People leave MMOs. Sometimes they come back. Since people who come back always want to know what's changed, I've decided to maintain a post that covers the key changes. This is mostly personal opinion. I'm mostly ignoring soul and calling balance issues and tweaks, with a few rare exceptions; suffice it to say that balancing is ongoing, and you should always assume that you need to review your builds.
There are a number of new porticulums, especially in very early starting areas. If you haven't been to them in a while, it may be worth running around and picking these up.
I'm mostly ignoring bug fixes. So basically... This is at most maybe 5% of the changes made. But it's the changes that really stuck out as being big changes that would affect what you can do in the game.
How to use this post: If you remember the patch during which you last played, skip ahead to that heading. If you just remember about when you last played, use the handy cheat sheet to look up what patch it was.
February 2011: Beta to Head Start
March 30, 2011: Patch 1.1
May 10, 2011: Patch 1.2
June 22, 2011: Patch 1.3
August 3, 2011: Patch 1.4
September 28, 2011: Patch 1.5
November 16, 2011: Patch 1.6
February 1, 2012: Patch 1.7
April 18, 2012: Patch 1.8
June 27, 2012: Patch 1.9
September 12, 2012: Patch 1.10
October 17, 2012: Patch 1.11 (see below for links to the patch notes)
November 13, 2012: Patch 2.0 (Storm Legion)
December 12, 2012: Patch 2.1
Note that there are tons of hotfixes, and a few patches have had sub-patches (1.0.1, 1.2.1). I ignore these and just treat everything during a given patch as "hotfixes".
You may also find the official RIFT trailers and videos interesting.
Beta to Head Start
Patch notes for beta aren't really available to us now. Among the biggest changes that occurred during or near beta:
- Guards on PvE servers (only) are tougher vs. players.
- Public groups can now be merged.
- Raid rifts -- new rifts aimed at raid-sized groups.
- Locations can be linked in chat.
- Coin lock feature (When logging in from a new computer or such, you get emailed a code; until you enter it, you can't do anything that destroys your stuff or removes money from your characters.)
- Mobile authenticator added for Android and iOS.
- First world event (world event mechanics added).
- Video capture, complete with YouTube uploading.
- Unmerge option for public groups.
- Rift contribution is no longer measured against other players.
- Self-cast modifier key added.
- River of Souls event bonus pack for characters who existed prior to the event.
- River of Souls raid open.
- Change to AFK logic; if there's no queue, you can be idle for a very long
time without getting kicked.
- LFG tool added (same-shard only; this changes later)
- Wardrobe slots (cosmetic equipment)
- Crafting rifts -- new rifts that reward crafting materials
- "Slivers" and quantum/omen sight added.
- New "sliver" raid added, enterable only with those abilities.
- New diminishing returns design for CC in PvP.
- Experts retuned for LFG, and to stop requiring second healers.
- PvP rank adjustments.
- LFG instance ranges increased.
- Item sellback and purchase confirmation added.
- Guild banks.
- Character transfers added! Character transfers are free, once per character per seven days.
- AH remembers recently-used prices.
- "Trial shards" introduced.
- "Exposed" removed.
- Bind-to-Account vouchers for planar currencies.
- Most event currency made Bind-to-Account.
- Hammerknell Raid now open.
- PvP rifts added.
- LFG goes cross-shard.
- New sliver raid (Drowned Halls)
- Alternate-mode warfront feature added.
- Water Saga epic quest chain added.
- Quest items stored in separate quest bag.
- BoP items tradeable to eligible characters for 30 minutes.
- Soul Quests removed (souls are now purchased)
- Synergy Crystals added (they give soul-specific set bonuses from armor sets)
- PvP ranks 7 and 8.
- "Take All" button for mailbox.
- New crafting cooldowns.
- Apothecaries can salvage planar essences.
- Can stay mounted in more of Meridian or Sanctum.
- Taskbar icon flashes when message boxes pop up.
- Vengeance stat added for PvP, Valor retuned.
- Chronicles (solo/duo instances) added.
- Veteran rewards added (subscription-length bonuses).
- Planar Attunement (post-50 advancement).
- Master-mode dungeons.
- New warfront, Library of the Runemasters.
- Introduction of addon API.
- Ancient wardstones removed.
