Guide: Nightmare Rifts

Nightmare Rifts are a new type of Rift introduced with the RIFT 3.0: Nightmare Tide Expansion using a similar system to the Storm Legions’ Great Hunt Rifts, but with endless, challenging stages that become increasingly harder.

Table of Contents:

  • Overview
  • Power-Ups
  • Mechanics
  • Loot

Nightmare Rift Overview

Nightmare Rift 1920x1200

Nightmare Rift. Click above for 1920×1200.

Nightmare Rifts can appear in all zones with Rank I lures used at any Rift Tear (doesn’t require a Raid Rift Tear). These rifts are unique-looking filled with tentacles, distorted hands and a multi-eye node in the middle.

  • There’s currently 125+ bosses to tackle over 6 ranks of Nightmare Rifts as well as a variety of mobs and differing mechanics to deal with.
  • Nightmare Rifts can be accessed by players from all zones, including Silverwood and Freemarch.
  • Nightmare Rifts Rank III and over can only be opened in the Plane of Water or in the Shores of Terror instance.

Obtaining Nightmare Rifts

Nightmare Rifts can be obtained and summoned in a few ways:

  • Nightmare Rift Rank Is can be spawned at random from a Rift Tear by themselves.
  • You can obtain Nightmare Rift Lures from the RIFT Store -> Rifts -> Nightmare or from most Nightmare Rift-related NPCs at Ghar Stations in the Plane of Water. Also available at the Wreck of the Endeavor.
  • Nightmare Rift I and IIs can be opened via Rift Tears in any zone.
  • Nightmare Rift III+ can be opened via Rift Tears in Plane of Water zones (Goboro Reef, Draumheim, Tarken Glacier).
  • There are also instanced versions of each Rift that you can open in the Shores of Terror instance.

Nightmare Rift Instance

Nightmare Rift Shores of Terror

Nightmare Rift Shores of Terror

Nightmare Rifts can be summoned either via Rift Tears in the open world, or through the special Nightmare Rift instance “Shores of Terror” that you can teleport to by speaking to Tirhin Vohonar at Ghar Station Mem in Goboro Reef at (3978, 6634) [Location].

For low-level players, it is also available on the side of the Wreck of the Endeavor here between Silverwood and Freemarch.

The Shores of Terror instance has Level 65 tears that will respawn shortly after closing. You will need to use special Instance versions of Nightmare Rifts available from RIFT Store -> Rifts -> Nightmare to summon these rifts.

The Instance is aimed at groups of players who would prefer to take on Nightmare Rifts undisturbed by other players.

Stages of Nightmare Rifts

  • Each stage becomes harder and harder. Unlike in Great Hunt Rifts, you can’t just stand in poo and survive. You will also need to make effective use of powerups.
  • There’s trash mob stages as well as multiple boss stages in a single Nightmare Rift.
  • There’s a large amount of mob variety that dishes out a whole heap of different mechanics to deal with.
  • Lord Arak will also occasionally spawn and use certain mechanics (mainly throwing down large AoEs) to make it that much more interesting.
  • Each tier of Nightmare Rift (I-VI) has their own set of bosses.
  • There are ‘mega-bosses’ which are immune to Nightmare Powerup effects.

Ranks of Nightmare Rifts

There are 6 ranks of Nightmare Rifts. You will need to complete the previous rank’s Master achievement in order to unlock higher-rank lures. Master achievements can be found under Achievements (default key “h“) -> Planes -> Nightmare.

Higher-ranked Nightmare Rifts are harder to deal with, not only due to higher hp and damage, but because certain mobs have mechanics to deal with such as lasers, self-destruct and AoE stuns.


Nightmare Rift Stage Leaderboards

Nightmare Rift Stage Leaderboards

On top of loot, Void Stones, Illusory Motes and Essences, one of the reasons to push through higher stages is to see just how high you can go, and remain forever on the Leaderboards. Leaderboards (default key “;“) will track the highest stages players make. How high can you go?

