Since the release of the Rift free to play conversion, I have had a large number of friends coming back to the game. Previously I did posted targeting the features that have been added into the game since release. This time around I will be targeting this series towards players just starting out in the game. I am going to try and assume as little prior games expertise as I can. Rift is a game full of extremely rich and complex systems, and this series of posts is an attempt to ease a new player into it.
Choosing a Faction
Rift at its core is a game about a world torn asunder by the violent planar tears opening across the continent and causing all manner of nasty things to spill into the world. You play the role of an ascended, essentially a being with a number of souls merged into one. The two primary factions of the game represent the struggle between religion and technology.
The Defiant chose to rely on themselves and their technology to contend with the planar upheaval. The Guardians on the other hand chose to rely on faith in the old pantheon of gods that have been long dormant. Once the decision of your faction dictated everything you did from that point on. However prior to the launch of Storm Legion Trion released a “Faction As Fiction” patch. This meant that both Guardian and Defiant players could group together freely, and be members of the same guilds.
This has made it so much easier for players to play whatever suits them the best, but still be able to play with their friends that chose the other faction. This also makes the first choice you have to make during character creation completely dependant on which ever race you want to play.
Choosing a Race
Essentially there are three Guardian Races and three Defiant. For the Guardians you have to choose from Dwarf, High Elf, and Mathosian. On the Defiant side you have the air elemental descended Bahmi, the Eth and the Kelari. Each has a very unique look to them, and dictates which character creation options you have. Also each has a unique set of racial abilities. Each has a racial elemental resistance, but it is such an insignificant amount that it is ultimately meaningless. However the active racial is extremely useful, however some of them sadly are far better than others. I will give you a quick rundown of each.
Dwarven Breakfast – this is an extremely good health and mana heal. It causes the dwarf to regenerate 8% mana and health per second for 13 seconds. This has a 10 minute recast time, so while extremely useful it is a panic cooldown.
High Elf Racial
Angelic Flight – This ability essentially lets you target a spot on the ground and your character performs around dramatic flying lean with angel wings spread towards the target. If you are an explorer, this ability will allow you to get some places that will be much harder for others without the ability.
Motivational Roar – This ability is one of the more interesting ones. Essentially it increases the run speed of the caster and his party by 30% for 10 seconds. It has a 2 minute cooldown and represents the only racial group ability.
Mighty Leap – This is probably my favorite racial, and the reason why I have several Bahmi. It is a targeted flying leap that works essentially the same as the High Elf racial minus the wings animation. Excellent for getting to places that are hard to get to. I’ve used this so many times to explore new areas.
Agility – This ability increases the casters movement speed by 50% for 15 seconds. The recast time is 2 minutes and essentially gives the player a burst sprint ability, or if your class already provides one a second sprint. This seems to be extremely popular among PVP types.
Camouflage – This is another one of those extremely unique abilities. When cast it turns the Kelari into a fox for 30 seconds. While in fox form it greatly lowers the Kelari’s aggro radius allowing them to slip past many mobs unnoticed. Recast time is 2 minutes, and it has the side effect of despawning your pets.
None of the racials are so overpowered that you will be forever harmed if you do not pick a specific one. My personal preference is for Mighty Leap or Angelic Flight… since it adds a lot of utility for getting to hard to reach places. If you are a serious raider type, I could see Dwarven Breakfast coming in extremely handy as it provides a fast health and mana regen that could be used mid fight. For PVP players it seems like Eth is the natural choice since being able to move quickly on demand… always seems to be the right answer. Unfortunately while the Mathosian racial is interesting, it seems horribly gimped when compared to the Eth one. Sure it is group wide, but the time is 5 seconds shorter and the total speed increase is 20% less.
Choosing a Calling
Calling represents what most other games all your Class, but I can see why they chose a new name. Rift as a whole has a much more flexible class system if you view it from a traditional standpoint. There are literally hundreds of combinations of classes all dependant on which set of souls you choose. However I will get into this later. The Calling is essentially choosing between playing a Warrior, Rogue, Mage and Cleric. Each has its own sets of souls and with them special combinations and benefits. I will give a quick rundown of each of the Callings.
