Basic Newbie Guide To Playing Rift

Yolari and I have written this guide to setting out into the Rift MMORPG. Think of it as a Druid fairy floating along to help you as you delve into the wonderful world of Rift.

I have currently returned to the game as of January 1, 2015 and am working to update this guide for Rift Nightmare Tide. Please leave a comment if something is incorrect. Last updated: Jan. 1, 2015.

Real Seebs has also created the welcome back to Rift guide V.3, dated May 25, 2013. The Rift F2P FAQ is also a useful source of information. Rift starter guide is a different-flavored newbie guide.

Choosing A Shard

When you start Rift, the first thing you’ll be asked to do is select a home shard (aka world or server). See the full current server list at Rift Shard Status.

Selecting a shard in Rift is not as important as in other MMOs because you can cross shards at any time by right-clicking your character portrait in-game and select “teleport to shard”. This is useful for doing zone events on other shards, socializing, and harvesting materials.

If you choose a PvP shard, you are fair game to be attacked at any time in your home territory by the opposite faction. If you are on a PvE shard, you are safe from attack in your homelands, unless you attack encroaching members of the opposite faction first.

A server with an -RP suffix is for roleplaying: Faeblight (NA) and Argent (EU).

Rift shards are grouped into clusters. Your cluster determines which shards you will group with in PvP and Conquest, Dungeons, and Raids. You can transfer characters in Rift free every 7 days to any available shards in your region.

If you want to play in a different region than your default setting (NA/EU), you can also choose that (and your language preference) using the settings button at the bottom of the game launcher. Trion has an official recommendation of Laethys (pve) for Oceanic players.

Selecting A Faction

After choosing a shard, you will be asked to choose one of two factions–Guardian or Defiant. Each faction in Rift starts in a different place, with a different story, and has its own large areas with quests and dungeons, as well as their own towns and cities.

The two factions can cross into each others’ areas and attack each other or meet in PvP (player vs. player) scenarios. At the time of this writing, the Rift developers are moving towards the factions cooperating in story and gameplay. Defiant & Guardian players on PvE shards can now play together in most activities – whether it’s in dungeons, raids, guilds, rifts, or PvP.

You will not be able to quest together, however, unless you are in a neutral zone. If you want to duo the entire game with a friend, you’ll want to go the same faction. As of Rift F2P, you can also purchase a relatively expensive faction change scroll if you change your mind later.

The Guardians are more traditional fantasy races–high elves, dwarves, and human (Mathosian) races who worship a pantheon of gods called the Vigil, and have faith in the gods.

The Defiants are more exotic races, such as tattoed air beings (Bahmi), nomads (Eth), and dark elves (Kelari), who trust more in their own inventions and magi-tech than any gods.

Note that you can also mentor down to a lower level while still earning XP and planar currencies you can use at your actual one. Click your character portrait and select “Set Ascended Mentor Level”. You can also sidekick up to a higher level if you’re grouped with a higher level friend.

Selecting A Gender, Race, Calling, and Purpose

After choosing a faction, you will be asked to select a gender and race. The racial differences are mainly cosmetic, but each race also has a few unique abilities that you might want to pay attention to.

As far as gender, female is the best. Everyone knows that.

After selecting a race, you’ll be asked to select a calling. In Rift you do not play a character class–you play a calling: Cleric, Warrior, Rogue, or Mage. These are like the traditional fantasy RPG classes, but with a big extra level of customization.

Each calling has several different “souls”, each of which give sets of standard skills that are expected in a fantasy RPG. You are then allowed to mix and match your souls to make the kind of functionality that you want.

Rift’s first expansion, Storm Legion, added one additional expansion soul for each of the four callings. The Dream Soul pack in 2014 added four more souls, one more soul to each calling. The Dream Souls are more expensive, but they give each calling its final main “role”: Mage tanking (Arbiter), Rogue healing (Physician), Warrior healing (Liberator), and Cleric support (Oracle).

The Storm Legion and Dream Soul packs are available in the Rift in-game store.

For example, all callings in Rift can potentially be damage-dealers (DPS), tanks, healers, or support, depending on which three souls they slot. AAll callings can potentially have a pet with the correct soul slotted (Necromancer and Elementalist for Mages; Ranger for Rogues; Beastmaster for Warriors; and Druid for Clerics.)

While the heart of Rift’s character development system is completely free-form and build-your-own, in January of 2012, Trion added “Purposes” to the game. These are simply presets, or pseudo-classes, that help new players get started with the Rift character system. You are stuck with the Calling you choose (Warrior, Rogue, Mage, or Priest), but you not stuck to the Purpose you choose.

