Options, options, options
If you're having trouble running RIFT (or if you want to see how far you can push your system), there is an endless number of options to tweak and adjust your settings. And once you have everything running smoothly, you can then tweak your gameplay options. You can resize and move around windows, add hotbars in different configurations -- pretty much any setup that will make you feel comfortable. It's worth spending some time poking around in all the different settings. In particular, you have several targetting options that allow you to cast on the target of your target (great for DPSers and healers) and one that lets you sticky-target other players, which can come in handy if you're working on making some macros.
You can't go back
Once you leave the starter areas, you can't return. So if you're a junkie for collectibles, books, and zone specific quests, you'll want to make sure to finish them all before you head to Telara proper.
You can go back, but not all will be pleased
If you're someone who loves to finish every quest and earn every achievement, keep in mind that there is a somewhat lukewarm reception awaiting those who return to lower-level content. The primary cause for concern is from lower-levels who are seeing higher-level characters knocking out rift invasions and basically taking them away from others. It really depends on the server, since some low level zones are less crowded than others, but if you're going to do content that is well below your level, you might want to see whether there are low-level characters trying to clear it first.
Colors for roles
When you're in a raid party or a warfront, you might notice that players' names are different colors. It's actually a system that indicates a player's particular group role, and it's based on soul choice as well as point allocation. Tanks are red, melee DPS is yellow, ranged DPS is orange, healer is blue, and support is purple. This is particularly helpful for pick up raids or those spontaneous rift hunting teams, since it's not always easy to figure out who is doing the healing or who is the designated meat shield.
Find it all and sell it all!
I love, love, love being able to go back to town to stop by the nearest vendor and clear my bags. When you open a vendor window, you'll notice a little icon in the bottom right corner that allows you to sell all of the common vendor trash with just one click. It's a godsend for someone who has no patience for sorting through everything.
Once I'm done with that, I have an easier time finding things, and that's made even easier with the inventory search function. You can open your bags by hitting B and then start a search by hitting shift-B.
Buy your abilities and protect the wardstones
Rift events and invasions are going to become a big part of your life in Telara from early on, so it's wise to visit the planar vendor and purchase all of the available planar abilities as soon as you can. The first one is planar lure, which allows you to open a tear and make it a rift, granting you a bonus on the leaderboard. Later abilities include one that buffs a wardstone, which can be a game-changer when your last wardstone is under attack and you need to buy some time to win an event.
Learn to play your soul, and then do it all over
Don't be afraid to experiment with different soul builds. In fact, it's best that you do try a few different combinations as you work on getting all of your available souls from the trainers in town. As you gain more training points, certain abilities that are further down the soul tree can make a big difference while you're leveling up. Also, as expected, there are soul builds that work better for soloing, grouping, raiding and PvP (and it so happens that you can save four unique builds at once!).
Keep up your harvesting skills
Even if you don't decide to get into crafting, it's wise to pick up some harvesting abilities and work on skilling them up as you level up in adventure content. Harvesting materials can sell well on the broker if you don't use them yourself, and it's much easier to improve your harvesting now rather than having to go back to low-level zones later.
Be mindful of your flags
There are two in particular that you should double-check. One is the public group flag, which allows others to group with you when it's turned on. It's great for rift-hunting parties and solo questing alongside others, but you might not want it on if you're in a small pre-set group or browsing vendors around town. Ideally it's something that you want to get used to adjusting as needed, rather than always keeping it on or always keeping it off.
The other is the PvP flag, which automatically flags you for PvP any time you cast on another player. You might want to turn this off if you're out in the field and don't want to accidentally get tagged as PvP by healing or buffing someone else who's PvP flagged. Of course, when you turn it off, you can't do anything to PvP players, so adjust as needed.
Wondering what things like GB or RoTF mean? It's always hard to learn the acronyms for certain zone names or gameplay features, but fortunately there's a nice guide that lists them all.
Don't mention WoW
That goes without saying. You've been warned.
Need a quest item in your bags? No worries!
If you're like me, then you break into a cold sweat any time an NPC shoves a quest item in your bag. It's bad enough that I have to go stomp around trying to find the required mobs, but now I have to rifle through my bags to find some odd quest clicky that I need to use! Thankfully, that's not the case in RIFT, since most quests that involve actual items also have a little icon next to the quest in the tracker. So when you find the needed mob (which of course can be done by mouse-hovering over it), you can then click the little icon to activate the item.
Finding someone's soul and level is a click away
I've known for a while that you can click on an item in chat to bring up a little descriptive window, and you can even click on a quest name in chat to see what it involves. But only recently did I find out that you can also hit shift and left-click on a player's name to see his level and calling. It's pretty handy when someone's looking for group but doesn't specify the level range or group makeup. And don't forget that if you right-click on the name of a spammer, you can report and ignore him. The combined efforts of the community so far has seemed to cut way down on the plat spam, so keep up the good work!
Of course, this just scratches the surface of tips and advice. If you have any others, share them below. And enjoy the celebrations in game!
Whether they're keeping the vigil or defying the gods, Karen Bryan and Justin Olivetti save Telara on a weekly basis. Covering all aspects of life in RIFT, from solo play to guild raids, their column is dedicated to backhanding multidimensional tears so hard that they go crying to their mommas. Email Karen and Justin for questions, comments, and adulation.