Monday, May 16, 2016

A Look at Rift's F2P Nature





While I wouldn't say that being free to play is one of the main draws of Rift, because it obviously isn't, it is in fact quite a major factor for the vast category of players out there who cannot afford to, or simply do not want to pay for the experience Rift specifically, and other games like Rift, bring to the table. As you all know, Rift started out on a subscription-based model and it later made the transition to F2P, looking to earn its revenues through a different business-model. The bottom line remains though that the game has to generate revenues, so such F2P setups always aim to pull off a delicate balancing act which is indeed not an easy feat.

At first, Rift left everything open for players, but as the revenues obviously suffered, they began tightening things up here and there, and these days, there are some rather frustrating barriers in the game for F2P players, aimed at making them cough up some cash. Make no mistake, the vast majority of the game is still accessible for everyone cost-free, and that means the above said pay-barriers won't really make much of a difference for recreational players and those who do not aim to dominate the ranks. The highest level currently (65) can be reached, and the Planar Attunement tiers can also be filled up all the way. When the end-game is reached however, that's when some of these barriers come into play.

One of  the limitations that many have complained about is the fact that while one can indeed play random dungeons, one cannot pick a specific one. That's quite an issue when it comes to looking for a specific drop and farming for a specific item. Possibly more importantly though, it has an effect on the quest-line too, which sometimes requires players to play specific dungeons in order to move on.

The very same issue is present with warfronts as well: random ones can be played, but not specific ones, and this impacts  PvP quests, both daily and weekly ones, as well as the weekend warfronts which hand out extra rewards. In this case, there is no way around the problem either.

The answer to all these problems is obviously the Patron system, which makes everything much easier to accomplish in the game, leading to a much smoother and satisfying Rift experience. The benefits of the Patron system permeate the very fabric of the game, covering everything from platinum drop rates, to experience gained, the number of daily quests, to prestige and favor and even mount speed. While it's definitely NOT necessary for a wholesome Rift experience, the Patron system is a massive plus, especially for those who play competitively or in a hardcore manner, so much so that it is in fact quite indispensible for such players. Those who just play for the story, or with the aim of reaching end-game, won't really need it much, so for such players, the game is indeed a genuine F2P one.

Philip Talberg has covered the TI 2015 at the world's best eSports destination: Gosugamers.net.

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