At any time, you can open up your skill tree panel and allocate points where you want (N by default). Click the central icon of any of your three slotted soul trees to change it to a different soul. If you save points in a tree, you will have to visit your class trainer and reset the whole thing to switch out a soul. You are then using a custom build, which you can custom name at the bottom of the panel.

To drag skills to your hotbars, you will need to use your abilities panel (P). Don’t worry about experimenting or the warnings that you are straying from your purpose. The preset builds are not necessarily the best. A big part of Rift is playing with your skill trees and finding combinations that fit your playstyle.

Note that each soul also has basic benefits that depend only on how many points you add to the tree. You can see the benefits by mousing over the central soul icon on your skill trees. Some souls will give you better damage per point, others will give better defense per point, and some may provide a mix of damage and defense (i.e. Warlord for Warrior and Warden for Cleric).

You can reset and purchase additional role slots (builds) easily in your capital city from your calling trainer. This will cost a small amount of gold or store currency. It’s your choice.

Getting Started

Now that you’ve entered the game, you can get your first quest and can explore your way out of the building in which you began. Since Rift is free-to-play, you don’t need to spend any money yet. Be aware that as of the Nightmare Tideexpansion, there is an instant-level 60 option with the “Infusion Edition”.

Your starter skills have been automatically placed in your action bar at the bottom of the screen. You can examine these by hovering your mouse over them, or opening the skills panel (P by default). Click or use the number keys 1, 2, 3, etc. to activate your first skills.

Note that these skills are called your zero-point skills for your selected soul(s), since you’ve gained them simply by having the soul without spending any points in it (yet).

When you earn your first points very soon in the tutorial after finishing your first quest(s), the big Rift-style skill panel will open up. You’ll see three trees that together represent your custom class, which in the beginning is just the default purpose combo you chose, as previously explained.

You can change and customize your class later. This tinkering can actually take a lot of play time when you are higher level. For now the default should work while you learn to play the game and start doing some quests.

Quests in Rift are added to a quest tracker located under your mini map by default. An asterisk will show when you are close to a quest objective, and green circles may appear on your main map to show the area where you need to go.

In addition to guiding you to the correct general area for your quest, the Rift quest tracker will also track the progress of invasions from other planes, which take place frequently in Telara.

The tracker should update for various stages of a quest. If you need to use an item to complete the quest, the tracker will also show a clickable icon. Right-click the little check-mark buttons if you wish to change the active quest being tracked. Left-click them to open the quest in your log. Click the little circles in your quest log to track or untrack.

The Interface

This is a good time to experiment with the basic game settings. When I start a character, I like to press (esc) to the user menu, select key bindings, and change the hotkeys to my preferences, such as the classic “I” for inventory instead of “B” for bags, and the middle mouse button for auto-run because it’s convenient.

All you need to do is hover the mouse pointer over the relevant key (or square on your hotbar) and press the new one to activate whatever you want. Be sure to press (apply) before closing the keybinding configuration window.

Other possible settings to look at:

Interface— show your name.

Misc— auto-loot on by default. This will make looting bodies of your enemies much quicker. I also like to hide helmet.

Combat– Cast on target’s target. This is very useful for a cleric. You can target a fellow player to throw healing spells, but if you throw an offensive spell using this option, the game will automatically send your spell forward to the enemy that your fellow is targeting, without you having to re-target to that enemy.

Combat– Show combat meters. Turn off the hovering bars over your character and pet.

Combat– PvP Auto-flag. This is currently on by default, which means you can “flag” or make yourself a target for PvP if you buff or heal someone who is engaged in PvP. Turning this off should prevent that, and if not, then it may be a bug.

Action bars– You’ll quickly run out of space on your one lonely action bar. You can add more bottom bars and side bars. You can also use the little up and down arrow function on the right end of the skill bar to navigate more bars if you like.

Social–disable profanity filter. Not that I like profanity, but the filter also butchers legitimate words like cockatrice, and this is distracting.

Display–global UI scale is useful if your interface seems too big and cluttered, or too small to read. Around level ten, you might want to track more than 4-5 quests at a time on your screen. Here you can also increase the number of quest stickies displayed under the map on your screen.

The following commands are also useful so you don’t have to re-do your keys and interface layout every time. The import and export file names can be anything. For advanced players, the import command can be combined in a macro with role changes and gear swapping (see Pro Tips below).

/exportui myui
/exportkeybindings mybinds

/importui myui
/importkeybindings mybinds

Layout Customization— this is available from the main user menu. You can move all of the screen elements around (I like to have my character vitals and details down just below and left of my character, not up in the far left corner, so I can see them more easily). Right-click to change vertical hotbars to horizontal.