Nightmare Rift Quests

You can obtain both daily and timed-daily ‘Challenge’ quests from the various Nightmare Rift (‘NMR’) NPCs based on how far you have gotten in the Nightmare Rift Story quests. These relate to closing an NMR, defeating bosses in set times or other quest objectives.

The quests are obtained at Ghar Station Mem in Goboro Reef or at Flargle Plaza in Draumheim.

Completing all Nightmare Rift story quests will allow you to get the Cerebral Catharsis weekly from Jandal Aykaus <Nightmare VII Scholar>. This quest rewards 500x Abyssal Crusader’s Marks, 100x Fragments of Horror, 160x Fragments of Madness and 2,500 Void Stones + 250 The Ghar, some platinum, XP and PA XP.

Nightmare Rift Power-Ups

Nightmare Tide Powerup Nodes

Nightmare Tide Powerup Nodes

Although unnecessary at the lower stages, the higher stages will see players requiring smart use of the Nightmare Rift Power-Ups that spawn in the Rifts in order to push past timers or survive through mechanics.

If you want to really push stages, I suggest joining an organized group with voice chat and making sure you know what each Powerup does.

Powerup Builder Ability

Powerups will turn from its default ‘inactive’ state into an interactable state automatically as you progress further into the Nightmare Rift’s stages. However, if you want to make them active early, you can use the Powerup Builder Ability that can be purchased from RIFT Store -> Rifts.

The Powerups Explained

Nightmare Rift 'Cheat Sheet'

Nightmare Rift Powerup Sheet

The above Nightmare Rift Powerup Sheet shows off what all the different Nightmare Rift Powerups do. Most have a passive ability that lasts until the powerup expires or until you use their temporary ability (reactive).

Simply put – in most cases for maximum benefit you want to hold onto the powerup buff until there’s a few seconds left on the buff, then pop the temporary ability.

  • Note: Some Boss mobs will have a ‘shield’ icon on them that makes them immune to Powerup abilities.
  • Powerups will pop up over time.
  • You also gain more powerups the quicker you complete a stage. Getting “1x Bonus” gives you one new powerup whilst “2x Bonus” gives you two new powerups.
  • Maximum amount of powerups you can have up in a Nightmare Rift at any point in time is 4.
  • If you are in an organized group, you can choose to ‘get rid’ of any undesirable powerups so that when they actually start to matter (because your normal DPS can’t push stage timer), you’ll have the best ones suited for your group ready to use.


Passive: Increases movement speed by 70%.
Temporary Ability. Pull Nightmare Rift creatures to your location.

  • This has an approx 30m range.
  • The idea is to use it on large mob packs to pull them all into the center of the rift, or to use when you are fighting multiple ranged adds and want to clump them together.
  • This also deals damage over time on all mobs pulled.


Passive: Cause AoE damage on offensive casts.
Temporary Ability: Cast on a friendly player to increase the target’s single-target damage by 150%.

  • When using Chaos, for large mobs the passive is quite effective whilst for single or dual-mob stages, the temporary ability is best. You can use both though as long as you use the reactive before the buff drops off.

Reckoning Beam

A beam of power latches onto you, dealing damage to nightmare creatures between you and the beam’s end point.

  • This is a laser that appears between the powerup’s original position and yourself. It follows you. Anything in-between yourself and the other end of the laser gets a lot of ticks of damage.
  • This is extremely effective against large-mob stages and mows down enemy hp fast.

Insane But Helpful (Demon Power)

This creature is slightly mad, but will still fight alongside you. However, he cannot tolerate this reality and will die soon.

  • A deep one spawns and will attack nearby mobs using a conal AoE. The Demon lasts a decent amount of time and can shoot off a few AoE.
  • When it spawns, have the tank position mobs in front of it.


