Welcome to Telara, a world steeped in magic, battles with planar rifts, and surprisingly beautiful scenery. I'll be your host, Sephrenia. (MandieM by day.)
Rift has a loyal following for many reasons. With the video game settings maxed, Rift becomes so much more than is initially shown for lower-end machines.
Telara is a wild, wonderful place with plenty of lovely nooks and crannies to discover. From the tops of the highest mountains to game content added in the Song of Dreams update, let's wander through Telara together.
One of the best parts of Rift is the propensity for finding beautiful little environmental gems across the continents of Telara. It usually starts with a sunrise; you suddenly realize the warm glow of the sun is lighting your character up. From there, you get curious--and that's when the fun starts.
First, let's take a look at Gareth Harmer's Rift - Ultra Graphics Settings Comparison video. While it is from 2011 and there have been significant improvements to the game, it does a nice job of showing the stark contrast between using Rift's low renderer and cranking your settings to ultra. Simply put, it simply becomes a whole different game with the video game settings maxed out. Watch carefully at 3:00 to see the change.
One of the best things about Rift is the skies and oceans. The lighting can be finicky to adjust when trying to take a screenshot, but once you do, it's possible to create an almost ethereal feeling with your shots. You may even find yourself hanging out on a boat, watching the moon rise in Moonshade Highlands.
This beautiful little Celtic-looking community is Stillmoor. As you can see, Rift clearly has the potential to challenge many of the newer games available in terms of graphical potential. While you do need a beast of a video card to play the game using textures as detailed as this, the experience of riding through such beautiful areas can't be overstated.
Screenshot sourced from Rift forum user Delarcia here.
Suitably true to the creepy-esque feel of Gloamwood, shadows abound in this screenshot. The slightly-depressed feel of the art style used throughout Gloamwood is appropriate, and feels more genuine than other games where horror elements are thrown in randomly. Conversely, Telara's Gloamwood has a much more psychological-horror feel to it.
Of course, if you happen to suffer from arachnophobia, you'll likely find the creepy-crawlies a bit much. Are you a fan of spiders? The Storm Legion Spindrel mount will become your next, slightly-creepy slightly-crawley best friend.
Image found on Rift Junkies.
Considered the Guardian "capital" of Telara, Sanctum feels as welcoming as it can possibly get. Housing most of the main Guardian shops and merchants, you'll spend plenty of time here during the first 40 levels if you choose to become a Guardian. If you choose to become a Defiant, it's inadvisable to try sneaking in until at least level 50.
Look closely...a brave rogue is considering just that.
Image sourced from Rift forums user Scarecroww here.
Meridian, the Defiant capital, features towering spires and huge trees painted against a beautiful sky. Meridian is especially beautiful at sunset and sunrise, as is shown here.
Image sourced from MMORPG.com; posted by user thecipher here.
The entirety of Cape Jule is a favorite for many gamers. Check out Scion Storm Gaming's "Rift Storm Legion: Cape Jule Tour" video to get a glimpse of this beautiful, highly lush area. Easily one of the more detailed areas in the game, cranking your video game settings to high and taking a ride through is almost breathtaking.
Check out this widescreen HD shot of Cape Jule, sourced from Rift Junkies here.
Pelldane, one of the Storm Legion areas, is easily one of the most beautiful yet haunting areas in the game. The constantly-churning sky throws purples, yellows and blues at you creating the most diverse sky in the game, outside of some of the more well-developed dimensions.
Picture sourced from here.
This is the view from one of the puzzles found in Silverwood. Views like this can be found all around Telara, as climbing mountains is not only permitted, but encouraged. You can even find cairns and puzzles scattered throughout the world in hard-to-reach areas, adding yet another layer to this deeply rich MMO.
Picture sourced from here.
The top of the temple in Shimmersand. Which, by the way, you can climb and have a seat to enjoy the beautiful sand dunes around you. Shimmersand might be barren, but it's within its barrenness that many find its true beauty.
Worth mentioning again--the skies in several locations. This picture was sourced from Rift Junkies (here), without information specifying exactly where this can be found. This could be one of several locations. The beauty and detail in the stars is commendable. Indeed, it's just another reason to love Rift.
This gorgeous image is taken from the Rift Wikia (here) and shows off the best features of the Droughtlands. This area is extremely barren, although a few "oasis-like" areas do exist throughout it. Droughtlands tends to be a polarizing area-- people seem to either find it very boring or their favorite area. It can get a little monotonous sometimes, but the beauty is still there to find.
Beautiful Moonshade Highlands is a favorite for many. The lush, green grass, rolling hills, bright pink blossomed trees and gently lapping water gives this area a distinctly highlands feel. This is also the Dwarven area--you can see Hammerfell in the distance quite easily.
And last, but certainly not least-- This video by Youtube user RiftMMO does an amazing job of showcasing high-resolution rift gameplay. Even the physics of the items blowing about in the power streams coming from the rift seem wispy and sort of ephemeral. Don't forget to set the video to the highest settings possible to see the most details. This is an HD video that really showcases how much better the game looks when you have a great monitor and video card to play it on.
There's just no way to show you all of the beauty that is created through Rift's dimensions--because they are uniquely built by each player who owns them, each one tends to have its own style and contents. This video by RIFT, "RIFT Dimensions: Welcome Home" does an excellent job of showcasing just how gorgeous your new "home" can be with Rift's video game settings maxed out. When you tire of PVP or PVE, steal away to your new home and build something beautiful.
That concludes our tour of several of Telara's most beautiful places. If these places have intrigued you, why not grab the game and try it for yourself? Rift is now free-to-play, and the game does an excellent job of avoiding categorizing itself as pay-to-win. The player base tends to be friendly and helpful. There's plenty more to discover all across the planes!