You can also scale most interface items separately. The chat box fonts are changed in the chat menu, accessed by clicking the chat box tabs. To change the size of the chat box, use the lower right triangular corner to pull. You may need to click a tab first to get the proper element focus.

Public Grouping

The starting area has been made a lot easier since launch. Most monsters no longer attack you on sight. You should have no problems here, but when an invasion happens in your starting zone and bands of planar monsters are roaming everywhere, you’re going to be looking for backup. A great thing about Rift is that it encourages cooperation.

For example, if you right-click another player or their portrait, you will bring up a menu of things you can do, such as whisper a message, or invite to group. One thing you might not expect in this menu is join public group. That is, you are able to group with another player at will by your own volition.

Some players might not appreciate this pro-active grouping, and it’s polite to just invite, but so far I have yet to see anyone complain about grouping. Rather, I’ve seen complaints that people turn off this feature so others can’t group with them.

How do you do this? Right click your portrait, public group -> private. You will find that Rift requires grouping. A lot. It’s best to cooperate on quest objectives.

Finally, to finish the tutorial section of the game, you will need to participate in a Rift-type group encounter. Note that on both the Guardian and Defiant sides, you should not have to fight an army to get to the final battle. You should have a golem or angelic being clear the way for you, as indicated in your quest. (It’s a little tricky.)

When you enter the area where the final group encounter is taking place, you’ll see a button at the top of the screen inviting you to join a public group (if there is anyone else there to group with–if not, you’re doing it solo and won’t even notice that the quest supports public grouping.)

If you press the join button, you’ll instantly enter a party with the other players in the same area, and you can cooperate to defeat the available enemies and see the end of the tutorial story.

One more thing: Rift uses “open-tapping”, so whoever hits a mob gets credit. Share the glory. Don’t worry about stolen kills.

The World Of Rift

Assuming the final quest of your tutorial goes smoothly (congratulations), you will now enter one of the newbie starting areas of your faction, and you are questing and exploring in the main world of Rift, a world divided in half between the Defiants and Guardians.

If you’re a Defiant, you’ll be at the undead-overrun Freemarch end of a great bridge that your people just destroyed as a defensive measure against a Guardian attack.

If you’re a Guardian, you’ll be in leafy Silverwood, dealing with the aftermath of the explosion. You’ll go on to defend your faction from the encroachments of the fay.

As you play the starting areas in the main world, you’ll want to talk to every NPC you can. This is the way to learn a little bit about the story and what is going on. If you talk to the gathering trainers, they will give you additional simple quests for some extra XP (experience points.)

If you have any bonuses from your purchase of the game, you can pick them up at the nearest local mailbox, if you haven’t already.

On the left side of your minimap is a useful button that you can use to show mailboxes, class trainers, or whatever else you need. The larger world map seems a little lacking for the essentials at launch, aside from its use as a battlefield navigator when invasions happen. You can scale the minimap a little bit with the mouse scroll wheel.

Rifts And Invasions

Close by in your starting area, you’re bound to run into your first real rift. You’ll see the vortex coming down from the sky and monsters coming out from another plane, and when you get close, you’ll get the join public group icon at the top of your screen.

Play attention to the dial-like meter under your mini-map. The top number is the stage of the encounter. The earlier the stage that you get to a rift, the more you can contribute before the end, and the more your rewards for participating. At the end of the encounter, when the rift closes, click the glowing bottom button to receive your loot, including rewards of planar currency (see next section).

Regions in Telara will often be invaded by the planes. In this case, you will see special messages on your screen. These are typically your faction leader shouting orders or exchanging words with the enemy leader. A special quest will appear on your quest tracker (see the image above) with objectives.

Invasions can happen at any time, and participation will offer you a chance to earn the best planar currencies, which you can then barter for weapons, armor, and other items. It’s best to participate in each stage if you can. You’ll need to participate in the final boss battle to earn an achievement.

Rift Rewards

Rewards for doing rifts are called currency, and your currency wallet is viewable by opening your character panel and selecting the currency button on the left.

Planarite is the most basic common currency. Everyone should get planarite for contributing to a rift encounter or planar invasion (click the glowy button on your rift stage popup as shown above.) Blue currency is more rare, and purple is rarer still.

You should be able to locate barter NPC’s for planar currency not far into the game world. On the Defiant side, the barterers are in the Kings March camp. The goods on the rare planar barter NPC are what many players will be trying to earn by the time they leave the zone.

Here is a nice guide to the planar and other currencies that you can expect to accumulate during your adventures in Rift.

