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Choose your side. Fight the invasions.

Telara is a world that sits at the intersection of the Elemental Planes, which allows access to a whole load of resources, has caused it to have breathtaking vistas, given rise to multiple glorious civilizations, and had the unfortunate side effect of attracting cosmic monstrosities who want to take the whole thing for themselves. Also, the enchantment separating these monstrosities from reality has just been pierced by a madman. But don't worry! You, the player characters, are great heroes coming Back from the Dead to save the world!

Oh, and all the armies of other-worldly monsters absolutely hate each other and will therefore slaughter each other on sight. So there's that.

Rift is a 2011 MMORPG from Trion Worlds which purports to be a truly dynamic gaming arena, as opposed to other such games where everything is always the same. This is made possible by, you guessed it, the eponymous rifts cropping up randomly and spewing out hordes of monsters, while simultaneously altering the very landscape and just generally looking badass. The players can either shut the things or use their powers for themselves; it's really a matter of preference, although the Guardians would prefer the former and the Defiant might encourage the latter. But whatever your decision, one thing's for sure; if you don't move fast, you just might lose your opportunity!

The first Expansion Pack, Storm Legion, was released November 13, 2012.

It became Free-to-Play on June 12, 2013.

The second Expansion Pack, Nightmare Tide, was released October 22, 2014, and the third, Prophecy of Ahnket note , was released November 16, 2016.

Not to be confused with the tabletop game Rifts.

Character list is here.

This game provides examples of:

  • Achievement Mockery: Killing innocent animals occasionally drops their tears as artifacts, with flavor text such as "So sad." and "You murderer." Not only is there a full set of such artifacts, there is even an achievement for collecting 20 of a certain type.
  • After the End: The Defiant campaign begins with Regulos having conquered Telara and the Defiants scrambling to complete a Time Machine to send you through before he destroys the one little patch of earth left.
  • All or Nothing: A blink-and-miss-it mention in the Defiant tutorial that the use of the time machine to send the newly minted Defiant Ascendant back in time will destroy the remains of the world.
  • Alt-itis: First-time players may suffer from this. There are five "Callings" (which follow the usual RPG "Warrior, Mage, Rogue, Cleric" thing, plus the fifth Primalist), which are to souls (classes) as Super Tropes are to tropes. Each Calling has 8 distinct souls by default (with up to 3 additional souls purchasable using credits), and you (eventually) get to pick three of them to use in combination. So, you're probably going to be doing a fair bit of tinkering to see not only which Calling is right for you, but which combination of souls is best for you. Downplayed in that creating a single character gives you access to exactly 20% of all possible character configurations for a token fee. If you want to see and try everything, you only need five different characters, which is more than most MMORPGs can say.
  • Another Dimension: The planes, where each one of the six elements rules unrestrained. Closing portals that their inhabitants can get through is a core part of the game.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Said when discovering a traitor among the Loyal Atragarian Guards in Goboro Reef:
    [Player]: You're insane! And a spy! And you have the wrong hat on!
  • Badass Baritone: The Faceless Man.
  • Bad Future:
    • Terminus, the Defiant starting zone. Players are sent back to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
    • The 5-man instance "The Fall of Lantern Hook" has you traveling into a vision of the future in which Maelforge has conquered the Droughtlands and possibly the entire world. You run around a rather ashy version of Lantern Hook for a bit before the dragon himself shows up and chases you off.
  • BFS: Two handed swords look absolutely ridiculous and awesome on Dwarves due to them being bigger than the Dwarf himself.
  • The Caligula: The Shade (the event which allowed the dragons to invade again) was caused by one. Ironically, he was the ruler of the Mathosians, who are the leaders of the Guardians—i.e., the people who seal them up again, no questions asked.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Eth are a nation of human desert-dwellers, despised by the other major human nation for being into magitek. Why does that sound familiar?
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • Archons have an oblique way of doing this, in that they translate their stats to their allies. They make up for the obvious weakening by also being able to steal their enemies' stats.
    • Necromancers can use weak heals that sacrifice their own life to give to their allies. It's not all that effective, though, because a Cleric (other than the Cabalist and Shaman) or Chloromancer will always outdo you by a wide margin.
  • Collection Sidequest: Artifacts. They spawn out in the world in areas ranging from the obvious to the devious and are compiled into sets for each zone of the world. The rewards are not just for completionists/achievement hunters but can also reward you with companion pets or lore.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • The Defiant play this to the hilt. In the Guardian starting area, for example, you learn that they blew up the bridge to Silverwood because they couldn't hold it through force of arms. To the Guardians, this is a horrifying breach of the code of honor. For the Defiant it's Tuesday.
    • In another instance the general that is beating the Defiant on Freemarch mounts an attack over the bridge mentioned above. The Defiant immediately break out their anti-Ascended equipment and give it to the player to use it on him. For the Defiant, if you find yourself in a fair fight, something has gone terribly wrong.
  • Crapsack World: The Defiant PC begins their adventures by travelling back in time to a place in history where Telara is being constantly invaded by interdimensional portals with all manner of cosmic horrors pouring out every day, corrupting the landscape and murdering everything in sight. Why did you travel back in time to fight the abominations? Because in that future time, the abominations won and you'd be facing The End of the World as We Know It if you stayed.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Many classes utilize the Plane of Death, and they aren't any better or worse than anyone else. They're certainly creepier, though.
    • More generally, the Defiant faction in general can be this. Yes, they include elves who do generally consider the means are justified by the ends, and humans willing to dabble in potentially Ward-breaching levels of magitech, but at the end of the day, they truly do want Regulos dead and Telara saved just as much as the Guardians. (Also, they probably include the most overwhelmingly honorable race in the game.)
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Justified by the official lore. You're an Ascended and therefore technically have a Healing Factor and/or Resurrective Immortality but death, while temporary for you, is still traumatic.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: As of version 1.8, four of the six arch-dragons are killable raid-bosses: Greenscale, the Dragon of Life, Akylios, the Dragon of Water, Laethys, the Dragon of Earth, and Maelforge, the Dragon of Fire.. All four have been downed by the players, and as far as the storyline goes, the first two are already dead. That doesn't necessarily mean that they, or their followers, have stopped making problems, though.
