Rift's 3.4 update, Into the Wilds, may just be Telara's best update yet, and we recently took a tour with Trion Worlds' Simon Ffinch to get a look at the massive new zone, the new Primalist calling, and more. It's truly a humongous update, touching every single part of the game from raiding down to crafting, and everything in between. We've got a nice long video tour with Simon, and some hands-on impressions, so keep reading.
For those wondering, here's a basic list of what's coming in 3.4:
- A massive new zone, The Planetouched Wilds, roughly the size of about 3 normal zones.
- A whole new calling, The Primalist, with 6 different souls (Healer to Tank and everything in between).
- New puzzles designed by Simon "Puzzle Master" Ffinch himself.
- New crafting recipes, crafting rifts, new dimension stuff, new tiers of gear.
- More legendary quest line fun
- Brand new planar collections that make collecting a bit dangerous
- New dungeon, new raid, and more
- And I'm probably missing lots more, but you get the idea...
It's just a really big update, and most of it is free to all players. The one thing you will have to pay for is the new calling. There's a "Wilds Pack", essentially a collector's edition for the patch that's priced rather high at $99, but you'll also be able to buy just the Primalist calling for a much smaller cost (not yet announced). Everything else, from the new zone to the new collections and dungeons will all be free to every player. It's very much like a mini-expansion.
Simon and I mostly focused on walking around the new locations while I did some of the quests in the area. I played as the Primalist, trying out several of the souls. Everything from ranged DPS to heals is represented, but my main squeeze was the Berserker, a melee AOE class. The Primalist wears leather, but the main focus of the calling is the cunning and fury meter that players must manage to best use their skills.
One of the cooler features of the new calling is that each soul has its own primal avatar. Think of it like an ultimate ability that severely buffs your chosen soul's abilities for a short duration. Healers heal more, tanks can withstand more, and DPS folks can brutalize more. Each soul plays well, but the key to its individuality is the cunning and fury mechanic and the primal avatars. Otherwise we're still talking traditional class roles between different souls. They do each play remarkably different though, and the mechanics make the calling unique to Rift.
Simon took me around a lot of different areas, and the thing that struck me most about Planetouched Wilds is just how much more I prefer its aesthetic than the Water planes of Nightmare Tide. Call me crazy, but I hated the look of 3.0's zones. Getting back to wide open prehistoric-looking plains is a nice change of pace from the purples and narrow causeways of the earlier 60-65 zones. The only downer is knowing that I'll have to level a Primalist (they start at level one) through the water zones again.
Planetouched Wilds, for those not keen on Rift's lore has been a "lost land" sort of place since the beginning of Rift. The Bahmi's ancestral home, it's now back in the mix, but not without a few changes from the way the planes have altered everything in Telara. For one, there's a huge tear in the middle of the zone. The whole wilds are sort of "broken", and that includes gravity. Pockets of the zone have different gravitational pulls allowing players to jump high to the point of near flight. Massive foot prints from the "cosmic rhinoceros" (not the Dali sculptures) leave pools of water scattered across the plains. The zone is refreshing to traverse too, because very few areas are impassable terrain. Almost everything can be climbed or surmounted in some way or another.
For the first time in a while, to me at least, it feels like Trion is returning to what made Rift popular in the first place: exploration, progression, and the strange tale of a world torn apart by primal forces. I can't wait to see where Planetouched Wilds takes us, because it's clear that Trion is setting the stage for something big with the next expansion. This is just the beginning.