- All zone event sourcestone is now purple, drop rates and costs retuned.
- Ember Isle -- a new zone for well-geared 50s.
- New dungeon, Caduceus Rise (actually more than one instance).
- Fae Yule world event.
- New sliver raid, Rise of the Phoenix.
- 90% mounts adjusted to level 30, not 40.
- Addons can manipulate inventory.
- Foraging and mining of some mob corpses.
- Instant Adventure -- LFG-like open-world adventure for 45+.
- Mail to your own characters on same account regardless of faction.
- Auction House is also cross-faction.
- Rift Mobile app (access to guild chat from smart phones/tablets) for iOS. (And later Android.)
- Massive revamp of PvP ranks and gear.
- Massive itemization revamp at 45+.
- T1/T2 experts combined into a single tier.
- "Purpose" system provides soul templates to help newbies to a role.
- In-game weddings.
- Master-mode Caduceus Rise.
- River of Souls chronicle.
- 6th role slot.
- "Mercenary" system reassigns players to opposite side in warfronts to reduce queue times.
- Wardrobes have individual settings for equipment visibility.
- Crafting uses bank items.
- HUGE volume of UI updates -- seriously, read the patch notes for these.
- XP lock -- you can disable XP gain. (Removed in 1.9)
- Guild bankers added in crafting areas of capitals.
- Change to Target Nearest behavior.
- Item comparison tooltips show stat comparisons.
- Equipment visibility on the non-wardrobe wardrobe slot.
- Ember Isle restricted to level 48+.
- Ember Isle added to the "only one event" group of Ironpine
Peak, Shimmersand, Stillmoor.
- Infernal Dawn (new 20-player raid).
- Fishing and Survival skills.
- Guild Finder. (And somewhere in here, mailed guild invites.)
- Instant Adventure on Ember Isle.
- Seals (a new inventory slot, exclusively crafted).
- New max-level crafting quests.
- Anti-Planar Augmentation and Holy Champion replaced with a new Fury of the Ascended power.
- Many pet graphics updated.
- Debuffs have a new priority system to prevent weaker debuffs from overriding stronger debuffs.
- New recipes to refine 20 of a material at a time.
- Addon-style @ specifiers work even if you don't use addons.
- Non-party-leaders can recommend players for invitations.
- "Usable" at the Auction House now filters out already-known recipes.
- Many more UI tweaks and improvements, QoL changes, and so on.
- Nameplates added! New settings. Color is based on the colors that unit
names were drawn in.
- Streaming client; you can now play before a patch is fully downloaded.
- Porticulum cost changes (in-zone ports are always cheap).
- Conquest: New three-way PvP for level 50s.
- Mentoring: Starting at level 15, you can artificially lower your level, whether solo or in a group.
- Instant Adventure expanded to Silverwood, Freemarch, Gloamwood, and Stonefield.
- Queueing for "random adventure" may mentor you to put you in a low-level group.
- Barbershop! Basically, recustomization of appearance other than race or sex.
- New raid sliver, Primeval Feast. Harder than RotP.
- PvP ranks increased to 50, along with new armor and such.
- World event.
- Optional icons showing what NPCs do.
- XP locking feature removed (replaced by mentoring).
- Cross-shard friend and chat functionality; you can send tells to Character@Shard, and you can join Channel@Shard private channels. Public channels are not cross-shard.
- Daily quests for fishing and survival, additional features and functionality.
- Improvements to the 300-skill crafting quests.
- Cut/copy work in the chat input field.
- World Event currencies that recur moved to the Currency tab.
- Many addon API improvements.
- Friends list is now cross-shard within entire region, not just wargroup.
- Friend and ignore lists not cleared when changing shards.
- Many encounter and Conquest tweaks.
- Faction boundaries reduced dramatically on PvE shards. PvP shards keep most of their boundaries, but LFG is cross-faction everywhere.
- Guilds can contain members of both factions, and can do either set of guild quests.
- Groups, whether player-formed or public, can contain members of both factions (who are not flagged).
- Dungeons, instant adventures, and such are all cross-faction.
- Characters can trade and mail across factions.
- Characters can marry cross-faction, and public channels are shared (except World Defense).
- Cross-shard tells, friends, etcetera are all also now cross-faction.
