There are several main ways you can level up your character in Rift. Below I’ll list each one and provide you with my own impressions on how effective each one is.
The best ways you can currently get experience in Rift are: quests, instances, PvP, rifts and grinding. Each of these has its pros and cons, and it’s likely you will be combining all these ways to level up in order to reach the level cap, which is currently set to level 50.
As you will notice this is a free leveling guide aimed at beginners, and as such will not include a list of particular quests or quest guides.
Leveling up in Rift is done primarily through quests. Quests are given to players from a variety of NPCs (non-player characters) which can be found throughout the world of Telara (the world in which Rift is set).
Even though you could technically level up without doing many quests, typically it’s the simplest and fastest way. In addition to experience, by doing quests you will also gain equipment (weapons and other items) which are used to increase your characters fighting power.
The downside to doing quests is that you can often run out of them. Even though there are many, if you focus on questing all the time you will have to resort to other leveling methods as you will soon get quests which are hard to complete due to the level difference. Additionally, while quests can be easy to find, they are not the fastest or most effective way of leveling up, but they are convenient.
I strongly suggest you take a look at this Rift leveling guide if you wish to follow step-by-step quest guidelines or additional tips.
One of the main selling points of this great game are rifts. Rifts are NPC invasions in Telara: every now and then a rift will open up in some areas from which various monsters will come through. You will have a hard (if not impossible) time defeating them on your own, but that’s why there’s always several other players in the vicinity with whom you close down the rifts and prevent invasions.
Zone-wide rift events / invasions are announced in your chat window. When they happen (typically every two hours) an entire zone will be flooded with enemy monsters, and players have to work together in order to defeat them and close the rifts. After you’re done clearing the weaker mobs, a boss will spawn which has to be killed. Be sure to participate in as many monster killings and rift closures as possible and especially the final boss fights, as the rewards are given depending on how much you personally contributed to the fights (damage and healing). You can find where the boss is by opening up your map and looking at the tooltips of each invasion points.
When you finally fend off this zone-wide invasion, you may get up to one level worth of experience points, and typically it doesn’t last much longer than 30 minutes. It’s a quick and easy way to level up, and most importantly it’s fun.
PvP, or player versus player combat in Rift is very dynamic and most players find it fun. Even though some avoid it entirely, it does help with leveling greatly, and outsmarting other players is always fun in any game.
Aside from world PvP, the main way to fight other players is in Warfronts. Warfronts are instances battlegrounds in which players can fight the other faction, but most importantly complete Warfront-specific objectives (such as capturing the flag or holding specific key-points for a set period of time).
You get a daily PvP quest (meaning you can complete it only once in about 23 hours), in addition to other one-time PvP quests. The daily quests are an excellent source of experience and some much needed Favor, which is used to purchase equipment.
Even if you dislike PvP combat, I suggest you try doing it at least once per day. You will learn a lot about other classes and how to play together with them, and get really good rewards in the process. Most importantly, you get a decent amount of experience which will contribute to your faster leveling.
Instances or dungeons are specific areas in which you will come across rather powerful elite NPC monsters. You will have to group up with other players in order to finish dungeons, as not only are the monsters too strong for you to handle, but there are also several bosses inside which are hard to defeat even for a 5-man group.
You won’t come across any instances in the first few levels, but later on you will see players looking for groups quite frequently, and if you feel up for a challenge pay a visit to one of them. The experience you gain in instances is not the greatest, but if you happen to have a really skilled, knowledgeable and effective group setup you should be able to clear it rather fast, in which case it’ll be definitely worth it.
In addition to experience from killing monsters inside the instance, you will also gain significantly better equipment than you would otherwise. While quest rewards are typically green item quality, you will mostly get blue quality items from instances which are much more powerful. More powerful items = more damage or healing = easier questing / PvP.
The downside to doing instances is that sometimes it may be hard to find a group to run it with, and most importantly sometimes they players won’t know the tactics or simply put they play badly, in which case finishing the instance may take longer than expected.
Grinding is an inevitable aspect of any MMORPG game. Grinding is when you repeatedly kill the same monster or monsters in one area because of their higher than normal experience gain or item drops.
If you followed the above leveling steps and if you’re not just focusing on one way to level up, you likely won’t have to resort to the boring grind. If however all you do is quests and completely ignore PvP or rifts you will sooner or later run out of quests to complete, or they will simply be too difficult. Finding a party for instances may not always be easy or quick, so your options are either logging off for the day or grinding.
The upside to grinding is that occasionally you may find a particular monster that is worth farming over and over again because it either gives a lot of experience for almost no effort, or drops very good items. There are such spots, and if you want to know where I suggest you follow this link and read a good Rift leveling guide. They are usually packed with a list of monsters with higher than normal rewards.
The downside to grinding is obvious: it’s repetitive and very boring.
If you’re still wondering which way to level up in Rift is the best, I suggest you read this article again. Basically, there is no best way. I recommend mixing out every one of the above mentioned leveling methods and you shouldn’t have much trouble getting to the level cap.