By Linda “Brasse” Carlson
A little flickering light catches your eye. You stoop to pick it up and find that it’s part of a much larger set. You see another sparkle in the distance, and then another… you’ve already forgotten what urgent task you were are on. You’re now an artifact collector!
Artifact collecting is one of the most addictive and surprisingly satisfying aspects of gameplay in RIFT. Sure, it can be frustrating when you spend 45 minutes trying to retrieve that ONE elusive glowing object from a seemingly impossible location! But when you finally nab it and yell “GOT IT” at your screen, it’s as satisfying as beating a boss mob.
There are several people to laud (or curse) for the thousands of artifacts introduced over RIFT’s 5-year history, and today, we present just one of them: Simon Ffinch, Senior Development Director, part time artifact guru. He’s been with the game since early development and has always immersed himself in RIFT artifact system.
Completing all the sets is a huge undertaking, and we’ve recently planned a change that will help those long frustrated by those few empty holes in their collections.
As of February 17th, 2016, collectors will be able to fill long-sought collection items with credits.
“It’s really for people who have tried for months or even years to complete a set and just can’t do it – we don’t want them to be frustrated, we want to enable them to be able to complete it and move on,” says Simon. “It’s actually designed to encourage gathering or trading for artifacts,” he explains, “Because when you open a fresh collection with no items in it, the price per slot is ludicrously high. No one is going to want to buy them at that point.” He continues, “As you fill the set yourself through hunting, trading, minions and so on, gradually the cost per slot comes down as well, to recognize the personal effort you put into it.”
Simon continued, “By making artifact completion more accessible, we hope to see even more people hunting, scouring the auction house and sending minions out collecting.”
We are committed to the best free-to-play balance; as an alternative to buying credits on the RIFT store, players can purchase a REX from fellow players on the Auction House for in-game coins – then claim it for credits!
Why are Ascended so enamored of artifacts? Completed collections offer a wide range of rewards, including significant experience gain, coins, titles, minions, random loot bundles, pets and mounts. Collections are also the sole source of Lucky Coins, used to purchase all sorts of interesting items from the Artifact Collectors in the main cities.
Some of Simon’s favorite rewards? “Well there’s this disco ball that shoots beams of light and plays music,” he says with a grin, “You can control how fast it goes and the pattern it displays.”
He is also very fond of the frog disguise when accompanied by a wee army of summoned frogs and of course who doesn’t love “Racing Halfwits”, adorable bunnies racing each other in you Dimension, all available as collection rewards.
“Achievements are earned through unlocking 1 set, 10 sets, 100 and so on, until you get to 1,000, 1,200 and soon the 1,400 level.” Simon insists that several players have in fact collected all available artifacts, which is why he is busily making more for the next major update.
A Bit of History
Simon unequivocally states that artifacts were planned from day 1 in RIFT development. Many of the Development team had previously played EQII and had caught the collecting bug there. They knew right away that they wanted to iterate on the idea and make collecting even more of a fulfilling game activity in Telara.
Just how many artifacts are there in the world? “Currently about 7,975, and as of February 17th when we push more artifacts to Planetouched Wilds, we’ll be up to well over 8,100,” Simon replies, “These are part of around 1,200 sets, soon to become 1,400!”
Artifacts in RIFT are all hand placed. Yes, all of them, even that one waaaaaaay out there on the tippy tip of that oversized thorn. If you are still cursing at the glowy thing taunting you from a tree branch, it may be a matter of trying different strategies, figuring out how to reach it through a combination of different approaches, jumping, walking or even using varying speeds of mounts to reach your prize. What if an artifact appears to be stuck in the ground? Simon leans forward and conspiratorially suggests, “If you can’t see it, and it is right below you, try to find a hidden underground cavern.” You can tell he has fun with this. Too much fun, perhaps!
In short, if it’s there, it’s reachable, or, as Simon admitted with a wry grin, occasionally it MAY be bugged. “Early on we saw a lot more of it. You see, we go out there and place these artifacts with extreme care and then when the artists are fine tuning the zone, they make a small change that makes the zone 10 times better, but buries 50 artifacts,” he explains, “The newest zone, Planetouched Wilds, is still in the report and fix stage. Generally the older the zone, the fewer broken artifact placements. I would venture to say there are virtually none broken in original Mathosia, almost none in Storm Legion, very few in Nightmare Tide and a rapidly decreasing number of bogus spots in Plantouched Wilds. So, if you truly cannot get to one, then you should post about it, PM me, whatever, and I’ll fix it.”