- You can buy things like expansions, CE upgrades, character or guild renames, inside the game.
- Instant adventure added to Scarwood Reach.
- World event for fall.
- Lots of lighting and fog improvements because of the Storm Legion rendering updates.
- Icon overhead markers available (not just numeric ones).
- Automatic "fill soul" button on soul trees.
- Rare spawns should be more reliable.
- Shuffling of locations and contents in Meridian and Sanctum to improve various things.
- Train All button on calling trainer.
- Bag UI scaleable.
- Combat logs, screenshots, etc. moved to My Documents folder.
- /who command works cross-faction.
- Various improvements to synchronizing cross-faction, bug fixes.
This patch represents many fundamental mechanical changes as preparation for the Storm Legion expansion. As a result, it has unusually huge patch notes, even though this doesn't include the bulk of the new content.
General, Crafting, Cleric, Mage, Rogue, Warrior.
- New world event ("Tempest Rising").
- Planar Attunement now shared across all characters on an account.
- Planar Attunement XP is shared, not levels, and XP per level increases with level.
- Wardrobe is now armor-type neutral.
- Ability training is cheaper.
- Instant Adventures will teleport you back where you were when you started, if you like.
- Mentoring improvements to stat scaling for tanks.
- General major balance changes to basically the entire combat system.
- In general, mitigation is focused less on avoidance, to make healing less bursty.
- Changes to computation of attack and spell power, and conversion from attack power to DPS.
- Also changes to crit rating, block, deflect, parry, dodge.
- Hit and Focus are now a single stat, called Hit.
- Changes to purposes, and to soul tree UI.
- Purposes now indicate how easy or hard they are likely to be to play.
- Guilds whose leaders haven't logged in in a long time will auto-promote.
- Many PvP balance and tuning changes.
- Consumables (potions, etc.) have new stats and behaviors galore.
- More cross-faction respawn points in lower-level zones.
- Iron Pine Peaks NPCs near the Chancel of Labors are neutral, rather than hostile.
- Instant-cast/non-GCD abilities are indicated on tooltips.
- And more...
- Rebalanced crafting rewards and skill point gains.
- Crafting merchants now sell Planar Attunement XP.
- Random augment boxes removed.
- Many items have had skill requirements or ranges of skillups altered.
- Many changes to apothecary ingredients (there are fewer of them now).
- Salvage materials no longer need to be "combined" to be used.
- Augments are now made with salvaged materials.
- Augments are now crafting-only, and do not drop in the world.
- Stat bonuses from augments have been normalized.
- Temporary crafting enhancements now use normal materials, and have been variously improved and cleaned up.
Basically all souls have been revamped. The new Storm Legion souls are not yet in the game.
- Cabalist: No longer uses Decay mechanic. Easier to combine with other souls.
- Druid: Now counts as Support for LFG purposes. Still melee DPS, increased focus on positioning (attacks may do extra damage from behind enemies). Pets include tank and ranged DPS pets.
- Inquisitor: Still DPS. Life and Death Concord no longer RNG-based.
- Justicar: Healing is tied to damaging abilities, but not to amount of damage done. No longer counts as Support for LFG purposes. Still a primary tank.
- Purifier: More focus on damage reduction and prevention, still a primary tank healer.
- Sentinel: More focused on peed and responsiveness, still a primary tank healer.
- Shaman: Less RNG-based, still melee DPS.
- Warden: Now counts as Support for LFG purposes. Better damage output than other healers.
- Archon: Still support. Pillaging Stone requires spending points in the soul tree for its self-buff.
- Chloromancer: Still a healer. Healing amounts are no longer dependent on the amount of damage done, but instead on the (unmodified) cast time of abilities.
- Dominator: Some new area of effect and area denial powers.
- Elementalist: Pet-affecting powers now affect Necromancer pets, and vice versa. Pets scale better. Rotation made more interesting.
- Necromancer: Pet-affecting powers now effect Elementalist pets, and vice versa. Deathly Calling now applied by pets, to free the mage up to focus on using it. Healing powers (Life Shift, Blood Binding) removed.
- Pyromancer: Increased emphasis on Combust.
- Stormcaller: Still AoE-focused, improved tools for applying Electrified and Hypothermia.
