Heroes of Telara
- RATING: T - Teen
- DEVELOPER(S): Trion World Network Inc.
- PUBLISHER: Trion World Network Inc.
- RELEASE DATE: Mar 1, 2011
RIFT is a 3D MMORPG set in the fantasy world Telara and requires a monthly subscription to play next to the initial purchase. The player can choose from different shards (servers) with the same quests and content, but with slightly different rules: Player vs. Environment (attacking other players is restricted to faction clashes and warfronts), Player vs. Player (other players can be attacked anywhere in the world), and Roleplaying (subset of PvE and PvP shards with a focus on remaining in character and stricter naming rules). Characters created by the player are bound to a specific shard. When creating a new character, the player chooses between two factions (Guardian or Defiant), with three races each; Mathosian, High Elf and Dwarf for Guardian, and Eth, Kelari and Bahmi for Defiant. Next to the character appearance, the character can further be defined through a Calling, which influences gameplay mechanics: Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, or Mage. The starting equipment can also be selected.
Telara is surrounded by a large barrier known as the Ward. It was created by mages and native gods to hold back the gods of the six elemental planes (Life, Death, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth) when they attempted to invade Telara. Lately however, massive rifts have appeared. These are cracks in the barrier that allow monsters of the elemental planes to invade Telara. They are after Telara’s large deposits of sourcestone, an important resource, and attempt to conquer part of the lands. The main story focus of the game is on closing these rifts. The spawn location of these rifts is dynamic and the players can attempt to tackle them alone or in groups. Rifts of opposing elemental planes will also attempt to thwart each other. The two factions have a different approach to saving Telara. Guardians are resurrected by the gods from a past life to defend the world, while Defiants are sent back through machines from a future where the dragons were victorious. Players are urged to work together on closing the rifts, as they can affect the environment permanently. When the monsters establish a foothold, the attacks evolve into a full-fledged invasion and finally total war. While the rifts are open, all regular quests get more dangerous and save cities get overrun. That way, players all need to chip in to return the regular order, or live with the increased difficulty. Each player can contribute in some way, regardless of their level.
An important part of character building is done through Souls. These are spirits of legendary figures from Telara’s past and come with a specific fighting style, healing and spells. Earned points can be invested into a specific ability of a soul, choosing the defensive abilities of one soul and the healing of another for instance. The chosen investments can afterwards be rearranged and saved as separate configurations (roles) to adapt quickly to a different situation. The player can only bond with souls that match their chosen Calling and these provide an unique Soul skill tree. Each Calling has eight possible soul paths. To progress, the player needs to invest soul points into a specific path and these points are provided through levelling. The soul tree has two options for levelling; either branches (specific abilities or bonuses) or roots (base abilities). Roots are generally unlocked after investing in specific branches.
The GUI is typical for an MMORPG. It shows the character from a third-person perspective, along with standard elements such as a character display, panel buttons, a chat window, an action and inventory bar, quest stickies, a mini-map, and icons for buff and debuff. Character statistics are defined through 20 categories such as strength, intelligence, valor, block, and attack power. Specific perks and quests only become available through a separate guild panel. Players can group into raids, from six to twenty people, and appoint a leader. The player also has access to pets, companions and mounts, and there is a separate skill to craft items through recipes. Items can be sold through auctions or traded with another player. Quests are generally provided through NPCs or objects with a green exclamation mark.
Next to the basic story, players can access Warfronts through a separate panel. These are instances of Player vs. Player combat based on four game modes: Martyrdom (hold an item as long as possible, but you receive damage while it is in your possession), Capture the Flag, Domination, and Conquest.