A little over two years after its launch, Trion Worlds’ Rift is officially going free-to-play today, June 12. Today marks the first date new players can log in and explore the world of Telara, without spending a dime, while previous subscribers have been eligible to return since last week.
There are no content or gameplay time restrictions, and players will also have access to content from the Rift expansion Storm Legion and advance all the way to level 60. Players can pay for a subscription to help them earn Loyalty points and receive discounts from the game’s cash shop and can also purchase REX, a kind of intermediate currency that can be used to buy from the cash shop or be sold for in-game currency.
The F2P transition is just part of Rift’s Update 2.3: Empyreal Assault, which adds a new zone, the Dendrome, a 10-player raid sliver, chronicles, dimensions, weapon transfiguration, faction swapping, strongholds, and cosmic rhinoceroses. Wait, did I just say “cosmic rhinoceroses”?
So what’s the down side? There’s always a down side to a F2P game, isn’t there? Well, for a lot of folks that’s the ability to purchase all but the highest level of gear from the cash shop. Trion spins it as being a good way for players to “catch up” without having to grind for in-game currency (though any other requirements, such as rank and level, still must be met). The more cynical types see it as a form of pay-to-win.
My take is that yes, there will be a few people who take this route, but it’s probably not something you’d want to do a ton of because of the high cost of buying full armor sets for multiple characters. I might see taking a bit of a half-and-half approach: grind out some of the gear, and when that gets too monotonous, buy the rest. And in the end, this will only allow you to be competitive, as opposed to uber; the absolute best gear still can’t be bought.
It’s an interesting way to go, and it’s bound to have its fans as well as its detractors, but at least Trion is being up front about it right from the start. That’s better, IMHO, than announcing one thing and reversing course six months later.