Artifact hunting. Who doesn't love it? There is something thrilling about spotting the glimmer of the artifact's worldly star, even if you have no interest in completing collections or lucky coins. It's like Christmas morning, stumbling across one, something that may never have been seen before – and can probably be sold for a hefty profit. RIFT's 2.6 update has something special for artifact hunters, especially if they also love dimensions. And let's be honest, who doesn't? Today we're talking Dream Weaving, the new profession combining RIFT's two unlikeliest systems into a powerful blend that improves both. Ready? Let's dig in.
The Most Popular Pastime
Would you believe me if I told you that artifact collecting was the single most engaged in activity in all of RIFT? I didn't think so, so take the word of Trion's self-proclaimed data guru, Barish Orhon:
“Between 40% and 60% of our daily active users chase artifacts (and by chasing, I mean harvesting). When so many people are avidly hunting for something, there's only one logical conclusion: give them more of what they want.” - Barish Orhon, November 19th, 2013
The developer diary is a fascinating read and it reveals something important: Trion is a lot more attentive to data than we might think. Many of us worry that the vocal minority will overwhelm our developer's ears, so it's reassuring to know that they can actually find the truth amid the noise.
Still, I can't think that I was the only one surprised when I heard that Dream Weaving would use artifacts. They aren't exactly plentiful, after all, and that is the prime reasons they're fun to begin with. (Even if they do grow on trees!). As a non-collector and dimension dabbler, I was curious but not exactly compelled.
Now that we know how Dream Weaving will actually work, I'm more than compelled. I'm excited.
Image Credit: MissMediocre.com
For a detailed breakdown on the ins and outs of the system, I highly suggest checking out this preview, but let's sum up the basics, shall we? First off, Dream Weaving will take up a tradeskill slot but Trion is raising the profession limit so we can all take it. Artifacts come into play through the salvage system seen in other crafts. For the first time ever, artifacts will serve a purpose beyond getting sold or added to a collection.
Breaking down an artifact yields Dream Ribbons which are the main component for creating dimension items, keys, and dream orbs, which are a form of item enchantment that stacks on top of runes. The amount of ribbons salvaged increases with the artifact's rarity (which will now extend to relic level) and the crafter's skill. With enough enough of these and the right recipes, players will be able to craft some of the most unique and exciting additions to dimensions we've ever seen.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that artifacts will be the driving force behind the next generation of dimensions.
Does anyone else remember the developer walkthroughs of dimensions at Gamescom 2012? At the time, we were floored by the promise of extreme customization. And it has delivered, there are some truly remarkable dimensions out there. But I've always felt that that there was more the developers could be doing with it. Check out the video below from 3:23 onward and tell me that you feel different.
We've known for a long time that there was more potential in the system (weddings, anyone?) and Dream Weaving seeks to deliver. Not only will there be loads of entirely new dimensions and all purpose items to craft but also some really spectacular animated pieces as well. We're talking weather and lighting effects that you can place anywhere, waterfalls, dust clouds and billowing pillars of smoke, ground effects like quicksand... at least I hope that's a ground effect!
These are items that dimension makers are going to be clamoring over – and for good reason! Thus far, players have largely been limited to static items causing even the most original dimension to feel like a play set. Animated items give players the power to bring their dimensions to life and it all begins with the Dream Weaver.
Or, perhaps, that original artifact hunter.
Download that App!
Which brings me to my next point: If you don't already have the RIFT Mobile app, get it now for the free artifacts! This no-cost app, available for iOS and Android, comes with a unique scratcher system to earn you free in-game goodies. There are currently three: Planar Invasion, Crafty Critters, and Shinies.
Shinies is the one you're looking for. With a free scratch every hour and random rarity rewards, you can rake in a heaping helping of free money. In the last week alone, I have made over 100 platinum selling artifacts won with seconds of effort. More than once, I've sold single blue artifacts for over 80 plat. Little is known on whether the mobile app will change once the system goes live but when it does, one thing is for sure: the value of artifacts is going to skyrocket.
And personally, that's what I look forward to the most: easy money. There will be the initial rise, followed by the fall, before things even out, but throughout that time the savvy seller can earn a nice sum if he plays his cards right and watches the market. And on that level, everybody wins. Even if you have no interest in Dream Weaving itself, hunting and selling artifacts will be more rewarding than ever before.
I do have some concerns, however.
That said, I see one big way Dream Weaving could go all wrong. The biggest, most monumental mistake Trion could make would be to flood the world with artifacts. I am firm believer that the reason artifacts are fun is because they are fun to find. You can memorize their locations and go on dedicated hunting runs, sure, but in general, artifacts are something you stumble across or scour for. Sometimes, you catch a sparkle on a total chance and find one so outlandishly placed that it makes you laugh. If artifacts become as common as other harvesting nodes, well, they're not so special anymore. Or valuable.
This is also a profession you have to be in RIFT to enjoy. New players won't exactly be lining up at the gates to go on a treasure hunt. (Though the great new dimensions being created might help that). Does RIFT need target every update at the new player, however? I don't think so. Dream Weaving is a present for fans already in love with the game and in the current free-to-play climate, that's not half bad.
But let's not worry. Mama didn't raise no worry-wort, am I right boys and girls? So let's end on this: Dream Weaving is going to make dimensions cooler than ever before and the rest of us a little bit richer. This new profession is shaping up to not only be fun but one of the most unexpected additions to the game we've seen in a while.
Do you think the icon will be a dream catcher?
Christopher Coke / Chris has been an MMORPG player since the days of MUDs. He has been a longtime RIFT player, hosting the second-ever fan podcast, Rift Watchers. Today he can be seen leveling alts, running experts, and scratching his mobile app for free artifacts. Follow him on Twitter: @gamebynight.