When damaged, deals damage to surrounding Nightmare creatures. If it is killed before it despawns, deals massive damage to surrounding Nightmare creatures.

  • This is a crystal that spawns in the place of the powerup.
  • Damaging it deals damage to surrounding Nightmare creatures, so it’s a good idea to have someone in your group DPSing this down.
  • You do not want to use AoE abilities whilst the Radiance is up because it will destroy the Radiance too fast.
  • When it is destroyed before the Radiance timer runs out, it will deal significant damage to Nightmare creatures around it.
  • If you spawn this, make sure you pull mobs to it and dps it down. Best use is to have someone dedicated to attacking it, otherwise you might destroy it too fast and ‘waste’ some of its potential damage output.


Passive: Deals damage to you.
Temporary Ability: Cast on a Nightmare Rift creature to inflict massive AoE damage.

  • Self-explanatory. However, the passive damage isn’t too much to concern with, especially if you have a healer in your group.
  • The AoE damage is quite significant. Takes a good chunk of HP. In my opinion it’s best saved for later stages when your non-buffed DPS alone can’t take down the mobs before stage timer ends.
  • Once cast, mobs affected by Sacrifice will gain a buff that prevents them from taking damage from any other Sacrifice powerups. As such you don’t want to use two Sacrifice shortly after each other on the same mob/s.


Passive: Cause AoE damage on healing casts.
Temporary Ability: Cast on a Nightmare Rift creature to inflict a pulsing AoE.

  • Get a healer to pick Unity up. Preferably a healer whose heals have a high amount of ticks in a short amount of time.
  • The reactive puts a pulsing AoE on a Nightmare Rift creature that you target. This pulsing AoE is basically attached to the target so you want a melee mob that is in a group of mobs.
  • If the mob dies, the pulsing AoE will shortly disappear.


Passive: Heals surrounding allies.
Temporary Ability: Charges the target, dealing damage to surrounding enemies and spreading an absorb shield to surrounding allies.

  • Best used when damage is getting overwhelming, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to get a stage with multiple hard-hitting mobs.
  • It also does an okay amount of damage.


Passive: Increases outgoing damage of surrounding players by 25%.
Temporary Ability: Cast on a Nightmare Rift creature to create a damaging ground effect.

  • A medium-sized circle will appear on you that follows you. This is the passive ability – DPS should run in to receive the 25% damage buff.
  • The reactive ability will drop a spherical AoE on the targeted creature. This does not move.

Nightmare Rift Mechanics

There’s a large variety of mechanics that mobs and the rift itself can produce ranging from self-destructs to rotating lasers. Below are a few of them to watch out for.

Nightmare Power

Nightmare Rift Nightmare Power

Nightmare Rift Nightmare Power

With every stage of a Nightmare Rift, mobs gain an additional stack of Nightmare Power which increases their health and out-going damage. This will eventually make it so that you can no longer reach the stage timer and the Nightmare Rift will end. Effective use of powerups and good group composition is key to pushing higher stages.

Residual Energy

Nightmare Rift Residual Energy

Nightmare Rift Residual Energy

Every stage you complete gets you Residual Energy orbs that last approximately 1min and appear on the ground in the Nightmare Rift encounter. When you run over a Residual Energy orb, it will spawn a green AoE that gives you stacks of the Residual Energy buff every tick.

  • The Residual Energy buff gives you healing and an absorb for each stack – up to 5 stacks.
  • The Residual Energy buff is kind of useless if you have at least one healer in your raid. It is extremely useful in Duo Instance Nightmare Rifts though.


Nightmare Rift Stage 20 breathers

Nightmare Rift Stage 20 Breathers

Every now and then you will get a ‘breather’ stage. This stage has no mobs but instead four levers at the center of the rift. This stage lasts a while and is intended to allow you to take a bio break, get a drink or just rest for a bit. You can also use it as an opportunity to hopefully have an inactive powerup node spawn.

