Rift shifting to free-to-play
May 15, 2013 // 4:08 p.m.
Rift is the latest MMO to make the transition to a free-to-play model.
The MMO developed by Trion Worlds will make the move away from a subscription-only business model on June 12. Following the jump, players will have access to the entire game world and be able to access all current and future updates to the game.
An optional subscription will still be available and will allow players access to "Patron" benefits to enhance their experience. An in-game store will also allow players to buy additional boosts, vanity items and mounts for real-world money.
The developers of Rift are keen to keep the experience as fair as possible and do not want the free-to-play model upsetting the feel of the game.
'As a gamer's game, a super fun and fair experience is of the utmost importance to us,' said Rift creative director Bill Fisher. 'The best gear in the game will always have to be earned through playing Rift.'.
This sentiment echoes recent comments from Blizzard which reflected on their real-money auction house feature in Diablo 3. This took out part of the fun of finding new weapons and equipment through playing the game, as the achievement was lessened by the knowledge that each new piece could have easily been bought for a small fee.
Other titles from Trion Worlds suggest that the developer is staying away from the subscription model from now on. Last month it released transmedia title Defiance which requires the game to be bought but no ongoing subscription much like the Guild Wars model.
'We have been listening to feedback from our players and watching the continuously developing MMO community,' added Fisher. 'We are very excited to bring an enhanced game experience to everyone, without barriers.'
Rift launched in March 2011 and received its first expansion, Storm Legion, in November 2012. A free-to-play option with a level cap of 20 and other restrictions also debuted in early 2012 in a bid to attract new players.