When you complete your starter Rift quests, you will also get your first “planar focus”. This should be slotted in the center of the bottom row of slots on your character (gear) panel. A planar focus then has a set number of permanent slots for planar essences. These planes-imbued doodads increase your power (stats).

You can slot and unslot essence-slotted planar foci to adjust your stats when you are more advanced.


As you advance in your lowbie area, it’s a good idea to at least get started on some gathering skills (foraging, mining, butchery.) Gathering can earn you stacks of raw materials that you can sell at the auction house in the capital city, or save for yourself to make useful items.

You can only have 3 of the 9 possible gathering and production crafts at any one time unless you purchase a Trade Skill Extension scroll in the Rift store. You can buy the scroll multiple times for a character-only unlock. Just remember that trade skilling in Rift can require a lot of storage space.

The exception to the three-profession limit are Fishing and Survival, which everyone gets. You can also drop one and take another if you change your mind.

Rift makes gathering professions very easy. You receive a tracking skill, then it’s a matter of right-clicking the node to be harvested, assuming you have earned enough skill for the node in question. You can see the needed skill when you mouse over the node.

Telarapedia has a nice guide to the interdependencies for the various professions in Rift. You can also learn this information from talking with the different trainers available. Miku has written a crafting guide here.

When you first open the crafting interface for a production profession, you will have a couple basic recipes. You need to make those, skill up, then talk to the trainer for the next higher level recipes.

You get the most crafting advancement for orange recipes, then yellow, then green. So concentrate on doing the orange recipes as much as you can, depending on your mats (materials) on hand.

You’ll want to be 75 gathering skill before leaving the first zone (Freemarch/Silverwood). It’s important to remember that at 75 skill, 150 skill, etc. you will need to visit a crafting trainer in your capital city to advance to the next tier.

Where And When Can I Get A Mount

This is a question that is always asked by new players. Traditionally, Rift allows a basic +60% speed mount at level 5 or above, as long as you save 2 pp (platinum pieces, or plat) and 50 gold.

The F2P release offers more options, i.e. the Loyal Armored Warhorse at first (green) tier of Loyalty, 110% speed for all characters on your account at level one.

The earliest Defiant mount vendor is on the bluffs above the Kelari Refuge, across the road from Kings March. They offer horses. The Defiant mount vendor in the home city of Meridian (central plaza, can’t miss it) also sells cute gazelle mounts and mechanical mounts.

Guardian horses are sold just off the road south of Argent Glade. Valmera (90% speed level 25 minimum) and Yarnosaurs (60% speed no minimum level) are also found in the home city of Sanctum on the Guardian side (in the far back) in Silverwood.

Collectors edition owners get a free turtle (Ancient Tartagon) mount. Many more mounts can be found in the Rift store. For pics and lists, try the ZAM Mount guide or IGN Mount Guide.

To activate and use a mount, you’ll need to right-click the icon of the mount in your bags. This will add it to your mount collection, which you can then find by going to your character sheet (“c” by default) and clicking the mount tab. Now you can drag the mount icon to make it usable on your skill bar.

When Is The First Dungeon

The first dungeons for both factions start at level 17, but you can queue for them earlier at 15 (Click activities -> looking for group in the minibutton panel. This is also called a “dungeon finder”). The quests in the first region will naturally lead you into these dungeons.

The Defiants have Iron Tombs, an undead-infested catacomb, and the Guardians have Realm Of The Fay, which is often mentioned as one of the most beautiful places in the game. You can reach the dungeons of the opposite faction (teleport to dungeon) by joining an automatically created group in the LFG (looking for group) tool on your toolbar. This will also give you a daily quest if you have not exceeded the weekly limit.

Note to join a dungeon you will need to build your character to fulfill a role, which is standard in an MMO. Rift offers four role slots for dungeons: Damage, Support, Healing, and Tanking. The dungeon finder will allow you roles based on the soul combinations you have available and how many points you have placed in those.

This can be a more advanced topic, i.e. learn how to play your class. Here is a guide to which souls apply to which roles.

“Normal Dungeons” from L15 to L49 are easier since launch. Your challenge will come when you unlock expert dungeons at L50, which are much harder versions that include achievements and epic gear.

Achievements, Collecting, Titles

Rift has an excellent achievement system. Press “H” to access the panel or use the minibuttons. You can build and achievement score over time and obtain titles for your character. Prefix titles are typically found in PvP. Titles can also be received through special events of all kinds– seasonal events, world events, special developer events, etc.

Rift also features an “artifact” system accessed through your character panel. Artifacts are collectible items that you will come across on the landscape. They appear as little sparkles, like “Easter eggs”. Collecting a set of artifacts rewards you a chest, a lucky coin, or sometimes a pet. Lucky coins can be bartered in your capital city for rewards of your choice.

