Rift's 1.9 patch, which releases on Wednesday, aims to change the face of player-vs-player combat in Trion's flagship MMO forever. Along with new Instant Adventure content and a Mentoring system that allows higher-level players to group with their lowbie friends, the patch adds a new Conquest PvP mode that offers a larger-scale alternative to instanced Warfronts. We have new screens and new details, including how rewards will work and a look at the new colossus, below.
As we mentioned in last month's preview , Conquest PvP divides players into three new factions to fight over territory in an open, alternate-reality version of the Stillmoor zone. Those who join the fray will be able to accrue both temporary and persistent rewards. The mode includes a sort of "momentum" mechanic where doing your part will grant you temporary buffs going into future battles. During a recent phone call, the developers told me that these buffs will start to wear off about a day after you earn them, and playing only a couple times a week should be enough to keep them steady.
In addition, Conquest introduces a new currency type that can be earned by completing objectives, winning a match for your side, and killing the new colossi PvE bosses that only spawn when one side has won the map, and are only available to be confronted by the winning faction. Rewards will presumably include better PvP gear and consumbales that can be carried out of the mode.
If you're one of those reclusive MMO gamers who don't like other people, Conquest has you covered, too. According to Rift's chief creative officer, Scott Hartsman, lone-wolf players will be able to contribute to their side without making a single kill, by gathering materials and crafting items and defenses for their side.
Also coming in 1.9 are the aforementioned new Instant Adventures and Mentoring system. The new Instant Adventures bring the fast-paced combat to the Freemarch, Silverwood, Gloamwood, and Stonefield zones. Hartsman told me that they're using the modular nature of Instant Adventure to test some more experimental mechanics such as granting temporary abilities without having to worry about the potential of them "breaking" the open areas of the game.
The Mentor system, which scales your character down to the level of the group you're joining, is meant to let players continue earning rewards for their higher-level characters as they help lower-level friends through content.
Lastly, 1.9 will finally bring a barbershop feature to Rift, allowing you to re-customize your character's appearance. So if you've been regretting those dreads you put on your Bahmi since launch, you're less than 48 hours from remedying your ill-advised hair disaster.