With a few weeks behind me since the free-to-play transition of “RIFT,” I feel comfortable assessing its conversion. When any subscription based game goes free-to-play there is a minefield of mistakes just waiting to be made. “RIFT” manages to avoid any major turmoil, and the game transitions quite nicely for new and returning players alike.
Since I am a returning player that owns “Storm Legion,” most of my observations will center around a previous subscriber’s viewpoint. Oftentimes, a transitioning game will cut off several aspects of a game to a returning player including content he or she already purchased via expansion packs. This is not true in “RIFT’s” case. In fact, players that never even owned the game or its expansion can experience the full level cap that was extended by the expansion.
The only content gated by real money is soul selection. Specifically, the four souls included in “Storm Legion.” Owners of the expansion will find them available, but new players or previous subscribers that did not have the expansion will need to purchase them. The souls are the only issue I have with “RIFT’s” in-game store, though. I believe they need to be purchased individually; especially since they are the only content thus far that is behind a pay wall. However, players can only buy them as a group and, because of that, their price seems steep.
Each soul is suited for each calling. If, by chance, you don’t like playing any type of cleric ever, you’re still stuck with that new soul you’ll never use. Another scenario that includes wasted money is one that features a soul included in the group that you simply don’t like. Even if it’s for the calling you prefer, there is a chance you have no interest in that particular damage oriented cleric soul, for example.
For the four souls, you’ll have to pay over $23 if you buy Credits $5 at a time ($5 buys 750 Credits, the soul bundle costs 3500 Credits). If you’re willing to drop $50 on the game for the smallest bundle that can outright purchase these souls, they end up costing just $20 ($50 buys 8500 Credits). That doesn’t sound like much; $5 per soul isn’t a bad price, but having to spend $20 of a $50 currency purchase for four if you’re not going to use all four seems like a stretch.
Of course, all prices can be offset with the use of REX or Rift Exchange. Players can buy REX, tradable Credits, at a rate of $10 for 1250 Credits. REX can be placed on the auction house or traded among players freely so one player can purchase the REX and sell it in game for simple gold. Currently, on my server, REX goes from 800 to 1200 platinum. An amount I’ve never even thought of as a casual player. However, dedicated players can pay for things, like the souls, with gold if they have the in-game currency to buy enough REX.
Other than the souls and REX found in the Rift Store, players can purchase a number of pets, mounts, clothes, and even gear. Pets cost anywhere from 20 to 800 Credits and are per character. Mount prices vary based on their speed or their ability to match the highest speed that character has unlocked (15 to 1750 Credits). Even still, they are also per character. Wardrobe bundles come in sets range from 850 to 1785 Credits. Nothing seems too overpriced, but pets and mounts could really benefit from being granted at the account level.
The controversy with the Rift Store; however, starts with gear being available on it. Players can purchase items with statistics on them for as low as 15 Credits and as high as 1165 Credits. The lower cost items are for lower level characters while the high cost items are for the max level of players. This gear is the same gear that can be purchased with Infinity Stones (a currency used at end game and obtained from Carnage, Instant Adventure, Hunts, and more). Dungeon quality gear is also available in the store. Current raid tier gear can only be purchased with in-game currency. To an extent, some players could view this gear availability as a pay-to-win scenario. However, best-in-slot gear can only be earned through play.
Finally, players that choose to use Credits by buying them outright or via other players’ purchased and sold REX can earn Loyalty. Players that subscribe as Patrons also earn Loyalty. This Loyalty accumulates to reward the player on five different tiers. Every time Credits are purchased or used by consuming REX, more Loyalty is earned. Every time a player subscriber to the game more Loyalty is earned. Along these five levels of Loyalty new dimensions (personal homes), titles, new mounts, and much more are rewarded.
The free-to-play “RIFT” is at its core a favorable transition for both players that want to pay and those that do not. Alternatives are in place for players that don’t want to spend money in the form of REX. Players that don’t mind spending cash have plenty of options in the store, and although things could be priced a little better, most of the heartache comes from the per character nature of the purchases. Regardless, all players are rewarded through the Loyalty system which includes the old Veteran Rewards.
Subscribing or becoming a Patron is attractive, but nothing to get too excited about nor is it anything really needed to enjoy the game. Patrons move quicker in the world, earn reputation faster, enjoy a 10 percent discount on Credit purchases in the RIFT Store, have use of valuable summons, and more. Some players find the lack of benefits from subscribing off-putting but that only means a player can enjoy the game without subscribing. To be honest, though, I believe the Patron subscription could use a stipend. Merely $5 a month could be enough for me to reconsider subscribing. The benefits as they are now do not move me to subscribe ever again. However, the Loyalty is nice.
Visit the official site for more information or to sign up and play today.
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