At higher level, you can purchase a special seeing skill (Quantum Sight for Defiants, Omen sight for Guardians) that lets you see “twisted” planar artifacts and collect them. (The Sight will also let you see special inter-planar portals called Slivers.)

Instant Adventures

Instant adventures are a form of popcorn gameplay in Rift accessible after L10. Here is an overview. Here is a guide to leveling with Instant Adventures.

You can do lower level adventures by mentoring down. To participate in Freemarch/Silverwood IA’s, you must mentor to L10 – L14.


Chronicles in Rift are instances designed for one or two characters L50 and above. They allow non-raiders to see more of the story of Telara (stories that normally unfold only in the difficult raids.) Here is an introduction to chronicles.

Speaking of raids, Rift is traditionally a very raid-focused game. Let’s take a look at the basics of raids.

The Raid Situation

A “raid” is formed from any group larger than five players. A small group can also be converted to a raid, which can be preferred by healers for practical targeting purposes.

It’s very easy to get into your first raids in Rift via invasions or rift situations in the starting zones. You just need to press the “join public group” button.

The raid panel is opened with the “y” key. The raid leader is indicated by a small icon on this panel, next to player 1 in group 1 by default. The raid leader has the power to drag and drop raid members, and also kick (disconnected players, for example, to make room for active players when the raid limit is reached.) Most raiding in Rift happens at the max level for the greatest challenges and best rewards.

A common problem that some players have in Rift is that raid situations will push computers to their limits. If you’re having performance issues in raids, especially when fighting raid bosses, Trion added a toggle to hide spell FX of other players. You can find this check box in settings -> interface -> combat.

There’s No Place Like Home (Housing Dimensions)

Dimensions are Rift’s form of housing. A dimension is a template that you can build on by freely placing vases, staircases, etc. wherever you like. Your first Dimension is free. Others are required by purchase or unlocked by Loyalty for example. Furniture is acquired by crafting, loot, and barter NPCs.

Not far into Freemarch or Silverwood you will see a Dimension Engineer. Zerelia Hejme for Defiants is in King’s Retreat. Toia Hejme for Guardians in Argent Glade She has a glowing house icon over her head. Click on her to get your first housing quest.

The key to your starter dimension will appear in your bags. Right click the key to add it to your skills. Drag the skill/icon from the Dimensions pop-up panel to your bars, and you can then reach your first dimension. To leave your dimension, there is a little leave icon on the right end of the tool panel.

More dimensions can be purchased from a vendor in your capital city. For Defiants, it is Perzin Hejme. He stands between the Banker and Auction in the main plaza. For Guardians it is Tryyna Hejme. She is just inside Sanctum from the main bridge, a little to the left on the entry plaza.

The new minion system as of Nightmare Tide (3.0) is a great source of dimension objects. This has also led to a larger amount of cheap dimension things on the auction house.

The home cities of the Guardians and the Defiants are Sanctum and Meridian, respectively. You can travel to your home city at any time once you leave the tutorial, but if you quest normally you should reach it some time after level 10.

Here you’ll find all the amenities, including vendors, clothing dyes, crafting facilities, and the office to start a guild. When you’re selling your junk, don’t miss the little “Sell All Sellables” button in the lower right corner of every vendor panel. It’s a nice time-saver.

Artifact Collecting

Artifacts are Telara’s trash and treasures. They appear as random sparkly collectible lying around the landscape. These are collected to fill sets, which reward you with chests, pets, and special currencies such as lucky coins, which can be bartered in your capital city for more pets and special items.

Artifacts come in three categories: normal, twisted, and unstable. Twisted artifacts can only be seen with quantum sight or omen sight (Defiant/Guardian), again purchased at a planar vendor in your capital city. Unstable artifacts only appear when an Unstable Event appears in a zone. Use an event tracker third party site to watch for these to appear.

Squirrel mounts can be obtained by planar nuts gained from completing Unstable artifact sets. Artifacts can also be broken down by the Dreamweaver crafting profession into Dream Ribbon, which Dreamweavers can use to create Dimension furnishings, lights, etc.

Patrons to the game (subscribers) gain a Patron’s Artifact Tracking vial, which recharges daily up to 7 charges. This allows 30 minutes of super-sight collecting. You can also buy this vial in the store, but it’s very expensive. You might as well subscribe, and you should probably have Patron’s Tracking if you expect to be a Dreamweaver.


This section is not yet updated and is possibly incorrect. – ed

Aside from open-world PvP (player versus player) activities, the PvP battlegrounds in RIFT are called Warfronts. The first Warfront, Black Garden, is unlocked at level 10. The second Warfront is called The Codex and is unlocked at level 20.

