Telara Your Friends: Rift Going F2P Next Month

Cool guys (?) don't look at massive thorn hive monsters.

If past me – Nathan the Younger, EverQuest fiend extraordinaire – knew that I/we would eventually be complaining about having access to too many free MMOs, he’d probably shake his head in shame and see if there was still time to have a traumatic experience that’d turn him into a dystopic totalitarian dictator. But here I am – kind, vaguely humble, and only prone to conquering the most formidable of grilled cheese sandwiches – and now Rift’s shedding its subscription in favor of something a bit more comfortable. Truth be told, I kind of assumed it had already flipped the switch. Hm. Well, anyway, explanatory “don’t worry guys seriously no buying power never mind that everyone always says this” trailer after the break.

Rift’s mighty stab at freedom will kick off on June 12 with update 2.3, titled  Empyreal Assault. At that point, anybody will be able to jump in, and they’ll have immediate access to all levels and the entire game world. Trion explained:

“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.”

But freedom isn’t free, so Rift’s colossal beasties will continue to subsist on a steady diet of disposable income. There will, of course, be a cash shop, but here’s the final word on that: “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.” So there you go.

A new form of subscription will also be in the mix, with so-called Patrons having a fairly standard selection of benefits served up to them on a silver platter. 15 percent extra currency, an unspecified XP bonus, and special summons are the big ones, but itsy bitsy upsides abound.

It all sounds pretty typical, but we won’t be able to see exactly how all the pieces fit together until June. For now, though, does this have anyone chomping at the bit to dive back in or try out Trion’s fantasy opus for the first time?


  1. lordfrikk says:

    If they actually manage to make it worth my while as a free player I might be even swayed to throw some money their way. I played a bit of SWTOR and all I can say is that is not the way to go about F2P…

    • frightlever says:

      As usual I recommend trying LOTRO. It’s getting on but it’s still a great looking game in my opinion, and they do F2P right. Also, you can play the monsters.

      • Grygus says:

        I tried LotRO when it went free to play. I had a wonderful time until I reached about 23rd or 24th level, and I was completely out of content; every zone I could gain experience in was locked down, and I hadn’t earned enough store currency to “buy” any of them. The only option was to grind Skirmishes, which got old approximately immediately. Has this changed?

        • Lacero says:

          There’s a knack to it you probably can’t work out without knowing it well.

          You have to do all the deeds in the free areas to earn enough to keep buying more. Skirmishes don’t give enough (any?) points to buy more areas so they’re not useful.

          You can also make multiple characters and the points are shared, so yes it’s possible to get through but it takes some kill grinding on multiple characters to get there.

          Better is to sub for one month, make lots of characters to get everything (bags, money limits, etc.) unlocked on them alland then play them all doing deeds to get points to buy more areas.

          • iridescence says:

            “You have to do all the deeds in the free areas to earn enough to keep buying more. Skirmishes don’t give enough (any?) points to buy more areas so they’re not useful.”

            OMG I used to love LOTRO but some of those deeds are so horrible. It amuses me to hear people complain about “kill 10 X quests” in MMO. If you want to know what grind really is try doing the “kill 500 elite trolls” deed when each one takes about 2 minutes to whittle down and even if you pay you pretty much have to do a lot of those if you want to unlock your virtues. I don’t know what Turbine was thinking with that..

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  2. Dowson says:

    I enjoyed Rift, but I never played it long enough to subscribe beyond the occasional month or two when I had nothing else to play.

    So I’m looking forward to this, hopefully it doesn’t ruin the community in the game though, because I found it quite pleasant.

  3. NyuBomber says:

    I will enjoy jumping back in. I got into Rift at launch, and it was a solid game even then. But, I shortly afterwards resolved for myself that I wasn’t going to be paying for subscriptions anymore, and hence Rift fell into un-use.

    I’ll gladly pay for Storm Legion expansion, too.

    Though, honestly, I’ll just be waiting until Wildstar reveals its payment model, cause that is tickling my fancy most righteously so far.

  4. -Spooky- says:

    The headline made my laugh. Well done Trion.

  5. skyturnedred says:

    Trion must have read my mind, as I was just considering getting back to Rift. As a poor college student, this is very good news for me.

  6. JD Ogre says:

    Sad. It was a pretty good game. It’ll be dead in a year or so, though, more than likely. :(

  7. Victuz says:

    Well I’ve played two months of the game about a year ago and I found it to be a great experience. The only reason I didn’t keep playing is cause the monthly subscription was astonishingly costly.

