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New User Guide: Understanding Planar Focus

By on Oct 3, 2011 at 9:44 am, in Article, Featured, RIFT, SideBarArticleList  |  Comments: 15 comments

We here at Rift Junkies realize that all of our readers haven’t been playing since release.  Because of that, we think it’s always important to help new and returning players learn the basics of Rift. This will be the first of many posts that will hopefully help our readers get accustomed to various aspects of the game, in the hopes of helping more people enjoy our posts that cater to more end-game content.

At the bottom of your character sheet, you will find seven empty squares that will allow you to ultimately customize your character in many interesting and unique ways.  I admit that I didn’t fully understand how this feature works until level 50 and by then it felt kind of overwhelming.  Knowing how to use a planar focus and the essences you will need to get the most out of it will make the process of buying and equipping one much less daunting.  Let’s go over everything you will need to know regarding this really neat feature.


What is a planar focus?

planar focus is a piece of equipment that has numerous sockets which you can fill with something called planar essences.  Foci have different numbers of available slots for both greater and lesser essences, depending on their quality.


Where can you get a planar focus?

The most common way to get a planar focus is to purchase one, using Planarite from Planar Goods and Rare Planar Goods vendors found throughout Telara.  You can also get lesser versions of planar focus from random drops off of mobs.

Currently, the best planar foci in the game are the Flawless Source Machine (for Defiants) and Sigil of the Five (for Guardians).  These each come with 2 Major Essence and 4 Lesser Essence slots.  The best way to acquire the 7500 Planarite you will need to purchase them are to consistently close rifts as you are leveling or join groups who are closing other types of rifts (i.e. Daily rift rewards).  Certain types of currency, such as Crystal Sourcestones, can be traded in for Planarite, if you don’t have enough to purchase a source machine yet.  You can purchase a source machine from the Planar Goods vendor in the appropriate capital city for your faction.


What are planar essences?

Planar essences are items that you typically receive from closing rifts, but can also be purchased using various forms of currency from Planar Goods and Rare Planar Goods vendors.  Some planar essences are Bind on Equip and can also be purchased from the Auction House.

There are two types of essences, Greater and Lesser.  Lesser essences have a number of attributes on them and usually some form of magical resistance.  Greater essences tend to not have any attributes, but offer a chance for some kind of effect to happen when you do something.  For example, Crystal Vine gives your healing spells a chance to heal for an additional 750 health over 8 seconds.  Other greater essences give you a chance to deal additional damage when you cast a damaging spell or heal yourself whenever you block an attack.


Can you change your planar focus or essences?

Yes, you can!  If you find that you are going to be activating a different role than you usually play and you need a different set of stats, simply drag the planar focus you want to equip over the one that you currently have on.  This will not destroy the planar focus in the process and makes changing roles so much easier.

Unfortunately, when you equip a new essence over an older one, you do destroy that essence in the process.  So make sure that the essence you are about to equip is better than the one you want to replace because that essence will be gone for good, otherwise.


Is having a planar focus necessary?

Absolutely.  My fully stocked planar focus grants me an additional 52 Intelligence, 60 Wisdom, 16 Spell Power, and 65 Spell Critical Hit.  That makes a huge difference.  Not to mention my greater essences, which give me a chance to provide additional healing and buff the Attack Power or Spell Power of those I’m healing.  It all adds up!

In fact, if you have any raiding aspirations, having a fully equipped, top of the line planar focus is most certainly going to be a requirement.


It’s important to be aware of your planar focus slots early on, so you can prepare for how to make the most of them once you reach the level cap.  Feel free to break the monotony of questing by taking the opportunity to close rifts in your area as you run into them.  Get some experience in a raid setting by taking part in the Daily Rift Rewards with your guild or others in a zone who might be looking for more.  If you know what is going to be expected of you or what will make your toon better at level 50, you can start taking steps to make that happen at the lower levels.  That way, you won’t feel like you have so much work to do or feel overwhelmed when the time comes.

Happy hunting!



  • Linedan

    What about planar foci (focuses?) and essences while leveling?  My main’s 43 right now and I’m still using level 20-30ish essences and focus simply because that’s all I’ve got.  I know what stats to look for, but where can I find an improved focus and better essences around, say, level 40?  Great article!