The third, unlocked at level 30, is called Whitefall Steppes. The fourth Warfront, Port Scion, is not unlocked until level 50. Open the PvP window (K by default) and click the join button to queue for a Warfront. The PvP tab at the bottom of the window will show you a few of your stats.

You will earn a currency called favor in these WF’s that allow you to barter for gear and even horses at the PvP vendors in your capital city. Note that you will not start ranking up in PvP until you hit 50, when a new stat called Prestige is unlocked. After ranking up, you can access the higher rank PvP vendors.

Note that for some PvP rewards from faction barterers, you will also need faction reputation/notoriety, so you may want to take that into account.

Other PvP activities involve raid rifts and unique three-faction PvP etc. later in the game (which is still evolving), but you don’t need to worry about those as a newbie.

Free To Play

This is a complicated topic. See links below. You can buy credits via the in-game store (small shopping cart on your mini-toolbar.) You can then use the credits to shop in the store for permanent account unlocks, wardrobe items, gear, etc.

You can also change race, gender, looks, and faction using the store scroll and/or the in-game barber shop.

In Rift all content is free at the time of this writing, unlike most other F2P MMOs. Like some other MMOs, however, you can buy REX, which is a tradeable in-game currency that you can gift or sell on the auction house.

Buying and spending credits earns you “loyalty”, which unlocks further rewards. You get 2 points of loyalty on purchase per credit. You get 2 points of loyalty on spend.

You get your loyalty rewards via the store also, upper right corner. This includes Auction House use, which is unlocked at 1500 loyalty. You can preview loyalty rewards in the store also. Here is Rift’s table of tiers and unlocks.

Pro Tips

  • Event Tracker. Third-party event tracker tools are super-important for finding zone events.
  • Chat Channels. These are super-important for finding groups with other players, i.e. crossevents is a much-used channel to join. These are almost always for max-level activities, however.
  • Macros. These are make-it-yourself skills that combine multiple skills into one keypress. You make them in the macro panel. Advanced players in Rift should be using macros to optimize damage and healing. I also use them to put emotes on my skillbars so I don’t have to type them. See the links below for more about Rift macros.
  • Don’t forget all kills are shared! Everyone gets credit. Help.
  • DPS meter. A DPS (damage per second) and healing meter is used to see how you’re doing compared to other players. Or maybe that one jerk in the group turns out to be the only thing standing between your group and death.
  • All players can now Resurrect/Revive. This skill is “Ascended Resurrection”. Press P -> ascended powers.
  • If you log out in a city, inn, or your personal dimension (home), you will be “rested” for XP gain.
  • To split a stack is shift-left click (not drag like in WoW).
  • You can drag roles to your hotbars via the abilities panel (P).
  • Rift requires grouping, and its main quest lines are not soloable. Sometimes this can be frustrating and even brutal. This is just the way Rift is.

Try these links for more information:

Rift Scene New Player Guide
Ulimate Macro Beginner Guide
Zones by Level 1-50 (followed by Ember Isles and Storm Legion continents)
Rift Official Guide Forum
Basic Intro To Accessing Storm Legion
Basic Guide To Rift Patch 2.3 F2P
Full patch notes for Rift Patch 2.3 F2P
Rift F2P FAQ
Rift Dimensions (Housing) For Dummies
Rift Community Guide Compendium
Things I Wish I’d Known Sooner Thread
Rift Soul Builder Tool and Database
Rift Wiki Intro To Macros
Crafting Guides

If you identify something important that we’ve skipped, please add the information in the comments to help future readers. We also welcome questions, which might help us make the guide better for other players. Thanks, and have fun playing Rift!

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38 responses to “Basic Newbie Guide To Playing Rift

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    […] since WoW and LotRO. I’d highly recommend checking it out. While you’re downloading, my newbie guide to playing Rift will help get you ready for adventure. Have […]

  • Avernus

    good guide.

  • Laqi

    Very nice guide, cleared up a lot of my nagging questions. Many Thanks!

  • Jacquotte

    Glad it helped you. Thanks for the note. πŸ™‚


    “This is a question that is always asked by new players. Rift allows a basic +60% speed mount at no level limit, as long as you save 2 pp (platinum pieces, or plat) and 50 gold.”

    Is this still true? I got the collector’s edition with the turtle mount and I’m only level 12 and it won’t let me use it (I read somewhere I have to be level 20). If I buy a horse for 2.5p, will that activate my turtle?

  • Jacquotte

    I’ve never heard of a level limit, and I feel sure I’ve seen characters under L20 using it. ZAM says: “This item is available to each character started on an account that is a Collector’s Edition.

