nearly been consumed by Regulos. At the beginning of the game, players of Defiant are sent back in time from this point to the beginning of Rift, allowing them to fight at an opportune moment in Telara's timeline, to overthrow the religion of the Vigil and defeat Regulos.
Rifts are areas of elemental instability that represent the intrusion of elemental planes into the land of Telara. Once opened, these rifts begin to spawn monsters that proceed to march towards important points on the map. It is then up to players to defeat these monsters and to close the rift. If rifts are left unchecked, the invading monsters will eventually conquer large portions of the map, killing and significantly impairing the players in that area. Entering the area surrounding the rift will trigger a prompt that allows the player to join a public group, rather than forcing the player to manually create a group. Players sealing the rift are rewarded for many things including healing, attacking and buffing. The severity and locations of the rifts are entirely dynamic. Rifts of six different types (earth, fire, air, water, life, and death) are possible, and rifts of different types will oppose each other. In addition, Non-player characters hostile to the player may engage rift invaders. With the addition of Storm Legion, Hunt Rifts can be summoned by players creating a "survival" style of combat where players defend conduits from waves of invaders culminating in a boss battle. Hunt Rifts have varying degrees of difficulty and as the difficulty increases the player rewards also increase.
Rift offers several types of dungeons/instances including: Dungeons and Raids. Players may team up in groups of 5 to battle through Normal, Expert or Master mode Dungeons. Each level of dungeon challenges players to overcome unique strategies and encounters. Dungeons provide players with a chance to acquire higher level items and currencies to use throughout the game. In addition to Dungeons, players may also choose to enter 10-man or 20-man Raids which require teamwork and gear requirements to be successful. Raids are considered end-game content and contain the toughest encounters Rift has to offer.
Character customization 
Each character chooses between four different callings: Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, or Mage. Each class starts with access to eight different 'souls' from that calling, which have trees to which they can allocate a number of points gained each level. Rift's soul trees have two levels: branches, which are the specific abilities/bonuses that the player allocates the points to, and roots, which are the soul's base abilities that are unlocked as the player allocates a certain number of points into the branches. All races may become all classes.
The soul system allows players to customize their characters to a high degree. The player chooses three souls from within their calling, and allocates earned points into talent trees for each soul. A Cleric wishing to tank may select justicar for its defensive properties and ability to heal the group as it deals damage, sentinel to increase his healing capabilities, and shaman to increase his melee damage output (thus increasing the amount of damage-based healing and threat generation). A Cleric may have both justicar and sentinel, but may have more points allocated into sentinel than justicar, and then choose warden as the third soul for its burst damage and heal-over-time spells, to make the character more of a healer than a tank.
Players may also keep up to six different soul configurations (called roles), which may be activated whenever the player is not in combat, meaning a player can switch from a healer to a damage dealer as the group needs. Because the player's abilities come from the points allocated in the soul trees, two roles that share no souls will have no abilities or bonuses in common with each other. This allows players a greater degree of versatility than is normally allowed in MMORPGs. These combinations allow players to play multiple roles in PvE, PvP, party, and raid gameplay. Therefore, a rogue could either do ranged or melee dps, provide support, or tank. Clerics, unlike in other MMO's, allows for damaging and tanking abilities instead of being confined exclusively to healing. Mages provide both ranged and melee damage through direct damage and damage over time abilities. They can provide fantastic support via group or tank healing, as well as debilitating destructive debuffs and crowd control. Warriors can fulfill several roles, either damage, tanking, or support.
Physical appearance 
Rift's character customization allows players to alter specific aspects of their avatars. Characters may change hairstyles, facial features, height, sex, tattoos, and skin colors during character creation. Originally, these attributes were unable to be changed in game, but patch 1.9 added a barbershop which allowed for re-customization of all aspects but race and sex. Each race has a limited skin color palette and set of race-specific features. For example, the Bahmi's hairstyles for females include numerous bald or almost-bald options while the high elves have hairstyles that contain flowers. You can also customize the appearance of all armor by applying a coloured dye or by using the appearance of another item. Rift also features an expansive wardrobe system. If a player finds a particular piece of equipment that pleases them visually, they can equip it in a wardrobe slot that overwrites currently equipped items, visual model. For each wardrobe slot, a player can equip alternate gloves, shoulders, boots, pants, and chest pieces. There are various vanity items that players receive for completing dungeons, quests, or rift events in game. All together, the player can purchase up to five wardrobe slots, with the price of each subsequent slot increasing substantially.
