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[Column] Rift: The Long-Term Impact of F2P

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,122

When RIFT first launched, the idea of going free-to-play seemed like anathema to its design. Former Executive Producer and current Trion Worlds CEO, Scott Hartsman, made it clear that F2P was not something in the cards in the year of its launch. And yet, with the changing tide of the MMO industry, RIFT made the jump and officially dropped its subscription fee last year. It was a move of much celebration and much derision. With Turbine, the F2P trend-setter of Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings Online, facing another round of layoffs, MMO fans are again asking the question: How sustainable is free-to-play in the long-term? This effects RIFT fans everywhere, so let's break it down.

Read more of Christopher Coke's Tripping the Rift: The Long-Term Impact of F2P.

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Comments

  • Righteous_RockRighteous_Rock Member RarePosts: 1,234
    This is the world of mmorpg's and we have seen some fade away and people have not been very happy about it. Rift's community will decide if the game lives or dies. That's how it should be too.
  • SyllendaleSyllendale Member UncommonPosts: 157
    My wife and I both recently went back to Rift ..(Lack of any other MMO we care to play).. And I tell you, we are loving it again. The new additions to the game have kept us super busy, so much so we even started the patron subscriptions.  Gotta hand it to them, they did something right .... for now. :)
  • SamhaelSamhael Member RarePosts: 1,227
    Unfortunately, the F2P seems like it's brought a lot of new people in who just aren't good players but yet feel they should be included in expert groups and raids simply because they are there. You can now buy entire packs of tier 1 raid gear from the store... It really feels like Rift is on a slow P2W downward spiral. The chat bug introduced by 2.6 is still around as well. Content is much slower now... events are recycled from previous almost without a change (none I can see in the current one).. when a patch does ship, it seems like it introduces more bugs than fixes.  It's pretty disappointing to see Trion go this way. I'd happily pay a monthly sub again if Rift would go back to a sub model.
  • TibernicuspaTibernicuspa Member UncommonPosts: 1,199

    This game forget to bring up the fact that, pre FTP release Rift was bleeding players, and going free did not fix that problem.

     

    At the end of the day, pricing doesn't matter much. People will pay for a good game (Eve), and ignore a bland one (Rift).

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Member Posts: 2,083

    I applaud Trion and the move to F2P. At first I was skeptical, but over time as population across all servers grew and more and more people piled into the game, I have been impressed. Most servers have a very high population these days, and for a while we even had some login queues again! The game is not hurting player wise, but sometimes I do feel like they almost give you TOO much for free. You don't feel forced to spend a dime on the in game store, but there are thousands of things in there to buy if you so choose.

    The game has benefited greatly from the transition, and honestly, Rift is the one of the only F2P games out there I can recommend with a straight face on the truly F2P part. Certainly, there are still the occasional annoyances and minor glitches that come with any F2P game, but most of these can be overlooked for a WoW type themepark with some truly innovative and fun features.

    I hope Trion continues to pump out AAA title content on the F2P model, as I have always viewed Rift as an adult version of WoW for the older and more experienced players among us. A good article indeed!

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • TibernicuspaTibernicuspa Member UncommonPosts: 1,199
    Originally posted by Aeonblades

    I applaud Trion and the move to F2P. At first I was skeptical, but over time as population across all servers grew and more and more people piled into the game, I have been impressed. Most servers have a very high population

    I hope Trion continues to pump out AAA title content on the F2P model, as I have always viewed Rift as an adult version of WoW for the older and more experienced players among us. A good article indeed!

    I feel like this is a Trion employee posting.

    The servers are high... after about 3-4 rounds of server merging, and a steadily declining population.

     

    WoW for adults? That game was EverQuest, as WoW was EverQuest for kids. Rift is just Wow 1.5. Still extremely casual and not innovative in the slightest.

  • QuorinaQuorina Member Posts: 41
    I LOVED classic RIFT. No, I didn't raid, but found a bunch of other stuff to keep me occupied. The invasions and rifts are excellent. The original zones were beautifully done. I was easily immersed. The voice acting was poor but that was ok.

    Now, the xpax Storm Legion, I mean, I'm not a crude person, but I don't see how this turd was released. Seriously. Go look at the SL zones and compare them to zones like Shimmersand. The roads in SL have no purpose, mobs are literally scattered everywhere for no reason and the zones are HUGE but not filled with anything purposeful. It's hurrendous.