    • Oestrus

      You can buy lesser versions of the Source Machine or Sigil from the Rare Planar Vendors.  In the second screenshot above, you can see things like Source Cores and other machines for sale, that cost less Planarite to buy.  If you want to stay current on that, as you level, you can choose to spend your Planarite on that.

      I would say it depends on your play style.  If you find that you’re enjoying closing a lot of rifts as you go along and you don’t see yourself being short on Planarite once you hit level 50, then I would say upgrade your Focus as you go.  If you feel that hitting the 7500 mark might be a bit tough for you or you want that top of the line Source Machine or Sigil right after you hit max level, you may want to hold off on that. 

      In terms of essences, you can also buy lesser versions of those from Planar vendors or from the AH.  Some may also drop from mobs around the word or in instances. 

      • Draegan

        During certain World Event you are able to do different daily quests for different types of currency.  You can use that currency to purchase the high end source machines as well.

        Also there is one you can purchase via PVP favor points as well.

  • Adam

    The Planar Focus system in Rift is arguably one of the coolest little bits of customization it allows you. I think the game should really encourage you towards the 7500 Planarite focus as early as possible, maybe make it a long-term quest or something? If I hadn’t had people on Twitter telling me it was important, I’d have had no clue til 50. I may be a bit of a rarity amongst people, but I love doing things while leveling that will directly benefit me at level cap.

    • Oestrus

      I didn’t know, either until I was at the level cap.  Fortunately, I was able to get the rest of the Planarite that I was missing by buying vaults and things like that from the Planar Vendors, with other forms of currency that I wasn’t using. 

  • BatmanAndRobin

    A few edits need to be made–technically speaking, the Barnacle Encrusted versions of the two foci you mentioned are the best available in the game, since they give the same slots and add +20 water resistance.  Second, crystal sourcestone was removed from the game in patch 1.5, and this post makes reference to it.  This needs to be changed as well. 

    Otherwise, a great article for new players to read!

    • Observationist

      Unfortunately, while it may be the best in the game, new people that just started playing won’t have access to it because they weren’t around for that world event so the article is not wrong when it states that “Flawless” is the best.

      • Even More Observative

        I understand that they won’t have access it since that world event has ended, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is the best planar focus in the game.

    • Oestrus

      Hi Batman,

      You are most certainly correct!  That particular Essence is considered a best in slot item for many people.  I didn’t really plan on covering anything BiS with this post.  I know I got quite a few upgrades from the time I wrote this post until the time it was published.  

      I mostly just wanted to give people a rundown of what exactly a Planar Focus was and how they can go about filling it up with essences.  

      In terms of the currency, you are also right about the Crystal Sourcestones going away with patch 1.5.  However, I think the way I have that sentence worded:  “Certain types of currency, such as Crystal Sourcestones, can be traded in for Planarite, if you don’t have enough to purchase a source machine yet.” could still include things other than Crystal Sourcestones, so I don’t feel I really need to edit that.

      But, I appreciate you spotting those things and I look forward to seeing you reply to more things that I plan on posting here.

      • BatmanAndRobin

        If I were you, I would still edit out Crystal Sourcestone–it doesn’t exist anymore so it really doesn’t make any sense to keep it in the article. 

  • Anonymous

    Fantastic article, Oestrus.

  • Nighthound

    Your guide doesn’t mention that the major slots can fit either greater or lesser essences. Most people use 6 epic lessers unless their build has a good use for a greater essence. I notice that many new players are unaware of this.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Nighthound,

      I actually was not aware that this was something that people were doing.  I knew it could be done, but I had no idea that it was as popular as it turned out to be.

      From what I can determine, it’s mostly melee and maybe offensive mages, and DPS clerics that do this.  But, it does boil down to personal preference.  Now that I think about it, I have one Greater Essence with a horrible proc rate, so I may go ahead and swap that out for an epic Lesser one.

      Thanks for the tip and I’m really glad you brought this up!

  • Bobzicle

    Cool guide but u didnt write all the planar goods location including the mini map location.I think thats the best info u can write in ur guide. Some of us are too lazy to search for that.

  • Rob Dexter

    Thanks for the explanation! I just started playing RIFT a few months ago
    but only really started paying attention to planar focuses and essences
    today so this was exactly what I was looking for. It all makes sense, now! :)