Goodness. Rift's PvP may not have managed to set the world on fire straight out of the box, but now it seems to be upgrading from a wet match to a full-sized flamethrower. In short, Conquest pits three new cross-dimensional factions against each other in open world battles where "everyone can contribute." Even crafters "play a vital role," apparently. So basically, pick a side, venture over to Stillmoor, and join the impressively multifaceted three-way fray. Somewhere along the way, points get captured and everyone dies. Yeah, it sounds kind of Guild-Wars-y, but it's still quite a sizable shift in philosophy for a free update to an MMO that's been around for more than a year.
Here's the gist, from Rift's official blog:
"This is a game about domination. Set in the windworn foothills of Stillmoor, the familiar landscape has been transformed with control points and sourcestone powered fortifications as Ascended banners billow under the blood-red sun... Pitted against two additional competing teams you must wrest control of as many Sourcestone Extractors as possible while preventing your opponents from doing the same. The match ends when a single team has claimed 40% of the control points or 5,000 players are killed – once this happens a 10 minute timer will start, this is your chance to make a last grab for control – after which you’ll earn your rewards!"
But what about the crafters? Oh god, what about them? Apparently, they'll exercise Poseidon-like power over the choppy seas of war "by refining the battlefield resources into upgrades and even more perks." Which feeds into my concerns about this mode. It sounds big and thrilling and swords and glorious battlesongs, but will it end up being a full realization of that scope - or merely a series of comparatively mundane activities (see: crafting) stacked on top of each other to look big?
Similarly, controlling points is hardly uncharted territory as far as these things go, and Stillmoor's not uncharted territory at all. And while those potential issues stand to put cracks in Conquest's foundation, smaller issues - at least - look to be ironed out on the test servers. The unwashed masses will get their first taste of the mode on Thursday, and Trion notes that "details and specifics will likely change based on [player] feedback and play tests." So that's encouraging. Only time will tell, however, if all the puzzle pieces will click nicely into place.