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MMO Rift Turning Free-to-Play in June

By - Source: Eurogamer | B 26 comments

RIFT is going free-to-play.

The MMO market is in a transitional phase. Due to declining subscriptions, developers have transitioned to the free-to-play model and have (in general) seen better numbers. Even WoW, king of the MMOs, reported heavy losses in the last few months. Apparently, in the last three months, 1.3 million subscribers have said goodbye, maybe for the second or third time, to the game.

Trion World's RIFT, a fantasy-themed MMO, is making the transition to free-to-play. The developer declared that the transition was due to player feedback and the changing market.

"The RIFT team prides itself on listening to our players and taking feedback seriously, and many great features have been added to RIFT due to this relationship. Some of those changes have been dramatic, others more subtle,' said stated RIFT creative director Bill Fisher in a blog post. "Today I am here to announce another dramatic change to RIFT – a change brought on by player feedback from surveys, community postings, in-game reports, and passionately written emails over the last two years. Starting June 12, with the release of RIFT 2.3: Empyreal Assault, RIFT is opening its business model to include Free to Play." 

Even with the transition, subscriptions will still be available as an option. Current paying players will retain everything in their account and will receive a one-time award of Credits & Loyalty (though the exact amount will be discussed in the future.)

Fisher was careful to stress that RIFT's free-to-play model would not be one of pay-to-win. The in-game store will sell mounts, wardrobe items, and boosts, nothing that could drastically change the balance of the game.

Trion unveiled the experimental currency REX (Rift Exchange), which can be purchased with real money and used as credits for the game. However, REX can be traded between players, meaning that non-paying players can still get their hands on the currency via the auction house.

Loyalty has also been introduced as a new feature. Essentially, Trion Worlds hopes to retain players by handing out free gifts, which can be earned for doing activities such as buying and selling Credits and taking part in community events. Veteran players will receive extra Loyalty for well… being a loyal subscribed player to the game.

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  • 5 Hide
    logainofhades , May 16, 2013 7:34 AM
    Looks like the subscription based MMO is a dieing breed. As long as they keep it to where it isn't a pay to win model, it should work well. I might consider it again at some time after this change is made. WoW is growing stale and I need something new but don't really want to pay for it.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , May 16, 2013 8:05 AM
    I'm not completely against P2Win as long as the 'Win' items are are not outrageously more powerful than in-game stuff and are tradable in-game so new players who want quick in-game currency can buy the real-money items to sell them in-game then buy them back later when they reach high levels themselves.

    But the temptation to make P2Win items almost necessary can easily get out of hands from both sides. In some games, having the best purchasable items often enables players to solo multiplayer content so they do not need to share rewards, which kind of defeats the point of playing an MMO and makes it nearly impossible to control inflation. On the plus side, done properly it can effectively price gold sellers out of the market.

    P2Win can work but finding the right balance between company/operator greed, player greed, benefits and in-game cash flow is difficult and requires on-going fine-tuning.
  • 0 Hide
    dextermat , May 16, 2013 8:37 AM
    Problem with them is that, maybe at first, non paying players will get along just fine but, if you don't play you get bummed out of expansion, best weapons. Therefore being pay to win.
  • -3 Hide
    spartanmk2 , May 16, 2013 8:38 AM
    How often do the free mmo's have server issues? Maintenance? Lag? Wow's been doing pretty well for the last 7+ years so I attribute that to the monthly fee.
  • -1 Hide
    heero yuy , May 16, 2013 9:02 AM
    Quote:
    How often do the free mmo's have server issues? Maintenance? Lag? Wow's been doing pretty well for the last 7+ years so I attribute that to the monthly fee.


    I think wow has been doing well because its that game everyone's friends play
    then theres the fact that a lot of people see free to play games as being bad without even trying them because all free to play games are pay to win right? (please note that was sarcasm)
    and then other subscription based MMOs fall flat because everyone has wow and no one wants to pay for two subscriptions at once
    screw the fact that wow has a really outdated engine, graphics from 2009 (unless you go to outland where you have graphics from 2006 due to no update) and a now outdated combat system based on percentages and luck
  • -2 Hide
    Lucho Arrecho , May 16, 2013 9:15 AM
    I really don't get why people want free to play crap, I have never seen F2P model that made sense. Some use micro transaction in a way that cost you more in the end than actually paying for the game, so others cripple the free to play to a ridiculous point and some others even give everything and charge only for cosmetic crap???? I only see the latter bringing down the company and the game with it...
  • -2 Hide
    jaber2 , May 16, 2013 9:20 AM
    Rift gone F2P, sorry it didn't work out for you.
  • -1 Hide
    logainofhades , May 16, 2013 9:42 AM
    Quote:
    How often do the free mmo's have server issues? Maintenance? Lag? Wow's been doing pretty well for the last 7+ years so I attribute that to the monthly fee.


    Blizzard has had their fair share of issues over the years. Since Activision entered, it seems to have gotten a bit worse. PTR testing seems rushed and known bugs make it to live almost every time. I have played some Perfect World, but not enough to really know how well their servers truly run. It was something to do when I was burnt out on WoW and cancelled for awhile.

