They said it would happen in the ancient texts of May 2013, and lo, it has come to pass. RIFT, the previously not free MMO is now a free MMO. And they promise "no trials, no tricks and no traps."
The promise here is that there's no "pay to win" at all. The game's creative director, Bill Fisher, explains:
"The aim is to keep free and paid players on the same level — this is not pay-to-win. Players will see key differences between RIFT and other MMOs that have adopted free-to-play: we don’t restrict content, and we don’t offer pay-to-win items."
Instead, it seems, they're just going to charge for fiddly stuff. So a much enlarged in-game store will now ask for money in exchange for mounts, pets, "boosts" (which can't be that boosty if his statement is true), and the like. But they re-emphasise that "the best gear" must be found by playing.
This coincides with the 2.3 update, Empyreal Assault, which adds a new zone - Dendrome - new raids, bosses, etc. You know the stuff. Here's the trailer that's excited about all that.
Not being a RIFT player, it's hard to tell from the claims what a difference this'll make to the game, and why current subscribers would want to carry on paying. If you're a RIFT player, let us know your experiences.