Over the last week or so, I’ve been getting into artifact collection in Rift. I’d estimate I’ve spend about 8 hours or so riding around Stonefield, looking in caves, under rocks, inside fires… all sorts of nooks and crannies. The aim was ostensibly to complete all of the artifact sets of Stonefield. But I also had another, more covert aim: to investigate how artifact spawning worked, by concentrating on one zone, and trying to really get to know the spawn locations/patterns. Eight hours isn’t enough to see subtle patterns, but I’ve started to form some thoughts about how it all works.
I’m new to Rift. I’ve read a few blog/forum posts about artifact hunting, but not until after I’d thrown myself at it for a few days. So what I write below is a combination of my own findings and things that I’ve read that make sense.
This is about artifact hunting by picking up sparkly points in the environment. There are other ways to collect artifacts (rifts, events etc) but this is not about those artifacts.
Findings (the obvious stuff)
1. There are two sorts of artifacts: normal ones that glow/sparkle white and twisted ones that glow/sparkle red. Twisted artifacts are only visible if you are running the quantum sight buff. Red sparkly artifacts come from alternate possible Telaran realities and have the “Twisted:” prefix in their names.
2. Twisted and normal artifacts form two entirely different artifact collections but all live together under your character’s Artifacts tab.
Before I bought quantum sight and I heard that there were ‘some artifacts you could only see with QS’ I imagined there might be a rare one or two from the normal sets that you needed QS to see. But that’s not how it works at all, they are two distinct collections of artifacts, each with their own sets, with no intersection between twisted and normal. And from my own experience, there are just as many twisted spawn points as there are normal spawn points. Which brings me to the next point.
3. The spawn points for artifacts are fixed. And: they are also fixed by type (twisted or normal) so if an artifact spawns as twisted it will always be twisted.
4. The actual artifact that you loot is random. But artifacts are themed by zone. There are some Telara-wide sets, that you can loot in any zone, but the majority of artifacts are zone-specific and related to the lore/story/characters in the zone.
1. Artifacts spawn in spawn groups. See my WoW spawn group post here that explains what that means.
But a Rift example: the lava pool in the Last Valley in Stonefield. I’m currently suspecting there are four twisted spawn groups here, and no normal spawn groups. During quiet times, whenever I check the lava pool there are always 4 twisted artifacts up: one group is ‘near the lava’ (this group comprises one point either side of the edge of the lava and one point on the spiky rock. There is only ever ONE of these up at any time) and one group around each of the three pillars (each pillar is its own group, as there is always exactly ONE twisted sparkly at each pillar, but there are two or three locations around each pillar where the spawn could pop.)
2. Because the artifacts spawn groups can contain a mix of difficulties in terms of the actual location that pops, I’m thinking that the ‘chance of rolling a rare’ for the spawn group is fixed.
Again, the group that spawns near the lava above, two are just on the ground, and one is on the point of a tallish rock and needs a little rock-hopping to get to.)
3. But, that because a spawn group could be contained entirely within a ‘hard to reach’ area (eg up on top of a mountain, behind a group of elites, whatever) that spawn groups could vary in ‘chance of rolling a rare’. I haven’t done anything quantitative to record whether there is variation in rareness, and I’m not aware of any sites that record this kind of data in a large-scale way, so this will probably remain an ‘unknown’.
I haven’t done any testing on the respawn time of artifact span groups, or whether other things (like farm rates/proximity) affect the respawn rate.
What I did
Once I got Quantum sight, I decided to start my artifact collection/investigation in Iron Pine Peak, but changed to Stonefield as I remembered a few subzones there that were artifact-rich, and as it was a lowby zone mobs would be easy to avoid and there wouldn’t be many people around doing dailies etc. Basically I went around and around, ridge riding with a few diversions to likely spots.
I did this on and off over the last week, until most of my sets were complete or only missing one piece. I had by then amassed lots of repetition of artifacts (which is to be expected) and had been dumping extras into the gbank and encouraging guildies (read ‘nagging’) to take whatever they could use. Once the tab started filling up, and I was pretty sure everyone had taken anything they could use, I cleared out the Stonefield ones to make room for the next zone. Also, I’d started shipping off some of the extra-extras to a mule and selling them: so I reasoned that I could use the platinum I’d made selling leftovers and spend this on filling gaps. This was partially successful, I am now only missing a few rares and I’m keeping an eye on the AH for them at a price I’m willing to pay.
Another, unexpected payoff is that I’ve spotted some of the rare spawn mobs while on my farming circuits, so have started ticking some of those off my zone achievement list too.
Collecting artifacts is a nice minigame within Rift, but another thing I likeis that some of them are very tricky to reach; that become a little puzzle in itself. This varies from “how do I get to that ledge? Oh ride around and drop down” through to “How do I get to that piece of wall? Maybe jump over to that tent, ride across the rooftop, shimmy along an edge and mini jump over the sill and into the cart. Oh I fell. Start again.” Maybe it’s a little bit of the 3-D platform nature that I like, but an artifact that takes me 30 min or more to work out how to get to is a lovely challenge. There are some absolute pearlers out there that are tantalisingly hard to reach.
For this reason alone, I’m hoping Trion never introduce flying in the current zones. It would ruin the exploration of the game, but it would absolutely murder the challenge of the artifact minigame.
Making the obvious comparison
This is what WoW’s archaeology should have been. Not necessarily in terms of execution, but definitely in terms of the outcomes. Rift’s artifact collection feels like a giant treasure hunt, where the pieces you find form parts of the story of the zone you’re exploring. It builds up the lore in interesting and personal ways; sometimes serious, sometimes humorous. It uses the Quantum sight idea so cleverly, by exploring possible other outcomes and telling that story as well. It’s also something you can do incidentally. You’re out in a zone doing an event or a rift and you spot a sparkle as you walk past and pick it up. But it’s also a reward for exploring, another way of getting you out of your capital city and wandering the beautifully crafted world. It’s begging you to climb mountains, swim the seas and look under every rock and bush.
It doesn’t force you to sit on a flight path for 15 minutes to move from one ‘dig site’ to the next. It doesn’t force you to give up whatever else you were doing in order to ‘do archaeology’. It doesn’t reward you with a mishmash of unconnected lore items with no story beyond a small set of lore achievements.
Guided by the (sparkly) light
There are quite a few guides around that point to general spawn points, but I’m tempted to write something more in-depth. It might be fun to compile something that includes spawn groups, specific points within each group, farming routes, instructions for reaching every hard-to-reach spot, and maybe even my records of exactly what I’ve looted where, maybe vieos or annotated screenshots of how to reach difficult spots.
As usual, it would mostly just be for me to record what I’ve been up to, but other people might find it useful/amusing. I might just start small, and do a Stonefield mini guide, and see how it shapes up.
More projects, always more projects.