Rift's new PvP mode throws the game's rulebook out the window. Defiants and Guardians--who needs 'em? The new Conquest mode lets you join one of three factions that battle on a massive map with capturable objectives and no player cap, more closely resembling Guild Wars 2's World vs. World vs. World mode than Rift's existing PvP Warfronts.
According to the video just released by the developers, and a great interview write-up over at MMORPG.com , the 3 factions are groups from an alternate plane fighting for dominance of the instanced zone. Players will pick one of the three new factions (Dominion, Oathsworn and Nightfall) to join and will always fight on their side in the Conquest mode--although players will be able to switch factions once a week. These factions will only exist in Conquest mode and players will still be Defiants or Guardians in the rest of the game.
The map itself will be a huge open area designed to capture the feel of open world PvP--the video shows tangled environments with bridges crossing over over roads that are running between cliffs that players can run on. It's supposedly modeled after the Stillmoor zone, featuring grasslands and the interior of a castle. It's good the map is large, because there is no limit on the number of players that can fight on it. A faction can win by either capturing 40% of all the objectives on the map or by killing a total of 5,000 enemy players.
Capturing objectives means taking over areas on the map that give buffs to your entire side. Lone wolf players can also gather resources and build things that enhance the combat prowess of everyone on their faction.
The winning faction will earn PvP weapon enchants, along with unique buffs and abilities that are not only usable in the Conquest PvP mode, but out in the open world as well.
The mode is now live on Rift's Public Test Shard , where you can test it today during the planned event that runs from 4-8 PM PST.