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Get In The Game
You've got a few different choices for purchasing Rift, including digital downloads and physical box copies in both regular and collector's editions. If you're not sure yet, you can always check out the free trial. Now choose your weapon, and by "weapon," we mean the character that you'll be piloting around this dynamic world. Your first decision is the faction: Guardian or Defiant. The main difference between the two is that the Guardians are dedicated to the gods, while the Defiants rely on science and technology. They have a common goal in stopping Regulus from taking over the world, but they also fight about their ideological differences.
You'll have plenty of other choices to make when creating your character, including the race, gender, size, facial features and hair styles. There's enough in the way of options that no two characters are likely to be the same, so you won't be running into your "evil twin" every time you round the corner. Once you've got all this in place, it's time to follow your destiny. Pay attention to the first few NPCs and quest givers in the opening tutorial section. They will provide not only the lore and back story you need to get invested in this persistent universe, but also an introduction to the keys and abilities you'll be using.
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Choose Your Calling
Instead of having the typical classes like most MMOs, Rift offers you four different archetypes as "callings." After you've chosen your calling, you'll be able to choose and attune three of eight different souls to customize your character and game play style. There is also an additional ninth soul that is used for PvP.
The soul system in Rift ensures that your Mage is capable of much more than just dps; with a Chloromancer soul attuned, she makes an awesome healer. Your Cleric, if attuned with a Justicar soul, is capable of tanking encounters for your group instead of being the healer.
Curious about the Rogue calling? It's one of the most versatile, with options for stealth, in-your-face melee, ranger and pet soloing and even a Riftstalker tanking soul. If you're wondering what Warriors get in a game where Rogues and Clerics can tank, you're in for a treat. How about a Beastmaster soul with your own pet, four different tanking soul options and enough variety in dps that you'll wonder why the Warriors from other MMOs even bother.
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Crafting That's Worth Something
It's almost an oxymoron in MMOs, especially those of late: crafting your own gear that's comparable to dungeon drops and quest rewards. Rift has it! Instead of giving you only two choices (sell what you gather and make money, or use your mats for your crafting profession and die poor and alone), Rift allows you three different major professions.
The gathering professions include Foraging for wood and plants, Butchery to skin your kills and Mining to collect ore and gems. From these gathered materials, you can choose to focus on Weaponsmithing or Armorsmithing; Artificing to make your own staves, wands and jewelry; Apothecary for brewing potions and elixirs; or Outfitting which is a combination of Tailoring and Leatherworking. Additionally, the Runecrafting skill is much like Enchanting in other MMOs, and is a self-supplying profession.
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Gearing Like The Pros
You're reading this guide so that you won't feel like a nub when you get into the game, right? So be sure and take the time to glance over the guide to your stats and attributes in Rift. Otherwise, you might find your healing Cleric sporting Strength gear, and how embarrassing would that be?
You'll also want a look at the macros guide, simply because there just isn't enough keybinding room on a standard keyboard for all the skills and abilities your character is going to have. Knowing how to conserve your keyboard real estate is a huge bonus to your effectiveness, especially in high-tension situations like rifts and PvP.
Finally, finding your way around Sanctum and Meridian isn't as easy as one might think. The trainer you need is always hiding, and where was that guy you turn your collections into? With these guides, you'll be able to locate them quickly.
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Now You're Sold
Ready to start recruiting your friends? Make sure you get your rewards for introducing other gamers to this awesome MMO, because Trion Worlds's "Ascend a Friend" system is one of the best for referrals. You can also point your friends toward a couple of Rift reviews, for a second and third opinion.
Share this guide, as well. After all, it helped you get ready to rock in Rift, didn't it? It will help your friends, too.
- Screenshots are taken from the game Rift: Planes of Telara.
Game information is taken from the author's experiences in the game.