This is one of those mornings that I don’t really know what to write for the intro. I am blaming it on feeling groggy and the excess amount of asthma medication I have been taking to get over this rough spot. I ended up having to go into work after all yesterday, since there were events happening that I had to deal with personally. I managed to get through most of the day by taking a double breathing treatment and just dealing. Ironically it was going to lunch that killed me… we went to a new BBQ joint around the corner… and I did not factor in the “bbq smoke” factor.
F2P Done Right
If you have been playing Rift for awhile, then yesterday was like Christmas morning. Upon logging into the game yesterday I was greeted with so many patron benefits. There was this huge graphic ticking down all of the loyalty points I had received and an odd burst of onscreen confetti. Essentially I was roughly halfway through the purple tier of loyalty, and therefor got all the rewards leading up to that. Additionally I had roughly 32,000 gems waiting on me to spend. I was like a kid in the candy store looking through all the possibilities that I could purchase.
Essentially it seems like almost everything that required a significant platinum outlay is now purchasable with gems. This includes wardrobe slots, extra souls, extra bank vault tabs, 2 new extra bag slots, mounts of all speeds, dimension goodies, wardrobes and equipment. Just through loyalty bonuses, it seems as though I got two extra roles, as I now have my 5th and 6th role available. One of the coolest rewards that I have yet to get permanently gives your player portrait the circle of red thorns that denotes an elite mob. Trion has put in so much work on making this something really awesome for all players.
One of the changes that I was not fully expecting is the fact that every single vendor UI in the game has been updated. This has several sweeping effects on the gameplay in general, almost all of which for the better. The screenshot above shows one of the recipe vendors in Meridian. You will notice there is now a built in preview window so that simply clicking on an item previews its appearance. Additionally if the item can be purchased with multiple currencies… platinum, special currency or store gems the prices are all listed out separately.
The big change I was not expecting is the fact that you can open this store pretty much anywhere in the world, and purchase almost any faction specific item. If the item requires a specific faction, it will be listed as well. I have never been able to remember which vendor sold which item, especially when it comes to the various faction locked dimension baubles. This gives you one extremely powerful, searchable and filterable UI for accessing all of these vendors. Additionally this also means that you can purchase your raid and dungeon mark gear from anywhere in the world… including inside of that dungeon.
The thing that has overwhelmed me is the concept of just how much stuff is now up on the store. In the wardrobes section for example… there are literally several hundred outfits to choose from, including some new premium outfits. Essentially it seems that pretty much any graphical appearance that exists out in the world somewhere… can be purchased through the store. The other thing I noticed is that you don’t have to buy just completed outfits… if you farmed your little arse off to get some appearance but were missing the boots… you can just pick up said boots.
So far the pricing model seems more than fair to players. I want to say last night I saw that $20 bought you roughly 3200 gems. So many of the items I actually wanted were well under 1000 gems. This included 150% speed mounts, large dimensions, almost all of the wardrobes. The bank vaults and two inventory tabs were fairly expensive but still within the 1000 gem range. The one intriguing item to me was the trade skill slot unlocks. Apparently you can now have up to 9 trades kills on a single character and it is 1200 roughly per unlock.
I’ve essentially blown through all the gems that they gave me for extended loyalty, but I managed to get so many things that I felt I never could have. I am horrible at farming currency in MMOs… it is just not a thing I enjoy doing at all. I have a love/hate relationship with daily quests, and I have never been one to touch the auction house other than to purchase items. The concept of acquiring money through any way other than the random and constant killing of monsters just feels tedious as fuck to me. So as a result I always felt like I lacked the cash in game to do the things I really wanted to do.
Last night changed all that… with the freebie currency I
- Purchased the Moonshade Pools Dimension
- Picked up several random Dimension Items Packs
- Picked up two Large Houses for the Dimension
- Bought the spiffy black gothic wardrobe outfit
- Upgraded my mount to 150%
- Bought the two extra bag slots
- Bought most of the new bank vault tabs
- Bought 3 new wardrobe slots
- Bought an assortment of the Deeps boxes
- Bought 2 Trade skill slots so I could add on Weapon-smithing and Foraging
- Various sundry other little things…
I feel like I got massive amounts of quality of life things for the gems, things that I had always wanted but never had the platinum to pick up. Essentially every thing I saw last night felt extremely reasonable price wise. There are no $20 dollar pets or horses there… even the most expensive mounts would have been maybe $10 in gems. This combined with all the nifty loyalty perks… like a 1 hour timer teleport to Tempest Bay made last night an extremely exciting night for me.
The negative side effect of all this goodness.. is the fact that it has brought back queues for Rift with a vengeance. Patrons aka subscribers cut to the front of the line… but on most servers there was still a significant queue for Patrons. On Deepwood we had a roughly 20 minute patron queue, but on Faeblight they were up to an hour and a half at one point according to friends. This is going to frustrate a large number of players, so I hope there is something they can do to alleviate the server load at least temporarily.
I think it is awesome that pretty much everyone is coming back. I have friends who had no interest in the game previously, patching back up their game clients to log in and check it out. The real test will be whether or not the players stay. Rift is one of those games that I would absolutely love… if I had a stable group of friends that wanted to play it. Since our release guild fell apart as folks got bored with the game… I have essentially been flitting back and forth between guilds trying to find a new home. The group I am with now is super nice, but it just isn’t the same as playing with the Stalwarts. Fifteen years of assorted friendships cannot be replaced that quickly with new ones.
I feel like these changes however have lit a new fire under players to come back to Rift. There is so much good happening in the game right now, so many amazing systems to play with. I am overwhelmed by just how good the store implementation is. I was expecting Trion to dip their toes in the water, but instead they turned on the fire hose. The real challenge will be whether or not they can keep adding new and interesting reasons for people to spend money to the already significant catalog of items.
I need to wrap up and get on in to work. I hope you all have an amazing day out there… and if you find yourself checking in on Rift, make sure to add Belghast@Deepwood and Belgrave@Deepwood to your friends lists. I know I will be spending quite a bit of time in game in the coming weeks, and those tend to be the two characters I play the most. I have a lot of friends starting up or getting back into the game, so here is hoping we can get some grouping going.