Introducing RIFT Free-to-Play

Posted by on 14 May 2013

Greetings, Ascended!

Jonaru & AkyliosThe 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.

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. Subscriptions will continue as an option as well for players who want additional benefits.

RIFT is an amazing premium game and we want to provide our players with the best experience possible. We want to enable you to play your way by providing a true AAA MMO experience for free.

It’s worth noting that the market has changed dramatically over the years. Some of the first online game services charged by the hour to play, next came the age of monthly subscription games, and we are now well within the age of Free to Play. These changes have brought more freedom, choice, and flexibility to the player – the kind of changes we stand for. Innovation and iteration have always been a key to our success. RIFT is a living, breathing entity, and it will continue to evolve and change for years to come.

A lot of you probably have questions about what this means for you personally and how this affects the game you love. I’m not known for flowery words, so I’ll try to be as direct as possible – in only a dozen paragraphs!

Veteran & New Players – What to Expect

The way we have always built RIFT is not changing – we will continue to listen to feedback, respond to it, and work on our long-term goals. We remain committed to adding new content, new systems, and pushing the game forward.

Ember Isle OnslaughtYou can still expect weekly hot fixes to address bugs and issues; you can still expect major patches and feature releases – the RIFT team works hard and always will. As a subscriber (now officially a “Patron”) you’ll also get bounties of treasure and awesome bonuses to give you the extra edge and convenience you need for all your adventures in Telara!

Patrons receive access to a suite of abilities usable once per day that grant buffs to experience, currency, notoriety, and a number of additional convenience benefits. We are not jacking up the experience curve to make these benefits required – all of these bonuses are completely optional and playing without them you will experience RIFT exactly as it is today. We want to make sure that becoming a Patron is a great value, but it’s not required. If you’re a free player and want the same benefits for a specific duration, you can purchase Patron Passes of varying lengths from the in-game RIFT Store.

After June 12, all players will have total access to the entire world: every dungeon, every raid, every Warfront, and every level. We won’t be locking our content or advancement behind walls – our goal is to break down every barrier. We want more people playing together and more people having fun together. A new free player has restrictions on their starting inventory, character slots, and you won’t have access to the Storm Legion souls, but you really are getting the whole game for free.

So what about veteran players? You’re not losing anything – all of the features you enjoy today are yours forever! While we may offer more storage, more role slots, and more wardrobe slots, we will never be taking away anything you have earned if you have ever subscribed to RIFT. There are a variety of additional benefits to having been a previous subscriber, including a one-time award of Credits & Loyalty (we’ll talk more about this later) once the game has converted to Free to Play.

Maelforge Rawwrrrrr NOM NOM NOMWith this change RIFT will have an expanded in-game store that you can use to purchase a variety of services, mounts, boosts, wardrobe items, and actual equipment. Some items will have a dual currency price – one price in real-money Credits and another price in game currency.

We are not selling power. We are not pay to win. Every piece of stat-granting equipment that you can buy from the store can also be gained through play. Our philosophy is that the very best gear in the game must be earned. You won’t find a max level best-in-slot trinket that can be purchased for Credits.

Introducing REX & Loyalty

The launch of Free to Play will also introduce an experimental exchange currency we call REX (RIFT Exchange).

Volan the PlaneswalkerInitially purchased with real money, REX is an item that grants store Credits to your wallet when consumed. Before being consumed, it can be traded between players or sold on the auction house. REX offers an avenue for free players to earn Credits, but the in-game currency price is set by players, not us! This has an added benefit of hurting gold-sellers, which should further limit the negative influence that gold farmers have on the game.

We’re also introducing a new feature called Loyalty that rewards you for your continued support of RIFT with a variety of unlockable gifts to enjoy across your account. Loyalty can be accrued through a wide variety of activities: purchasing and spending Credits, being a Patron, taking part in community events, and more. All existing accounts will receive bonus Loyalty based on the total amount of time that they have subscribed to RIFT.

The Future

As with every feature we have added to RIFT since day one, we will be listening to feedback from you – and we will likely change some things along the way based on that feedback. If something doesn’t work out the way we’d hoped, we will adjust, tweak, and change. It’s an ongoing process, and we’re happy to have you along for the journey.
Infinity Gate
RIFT 2.3 also brings with it a massive new zone, the Dendrome – at last its secrets will be revealed! In case that’s not enough, there’s also a 10-man Sliver, Chronicle, new rift challenges called “Strongholds”, and open-world raid bosses. We’re excited to explore it all with you in the coming weeks.

There’s even more in store for RIFT in 2.4 and beyond. A new set of twenty-player raids will be available, a revamped level-60 version of Realm of the Fae, more Chronicles, more quests, zone events, continued updates to class balance for both PvP and PvE, and much more. You might even start hearing about plans for what we call 3.0 – but that is a story for another day….

We’ll see you in game, on the forums, and be reading your feedback, so keep it coming!

Bill Fisher
Creative Director: RIFT

Have a question? We have answers

Visit our Free-to-Play page for all the features + FAQ at www.riftgame.com/free or read this Player-made FAQ Covering Reddit AMA & Dev Forum Posts