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?