    Right-click this item to add it to your Mounts. The mount has a 60% movement speed increase and is available to use at level 5.

    On Test Shard for Patch 1.2: The speed of the Ancient Tartagon Collector’s Edition mount now scales to match the speed of the fastest mount you own.”

    Have you right clicked it, then gone into your mounts tab in your character panel and dragged the skill from there to your hotbar? πŸ™‚

  • Florimel

    Good guide.

    In your section on finishing the tutorial you talk about public grouping. It’s funny, but just to point out it takes all kinds of people… I was fighting a minor low level rift. I hit the Join Public Group button, and fight the rift. A few minutes later I get this unpleasant PM, stating this person doesn’t group with people they don’t know. I actually apologize at first and explained that I was new, and joined the public group out of a matter of course. I figured that would be the end of it, after all this was no major quest or treasue we’re talking about.

    I get this sharp retort, “why did you join a second time, after I dropped you?”

    I replied honestly, “I didn’t realized you kicked me, I was fighting monsters and clicking abilities. I’m somewhat new to the game. I thought another group had formed with a new person.”

    Amazingly, I get another message saying, “You’re lying.”

    “About what?” I exclaim. “Look, if you don’t want to group with me, and you think I’m lying about the most trivial non-issues, let me just put you on ignore and we can both go about our lives in peace.”

    I guess I’m just surprised to learn that they could have set it to block, but instead choose to just bitch about it instead.

  • Jacquotte

    It’s possible that they don’t know about the feature to turn off public grouping via right-clicking their character portrait. In any case, public grouping to fight against rifts, invasions, and planar footholds is the norm and is very desirable and accepted in Rift. Maybe this person hasn’t been playing long either and has a pre-conceived attitude from a former MMO. Perhaps I should go ahead and specify the turn-off feature in the guide for this type of person, should anyone like this read it. Thanks for the feedback. πŸ™‚

  • Caesar

    What an excellent guide for newbie players. Most Rift blogs and fan sites tend to forget that there is a large base of players who have absolutely no experience with MMORPGs, and Rift goes one step further in the ‘confusion stakes’ by adding the Guardian/Defiant element, as well as invasions.

    Still, anyone who reads through this guide will be well-versed as to how to play the game. Perhaps you should consider doing a standalone combat guide for beginners too?



  • Tippy

    Very nice guide, thank you very much. I have alot of trouble grasping some of these games, but you really answered alot for me.

  • Jeff Cain

    The best guide I’ve seen so far–and I’ve read three or four since starting the other day. For really new people, you might consider mentioning the “fog of war” aspect of the maps. It took me three days to find Meriden, even though I was fairly close to it, lol πŸ™‚

  • Feel The Rift Love « Kitty Kitty Boom Boom

    […] If you haven’t played Rift, you don’t know what you’re missing either. There is a newbie guide here on this blog to help you get […]

  • whatsapp

    I’ll immediately take hold of your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please permit me know so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  • Jackie

    I have corrected this, whatsapp. Thanks for bringing the issue to my attention. Apparently only WordPress members could follow my blog. You should now find email follow and RSS feed in the right column. I hope these work for you. If not, let me know. Thanks again. πŸ™‚

  • Tony

    Thank you for your hard work on the very helpful guide for us noobs. Very well organized and easy to follow.(Bookmarked, and favorited) Some Rift basics have strange names or are hard to figure out(where’s the bank, help with using soul points, etc.) A few ppl in the community are really helpful, but there’s always the those trolls that think they’re funny. Thank you for taking the time to assist. Oh!, Are dimensions functionally useful for anything other than rest, like storage? Also any pitfalls to avoid? Seems like Runecrafting was a bad crafting choice, since the gear you break is kind of expensive at first.

    • Jackie

      Thanks for your note, Tony, and appreciating that writing a guide takes more work than most would think–haha. Dimensions don’t have storage or other features at this time, but that is requested by the community. I’ve seen a few dedicated players vouch for runecrafting later in the game, saying they didn’t regret it. It depends on how serious you are. I found that if I tailored, I made a lot of stuff I could break down, and it was no big deal aside from all the breakdown products to stack up and keep track of. This combo is often recommended. I don’t know about other combos. The Free-To-Play aspect is also a wildcard that will always affect crafting, and that includes the sale of store runes. Good luck!

  • Lunachik

    Thanks so much for this guide! I just started playing today, and this was a huge help!

  • Charles

    This is an excellent guide for new Rift players. The only issue I have as a noob is what to do with full backpacks? i.e. buy more packs, sell greys or whites, destroy old gear, etc. Also recommendation for crafting or to put off crafting until later.