  • 2 Hide
    hotroderx , May 16, 2013 9:43 AM
    I have played Rift on and off for years and over all the game has been top notch. As far as the games size goes it was is perfect. I am not sure why they suddenly feel the need for a F2P option. Part of Rift's charm is the fact the player base is smaller so the game is not being pulled 9 different directions like World of Warcraft.
    As far as F2P games go hopefully they don't ruin the game like Starwars the Old Republic has. Where they are more focused on adding things to the pay market then they are fixing bugs and adding content to the game.
  • 0 Hide
    szalkerous , May 16, 2013 12:24 PM
    What most of these reports don't write is the community's backlash against it.
    A vast majority of paying subs do not want this, and many are pissed that they paid year(s) in advance and won't be getting reimbursed.
  • 1 Hide
    ccovemaker , May 16, 2013 12:45 PM
    Development isn't free, servers are not free. No matter the model you are going to pay.
    It is just your choice if you want an honest transaction up front or you want your MMO sitting around in your computer like a bum with its hand out.
    I play MMOs to escape not to be reminded of the real word constantly.
  • 0 Hide
    dietrich1 , May 16, 2013 12:57 PM
    This is great news, and thank you for sharing. I subscribed to Rift for about 14 months and had a lot of fun. The PvP is very fun as a cleric healer, and the raid mechanics are innovative. I hope people don't judge Rift by its newly adopted F2P strategy. Trion is a good company who obviously thought long and hard about this decision.
    The only downside to this is that there are too many good games out now to pick from. Who will feed our children?!?
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , May 16, 2013 1:02 PM
    Quote:
    Development isn't free, servers are not free. No matter the model you are going to pay.

    Except with F2P, you can pass the bill to others by buying their real-money premium items with gold you grind in-game.

    You can still win without paying a penny out of your own pockets but that may require tons of grinding.
  • 0 Hide
    southernshark , May 16, 2013 1:21 PM
    I started playing AoC (Age of Conan) as free to play and became a subscriber. I probably spent more on pay to play than a subscription so it seems like a solid business model to me. As long as the game isn't Pay to Win, I have no problem with it.
    AoC is a decent game, maybe not great, but at least there are no pandas.
  • 1 Hide
    southernshark , May 16, 2013 1:25 PM
    Quote:
    I have never seen F2P model that made sense. Some use micro transaction in a way that cost you more in the end than actually paying for the game

    Yes that is true, but from a developer's standpoint... how is that a bad thing? I probably spend more on a F2P than on P2P, or I end becoming a subscriber, and STILL end up buying cosmetic crap. From a gamer's perspective you may end up paying a little more, but you get to choose when you make that payment. From a developer's standpoint... more money is more money, and that ends up helping them to develop and sustain the game.
  • 0 Hide
    dietrich1 , May 16, 2013 1:53 PM
    what people have to keep in mind is that as long as trion won't be .05 and .10 us, such as limiting f2p players verses subscribers. yes, i know. subscribers should have more content. they should even be allowed to level faster. whatever. but when it comes to PvP it HAS to be an even playing field or the sanctity of fairness is demolished = no more fun. gw2 is proving that if you sell SKINS for weapons and armor, people WILL pay for them. just because they're fun to look at. nothing else. no extra stats. Trion has seen that this is great for gaming. It lets the "poor" play with the "rich" and everyone is happy whether or not they have a shiny new skin or not. What's genius about GW2 is you can even GRIND to get those shiny things. But a lot of people STILL use real money for skins. Be thankful for these type of people because they're funding these great games.

    personally i wish rift went to a "buy once" plan instead of f2p. i would have gladly paid 60 bucks and be done with money transactions. the minute something pops up and breaks the 4th wall, i'm uninstalling it.
  • 0 Hide
    nevilence , May 16, 2013 2:45 PM
    as someone who has paid for a fair chunk of rift time, this is a bit annoying, it will be interesting to see where this takes the game
  • 0 Hide
    fulle , May 16, 2013 4:13 PM
    The problem I have with the F2P model, is that it can potentially bring in lower quality players. A player who is unable to commit to a buy once pay model, like in GW2, is more likely to be a:
    - Foreign person who can't speak the primary language on the server they connect to.
    - Gold farmer
    - Spammer
    - Immature young person
    - Troll
    - Poor person without adequate equipment to run the game properly
    - Scam artist
    A lot of these problem people are immediately removed by even the smallest buy in. If a spammer get's banned, and it costs no money to make a new account, they come right back. If they need to pay 10 bucks every time, they'll be more discreet about it. If they need to pay 50 bucks? Most of them go away entirely.
    So, based on this opinion... I would have been willing to give Rift a try at an inexpensive price, but "Free" concerns me enough I'll avoid it now. I feel bad for the people who were enjoying the game, and are now about to see the influx of scum.
  • 1 Hide
    dietrich1 , May 16, 2013 4:23 PM
    Quote:
    The problem I have with the F2P model, is that it can potentially bring in lower quality players. A player who is unable to commit to a buy once pay model, like in GW2, is more likely to be a:
    - Foreign person who can't speak the primary language on the server they connect to.
    - Gold farmer
    - Spammer
    - Immature young person
    - Troll
    - Poor person without adequate equipment to run the game properly
    - Scam artist
    A lot of these problem people are immediately removed by even the smallest buy in. If a spammer get's banned, and it costs no money to make a new account, they come right back. If they need to pay 10 bucks every time, they'll be more discreet about it. If they need to pay 50 bucks? Most of them go away entirely.
    So, based on this opinion... I would have been willing to give Rift a try at an inexpensive price, but "Free" concerns me enough I'll avoid it now. I feel bad for the people who were enjoying the game, and are now about to see the influx of scum.


    yeah, i wish they went to a pay once option instead because what you said has happened in a lot of prior games and most likely will be a problem for rift. honestly i think the core fans will continue playing and uphold the more mature community (at least compared to most.)
  • 0 Hide
    itchyisvegeta , May 17, 2013 1:45 AM
    solid game
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