First breather is at Stage 20. Second is at Stage 58 and every 30 or so stages thereafter will have a new breather stage.

To continue to the next stage, activate all four levers. Each lever takes approximately 10 seconds to finish casting and another 2-3 seconds to ‘activate’. Once all four levers are activated, the next stage will begin.

  • ‘Bonus’ applies for this stage as well, so completing it early will give you additional powerups if you don’t already have 4 powerups up.

Insanity Debuff

Nightmare Rift Insanity Debuff

Nightmare Rift Insanity Debuff

A small purple AoE will appear on top of a random player in the Nightmare Rift encounter almost every stage. This will deal 8k damage to you per tick and place a stacking debuff on you called ‘Insanity’ that reduces your incoming healing by 10% per stack (thanks to Lightened for the debuff info).

If the ‘Insanity’ debuff reaches 10 stacks, you will be teleported outside of the Nightmare Rift encounter area and won’t receive any further rewards until you re-enter.

Shielding Mechanics

Some mobs and bosses have shielding mechanics that will be very difficult to get past unless you are on a 12min stage. Some require you to look away from the boss (will be emoted) or require you to run out of red AoE.

The following are some of the adds that will cast a large red AoE on a random player. Anyone inside of it after about 4sec will provide a very large shield on the mob:

  • Dreadfall Soulshield
  • Ossified Drone
  • Illusory Mist

Certain bosses will also have shielding mechanics. If you fail one, the mob/boss gets a large shield and you will be teleported out of the Nightmare Rift encounter area.

Other Mechanics

Pay attention to some of the following mechanics:

  • Self-destruct ‘Departing Detonation’ – Mob will self-destruct in a small red AoE when it is at 0hp.
  • Larger Self-destruct – Mob will begin a self-destruct timer even when it has a lot of hp left. This will produce a very large red AoE. The mob will be in a ‘feared’ state so that it moves randomly with the AoE moving with it.
  • Lasers – Some mobs will gain lasers that rotate around the room from their body. They deal some damage. This is usually present in Rank III+ Nightmare Rifts.
  • Clones – Not a mechanic, but some Bosses can clone themselves. Ignore the clones and DPS down the original Boss to kill them all.
  • Look-away Mechanics – Pay attention to any emotes from bosses to look away. Usually if you don’t, it puts a massive shield on them that significantly increases the amount of time it takes to take them down.
  • Breath + Shield. Some Bosses’ breath mechanic will apply stacks of shielding on them. This is usually Purgeable so be sure your Purgers are on point.
  • Healing Laser. Certain Bosses (like the Insanity of Gluttony/Greenscale) will drop totems that put a green laser between the totem and the boss. This heals the boss. Be sure to have at least one player stand in-between the boss and the totem to intercept the laser.

Nightmare Rift Loot

There’s several types of loot available in a Nightmare Rift.

  • Notoriety – You get Ghar and Cerulean Rhenke notoriety for each stage completed, with more notoriety for boss and mini-boss stages.
  • Void Stones – You gain Void Stones every few stages, as well as from the Nightmare Caches and from killing bonus wisps that appear.
  • Illusory Motes – These appear in Nightmare Caches and are used to upgrade Nightmare Essence and Nightmare Seals.
  • Nightmare Energy – These are used to upgrade inactive powerup nodes and to upgrade your Semblence of Power/Mending consumables.
  • Artifacts – Artifacts for Nightmare Rift artifact sets can drop in your Rift loot bag. They can also appear in Nightmare Caches explained below.
  • Essences – Essences can drop in your Rift Loot Bag. In the Instance versions of Nightmare Rifts, after Stage 80, every 40 stages will also produce a Chest which drops an essence.

Bonus Wisps

Nightmare Rift Stage Info

Bonus blue wisps will spawn in stages after your ‘bonus meter’ (green, vertical bar to the left of stage info) reaches max. Killing these grants some (2-3) Void Stones per kill.

