When I first played Rift during open beta 2 in 2011 I was blown away. I had not expected much from the game to start with. I had never heard of Trion and at the time was looking forward to the release of Tera. Once I learned Tera was not slated to be released until 2012 I decided to give Rift a try to fill the time void. I can remember the moment Rift sunk its claws in me and would not let go. I was playing as a Dwarf Warrior. Guardians were the only faction available that test weekend. I had recently ascended and was headed north up the road in Silverwood to the Argent Glade. Along the way a fire rift opened up. I was only level 6 and this rift was level 8, and it was Elite. I didn't stand a chance of survival. On the edge of the rift next to a tree I saw a little sparkle. While I now know that what I was looking at was an artifact at the time I was completely clueless, all I knew was that I had to go and pick it up. I was killed no less than 4 times as I worked out the path of the mobs inside the level 8 elite rift. I finally picked up the sparkle and collected it, and while I collected the sparkle, Trion collected me as a fan.
21 months later and Rift has released their first actual ‘expansion’. In that time Rift had 11 major patches. Trion released three 20-man raids, four 10-man raids known as slivers, two 5-man dungeons, and four 1 to 2 player dungeons called chronicles. They also created a handful of Master mode 5-man dungeons. These are a step above Expert mode dungeons in difficulty that reward players Tier 1 raid loot. On the PvP front Trion added a Warfront, added additional play styles to existing warfronts, and changed up the game lore a bit to support a 3 faction PvP mode. They also created PvP rifts. They also added Ember Isle to the game, an island located northeast of the Mathosian continent.
For Storm Legion to be a success, Trion will have to live up to the high expectations they have set for themselves. The amount of content they had previously released would be more than enough to be considered a full expansion by most. Trion had to go big or not come out with the expansion at all. Well Trion went big… literally. Storm Legion Trion has more than tripled the land mass of Telara. They added in two huge new continents, Dusken and Brevane. Nestled between the two is a third smaller Island city, Tempest Bay.
Tempest Bay is a shared city that serves as the new hub for Guardians and Defiant. Both factions have determined that Crucia's threat to Talara is so grave that they have agreed to set aside their differences and work together. What this means for the players is that Defiants and Guardians can now group together to work on quests, explore dungeons, and can even join the same guild. Some purists may not agree with this change but Trion found a reasonable way to make it fit lore and it is better for the overall health of the game. Since they implemented this change my 5-man dungeon queues have been instant as a tank and less than 5-minutes as DPS.
The land mass is not the only thing Trion increased. Trion upped the level cap from 50 to 60. This increase does not impact Rift's alternate advancement system known as Planar Attunement. While leveling you will earn XP towards your level and XP towards your PA. Trion has also added an additional soul for each class. Capes also have made their way into the game with this expansion. There are also 7 new 5-man dungeon's, two 20-man raids, a 10-man sliver, and a chronicle. They also have the standard expansion goodness, more artifact, mounts, pets, titles, upped the crafting to match the new level cap. Everything that they already had, just more of it. They even have new puzzles and cairns to find throughout the new continents you can solve for achievements and loot.
One of the features that new to Rift with this expansion is Dimensions. Dimensions are Trion's take on housing. You will be able to earn Dimensions through quests, and purchase what amounts to your own unique version of a plot of land in Telara. You can then customize that tract of land however your heart desires. You will be able to earn items for your Dimension through questing, completing achievements, and some professions will be able to craft them. But what fun is creating a house if you cannot show it off? You can make your Dimension public and allow either your guildmates or any swinging ascended on Telara into your Dimension. One of the more interesting things players were creating with their dimensions was their own jump puzzles. With the jump puzzle craze of GW2 it was only a matter of time before players started doing something like this and it did not take long. Some of them were very impressive. Visitors to your Dimension can vote on it and give it their stamp of approval.
I also had the chance to go through the first new dungeon in Storm Legion: Exodus of the Storm Queen. Trion opened this up early for players that pre-purchased the expansion. Trion did a great job with this dungeon. First off there was very little trash. You will face more trash pulls in the first five minutes of the instance than you will in the rest of the zone. After you fight off a few waves of Storm Legion warriors you will fight a boss that looks like it is part Gundam, part Defiant dream machine. This is a multi-phased fight that ends with you capturing the boss and throwing him in the forge to destroy him.
You end up in a duel with the second boss, the third boss destroys the library you fight him in, and the fourth and final boss is a big man with an even bigger sword that he figured out how to use like a boomerang. Each of these fights has unique mechanics and some that haven't really been seen in the game yet. These bosses were also challenging the first time through but not overly so. If you take the time to read the buff that each boss has under their health bar you will find a clue on how to defeat them. I also live streamed a clear of the dungeon with an explanation of each boss that you can find here.
Next week I will take a look at some of the other new features that have been added into Rift with Storm Legion: Hunt Rifts, Onslaught quests, and the new Instant Adventures, as well as the new leveling experience. Plus we’ll touch on some aspects that aren’t quite brilliant with this new content. If you agree or disagree with anything I have said so far, or know of something I should look at over the next few weeks, please leave a comment in the section below. You can also friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Feel free to drop me a line on either. They are great distractions from when I am supposed to be working. I'll also be livestreaming my adventures through Telara on the journey to level 60 right here on MMORPG's Live Stream channel.