MMO Rift went free-to-play in 2011, opening its gates to more players but also ushering in loot boxes and a store packed with items you could buy with real money to make the game a lot easier. After a long think (and no doubt influenced by player pushback against microtransactions), developer Trion Worlds is going back to its roots by introducing a paid subscription model for a server free of loot boxes.
The Rift Prime server will launch in Spring. We don't yet know how much it'll cost to join, but we do know that the in-game store will be "significantly reduced, with more of the current store-based items obtained through gameplay or removed entirely". Sounds good to me.
Not all of Rift's content will be available on the Prime server from the start—instead, players will start afresh and Trion Worlds will drip-feed existing content as players progress, almost like a new MMO, albeit with everything introduced at a much faster pace. The developer promises this progression will come "to an end in spectacular fashion", too.
"As a small teaser of what’s to come, [expect] dynamically matching characters to their current zone’s level, dungeons dropping loot specific to your character’s true level, caps on the number of professions available to a single character, and participation awards that carry over to your characters on existing servers," it said in a blog post.
I've never played Rift, but Jonathan was very impressed when it came out. For players that love the game but hate its business model, this could be a no-brainer.