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With the information being purposely leaked by Trion this week, we know there will be 4 patches in 2012, and alongside those patches Trion has listed "XP Milestones", which most believe relate to internal goals for the expansion pack. With the last patch of the year in mid november (with an XP milestone) its safe to assume we wont see the expansion until at least early 2013.
I know many of the Rift fanbois like Puremallace will say 'we dont need expansions, Trion is amazing with content already'. And while they may be perfectly happy with small updates every 2-3 months (which is now Trion's published schedule) most people will get tired by 2013 of running the same dungeons and hanging out in the same zones. Rft launched as the smallest AAA MMORPG, and since has added one (admittedly impressive) zone. Just one. Possibly another is on the way (Planetouched Wilds). We will see. And dungeons? Just two of those have been added.
While they are doing LOTS of positive things (secondary tradeskills being added next patch!) they keep cramming ev erything into the same little shoebox.
Ive always said Rift needs a slam dunk expansion to achieve any signficant growth. But by waiting til 2013 I think Rift is doomed to fall under 200k subs by years end and never recover (not saying it will die or go f2p, games can live with 100-200k subs quite easily). Disagree with me all you want, but mark this post and revisit it in december.