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Rift Goes Free to Play Today June 12, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Rift.
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The time has come, the day is here.  Trion Worlds has followed through on their plan and changed Rift from a monthly subscription game into yet another contestant on the free to play field.

RiftFree

I actually have not been playing Rift for a while now.  Not because of the business model transition, but because our Rift group is on summer hiatus so I have been off in Middle-earth and New Eden.

Never the less, I remain mildly bemused at the change.  The new currency has been unleashed.

$100 for the BEST DEAL!

$100 for the BEST DEAL!

Once down the cash shop path you start, forever will it dominate your destiny.  Consume you it will, until lock boxes and random card packs seem like perfectly reasonable ways to generate money and you start to pander shamelessly to the so-called “whales.”  Or something.

They still want people to subscribe, and hand out a set of benefits according to the store page.

Subscribers are called "Patrons" now

Subscribers are called “Patrons” now

You can even buy subscriber benefits in 1, 3, 5, 15, and 30 day increments with the RMT currency.  And then there is REX, which lets people exchange in-game currency for RMT currency benefits.

So Trion has a plan.  I have no doubt that, during the initial “happy time,” everything will seem just dandy, with more people playing the game and revenues jumping.  And if you don’t mind the game selling just about anything from their cash shop, life will be good.

And if that sort of thing… or the whole equity equation…  bothers you… well… I guess there is still WoW and EVE Online.  Though WoW is bad at the equity thing in its own non-cash shop way.

Addendum: Happy time… engaged!

Comments»

1. sean - June 12, 2013

As a current subscriber/soon-to-be patron, I’m not at all pleased about the conversion: not just for the equity argument (which I don’t really agree with, except in limited circumstances; but that’s a different post) but also because my *investment* has been devalued (hmm, maybe I do agree with the equity argument).

I feel like Trion is asking me to pay again and again, and offering cool rewards if I pay: but I’m still bloody paid until October, and suddenly no-one seems to give a shit. I’m not far off the 36 month loyalty bonus – the old highest tier – for a game I’ve played a little over 2 years, and I’ve gone from ‘valued customer’ to ‘until you pay some money, you’re just another moocher’.

So yeah: my gear hasn’t been devalued, but my financial investment in the game certainly feels like it has been.

2. couillon - June 12, 2013

I’m excited for Trion and where this will take Rift. My only concern is when the “happy” period ends…how will Trion respond? By selling advantage? or convenience? I’m looking at LOTRO’s Legendary weapon system and how it’s been developed and marketed to sync with the cash shop.

3. Roo the Hunter - June 12, 2013

I havent had the chance to play a F2P game of any type, since I have been playing WOW all these years. I wouldn’t mind looking at Rift but, I believe Sean hit the nail on the head on how I would feel – I really don’t think I would be a consider a customer, but a cash cow on the hoof. And that is sad.

4. bhagpuss - June 12, 2013

For me it’s never going to be about the payment model. It’s about the gameplay, the setting, the world, the characters, the races, the lore – all that good stuff. Rift comes up pretty short on most of that. Making it free doesn’t make it better.

I’m paid through October too but I’ve not been playing and I’m not likely to for three reasons:

The textures: once they looked fine but now they look gritty and grubby. Dunno if they changed something or whether playing TSW and GW2 raised my expectations but every time I go back to Telara I feel I should be getting the screen wipes out.

The fighting: it’s slow, attritional and dull. I was told yesterday that that’s because I was using the Trion-supplied templates but I doubt that’s the case because I’d bet my own cobbled-together versions were worse. Anyway, I am never, ever going through those Soul Trees again so the auto-picks are it and if they aren’t good enough then so be it.

The iconography and the UI: that’s one part of Rift I never liked. It’s not as terrible as LotRO’s but it runs it a close second. My tolerance for teeny-tiny icons and bitty, fiddly UIs is at an all-time low and without New Game Glow to cover that up it’s a non-starter.

It’s interesting (to me at least) how much I’ve soured on an MMO that I once liked a lot and played happily for many months. I can’t recall that happening for me with any other MMO. Usually if I liked something once I’ll always like it. I think Trion just consistently made the game less interesting with pretty much everything they did.

Anyway, Mrs Bhagpuss is logged into Rift right now, lured by the massive new housing splurge, so who knows…I may be back in Telara again after all. Maybe I’ll come round to liking it again after all.

5. sean - June 13, 2013

and back, working through my aggravation :)

@bhagpuss: one of the things I noticed last night, watching my wife’s screen, was the graphics improvement that 2.3 seems to have brought Rift. It looks like a pass was done on the the graphics engine to try and update it a bit: far more colour and shinyness and lens flare and all those other things that look so nice. Even the boring desert of Ashora looks nice now. But I have to point out: the story in Storm Legion is *so* weak, it makes one pine for the complexity of original Rift..

@couillon: one of the things I always look for with F2P conversions is which Quality of Liife fixes did the devs suddenly find time to fix by putting in the store when F2P came? With LOTRO, it was swift travel and rep grinds and storage.. all the things that went from ‘we’d love to find the time to fix but there’s only so many hours in the day’ to ‘hey look, pay more and it’s gone!’

What I noticed (again, looking over my wife’s shoulder) is that Dimensions got a huge QoL pass: all the things that players have been complaining about since the beta last year (having to build all intermediate structures like walls and stairs piece by piece; lack of windows and doors) seem to have suddenly found their way into the new store. Dimensions have been the foundation of the AH since the launch of SL, and given the dev time suddenly devoted to them again, I strongly suspect they’ll be the foundation of the cash shop.

We’ll certainly see sub-top-tier gear in the shop; that’s been promised (Syp will be so happy! he can get his blue gear without having to play the game to do so!); but there’s actually not enough money in selling gear to make the aggravation worthwhile; I really think that was the lesson of the Legendary Item debacle in LOTRO. But it looks like there will be a lot of money spent in Dimension materials – and thus, a lot of dev time sudenly devoted to making it a much richer experience.


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