RIFT’s Public Test Shard is useful for all kinds of things: testing out new features like Conquest, playing with new builds, and keeping tabs on world events. Oh, and datamining! Since the PTS client is closer to the client Trion’s development team works on, every now and then PTS players are able to glimpse into the world of Telara as imagined in the future, and find out about the cool things headed our way that haven’t been announced publicly. Most of the information datamined is pure speculation at this point, but that’s half the fun!
This past week, a couple PTS players noticed some very interesting additions to the achievements tab. One of which is pictured above, and was located under the “Zones” section. Yep, that’s right. Six new zones. Six. Dusken Spires, Eternal City, Pelladane, Seratos, Morban, and Steppes of Infinity. Interestingly enough, there are six planes. Could these possibly be the new zones in the next huge content addition?
Trion, in the past, has talked about the addition of expansion-type content that will eventually allow players to move through the planes, and take part in battles in a world we are unfamiliar with. It’s possible that these zones are connected to that content, since the numbers match. It’s also possible that these zones are connected to content located in Planetouched Wilds, which is an area discovered on the PTS last year, or a new continent entirely.
Planetouched Wilds is rumored to be the area to the north of Droughtlands and to the east of Freemarch. The area is circled in the image above. The area is definitely visible on current maps, just displayed greyed out, as seen in maps like this. Last August, the area was briefly available on the PTS for players to explore its half-developed state.
Here is one of the videos captured during that time:
While it seems possible that the new six zones have to do with Wildtouched Planes (and maybe even probable, given the fact that players have been to the zone, and know it’s in development), it seems a little unlikely that six zones worth of achievements will be found within that peninsula. This has led a few players to believe the zones may be part of a larger continent.
The new continent theory has been around a while now, too, first seen last November, when images of Infernal Dawn and a new city in development were datamined from the PTS. The name “Shi-Ming” was also discovered, which may be the continent’s name. It seems likely that we will see another continent at some point in RIFT’s future, especially given the implementation of Ember Isle. The team at Trion has also mentioned the fact that RIFT’s world expands far beyond one continent. Here is an image of the datamined continent (click to bring up a larger version):
If a new continent is indeed the home for these six zones, it may be a while before we see their implementation. That’s also true with the theory about traveling across the planes to new elemental zones. Still, all three theories are rather exciting to think about. New zone achievements weren’t the only discoveries made last week, either. Players also discovered a new achievement category under “Planes”, called Hunt Rifts. It seems we have another type of rifts headed our way! Will they be a new tier of raid/group rifts, or are they a new type altogether?
The name makes me think of the rare creature quests from Scarwood Reach, and my first thought was a new type of rift that starts a scavenger hunt of sorts, requiring players to kill a particular creature from the rift, that might dash off into the environment. This would add a little more dynamism into RIFT’s dymanic content. It’s also possible that hunt rifts are actually connected to the new zones, and act as a portal of sorts that enable players to hunt across the planes.
A couple new dungeon names were also discovered: Empyrean Core and Golem Foundry. Since both dungeons and chronicles are located in the same achievement tab, these places may end up being either chronicles or dungeons at this point. It would be very awesome to see another dungeon similar to Caduceus Rise, both in difficulty and environment, although more chronicles would be welcome additions as well.
A new meta category for world events also popped up: Summerfest. This one’s fairly self-explanatory. After the implementation of Fae Yule, a new summer-themed holiday event doesn’t surprise me in the least, and my only hope is that it’s as creative as the Carnival of the Ascended if not more so. The good thing? There’s really a ton of creative room when it comes to implementing a summer-based event. Fishing and camping (using survival) events come to mind in particular.
These achievements were quickly taken off the PTS, so once again we are left to speculate among ourselves. Interesting stuff, though, and interesting times ahead! Special thanks to the players in this thread and others who have taken the time to share these PTS goodies with us.