You get bonuses by completing stages fast.

Nightmare Caches

Nightmare Rift Nightmare Caches

Nightmare Rift Nightmare Caches

Every ten stages you get a Nightmare Cache that can contain a random chance at equipment, illusory motes, boosters, currency, artifacts and essences – level-appropriate. The type of container you receive seems to depend on either the rank of the nightmare rift or the stage you get to.

Nightmare Essences

If you use the Instanced versions of the Nightmare Rifts, after you reach Stage 80, every 40 stages thereafter will grant your group a loot chest with a guaranteed essence.

There’s also essences that you can purchase from Ghar notoriety vendors. These require both Ghar notoriety as well as Nightmare #: Master achievements found under Achievements -> Planes -> Nightmare. Complete the required number of achievements shown under the Master achievement to complete the Master achievement.

Nightmare Rift Consumables

There’s a few consumables that drop from Nightmare Rifts – mainly as random drop from Nightmare Caches.

Semblance of Mending

Nightmare Rift Semblance of Mending

Nightmare Rift Semblance of Mending

Semblance of Mending provides a chance on attacking a Nightmare Rift creature to heal you. This requires Nightmare Energy (an upgrade item). As shown in the above image, you can eventually get as high as Semblance of Mending V which grants a 25% chance on attacking a Nightmare rift creature to heal the caster and lasts 15min.

As you can imagine, having this item significantly increases your chance of pushing to ever-higher stages.

Semblance of Power

In a similar fashion to the Semblance of Mending, the Semblance of Power grants a chance on cast to increase your single-target damage dealt to Nightmare Rift creatures by 10% for 10 seconds. Lasts 15min.

This can be upgraded with Nightmare Energy to up to a 25% chance.

You’ll probably want to use both max rank Semblance consumables whilst in the later stages of a high-rank Nightmare Rift to really push through.

Hope this guide helps your group top the Leaderboards and get those Nightmare essences! Feel free to provide feedback or ask any questions in the comments section below.

12 Comments on “Guide: Nightmare Rifts”

  1. urmom
    September 28, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    lol. a guide and 3.0 isnt even out. can u just go ahead and give a guide for new dung, sliver, and raid too plz. guess u just wanna have 10 ppl think ur cool. fuck off

    • September 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

      Nightmare Rifts are now available to all players on the PTS. This guide is aimed at them and later on for players in general on Live. Guides for classes – for instance – sometimes come out a day or two before the changes hit Live so that players can read up on and prepare for it before-hand rather than spend time reading up on the guide after the content is out.

      In a similar fashion, it’s probably more productive to read up on Nightmare Rifts right now instead of trying to figure it all out during the initial launch rush.

      As for guides on new dungeons, slivers and raids – those usually come out a week or more after first clear on Live.

    • kristof
      October 30, 2014 at 6:02 am #

      @ urmom, haters gonna hate. let’s bash on ppl for providing information to ppl who WANT to learn stuff before something hits. they put hours effort into going on PTS so that other ppl can learn. nice man, rly nice, ***.

    • DarkDaemon
      November 11, 2014 at 11:14 am #

      Go away.

  2. September 30, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Excellent guide, thanks 🙂

    • joanah
      October 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

      Awesome guide, any help you can give to players is greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking time to teach us.

    • October 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      Thanks Joanah, glad you found the guide useful! I’ll be updating and expanding on it closer to release as I get more info finalised.

  3. October 25, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    is there a Nightmare rift event tracker like relic ?

  4. Lightened
    February 18, 2015 at 2:24 am #

    The insanity debuff also reduces your incoming healing by 10% per stack.

    • February 18, 2015 at 3:21 am #

      Thanks for the info Lightened! I’ve updated the guide! 😀

  5. November 29, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

    Look, a year later and here I am reading your guild to learn about if only you could come and run them for me while I stand around and play cheer leader. thanks for your efforts.

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