The Warrior is your traditional plate wielding beat-em-up class. They specialize in melee combat and the class has the most melee damage and tanking configurations of any of the callings. If you want to be that big guy in even bigger armor this is likely the calling for you. Deviating from the traditional Warrior role, they have a soul called the Beast master that lets you be a plate wearing pet wielding melee class. If you pay for the Storm Legion souls, it also adds the ability to do significant range dps with the Tempest. It has just been leaked that in Rift 3.0 they will be adding a true healing class to the warrior with the Liberator soul.
The Cleric is a chain wearing warrior priest, and represents the class with the most healing options. Additionally they can be extremely potent tanks and both ranged and melee dps. It is a mana based class, and comes with all the constraints of having a limited pool of resources. However almost each soul gives you some way of regenerating this resource. As a Shaman you have the unique ability to giving splash healing to the allies around you while dealing significant amounts of damage. If you are the player that always plays a healer, and only really cares about playing a healer… then this is likely the class for you… as you will have the maximum number of potential healing configurations.
The rogue is your traditional leather armored scout class. They are a jack of all trades and probably support the most drastically varried playstyles. A Ranger/Marksman build can give you something very similar to a hunter or ranger pet class. The Riftstalker gives the class extremely potent tanking potential, and the Bard is the king of battlefield support. If you are the type of player that likes to do something different each time you play, then this calling might cure your altism. Additionally it has two of the most interesting classes I have played. Saboteur is essentially a mad bomber, in that you plant charges on your target and then with the use of a finish cause them to blow up. Often times a mob can go from full health to dead within seconds. If you choose to buy the Storm Legion souls it gives you the Tactician, which is an AOE support class that heals and damages enemies with its flamethrower.
The mage is your traditional cloth wearing glass canon with a few tweaks. They have the most options for pure casters of all the callings. However they have a few tricks up their sleeve. The chloromancer is an extremely potent main healer, and the Archon is an extremely powerful support soul. The Necromancer gives you amazing soloing power by adding in a series of typed pets covering all of the callings. With the addition of storm legion souls, you gain the Harbinger which is an unheard of Melee Mage… using powerful magic to conjure weapons and armor. It has been leaked that Rift 3.0 will add another role to the class allowing it to tank by using the Arbiter soul.
Choosing a Purpose
While the calling represents the general direction of your class, your purpose is essentially a template that represents what your class does. You are presented a screen with a number of preset purposes to choose from. Two things to remember… firstly the list shown on this screen is just a fragment of the total number of presets available and generally represent the easiest to play. Once you get into game, you can open your soul tree window and see other available purposes.
The second thing to remember.. this is just a suggestion… these are not fixed boundaries. You can literally mix any combination of three souls together. These combinations do not always work out, in fact certain souls work extremely poorly together. These purposes give you a few guaranteed to be good recipes you can work from. Each time you get points to spend, a blinking arrow will show you where to spend the points to keep following the purpose. At any point you can deviate from the plan if you so choose.
However if you are new to the game it is generally a good idea to follow one of the predetermined paths until you understand how the soul tree system works. The short list provided generally gives you a mixture of what has been determined are the most successful souls. For leveling I tend to stick to a purpose that gives me a pet like the Necromancer or Ranger… or a tanking purpose as these tend to give you the best survival. Melee DPS tends to be a bit squishy, and Ranged DPS generally involves a good deal of kiting around.
Choosing your Features
The last step before you are ready to get into the game is to choose your features and name your character. You can see above that Rift gives you a significant number of personalization choices. You can choose face shape, height, hair style and color, facial hair and markings. For the most part each race has mostly unique options for appearance so they end up looking distinct out on the battlefield. One thing to remember while you are picking your choices that they can almost all be changed inside of the game by going to the stylist.
In the past players have felt obligated to get everything 100% perfect the first time. This lead to spending an exorbitant amount of time on character creation, because you knew that once you hit create… you could never go back and tweak things. However with the addition of the free to play gem shop, you can even go so far as to change your race and gender in game with an extremely simple to use stylist interface. While I would not suggest changing your look on a whim, because it could get extremely expensive, extremely quickly… you are never completely chained to your original choices.
You’ve Created Your First Character!
There you go, now you have walked through all the decisions involved with creating your first character in Rift. Now the fun actually begins as you are teleported into the battle as either a Defiant or Guardian. I had initially intended to cover the user interface basics, but this post has ended up far larger than I thought it could possibly be. As a result I am going to cut things off here. In the coming days I will post a thorough rundown of the features of the user interface, including customization options. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the run down, if you make it in game, look me up on Belghast@Deepwood.