Rift Joins the Insta-Level Club with Nighmare Tide Expansion

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.

RiftNighmareTide

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.

Nighmare Tide Editions

Nightmare Tide Editions

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.

No, not Azeroth!

Remember this?

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.

The alleged price of level 90

Yours, if the price is right…

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?

11 thoughts on “Rift Joins the Insta-Level Club with Nighmare Tide Expansion

  1. bhagpuss

    I’m surprised by the inflexibility of all these offers. Why such strict limits? Why not just sell levels directly?

    A Scroll of Experience granting a single level could cost $1 with packs of 10 or 50 coming in at $8 and $35 respectively, just as an example.

    The line in the sand, surely, is whether you allow people to buy their way out of playing your game at all. Once you’ve made that decision it makes commercial and creative sense to optimize that convenience for the customer, not make it as awkward and inflexible as possible.

    On the Rift expansion itself, I believe less than 20% of the new content is actually underwater. I read that somewhere but now can’t find it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ultrviolet

    Fyi I don’t think you have to spend any money to get the expansion content. (Same as Storm Legion now.) Those three collector’s editions look like bundles of discounted cash shop items. I’d be shocked if they didn’t offer the equipment slots, instant-60, etc. as a la carte items once it goes live.

    That being said I’ll probably get the $50 one just out of convenience. The $150 one is all cosmetic fluff.

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  3. Pasduil

    I like the idea of insta-leveling but the pricing always seems ridiculous. It’s esp ridiculous for me because there are basically two scenarios where I might go for it, and neither are ones where I’m willing to drop a lot of money….

    a) To bring alts straight up to cap in a game where I’ve already been through the entire journey one or more times already.

    b) To quickly get to the endgame in an MMO that I only play occasionally, and where I am never going to get to the cap by normal leveling, so I can check out all the stuff everyone else is talking about.

    If either of those things cost a lot of money I’m just not going to bother with them because they’re not very important to me.

    I’m with Bhagpuss on the Scroll of Experience approach, but it’d have to be a lot cheaper than $1 / level or $35 for 50 levels for me to bite.

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  4. Pasduil

    Btw the LOTRO cap is now 100, making the insta-level to 50 even stranger. However it does appeal to people that have masses of TP saved up, which seems to be basically people with lifetime subs who get 500 TP per month for no cost now and have long since bought most everything they wanted anyway,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Somewhere there is a metrics person who will tell you that in order to optimize MRPC, or whatever the acronym is for average revenue per account is, you should sell levels just as you describe. In LOTRO I would probably buy some levels just to boost up into the next expansion. But there is a small, but vocal group out there that will scream bloody murder, and such small but vocal groups have been making a lot of trouble of late.

    Hrmm… 20% of Cataclysm zones were under water, and that was a bit too much. Vashj’ir looked very nice, but it was all under the sea. The view and movement paradigm in MMOs, designed with standing on the ground in mind, really start to feel painful after any extended time under water. Or such is my view, and I am not subject to the motion sickness that people complain about in such zones.

    @Pasduil – Yeah, I am one of those lifetime subs people. The problem for me is that I really like the 1-40 part of the game and am somewhat indifferent to the little I have seen past level 60.

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  6. Pasduil

    Yes, I could see me running 1-40 just to get a basic feel of a new class, and then taking a boost to 100 to join up with my friends. Esp as I have not done North Downs or Trollshaws since their revamp.

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  7. Jenks

    I don’t like level boosts, but World of Warcraft’s has a neat provision that seems relevant to a few comments. If you boost a character that lvl 60 or higher, they also raise your chosen professions to max level.

    Like

  8. Silverangel

    Note in the fine print that the Rift insta-level boosts are tradeable. So you can buy and sell the boost. So already it isn’t exclusive to the expansion packages. I think there is simply no winning move for Trion to say right now the level boosts will be available in the store later. So why do it.

    “Goofy option” for LotRO. Too funny and true! Moria is the best content though, and their main revenue is in selling the sequence of expansions. So maybe that is their angle.

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  9. NetherLands

    I have no issue with selling higher starting levels per se, also because it removes the main argument for nerfing the content I generally like best ie levelling content

    (‘we have to make it a snoozefest as otherwise Bob would be ‘unable’ to reach the glorious Raids’ ‘why then not just have harder/more inetresting content at lower levels, too, so peopel don’t need to make the slog in the first place?’ ‘silence, peon! we like big numbers!’…errr, sorry, stream of consciousness dripping from my brain).

    However, esp. with games that heavily rely on dungeon tools etc. to get their content played (ie WoW), they should lower the price (so people who don’t want to be in levelling content have less hurdles to spoil the content for others by their presence, casuing ‘needed’ revamps to suit their tastes etc.) but make it characters without Gear etc., just an X Level character

    Why?

    Because that way it will be primarily used by people who have friends/guildies/Mains to help them, meaning it will be primarily used by established players who’ll at least know the basics before showing up in LFD’/R/BG’s. It would also vitalize Crafting and the local AH, which is something I personally like.

    This would also make Bhagpuss’ idea (which I find sympathetic) more feasible (having to design starting gear for X levels eats up even more resources than having to come up with a set for one level for every class).

    Last but not least, it would throw a cink in goldfarming bots and other such shennanigans (Rating manipulations in case of EU WoW RBG’s and Arena), as e.g. every time they did this (the Scroll of Rezz to 80 during Cata, the current level boost to 90) certain Instances like Botanica and Halls of Lightning got flooded by instant-toon (80 paladins with SoR, 90 druids with the current boost) botting operations.

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  10. Lani

    Mhmm, wasn’t Age of Conan th first to do this? With their first expansion came the option to create a single Level 40 character.
    Then again, that wasn’t the top level for AoC basic, just a leg up to the mid-range while most of that expansion’s content was L20-40 and endgame stuff.
    Come to think of it that was just one of those wacky Funcomisms, like holding your under level 20’s hostage.

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  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Lani – I have to admit my first thought was, “Age of Conan had expansions?”

    That said, I am more pointing at money in some form being exchanged for a leveled up character.

    Like

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