To Infinity Gate and beyond: Previewing RIFT 2.4's instances

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
RIFT's 2.4 update is expected to land next week with a big, meaty thud that tells you it's packing some serious content. While 2.4 is peppered with many nice bullet points, including cross-shard instant adventuring and new PvP ranks, the bulk of it is devoted to instances, more instances, and even more instances. Namely, a 20-person raid (with a second one to follow), a new five-person expert dungeon, and a two-person chronicle.

Trion Worlds took us on a whirlwind tour of RIFT's four new instances, giving us an oh-so-brief taste of the terror and exhilaration that is to come. Care to join our raid group to see?

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
Infinity Gate (20-person raid)

Under the awesome spectacle of the Infinity Gate, players will summon four bosses for a little fisticuffs. Clickies at the start allow you to choose the order in which you fight the first two encounters. Here we've got Breaker X-1, an older Architect robot model who unleashes radiation attacks and transforms into a floaty cube. As you move through the fight, five of your team members will actually go into X-1 while the remaining 15 fend off adds.

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
The second encounter is with Viktus and Morden, the brothers of life and death respectively. The idea here is that your raid will split up evenly between the two, taking turns swapping between bosses as you build up a serious debuff (Viktus makes it harder to be healed while Morden reduces your maximum health). As if that isn't hard enough, the two blast each other's area with a Sibling Rivalry spell.

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
Finally, you'll be squaring off against Volan. If he seems a little familiar, that's because Volan's been a part of a world event before. Now he's back and badder than ever, boasting huge attacks that multiple tanks to deal with his blows. And then there's a phase that has platforms and lava, but you shouldn't have to worry about that because you'll be dead.

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
The Realm of Twisted Dreams (five-person expert)

Fan-favorite Battlemaster Atrophinius is having a particularly bad dream, and in this dreamscape players will explore and defeat a "twisted" version of Realm of the Fae. In the first part of Atrophinius' dream, you'll encounter a rockstar-like Maelow who has groupies helping out.

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
Hey, is that...? Yup, it's Greenscale, now retooled for an expert. Like much of this dungeon, it's a pretty humorous encounter. You'll start by punting lil' luggos into his mouth, and once he's full he'll explode into a skeleton version to fight.

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
Zipping ahead to the very end, we find that the twisted version of Lord Twyll will be sucking players into a nightmare mode where damage taken -- and done -- is increased. You can fight other critters while in the nightmare and escape back into reality via portals.

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
Infernal Dawn: Laethys (two-person chronicle)

Don't have the chops or time for the Infernal Dawn raid? Then step right up to the chronicle of it, featuring a quick tour of the raid's highlights. Our favorite part of this chronicle is the assault upon the dread pirate ship, leading to a showdown with Captain Rusila. Pro-tip: Avoid the buzz saws at all costs!

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
Laethys isn't exactly your typical dragon, although she does seem to be made of gold and is lurking around her treasure room while she plots to invade your universe after her former stinging defeat in it. As the battle rages on, she sheds her gold armor to become a vaguely dragon-shaped blob. The devs say that this fight is all about where you shouldn't be, such as behind Laethys (as she'll summon mobs if you do).

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
Planebreaker Bastian (20-person raid)

The second new raid won't be coming next week, partly because Trion is still working on the final fight and partly because the studio wants players to get familiar with Infinity Gate (which thematically leads into Planebreaker Bastian). This instance is a massive facility where the Architect queen is building giant robots to smash holes between planes or somesuch.

The fights are simply crazy from start to finish. In the spawn pit, you'll be using harpoons constantly to pull yourself to one of the five bosses and out of various nasty effects and enemy encounters.

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
The factory floor is simply gigantic and serves as a hub between the next four bosses.

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
Inyr'kta, the queen, is a challenging fight, especially when she turns into swirling shards and summons silicon sandstorms -- think moving laser fences -- that require you to be quick on your feet.

To Infinity Gate and beyond Previewing RIFT 24's instances
The final encounter is a series of boss fights, first with three members of the Overseers Council. You'll launch between platforms to tackle them, jumping out right before they do a last blast of damage when they're defeated. Oh, and that titanic robot you're blithely hopping over? That's Planebreaker Abominus, and yes, you'll have to fight him too.

Trion expects that Planebreaker Bastion will be a rock against which weaker raid groups will smash and die quickly. Even experienced raids will encounter difficulties, the devs boasted. Are you up to the challenge?

Massively's not big on scored reviews -- what use are those to ever-changing MMOs? That's why we bring you first impressions, previews, hands-on experiences, and even follow-up impressions for nearly every game we stumble across. First impressions count for a lot, but games evolve, so why shouldn't our opinions?
This article was originally published on Massively.