    • As of the 2.1 patch for Storm Legion Crucia the Storm Dragon and even Regulos himself (in his true form as the God of Death, unlike the other Blood Storm) have been defeated. That's the good news. The bad news is that Crucia's spirit has managed to find a hiding place, so she's still out there, and Regulos, while dead, claims that his presence was holding back something worse.
    • It's revealed by the servants of the Goddess of Fate that the something worse (Akvan) that the Gods of the Elemental Planes are holding back threatens the Elemental Planes and fortunately not Telara, which they are willing to sacrifice to protect said Planes. Her followers also reveal that if the Ascended (players) allied with Crucia (the one who arranged Regulos's death rather than merely sealing him away) she and the Ascended could have come up with a plan to stop the Akvan... They do ally with her yet she pulls an You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on them in order to control said Akvan, so they change the portal so that it leads directly to the Akvan that she's trying to control resulting in her being controlled by said greater horrors. All the Nice Job Breaking It, Hero problems can be traced to Crucia holding the Villain Ball.
  • Dream Land: Draumheim is largely influenced by thoughts, dreams and nightmares.
  • Dual Boss: Many of these appear throughout the game's various quests, chronicles, dungeons and raids. Trio bosses can appear too. In many cases their mechanics are directly tied to the accompanying bosses in some way.
  • Duel Boss: General Grim in the Exodus of the Storm Queen dungeon demands that one player fight him alone when he reaches 40% health. From there, the chosen player gains unique abilities they have to use to quickly counter his attacks to avoid death.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Every arch-dragon, but also most anything from the Plane of Water. So you can imagine what Akylios—the Water Dragon—is like. We don't even fight his true form, just his dragon form, which doesn't even compare to his true form.
    • The "doesn't compare to his true form" does not refer to eldritch features but rather numbers: His true form is a herd of Akvan sharks identical to his/their "dragon" form.
  • Elemental Powers: Six of them. You have the basic Greek four, as well as Life and Death. And they're all amoral at best and out to get you.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: As far as Greenscale's concerned, this is the only acceptable kind of world.
    • For that matter, take care going AFK unless you're in a place like the depths of Meridian, the middle of a lake, or a mountaintop. Many a player has come back to the keyboard to find a surprise skeleton/golem/fairy/troll doing a victory dance on their graves - in the middle of a now-conquered town.
      • As a matter of fact the lakes aren't safe either, on the account of things lurking in them too.
  • Evil Versus Evil: All planes hate each other and will fight to death if two of them meet. There are also neutral mobs that will aggro on you as well as on invading planes, possibly helping you out.
  • Expansion Pack World: The three major expansions each add additional continents or areas to explore.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Anything and everything related to Nightmares.
  • The Fair Folk: D'aaaw, look at those cute faeries, aren't they swee- HOLY SHI--! Thankfully, the faerie aren't all like that. The Druids' hat is that they've allied themselves with those faeries and satyrs utterly opposed to Greenscale.
  • Fantastic Racism: While most of the faction conflict appears to be political and cultural, Alaric the Fanatic's reference to "planetouched abominations" in Terminus plays the trope straight.
  • Final-Exam Boss: Akylios in Hammerknell, as detailed on that trope page.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: The past in the case of the Defiant, the light being you. The future world you leave behind has a single day of existence left before being utterly destroyed. Your purpose in the past thus becomes obvious. This is actually how the Guardian starting zone ends. You go from defeating the Shade of Regulos to twenty years in the future, the same moment the Defiant PC arrives from the future.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: A giant werewolf named Fluffy, Destroyer of Worlds can spawn in Gloamwood, with stats to fit its title.
  • Forced Transformation: Aside from the Dominator's Transmogrify spell, there's a quest in Silverwood. You know those Unusual Deer and Unusual Squirrels Critters you've been killing for the fun of it? They're townfolk from Argent Glade a faerie polymorphed. This is also done to citizens of Dolcega Valley who refuse to comply by the Storm Legion's Happiness Is Mandatory rule.
  • Gambit Pileup: A big part of the reason why the Blood Storm's first raid failed. Infighting among the arch-dragons (particularly Regulos against all the other arch-dragons, who didn't appreciate that his agenda auto-precluded all of theirs) divided and interdicted their efforts enough that the gods and mortals were able to seal them off.
  • Gender Bender: Finric the skelf from Nightmare Tide, who starts as male and becomes female in the story quests similar to some species of fish.
  • Gentle Giant: To some degree, the bahmi have this as their hat: The largest and most imposing playable race in the game, they live by a code of honor emphasizing hospitality and honesty. And they simultaneously manage to be a Proud Warrior Race.
  • A God Am I: Mild case, the reason the Kelari Elves split from the High Elf faction is due to a technical version of this. The High Elves are happy with being subservient to the Vigil....the Kelari believe they're equal to Gods. (Or, at least, that their relationship with petty deities should be one of negotiation rather than service.)
  • God Is Inept: This trope is why the Defiant are a group of Naytheist mad scientists. As they looked at the Ward, the Gods' attempt to protect Telara from the Blood Storm, and thought, "Really? This is your master plan, just slap a band-aid on the thing and call it good?" Seeing as how it took a single madman with Magitek all of two seconds to break it to bits it's hard to blame them.