    We’ll see how it fares now, I remember the dungeons were rather fun (and challenging) and the random nature of the rifts added a lot of heart into the game.
    I wish them best luck, hell if it’s good I might even throw some money their way!

  8. shrewdlogarithm says:

    I got into Rift through the ‘free’ Raptr deal – that means I get the extras when it goes F2P which is nice.

    I like it, there’s a lot going on around you, it’s great at drawing players together to do world stuff.

    I’m wondering how they’ve planning to make any money from it tho – I’m guessing they might have anothe r expansion up their sleeve which will cost monies perhaps?

    • nrvsNRG says:

      I’m wondering how they’ve planning to make any money from it tho

      I’m guessing the cash shop and selling things like inventory space, character slots and all the other usual stuffing.

    • SwobyJ says:

      They stated that if they do ‘expansion sized content’ (like new zones, dungeons, raids), they’d be selling the new races (if any) and new soul sub-classes, not the areas themselves. I presume to make sure that everyone can get to level cap/where everyone else is, without grief.

  9. nrvsNRG says:

    Ive always wanted to give Rift a chance so I’ll be giving it a go next month.
    What do ppl think of the quests and combat, and the look and design of the weapons and armour?

    • NyuBomber says:

      Note: Things may have changed, I’m remembering from launch/near-launch phase.

      Combat is standard MMO “autoattack/hit hotkeys/wait for cooldowns/movement isn’t strenuously tested beyond ‘don’t stand in the hazards.'” Which I’ve always been fine with, but I know isn’t for everyone.

      I didn’t run into any noteworthy from the standard questing formulas, outside of the “rift” random mob invasions, in my time.

      Look/feel/graphics are very lush and organic, I found, even when it came to metallic armor and such. It’s not as colorful and animated/kinetic as, say, Wildstar is shaping up to be; it’s similar to Guild Wars (the first one, at least) in this department.

      What I really liked was character building. IIRC, you pick a class, but each class has an array of “Soul” talent trees that unlock a subsequent array of different passives and active abilities. You can pick and choose to spec into three of these Souls at any given time, and there were, subsequently, a number of ways to go down any given Soul tree. Switching out/re-speccing trees was a nominal in-game gold cost, I believe.

      This allowed, what felt like, at least, a lot of freedom to find combos and play styles to suit your taste and role.

      • nrvsNRG says:

        Thanx for your input. Ive actually been playing it in the last few hours. Not too bad so far, I think I may end up liking it more then GW2 and Neverwinter. It’ll do until Wildstar anyway.
        (btw, your’re right about the soul tree….looks huge and varied which is just what I like)

      • SwobyJ says:

        Rift has gone through major changes in the 2+ years since launch, but at its core, you’re still correct. However, 12 (soon 13) patches and an expansion means that a lot is different :)

  10. strangeloup says:

    I vaguely recall getting a free copy of Rift through some promotion that GMG had a while back, in association with The Sun, of all things. As is customary with these things you got 30 days of game time before having to pay.

    I got fed up of it in 30 minutes.

    Quite happy with Neverwinter and The Secret World on the MMO front for now, though somewhat regretting Guild Wars 2 as it’s got to the point where the prospect of playing it isn’t interesting enough to wait for it to patch anymore.

  11. hitnrun says:

    Best of the clones (i.e., every MMO except Eve) IMO. Will play again.

    If you’re a glutton for kidding yourself into thinking that This MMO Will Be Different, I highly recommend trying Rift. It really was different, but only kinda. Its class system was really neat and complex and it required the first actual thought in an MMO since you were speccing that Mage in 2005.

    The problem was that what it copied, it copied wholesale. For example, within two months they were churning out those vomit-inducing, world-spanning novelty events that clutter up your quest log and inventory and make you feel guilty for playing the actual game. Barf.

  12. AnotherGamingEnglishman says:

    Hey this is pretty darn good news! I enjoyed Rift on launch, but ultimately (like many others I gather) I found that it simply didn’t differentiate itself enough from other MMOs to be worth the subscription fee. Which was a shame, because it definitely had some innovative ideas. Might have to jump back in again… If I can squeeze it in between GW2 and Neverwinter.

  13. GoliathBro says:


    I gave this a whirl about two months ago, it’s a very solidly built game. A hell of a lot like WoW, but with plenty of it’s own flavour to make the experience fresh. I stopped playing before I hit level 20 because the game was completely dead. Apparently all the players are off someplace else in high level expansion land, leaving the lowbie areas pitifully underpopulated.