Artifacts come in several types:
Normal (keep in mind that in general, the harder they are to find, the rarer they are)
Twisted (these require Omen sight or Quantum sight depending on your starting faction)
Fishing (available through fishing or minions only)
Unstable (available only during unstable zone events – remember to hunt the Unstable Artifact Thieves as well – little rodents that will drop one or more artifacts when caught!)
Invasion (drop from RIFT invasions)
Bounty (exceedingly rare drops from all mob types)
Nightmare (currently only in Planetouched Wilds zones, these artifacts can randomly apply damage over time effects. There are three types: Poison, Burning and Nightmare.)
“Nightmare artifacts bear special consideration”, said Simon. He wants to make sure that you all know how these work: “Harvesting any “Normal” artifact [in Planetouch Wilds] can apply a DoT that damages you and allows you to see Poison Artifacts, Harvesting “Poison” artifacts can apply another DoT for Burning Artifacts, and finally “Burning” can apply a final DoT allowing you to see Nightmare Artifacts. Harvesting “Nightmare” artifacts has a chance of refreshing all three DoT. These can be clicked off if you don’t want one or all of them but you can only see the artifacts while you have their relevant DoT. So you can have anywhere from 1 to 3 DoTs on you and with all three the damage rate is quite significant.” Ouch.
Is there an “Artifact Hunting Build?” Why yes there is. Simon describes his as a “Mainly Bladedancer with some Physician thrown in for the ability to self-heal while on the move.” He further advises, “Bring along food, drinks and potions if you’re serious about hunting Nightmare artifacts.”
A few tips for collectors:
Patron Daily and Weekly gifts very often include artifacts and the Patron Artifact Tracking Vial will reveal ALL types of artifacts on your mini-map, assuming you have the required “sight” for ones that need it, such as Twisted, Poison, Burning and Nightmare. This refreshes daily and can have up to seven charges on it.
Then there’s fishing. “Keep in mind,” Simon reveals, “There are some artifacts that can ONLY be gained through fishing. Yes, it’s time to break out the rod and reel, or hope to gain them from Minions or the Auction House.
Some artifacts are used in more than one collection! If you do end up with multiples, sell them on the Auction House for extra revenue. They will be bought by fellow collectors as well as Dreamweavers, who use them for crafting.
The Auction House is an excellent resource to fill collections that are missing a few bits. Simon confirms that 99.9% of artifacts are tradable (all save for the newbie artifacts in starting cities), so it is conceivable to find that long-sought relic there. Speed up your search on the Auction House by keeping the collections window open while you’re at the auction house. Simply click on the blank space in your collection and all available artifacts that match will be listed.
Minions are a great source of artifacts and require no acrobatics to reach. They also offer fishing artifacts on occasion. Minions level up as well! The higher level they are, the better artifacts they will return with.
If you’re really on a roll, you can buy Artifact potions on the in-game store:
Artifact Hunter’s Tracking Vial (normal only)
Twisted Artifact Hunter’s Tracking Vial (Provides Sliver Sight, A version of Omen or Quantum sight that works for both factions and tracks Twisted Artifacts)
Unstable Artifact Tracking Vial (reveals Unstable artifacts only)
Poison Artifact Hunter’s Tracking Vial* (Provides Poison Sight and protects you from the DoTs while hunting, tracks poison artifacts)
Burning Artifact Hunter’s Tracking Vial* (Provides Burning Sight and protects you from the DoTs while hunting, tracks burning artifacts)
Nightmare Artifact Hunter’s Tracking Vial* (Provides Nightmare Sight and protects you from the DoTs while hunting, tracks nightmare artifacts)
*these do not stack with each other
As for Simon Ffinch? His Machiavellian smile hints that he’ll be integral to the fine art of artifact hunting for some time to come. We don’t think he could stop if he wanted to.
Join us on the forums to discuss Artifacts.