  • Greed: The schtick of the Golden Maw and their patron, Laethys the Earth Dragon. Gold Fever doesn't even begin to describe these people. And then there's the Bloodstorm in general who devour entire planets for Sourcestone which is apparently crack for dragons. And Telara is apparently made out of it, so basically the Bloodstorm sees Telara as the mother of all drug fixes and explains why they don't just find some other planet that doesn't have native life that wants to kill them.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Guardian starting zone, Silverwood. Admire the pretty landscape, but watch out for those goblins...and traitorous elves...and roving bands of homicidal fae...
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: This is what's going on with the enmity between the Guardians and Defiant. Guardians: genuinely believe the gods know what's best for Telara, but declare as infidel anybody who thinks otherwise (apparently including lesser deities). Crusades are part of the package. Defiant: for the most part, dismissive of any possibility that the gods can do any more to save Telara (look at what happened to the Ward; if that was their best...), and so have decided to do it themselves. The problem is that (a) they're every bit as zealous against the Guardians as vice versa (Piety is only an obstacle to Telara's salvation! It deserves nothing but our wrath!), and (b) they don't seem to accept that a little more caution in their often-reckless research would actually improve the chances of saving Telara. The Guardians are too cautious, the Defiant not cautious enough.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: As part of the low-health warning Interface Screw.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: The Storm Legion forced this on the citizens of Dolcega Valley after they surrendered. Thought Officers now patrol the streets, ensuring that any dissenters are "taken off the streets" by transforming them into farm animals.
    Dolcega Citizen: I am so happy. Really.
  • Healing Shiv: The Chloromancer features an interesting variation of this — any life damage done by a Chloromancer will also heal their party members.
    • Likewise, the Justicar can heal themselves and their party members whenever they deal damage, and any life damage they deal has a good chance to grant charges that can be used to fuel their healing spells.
    • The Physician's description is that they shoot their allies with healing needle-tipped arrows.
  • Heal It With Fire: Purifiers.
  • Interface Screw: When your health gets low, your vision gets desaturated, the Heartbeat Soundtrack starts up, and other sounds become muted. Whether this is a good way to draw a player's attention back to their own HP bar, or an extra annoyance in an already stressful situation, is your choice.
  • It's All About Me: Prince Hylas, as explained in the lore, spurned his lover, the elven high priestess and leader of the Ascended for no other reason than...he and the regular High Elves were no longer the Vigil's favorites (as the Guardian Ascended are, by definition messiahs to the faithful).
  • Large Ham: Cyril Kalmar, in the Guardian cutscene narrative, is a little bit too proud that you are a Guardian!
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Veras, leader of the Akylios Abyssal cult, is rather fond of mentioning things to you possibly as a result of you killing him as a way of illustrating your character losing a bit of their sanity. One example of note is "this it the fourth time I've died opeining my map!"
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • You'd think Life is all sweetness and kindness. Then you see the relentless predation that Greenscale, the Life Dragon, champions...
    • There's also the problem of the Guardians' severe loyalty to the gods, and how they perform said loyalty.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Rogue Riftstalkers have the best mobility ingame with numerous teleports on top of being extremelly resilient.
  • Lost Technology: Subverted-the reason the Eth are still around is that they had more than enough to adapt to being desert nomads.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: It's implied that Akylios's ultimate plan is just to do this to all of Telara. Then again, it's said that he's not merely past sanity, he's past insanity.
  • Magitek: The Defiant faction is built around this. The term "magitech" (along with "technomagic") is actually used in-game.
  • Playing with Fire: Pyromancers (of course), Nightblades, and Purifiers. Then there's the Fire Dragon Maelforge...
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The dwarven city of Deepholm had machinery powered by shackled wraiths. During the Shade, the wraiths broke free, with predictable results. This might be why the dwarves are willing to embrace the Guardians' abjuration of technology at the gods' request...
  • Pure Is Not Good: Have fun convincing (for different reasons) the Guardians and Greenscale of this. You're not likely to get much of anywhere.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Likely (it's also possible that they're regenerating) the case for Ascended: They've already died once and been brought back; now, death is a temporary, if traumatic, inconvenience for them.
  • Save Point: A rare in-universe version of this. Orphiel's Failsafe is a time machine that allows Defiants to go back in time to when it was built... and only when it was built. Once. It destroys the world in the process...
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Hello Asha Catari (her back gets its own prominent load screen), and all the female NPCs in Sanctum...
