While I haven’t been in Rift for ages, that doesn’t mean Trion Worlds isn’t still out there plugging away. During that very busy stretch in August… I thought people went on vacation in August… they announced a new expansion, the Nightmare Tide.
This will bring the level cap up to 65, adds new content in the Plane of Water, gives you a new bag slot (woot!), and a host of new and improved features you can read about over on their site. I just hope it isn’t an all under water expansion. Too much disorientation for me.
The expansion, set to come out on October 8th of this year, is available for pre-order in three flavors.
Selling new content, expansions, is one of the business models I can really get behind. But, as always, we get into the discussion about what is worth the money. You can go compare the three editions on their site to see if you would drop an additional $100 to get the Ultimate Nightmare Edition. I am not sure it would be for me, but I am also not playing Rift currently, so the $25 option isn’t for me either.
The interesting thing for me in all of this is the item available only with the $50 and $150 editions which will boost a character to level 60, currently the level cap in the game. From the site:
Boost one character to Level 60 with a swig of this powerful draught! It comes complete with gear to begin your quests in the Plane of Water and is even tradable to other characters – but be careful, it only works once!
Where have I heard about something like that before? Oh yeah, back at BlizzCon last November, when Blizzard announced the Warlords of Draenor expansion, which included a boost to level 90 for a single character.
Not that I am trying to scold them for copying an idea that is starting to spread. Rift has made its mark by working hard to be a better WoW than WoW, putting themselves directly up against the big gorilla in the room… or something.
So if Trion is copying a feature from elsewhere for Rift, it generally means it is a feature worth having. But I wonder how much of the Blizzard playbook they are going to copy?
As of right now, the insta-60 option… which would let me skip past the Storm Legion content I got mired in, and eventually gave up on… is only available by purchasing the top two versions of the expansion package. It is not available as its own item in the in-game store.
But will it stay that way?
As Silverangel notes in her look at the whole thing, that the idea of insta-levels staying locked to an expansion purchase seems naive. And Blizzard itself started with insta-90s being tied to the Warlords of Draenor expansion, but eventually moved to make them a cash shop item. An expensive cash shop item, for sure, ringing in at $60 a pop. But if you want more than the one you got with the expansion and three double sawbucks burning a hole in your pocket, Blizzard has the deal for you.
So I suppose that just leaves us with two questions.
The first is, “When Trion will offer insta-levels as a cash shop item?”
My gut says that they will be available after the expansion goes live, but before the end of the year, so you’ll be able to buy yourself or a friend a character boost for the holidays.
And the second is, “How much will a Rift insta-60 cost?”
Blizzard wants $60, but even down to almost half of their peak user base, they are still sitting on such a huge revenue stream that they can afford to stick to their notions of the world, like the idea that people should be encouraged to play through the content. I think insta-levels are more a utility than revenue stream for them.
Back in the real world, where it isn’t raining cash, SOE priced their level 85 boosts in EverQuest and EverQuest II at about $35. However, that is taking the strict, default valuation of Station Cash and translating it to coin of the realm. Theoretically it could be much cheaper if you bought your Station Cash during a sale, got one of those Walmart bonus Station Cash cards, or found some other loophole in the SOE accounting system.
And then there is Lord of the Rings Online and their goofy option, which only boosts you to level 50… 45 levels shy of Helm’s Deep content… and which they are trying to promote through scarcity by only offering it on special occasions. That has run for 5,000 Turbine points which, due to how Turbine’s valuation of their in-game currency vary depending on how and when you purchase it, could put the real world price somewhere between $38 and $70. Or less, since you can earn Turbine points in the game, one of the outstanding features of LOTRO, so you could subsidize your purchase with that.
Given all of that, I would guess that Trion would price insta-levels in Rift closer to the SOE price range than the Blizzard.
Then again, Trion isn’t shy about asking for money. They have a $150 option for their expansion and they were looking for $100 if you wanted to be in the ArcheAge beta.
What do you think?