Rift is one of the few, rather excellent subscription MMOs still remaining, so its conversion to free-to-play is a little scarier than the usual case. But you can relax, okay? Things will be just fine. Trion Worlds has released an FAQ detailing the three different payment levels, and they ensure us that "free-to-play" is not a euphemism for pay-to-win—"the best items in the game will always have to be earned in Telara."
After the crossover date of June 12, Subscribers will still be a thing. Known as Patrons, they'll receive a slew of benefits for their monthly $15 payment, including a 15% increase on in-game currency earned; a daily boost to XP, PvP XP, and reputation gain; 10% faster mounted travel speed; and instant access to banks and trainers. Oh, and also a 10% discount at the Rift in-game store. These benefits will be available in the Rift store for 3-, 15-, and 30-day durations as well, for those who don't want to give the full measure of subscribing.
Ah, but what of the free players, you may wonder? Entirely new players will have their character slots knocked down to a maximum of two, and their bag slots to three. But if you've ever purchased Rift before, these slots will remain at six and five respectively—and you're still able to buy Rift any time before June 12, if you're an intended newcomer to Telara and don't want to be restricted. (The expansion's benefits, of course, will still need to be paid for, even by Subscribers.)
Finally, a loyalty program is forthcoming, replacing the previous Veteran Awards. A full preview 's available in a letter from producer Bill Fisher.
We loved Rift upon release, so we're hoping that its free-to-play crossover happens with a minimum of hitches. Personally, I canceled my own subscription due to a lack of funds, so the prospect of getting back into Telara is rather exciting. Though I hear I'll still need the currency they refer to as "free time," and who knows what zone I'm supposed to farm that in.