  • Shell-Shock Silence: Some skills such as stuns cause a brief silence and blur your view while they're in effect.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stance System: The class system is very much this kind of situation. You can install up to five different stat builds (your spells/abilities are determined by how many points you put in which trees, regardless of where in each tree those points are), and can (almost?) freely shift between them as the situation demands. So yes, your cleric (using a developer interview as the example) can freely shift between single-target healing (Sentinel-centered), group healing (Warden), DPS (Cabalist or Shaman), and even off-tanking (Justicar) at the drop of a pin. Several pin drops in a row, apparently. In short, every character has five stances that you can design from the ground up.
  • Stripperiffic: Played with. Female Clerics and Mages are generally well covered, and Rogues have a mish-mash; but Warriors, with a handful of exceptions, bare midriff, show cleavage, and wear steel plated stockings instead of proper leg protection. Some players are not happy about the number of aversions.
    • The game actually manages to avert this with its "stylized realism" approach to armor that the instances where it appears more blatantly (such as the female Defiant Centurions) appear grossly out of place.
    • The wardrobe system tunes this up or down as you wish on actual playable characters (essentially, you can put gear in a "display" slot for the graphics instead of the actual equipped slot, while getting the stats of another equipped item) and PvP-focused players decking out their caster to look like a heavy tank and vice-versa is as common as if not more common than putting your elf in a speedo and fuzzy boots for aesthetic purposes.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Not only can rifts of different elements form naturally within a short distance of each other, they can be triggered by players... which leads to some extreme tactics.
  • Those Two Guys: Rodan Ismos and Zaerist Orro. In Terminus, there's no sign of Zaerist; Rodan paces around Tempest Station, railing at the Guardians and the Endless.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: The Saboteur's specialty, with a dash of the Trap Master thrown in for good measure.
  • Time Paradox: The Defiant and Guardian starting areas may result in one of these... maybe.
  • Time Travel: The first Defiant Ascended gets created just before Regulos's ultimate victory, and is sent back in time to fix things by taking the formula to grant these powers to others. See Crapsack World for details.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Each faction gets a few bops on the head from this trope in their opposition's starting area. Defiant qualify for not only helping King Aedraxis break the Ward but also in continuing to fight the Guardians even when Regulos is about to devour everything. The Guardians on the other hand fit in Terminus when they are so hellbent on eliminating the Defiant that they lay siege to Meridian and take it whilst completely ignoring the rifts that are opening all over Telara. They go so far as to completely ignore Regulos as he enacts his plan to devour Telara in favor of killing Defiant and destroying their Magitek.
  • The Usual Adversaries: The two factions think of each other as just standing in the way and being totally annoying.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Killing helpless critters has a chance to make them drop a single tear, one artifact set involves collecting tears from all the critters in the game, collecting 20 squirrel tears gives you an achievement and a rather nice title.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Both mortal sides. Some of the members of the Blood Storm, like Greenscale and Crucia, are arguably this (or at least have a sliver of this).
    • House Aelfwar is another example of this: a rogue Elven house led by the Visionary Villain Prince Hylas, who decided the best way to fight the strongest of the Dragons was to side with one of the weaker ones. So what if their homeland gets overrun by Life Plane monstrosities? Utopia Justifies the Means, right?
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: According to in-game books, those who manipulate the Plane of Death have a risk of going absolutely insane from megalomania and joining Regulos's Endless Court in search of even more power. Seen in-game when you have to save Uriel Chuluun from the Endless Court (and herself).
  • You Bastard!: Coupled with And That's Terrible with the flavor-text debuff a player receives after killing a critter, informing the player that they should feel terrible about it.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: "A sailor might see a shark feed, and say he has seen hunger, or through a shark's black eyes he might understand hunger and go mad. This is the difference between the true nature of the Blood Storm, and the dragon forms they take upon Telara." We get to see the true nature of Regulos as the God of Death and he seems more comprehensible than his own realm (he's a Literal Split Personality consisting of Regulos the Dragon of Death and Aedraxis Mathos, who later preform a Fusion Dance making it possible to kill the God of Death Deader than Dead, though if one knew of this fact before Aedraxis Mathos was born they would be Driven to Madness at the realization that Regulos is unkillable until Aedraxis Mathos is born), which isn't surprising for a God of Death. We end up killing him.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Any boss fight in "Instant Adventure" or "Intrepid Adventures" mode is at least a Downplayed example of this. While enemies still deal damage, it's scaled such that unless players are standing in the firenote , a single attentive/raid-spec healer or two should be enough to easily cover the whole raid. When players do dienote , they are able to access unlimited respawns with only the usual respawn penaltiesnote  and are merely taken out of the fight for as long as it takes to run back from the respawn point and reengage, rendering death merely a humiliating nuisance. The only real failure condition remaining is the generous 20-minute timer on the fights, which would generally require coordinated (in)action to fail, or an almost-empty party with insufficient healing to prevent the few remaining members from repeatedly dying, in turn preventing them from applying damage.