At launch, Rift included approximately 12,000  weapons which players could equip to their character. Weapon rarities are common (white), uncommon (green), rare (blue), epic (purple), and relic (orange). Weapons include swords, axes, maces, staves, wands, bows, guns, daggers, and shields. Swords, hammers, axes, and maces may also be two handed.
After initial purchase, Rift requires a monthly subscription fee for continued play, or buying prepaid game cards for a selected amount of playing time. However, in January 2012, Rift became free to play up to level 20 with some restrictions.
Rift was in development from 2006 until its release in 2011 and underwent extensive alpha testing, with beta testing finalizing the stress test portion of development. Trion Worlds CEO Lars Buttler has stated that Rift had an initial budget of "over US$50 million". A trailer featuring game footage was released for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in late May 2009 and was featured on the 2009 Spike TV Video Game Trailers program. The preview was viewed favorably by 1UP.com.
|Rift Original Soundtrack tracklist|
|1.||"RIFT Title Theme" (Main title)||3:04|
|2.||"RIFT Game Intro"||2:03|
|3.||"Guardian Theme" (Sanctum)||3:19|
|7.||"Defiant Theme" (Meridian)||1:03|
|15.||"Iron Pine Peaks"||3:28|
|PC Gamer (US)||85/100|
GamingExcellence gave the game an 8.2/10, calling it "one of the best MMOs released in years." PC Gamer gave the game an 85/100 saying the game is "Absolutely colossal, Rift aims high and hits its mark, proving that there’s room to grow within the traditional MMO format." GameSpy gave the game a 4/5, with the reviewer stating that "...it's worth noting that Rift has already emerged as Blizzard's best competition in years". GameSpy went on to praise the dynamic world offered from rift events, but also questions "how well its initially refreshing concepts will hold up after months of playtime" IGN gave the game an 8.5/10, stating that "soul building is very flexible and rifts are great fun" and that although "there's not a lot of originality[,] [...] everything works exactly as it should"; and concluding that "Telara is a worthy alternative to Azeroth for anyone looking to explore a new world."
At the 2011 Game Developers Conference in Austin, Texas, Rift won awards for "Best New Online Game" and "Best Online Technology". IGN awarded Rift "Best PC Persistent World/MMO Game of 2011" calling it, "...the most bug-free and out-of-the-gate high-quality MMO ever created."
Content updates 
Like many MMORPGs, Rift periodically provides content updates, also known as patches, to continue to provide subscribers new activities to perform in the game over time. In addition to presenting new dungeons to explore and new treasure to obtain, patches are also used to re-calibrate the design and functionality of the game's existing features.
|Patch 1.0- Planes of Telara|
|Release Date: February 24, 2011
Level Cap: 50
This was the "launch" version of the game, featuring the world of Telara and six different types of rifts (earth, fire, water, air, life, and death) that randomly spawn monsters to challenge the players. At launch, Telara held eleven zones, ten dungeons, and two cities. The game contained one raid, Greenscale's Blight, and four warfronts. Starting at approximately level 20, players could access an extensive quest line (known as the Saga of the Endless) that would guide them through content during the leveling process, through expert dungeons, expert rifts, and raid rifts at level 50, and finally to the Greenscale's Blight 20-player raid.
|Patch 1.1- River of Souls|
|Release Date: March 30, 2011
This update held a world event that emphasized death rifts and added a new 20-player raid The River of Souls, in-game video can now be recorded as well as posted directly to YouTube, and added daily quests for T1 and T2 expert dungeons.
|Patch 1.2- Spoils of War|
|Release Date: May 10, 2011
This update emphasized earth and fire rifts. It also introduced crafting rifts, same server lfg tool, a 5th role, slivers, a new 10-player raid Gilded Prophecy, wardrobe slots, and "Riftconnect".
|Patch 1.3- Waves of Madness|
|Release Date: June 22, 2011
This update emphasized water and death rifts and introduced a new 20-player raid, Hammerknell. Hammerknell was the first Tier 2 raid which featured more challenging bosses than all previous raid content and required a higher gear level to be successful. The game also introduced guild banks and synergy crystals; a new type of item that provides a customized bonus to raid-level gear, added free character and free guild transfers.
|Patch 1.4- Legacy of the Fallen|
|Release Date: August 3, 2011
This update emphasized life and water rifts. This update introduced PvP rifts, alternate warfront, cross-shard LFG tool, a new epic quest line, and a new 10-player Tier 1 raid, Drowned Halls.
