Rift will be free-to-play in June

Phil Savage at

And strike another one off the rapidly diminishing list of surviving subscription MMOs. If there was any sub-based game not called "EVE" or "World of Warcraft" that had a possible, maybe, oh-so-slim chance of surviving with a monthly payment model, I'd have argued for Rift. If nothing else, it had a history of providing generous new content to validate its regular toll. Alas, no, Trion have now announced that, as of June 12th, Rift will be entirely free-to-play.

Actually, scratch that - this is great news. The prettyexcellent Rift will be entirely free to play!

A subscriber model remains, albeit with subscribers renamed as "Patrons" - as is customary during a free-to-play transition. Patrons will be getting additional buffs, but crucially, the world won't punish free players. "All players will have total access to the entire world," writes Rift creative director Bill Fischer. "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."

While new players will receive less starting inventory and character slots, Trion promise that for previous owners of the game - even those who no longer subscribe - nothing will be removed.

June 12th will also bring the game's 2.3 update, titled Empyreal Assault, adding a new zone, world event, Chronicle and "Stronghold" challenges.

For more details, check out Rift's free-to-play page.