    The starter dungeon was awful for me as a healer. I executed mechanics ok, but then got to the last boss and he did a burst of constant damage to the tank and plenty of unavoidable aoe damage to the group. So I quickly casted some aoe heals while leaving hits on the tank and NOPE, tank died quickly. Ok, tried just topping the tank but then dos died. I've played many MMOs and have never encountered something so healer unfriendly in a leveling dungeon. I asked around and apparently I have to be an expert at healing and have really good support to complete this dungeon. I mean, dafuq? This is not a hardcore game, I don't understand this.

    Anyways, I didn't even make it to endgame as I only got my cleric to 54. This was before FTP. FTP will not entice me to come back unless changes are made.
  • AeonbladesAeonblades Member Posts: 2,083
    Originally posted by Tibernicuspa
    Originally posted by Aeonblades

    I applaud Trion and the move to F2P. At first I was skeptical, but over time as population across all servers grew and more and more people piled into the game, I have been impressed. Most servers have a very high population

    I hope Trion continues to pump out AAA title content on the F2P model, as I have always viewed Rift as an adult version of WoW for the older and more experienced players among us. A good article indeed!

    I feel like this is a Trion employee posting.

    The servers are high... after about 3-4 rounds of server merging, and a steadily declining population.

     

    WoW for adults? That game was EverQuest, as WoW was EverQuest for kids. Rift is just Wow 1.5. Still extremely casual and not innovative in the slightest.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, as I have posted before I work for customer support for an appliance repair company. I am not involved in the gaming industry in any way. Remember, not everyone shares your opinion on video games, and some people may like what you don't. As you may note, my signature says I still play Everquest as I have for 14+ years now, so I don't know what the last sentence really means.

    Thank you for your concern for my opinion however!

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

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  • DalanonDalanon Member UncommonPosts: 126

    One thing I don't understand about mmo pricing is it's either $15 a month or it's free to play.  Netflix has millions of subscribers because it hits that sweet spot of $7.99 that people are willing to pay and are less likely to cancel "just in case" they want to use the service.  Why can't an mmo launch with just a cheaper subscription than others?

    Not all who wander are lost...

  • EndoRobotoEndoRoboto Member Posts: 275
    Aeon, you said you viewed Rift as a adult version of WoW. This is what Tiber's last sentence or two was based on.
  • EndoRobotoEndoRoboto Member Posts: 275
    Dalanon i completely agree. A change in the pricing could be a huge selling point. But then most people frequenting this site would equate lower price with lower quality.

    Look at GW2 tho. How many people bought it specifically because it was an MMO with no sub? I regret it now but i was one of them and im surely not the only one.
  • VolgoreVolgore Member EpicPosts: 3,872
    Originally posted by SBFord

     And yet, with the changing tide of the MMO industry, RIFT made the jump and officially dropped its subscription fee last year.

     

    No, it did NOT go F2P due to the "changing tide in the industry" -unless you want to believe Trion's PR.

    It went F2P because not enough players were willing to pay for Rift anymore, not even after the release of Storm Legion.

    That doesn't mean that players in general wouldn't want to pay a sub for a good game or everyone wanting every game for free. There are constantly posts being made in which people discuss that they would pay $50 a month if a game has certain features or serverrules. It also doesn't mean that player not wanting to pay for RIft anymore was a "change of tides in the industry".

    Nobody wanted to pay to play Rift, that's all.

    image
  • AeonbladesAeonblades Member Posts: 2,083
    Originally posted by EndoRoboto
    Aeon, you said you viewed Rift as a adult version of WoW. This is what Tiber's last sentence or two was based on.

    I'm aware of what he said, I just don't see how it had any bearing on what I said. Sorry I wasn't very clear on that friend.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • XssivXssiv Member UncommonPosts: 359

    I've always tried to support Trion via Rift but the leveling from 50-60 in the SL xpac was absolutely brutal in my opinion.    That being said, if they did offer a boost to 60, I would probably start playing again to enjoy some of the end-game content.

     

  • BadOrbBadOrb Member UncommonPosts: 791

    " the vast majority of items exist to give the player joy"

    Well if SWTOR sold the second to last tier of gear then I would seriously consider jumping ship. Even if they sold level 51 gear when the cap is 60 I would leave. Glad some people like it though , well get joy out of it in Rift. I wouldn't. Plus SWTOR made 139 mil in their fluff cash shop , so money can be made in a better way.

    Cheers,

    BadOrb.