    Also, its nice to see this wordpress blog.

    • Jackie

      You’re right Charles. I should add a bit on storage. For now, I’d say the Woolen Bag is your friend as a completely new player. If lowbie crafters on your server are being industrious, this should be cheap on the auction house. If you’re F2P and can’t use the AH, you can craft for yourself I guess, or save up and buy something from a vendor.

      Sell everything you can’t equip or might use for cosmetic, unless it’s a crafting mat (material), in which case it depends. White and grey = sell. The slottable thingies that you get from rifts and invasions you’ll want to save if they are good stats for your class, and put them in a source engine thingie that you buy from a planar vendor (for those slots at the bottom of your character sheet).

      I mentioned it’s good to start your gathering while you’re running around the lowbie zone. Because it takes a little work to get those leveled up high enough to go to the next zone. When you start actually crafting, if you do, is really up to you. You can wait until L50 if you want. Just make sure to do your gathering as you go, or else you’ll have to go back. Which is actually not that bad.

  • Charles

    Thanks for the tips J. I will put them to good use on my new beastmaster.

  • pintree3

    This seems like a guide for newbies to Rift and not for total newbies who know nothing of MMORPG or any other RPG. I was hoping to find out things like what each key does and mouse button. Not knowing anything I didn’t (and don’t) know for ex. if it is normal for the game to show an overhead shot or if there is a camera function somewhere which will allow me to change the POV. Am I supposed to click on the lift mouse button to fight or what? Why does a mouse button do one thing one minute and then do another thing elsewhere. etc. etc. you get my point. I’ve always wanted to learn such a game but have always quit since there has never been a guide to explain things properly to me (assume I’m a top idiot). There seems like an overwhelming amount of things to learn, an overwhelming amount of things you can do, buttons and windows everywhere etc. etc. How do you guys do it? Skyrim and Assasin’s Creed are the type of games I play and understand, even though admittedly, there is a little too much there as well since I’ve never been able to play a game without doing some research online for how to do this or that or what I should do when.

    • Jackie

      This is a good question. There are basic MMO guides out there, but they are best tailored to a specific MMO. Rift is not really a good starter MMO, It’s an advanced one, really. Most people started with World of Warcraft, which has a free trial. LotRO is also super-noob friendly. MMOs in general are the most advanced, complex games out there, and they are usually poorly documented, especially Rift. That’s why I wrote this guide.

      To find out what different keys do, hit (esc) and click keybindings (or something like that.) Look through the list of keys and what they correspond to, and test them one by one. Do it again the next day until you’re starting to remember the ones you need. Really it’s trial and error. Click a monster with the mouse, press a key 1,2,3 and see what happens.

      You’re right. It’s overwhelming. When you’ve made a game effort of just testing and trying things, I would suggest making a specific-as-possible list of what’s bothering you and posting it in the official Rift newcomer forum straight away:

      You’ll need to log in first. It’s rare that even the most clueless questions don’t find help in this helpful forum. Good luck!

  • Derpmarius Krudunkenchud

    Awesome guide! Thanks so much for the effort and teaching the newbs, the ropes. πŸ™‚

  • Jonathan

    Id lime to know more a out intelligence endurance strengh and stuff they do t talk about it anywhere thx

  • Silverangel

    That’s a good question. It’s pretty much the usual. Mages need intelligence, Rogues dexterity, warriors strength, everyone needs endurance for tanking or maybe PvP. I think in Rift sometimes stats will convert to what you need them to be. You can mouse over the skill tree central icons for this. Here is also a link:

  • Belixia

    Im a lvl 11 high elf mage if anyone wants to add me or play online wth me just add me and whisper to me. OH i also play on the server wolfbane.

  • Johne758

    Once I initially commented I clicked the Notify me when new feedback are added checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you possibly can remove me from that service? Thanks! ebdbdfadgeag

  • cljr

    okay all I want to know is how to talk to npcs. I started with a guardian char and went to the first guard to go outside but couldn’t find out how to talk to her. Then I went to the next one in the graveyard and still couldn’t find a key to talk to her. Most games use either e or f for this. What does Rift use?

    • Silverangel

      I think you should just click the NPC. If you can’t click, the NPC has nothing to say. Look for the NPC with the standard markers over their heads. Talk to them for quests. Sorry I can’t be of more help. It’s been years since I played Rift. I hope you have fun!

      • cljr

        thanks. I tried that but got nothing. Once, I played rift and when you started you got a quest to go talk to the woman in the graveyard. That woman told you to kill so many zombies. This time nothing.
        Thanks again.

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