Wings Over Atreia
A rifting we will go
A rifting we will go
Hi-ho, the derry-o
A rifting we will go!

The Asmo makes a slice!
The Asmo makes a slice...


Ahh, the frivolity of travel songs; they entertain and amuse as well as pass the time while you're en route to your destination, even in Aion. And where am I headed while chanting this little ditty? Why, deep into the dangers of enemy territory, of course! Care to join me?

If you haven't traveled through a rift in Aion, you are missing out on one of the core features of the game, not to mention depriving yourself of some fun. Admittedly, rifting has a bad rap and can be quite a polarizing topic in discussion, but don't be fooled -- it's not just for PvPers. Not everyone who rifts is looking to completely gank others; even carebears can experience and enjoy the thrill of sneaking somewhere fraught with dangers! So what's stopping you from slipping through that colorful swirl?

Let me borrow the immortal words of wisdom from a shoe: Just do it! But before you go, let Wings Over Atreia offer a few handy tips to help you make the most of the experience.

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Some of you might erroneously believe that only PvPers rift and only gankers can have fun rifting. I am here to dispel that myth. As only an occasional dabbler in PvP myself (and a convert to boot), I am confident in making this statement: With the right attitude and a little preparation, the rifting experience can be rewarding for anyone, from PvPer to carebear alike. Even if you have tried rifting before, give it a second chance utilizing these tips and perhaps you, too, will have a memorable experience of the good variety.

Aion screenshotPacking

As with any trip, impromptu or planned for ages, being prepared with some essentials is key to having a better experience; the middle of nowhere isn't the best place to realize you don't have your toothbrush. Once you step through the rift, there won't be a convenience store to pick up any forgotten items. True, you can have a friend (or in dire circumstances, an alt) use the Zephyr special delivery system to express mail things in an emergency, but once you dismiss the Shugo, you can't re-summon him for quite some time. So before heading out, make sure you have what you need in your cube.

What are essential items for rifting? Consumables, resurrection and revival stones, a kisk, anything necessary for your class (*ahem* arrows, Rangers!), and a pocket healer are all good to have on you. Even if you don't stock up on every available enhancement (foods, drinks, casting and attack speed scrolls, etc.), you really should not venture into enemy territory without at least run scrolls. Trust me, enemies will be using them and the faster you can move, the better. A kisk is important if you want to maintain a presence in the land even after death, since rifts close and you may not be able to get back in time. Same goes for revival stones -- with these, you get one free rez, which is especially helpful if you are close to your target. Resurrection stones are pretty handy for when you hear a call from a compatriot who needs a rez and you are the only one near.

Of course, packing a friend or three along for the trip is also recommended, especially if said friends have heal and resurrection spells (or spare rez stones)! But even if your friends can't heal, rifting is always more fun in a group. Sharing the experience can heighten the thrill. Who else can truly appreciate that narrow escape or the unlikely victory against astronomical odds but the ones who shared in it with you? Not to mention, if one can stealth, then s/he can watch your back, or if you can stealth, you can use friends as bait! Take my advice: Crazy antics are always more amusing with an audience.

Aion screenshotGreat expectations

OK, for anyone new to rifting, take this piece of advice to heart: Expect to die. Remember, you are a stranger in a strange land, and you will be outnumbered. Sometimes you may not see a living soul, but other times you may find yourself facing countless enemies with purple names descending upon your little lowbie self. If you can go into the situation with this expectation, you may find more humor in these encounters than frustration. I don't know about you, but I find laughter infinitely more fun than screams and the accompanying broken keyboards.

If you are normally apprehensive about dying, remember that there aren't many penalties associated with PvP deaths, unless you happen to have loads of AP stored. (If that's the case, might I suggest spending your AP before heading through a rift, unless you want that extra thrill of trying to maintain it.) It's not like you are going to drop any gear when you die. In fact, you won't even have any significant soul healing -- all soul healing from PvP deaths is 1 kinah. So just expect death. Then, celebrate all the more if you survive!

How low can you go

So maybe you aren't in the best gear and you don't have certified l33t PvP abilities, but that doesn't mean you can't have some fun over in enemy faction lands. If you know you won't live long (see above), make a game of it. See how close you can get to the fortress before a swarming horde of enemies pops you back to your kisk or obelisk. If you rift into an elite area, see how long you last before the mobs shred you to pieces. Play hide-and-seek with the enemy whether they know they are playing or not. Be a jack-in-the-box and scare a pinky to see how fast s/he runs away. See how many enemies will join a dance party with you. (Yes, that was a true event.) Use your imagination.

The point is, make a goal -- any old goal -- and aim for it. It doesn't have to be anything involving killing others; it could simply be "How much map can I uncover before certain death?" or "Test aggro radius by buzzing the guards." Then when you make your goal, you can feel like king of the rift! And don't forget to have a good laugh over it with any friend who may have been along for the run.

Aion screenshotNo time like the present

Whether you are planning on just taking in the sights or you want to meet up with some locals, if you have ever wanted to experience rifting, now is definitely a good time. Running through May 16th, the A Broken Alliance event is the perfect opportunity to take part in this core feature. During this event, all faction protection buffs are being lifted, rifters will receive a daily gift via survey, and all rifters with at least one kill count during each week will receive a weekly prize.

Rifting really can be quite fun, even if you aren't into PvP. NCsoft takes all the you-shouldn't-be-here and how-much-can-I-get-away-with-before-I-get-caught feelings and bottles them into rifting without the nasty consequences real life entails. Truly some of my fondest Aion memories involve rifting. But don't take my word for it; experience the thrill of dodging through unfamiliar territory for yourself. You know you want to. Just once into the rift, and you might be hooked! If not for yourself, do it for the half rabbit Shugo form candy. Surely one rift is worth that?

Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down weekly to bring you Wings Over Atreia. Featuring tips, guides, and general snippets of life in Aion, the column is better than Tutty-on-a-stick, ackackackackackack! Have a suggestion to share? No need to bribe a Shugo -- just send mail to mj@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.