    PSO 4 years , EQOA 4 months , PSU 7 years , SWTOR launch ongoing , PSO2 SEA launch ongoing , Destiny 360 launch ongoing.
    "SWG was not fun. Let it go buddy." quote from iiNoSkillzii 10/18/13
    The original propoganda pixie dust villain :[]

  • FlyByKnightFlyByKnight Member EpicPosts: 3,840

    I tried Rift simply because it was F2P. During my personal research into it (Youtube videos etc), I don't think I would  ever pay to try it.  I don't think I'd subscribe either. The combat leaves much to be desired.  I love the skill progression and the choices.  I like everything about the game except the animations, the combat, and how the story is kind of text pasted on to this system.  There is TONS AND TONS of content for new players which is cool. Outside of that my motivation to do "things" is to progress my skill tree and try things. 

     

    Off topic, from playing Rift I find I'm surprised that people don't call Guild War 2 "Rift Clone".

    Raging Demons for all flowchart "Kens". This is a metaphor.
  • MazingerZMazingerZ Member UncommonPosts: 52

    The only issue with F2P is that its hard to obfuscate the attempts to milk the wallet and basically create a mobile micro-t game on my PC.

    At least with a subscription, everyone pays so they basically have to try and treat with every aspect of their player-base, not just the whales that buy every little vanity item in the cash shop.

    F2P is a bit of a punt.  I would prefer a hybrid model with a larger portion of revenue coming from people willing to pay for the subscriber access features.

  • TibernicuspaTibernicuspa Member UncommonPosts: 1,199
    Originally posted by Dren_Utogi

    I find this article premature. Both Turbine abd Trion fiinsihed production on games, so it is natural  that people will be alid off.

    That's how some video games work, but most MMO companies do NOT do this. If they have steady subscribers or growing sub numbers, they keep expanding. They don't fire people because development NEVER STOPS while the game is healthy.

  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,388
    Originally posted by BadOrb

    " the vast majority of items exist to give the player joy"

    Well if SWTOR sold the second to last tier of gear then I would seriously consider jumping ship. Even if they sold level 51 gear when the cap is 60 I would leave. Glad some people like it though , well get joy out of it in Rift. I wouldn't. Plus SWTOR made 139 mil in their fluff cash shop , so money can be made in a better way.

    Cheers,

    BadOrb.

    The TOR cash shop is way more than fluff. All scalable vehicles are through the Cartel market. You buy your hotbars and unlock the crafting slots (not an option if you really want to craft). There is appearance stuff there is also a lot of useful practical advantageous stuff in there too, not to mention they do sell gear. Does the tier of gear really matter?

    The Rift cash shop sells similar things, but the entire game is a lot more permissive and the cash shop is fundamentally more optional in Rift than in TOR. Really the only way to play TOR and enjoy it is to subscribe. You can enjoy Rift not subscribing. There is a fundamental difference. Although I have to say when you do subscribe to TOR the experience is open and fun, unlock say LotRO. I just don't think TOR is worth the subscription cost long term.

    take back the hobby: https://www.reddit.com/r/patientgamers/

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  • doodphacedoodphace Member UncommonPosts: 1,858
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by BadOrb

    " the vast majority of items exist to give the player joy"

    Well if SWTOR sold the second to last tier of gear then I would seriously consider jumping ship. Even if they sold level 51 gear when the cap is 60 I would leave. Glad some people like it though , well get joy out of it in Rift. I wouldn't. Plus SWTOR made 139 mil in their fluff cash shop , so money can be made in a better way.

    Cheers,

    BadOrb.

    The TOR cash shop is way more than fluff. All scalable vehicles are through the Cartel market. You buy your hotbars and unlock the crafting slots (not an option if you really want to craft). There is appearance stuff there is also a lot of useful practical advantageous stuff in there too, not to mention they do sell gear. Does the tier of gear really matter?

    The Rift cash shop sells similar things, but the entire game is a lot more permissive and the cash shop is fundamentally more optional in Rift than in TOR. Really the only way to play TOR and enjoy it is to subscribe. You can enjoy Rift not subscribing. There is a fundamental difference. Although I have to say when you do subscribe to TOR the experience is open and fun, unlock say LotRO. I just don't think TOR is worth the subscription cost long term.

    Though you are right about most of those things, the SWTOR cast shop sells statless gear/skins only, not the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th best gear in the game.

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Member Posts: 2,083
    Originally posted by BadOrb

    " the vast majority of items exist to give the player joy"

    Well if SWTOR sold the second to last tier of gear then I would seriously consider jumping ship. Even if they sold level 51 gear when the cap is 60 I would leave. Glad some people like it though , well get joy out of it in Rift. I wouldn't. Plus SWTOR made 139 mil in their fluff cash shop , so money can be made in a better way.