- Warlock: More DoTs! DoTs can in some cases be maintained more easily, or transferred to a new target.
- All souls: Combo points are now on the rogue, not on a specific target.
- Finishers no longer cost less energy with more combo points; instead, they do much more damage with more combo points.
- Energy regeneration and usage adjusted.
- Assassin: Poisons no longer proc from auto-attacks, and also no longer have a one-second internal cooldown.
- Bard: Bard attacks are always considered ranged weapon attacks, and benefit from ranged weapon buffs. Soul tree ability allows Codas to refresh Motifs.
- Bladedancer: Slight restructuring of bonuses and abilities. Still DPS.
- Marksman: Various power changes. Still DPS.
- Nightblade: Weapon enchantments no longer proc from auto-attacks, no longer have one-second internal cooldown.
- Ranger: Various power changes.
- Riftstalker: Rift Scavenger removed, various mechanics updated. Still a primary tank.
- Saboteur: Charges and bombs are considered ranged attacks, and benefit from buffs to ranged weapon attacks. Note: Yes, this means that DoT ticks from charges can proc poisons. Range is 30m, and the range boost is no longer in the soul tree.
- Abilities other than tank soul burst threat generators, which used to affect 10 targets, now affect only 8.
- Beastmaster: Now considered a support soul. Uses buffs and finishers to aid allies. Got several "call" abilities from the Warlord, which have been renamed.
- Champion: Now AoE-focused rather than two-handed-weapon focused.
- Paladin: Now slightly better at physical mitigation, slightly worse at magical mitigation.
- Paragon: Now single-target focused rather than dual-wield focused.
- Reaver: Slightly less durable than other tanks, better damage output and multiple-foe control.
- Riftblade: Elemental DPS and teleporting, same as always.
- Void Knight: Better at magical mitigation, not quite as good at physical mitigation.
- Warlord: Now a hybrid soul, with good tanking utility earlier in the tree, and better DPS later in the tree. Several "call" type abilities have been moved to Beastmaster.
- Pretty much all crafting materials now stack to 99.
- Discovery log moved to same configurable directory as other logs.
Patch 2.0 (Storm Legion)
Tons of rebalancing changes and tweaks to souls. Be sure to read the full patch notes and check tooltips carefully. AoE heals for bards and clerics are generally reduced.
- Level cap now 60. A level 60 character gets 76 total soul points.
- New souls: Mage gets Harbinger (melee DPS), Warrior gets Tempest (ranged elemental DPS), Rogue gets tactician (technology-themed support), Cleric gets Defiler (death-themed healer).
- Two new continents, adding ten more zones total.
- New city (Tempest Bay).
- Hunt rifts (yet another new kind of rift).
- Seven new dungeons, plus expert modes.
- New raid dungeon (Frozen Tempest) and new raid sliver (Triumph of the Dragon Queen).
- New warfront for 50+ characters.
- Dimensions -- highly customizable player/guild housing.
- Upgradeable items -- gear you can customize and develop.
- New crafting materials, recipes, and quests; new cap 375.
- Everyone who participates in fighting a mob is eligible for cash, quest completion, and XP. Tagging still affects loot drops.
- Guild level cap increased to 25.
- Planarite cap increased to 100k.
- Quest log can have 25 normal quests, 25 dailies, and 25 carnage quests.
- Did I mention the addition of carnage quests?
- Food, drinks, and gems stack to 99.
- Fatigue does more damage.
- Conquest on hiatus; conquest decay is disabled.
- Massive overhaul of all sorts of PvP stuff relating to valor, vengeance, etc.
- Many, many, rebalancing changes, tweaks, and tooltip fixes across most souls.
- Recipe vendors don't show recipes you've already learned.
- Skills automatically increase in rank, you don't have to "train" them.
- Soul Walking shows aggro range indicators around aggressive NPCs.
- Movement rate increased while unmounted (experimental).
- Fae Yule event returns.
- 20-person raid, "Endless Eclipse" -- you get to fight Regulos!
- New Chronicle, "A Hero Rises"
- Conquest back, now level 60.
- New Storm Legion crafting rifts.
- New Lures for Major versions of hunt rifts.
- Auto-follow more robust; not broken by interacting with NPCs or inventory.