    • SwobyJ says:

      That we did :( (and there isn’t much incentive for alts), sorry!

      Hopefully with F2P we’ll see the Lv 6-52 zones more full again.

  14. Faxanadu says:

    Can someone tell me if there’s PvP in Rift and what is it like?

    • hitnrun says:

      The “rules” are set up like WoW, or at least it was 2 years ago. (The game innovates, but the things they copy, they *really* copy.) World PvP was fun but disorganized – squabbling over overlapping quest areas, but lots of opportunity for memorable skirmishes. 2 of the battleground modes were fun, the other less so.

      The PvP really shines in the intricate interplay between the multitude of viable (and unviable, but startling) specs in the classes. You largely don’t know what someone can do or how well they can do it until you lock horns with them. It’s hard to even describe how they play out without playing it, and I suppose if it’s free there’s no reason not to. It’s likely that this feeling goes away once theorycrafting kicks in as you reach the cap, but the experience of figuring it out is highly recommended. By me, anyway.

      The only caveat is I think that there was some controversy with 1 or two specs being absolutely ridiculously OP on purpose, and the person in charge of balance was the same guy who made the same flavors of class absolutely ridiculously OP in Warhammer Online, so there was a lot of disgust over that. I’d like to think they figured it out since it was 2 years ago.

  15. engion3 says:

    Game was stellar. UI, graphics, gameplay, by far the best wow clone and the random rift events where insane fun. Might give it another download since it’s free.

  16. ZedZed says:

    Why do we go from £8.99 a month (or more) to F2P? Most people that I know that really like an MMO would prefer to pay a (small) fee a month and not be bothered with a “cash shop”. So once an MMO is out there and numbers start dropping why not just make it “1 month free then £2.99 a month”? People don’t like paying around £10 a month for something they’re not using (much) – but £2.99 … “well … it’s only a few quid and if I only play once a month that’s fine”. That sorta thing. Just an idea!

  17. vexis58 says:

    I subscribed to RIFT for a month or two when it first came out, and have not been interested in playing it more since then. GW2 has completely encompassed everything that was interesting about it.

    Thinking back on it now, the main reason why I found it so uninteresting was the lack of player race variety. Sure, there were ~4 races per faction, but every last one of them was “shorter human” “human with long ears” “dark-skinned human with pointy ears” and they all used the same exact animations, just with different heights and skin variations. I’d much rather play WoW or GW2 in which each race is completely unique from the others.

    • hitnrun says:

      This is true. Even as an advocate of the position that Rift is the least bad wowclone, I was disappointed with the races. The Large race (on the defiant side) (which of course was my character) had a particularly annoying habit of whipping around his 2-handed weapon with one hand, which looked pretty stupid on a tapering weapon or a polearm.

      And I wasn’t engaged by the lore generally, but many would likely disagree with that. It was very thoroughly polished, and a brisk though short walk from the fantasy standards, but it just didn’t click my “this is interesting” button.

      • SwobyJ says:

        The lore is great imo, but the presentation is lackluster at best.

        Compared to TSW being great at both the lore and the presentation.

        And TOR being ok at the lore and good at the presentation.

        And GW2 being lackluster at the lore but alright at the presentation.

        Um where was I… ah! Yeah, Rift lore is actually a lot deeper and interesting than people think. The problem is, their design puts little emphasis on it, so it’s not just optional, but instead put off into the corner (that corner being the limited story quests/epic quests, Chronicles, artifact sets, and raid RP sequences).

        • jrodman says:

          But Rift combat is OK, while TSW is terrible, and TOR is passable and GW2 is decent.

  18. iridescence says:

    This is cool. Just a couple of days ago while being frustrated with the dumbed down simplicity of Neverwinter’s combat I was thinking “Now, I wish Rift was F2P. That game had cool combat and class customization.” Guess Trion read my mind :)

    Rift and early LOTRO are my 2 favorite themepark MMOs. The cash shop ruined LOTRO for me. Here’s hoping it won’t do the same for Rift.

  19. pupsikaso says:

    I’m looking forward to this. I tried Rift when it first came out and liked it for a while. I don’t remember why I stopped playing. Probably a combination of WoW fatigue and that the over-hyped rifts turned out to be glorified public quests ala WAR.
    Being free I want to give it another shot. Who knows, maybe they’ve made some good changes since release.