    Cheers,

    BadOrb.

    SWToR is a P2W/F2P hybrid, I don't see any difference in the two. Also, T1 raid gear in Rift is obtainable without raiding in a few days/weeks depending on your play time, so it's a convenience more than anything. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but I found SWToR to be much more P2W than Rift is.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,388
    Originally posted by Volgore
    Originally posted by SBFord

     And yet, with the changing tide of the MMO industry, RIFT made the jump and officially dropped its subscription fee last year. 

    No, it did NOT go F2P due to the "changing tide in the industry" -unless you want to believe Trion's PR.

    It went F2P because not enough players were willing to pay for Rift anymore, not even after the release of Storm Legion.

    That doesn't mean that players in general wouldn't want to pay a sub for a good game or everyone wanting every game for free. There are constantly posts being made in which people discuss that they would pay $50 a month if a game has certain features or serverrules. It also doesn't mean that player not wanting to pay for RIft anymore was a "change of tides in the industry".

    Nobody wanted to pay to play Rift, that's all.

    Actually, in general and specifically I won't pay a sub for a game. I can't think of one single game that is worth a subscription to me. No game I can think of is worth spending $200+ per year for rented access. I'm not alone in this either. Maybe I'm in the minority or majority, I don't know, but I'm certainly not alone.

    If the industry can't survive on that then that's too bad, but I'm not buying into the rental scheme. Personally I would rather have an up front box fee, GW2 style, and a light cash shop with no sub fee than I would either extreme.

    take back the hobby: https://www.reddit.com/r/patientgamers/

    traveller, interloper, anomaly
    ༼ つ ◕◕ ༽つ

  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,388
    Originally posted by doodphace
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by BadOrb

    " the vast majority of items exist to give the player joy"

    Well if SWTOR sold the second to last tier of gear then I would seriously consider jumping ship. Even if they sold level 51 gear when the cap is 60 I would leave. Glad some people like it though , well get joy out of it in Rift. I wouldn't. Plus SWTOR made 139 mil in their fluff cash shop , so money can be made in a better way.

    Cheers,

    BadOrb.

    The TOR cash shop is way more than fluff. All scalable vehicles are through the Cartel market. You buy your hotbars and unlock the crafting slots (not an option if you really want to craft). There is appearance stuff there is also a lot of useful practical advantageous stuff in there too, not to mention they do sell gear. Does the tier of gear really matter?

    The Rift cash shop sells similar things, but the entire game is a lot more permissive and the cash shop is fundamentally more optional in Rift than in TOR. Really the only way to play TOR and enjoy it is to subscribe. You can enjoy Rift not subscribing. There is a fundamental difference. Although I have to say when you do subscribe to TOR the experience is open and fun, unlock say LotRO. I just don't think TOR is worth the subscription cost long term.

    Though you are right about most of those things, the SWTOR cast shop sells statless gear/skins only, not the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th best gear in the game.

    I was thinking of the scalable gear and crystals. They don't inherently come with the top stats but they can be slotted unlike typical cosmetic gear which can't be. So yeah, it's not the best. It's sort of somewhere in the middle. I have no complaints about it though. I think their cash shop overall and how it fits into the GTM is pretty slick. If they would open up their game a little more with a loyalty system rather than just a sub-unlock (like quest rewards and other things that are sub only) then I think it would be one of the best around.

    take back the hobby: https://www.reddit.com/r/patientgamers/

    traveller, interloper, anomaly
    ༼ つ ◕◕ ༽つ

  • kitaradkitarad Member EpicPosts: 5,067

    For me the saddest thing about f2p games is the cash shop focus. Very soon they spend more time creating content for that rather than the game. Look at SWTOR which I am subbed to it has the most beautiful colors and armour in the cash shop even the mounts everything is better on the cash shop. I pay because I don't like to spend time getting unlocks or being inconvenienced and I really do not care if I am spending the sub cash to rent or otherwise. I spend way more on my make up and clothes in a day than a year on the game.


    Also I use blue gear and can solo even heroic 4's easily so for me the game is fun without having to pay for it other than the sub which I do not consider as anything relevant as I am from the Everquest days and subbing is something I expect without batting an eyelid.


    Everyday I log on I hear people begging others to get them this colour crystal or that for their jedi sword and so many new people playing SWTOR and mostly f2p .The game is definitely attracting players but are they paying or we the subbers subsidizing these beggars.

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