|Patch 1.5- Ashes of History|
|Release Date: September 28, 2011 (US), Sept/Oct 2011 (EU)
Features new content such as Chronicles which are entry level dungeons made for 1 to 2 players and advance the story. Veteran rewards that reward players for the amount of time they have been playing RIFT and it includes the new Planar Attunement which allows level 50 players to advance their roles further and choose what Plane they will specialize in.
|Patch 1.6- From the Embers|
|Release Date: November 16, 2011
Features new zone called Ember Isle, two new tier 2 raid rifts, a new 10-player Tier 2 raid Rise of the Phoenix, a new 5 player dungeon Caduceus Rise which featured two different versions, a new alternate warfront, and the unlocking of the 2nd tier planar attunement.
|Patch 1.7- Carnival of the Ascended|
|Release Date: February 2, 2012
Features overhaul of tiered dungeons, raids and PvP in terms of reward (gear) progression, a new chronicle for two players, a new "master mode" dungeon, in-game wedding support.
|Patch 1.8 - Infernal Dawn|
|Release Date: April 18, 2012
Introduces a new 20-player raid Infernal Dawn and a new world event that focuses on the alliance of the planes of earth and fire. Infernal Dawn is the first Tier 3 raid which features a further progression and gear requirement beyond Tier 1 and Tier 2 raids. Also includes two new secondary crafting skills: Survival and Fishing. Leaderboards and a new "Looking for Guild" tool are also included with the patch. A new gear slot called a Seal was added, which can be crafted by players with specific skills.
|Patch 1.9 - Conquest|
|Release Date: June 27, 2012
Features new PvP mode "Conquest" allowing for three sided battles in an alternate version of Stillmoor. Also introduces a new sliver "Primeval Feast" in which players will face Fae Lord Twyl. A new yearly world event "Summerfest", stylists for character customisation, the ability to manually lower your level via mentoring and Instant Adventures for several lower level zones are also included with this patch. The ability to XP lock was also removed in order to address complaints of PvP Warfront "twinking".
|Patch 1.10 - Calm Before the Storm|
|Release Date: September 12, 2012
Includes Instant Adventure for Scarwood Reach and a new yearly World Event "Autumn Harvest". Members of opposite factions will also be able to group together on PvE servers. Trion also added an in-game store called Deeps' Depot where players can change their player name or guild name, preorder Storm Legion, or purchase time cards. And also made some big changes to NPCs and attractions.
|Patch 1.11 - Tempest Rising|
|Release Date: October 17, 2012
Includes system changes and class updates for the Storm Legion expansion, a new dungeon "Exodus of the Storm Queen" which will be made available to accounts that have pre-purchased the expansion on October 30th. Will also include a new world event focused on the coming invasion from the plane of air.
Storm Legion 
Release Date: November 13, 2012
On May 31, 2012, Trion Worlds announced Storm Legion, the first expansion pack for Rift. The expansion will increase the level cap from 50 to 60, add in "dimensions" where players can customize private corners of the game world, add 4 new souls (one for each calling), two new continents that will approximately triple the size of the game world, new Instant Adventures, and many other features. The expansion was released on November 13, 2012 and received generally positive reviews from game critics, with aggregate review website Metacritic assigning a score 81/100. Shortly after launch, Trion called the sales of the expansion "Amazingly well; beyond expectations" citing a 13% adoption rate over their initial target of 7% for players who purchased the one year subscription bundle. In December 2012, Joystiq awarded Storm Legion "Best Expansion of the Year".
The first closed beta event was held on October 5 to 7, offering an early peek at the new leveling zones of Pelladane, Cape Jule and the cross-faction city of Tempest Bay. Trion Worlds began taking pre-orders for the expansion on September 6, roughly two months before the confirmed release date of November 13. For each pre-order made during the last week of September, Trion Worlds donated $1 to saving a panda, in a not-so-subtle hat tip to the launch of competitor Blizzard's World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria expansion.
On August 8, 2012, Trion announced the new Mage Soul: Harbinger, which developers said was a "battle mage" that shores up the "survivability and utility" of the Mage calling. The remaining 3 souls were confirmed to be the Tempest (Warrior calling), Tactician (Rogue calling) and Defiler (Cleric calling) in a promotional video made for the expansion. On September 14, 2012, Trion announced the new Warrior Soul: Tempest, which the developers showed that it will be a Ranged soul. In addition to that, one of the other Warrior souls, Beastmaster, will now be available to play support in. Also they have hinted that you will be able to tank with 2-Handed Weapons.
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