Another MMO bites the dust. Well, sort of. Rather than closing up shop entirely, Trion Worlds will do with Rift what most do to MMOs when subscriptions no longer support the game — turn to a free-to-play business model.
Starting June 12, 2013, Rift will go free-to-play with all current and future content — every dungeon, every zone, and every level — available for no subscription. To support the change, Trion will expand the in-game store with a variety of services — mounts, boots, wardrobe items, and more — available for purchase. Trion isn't completely abandoning the idea of a subscription as they will offer an optional service that grants a slew of "Patron" benefits. All current and previous subscribers will be granted loyalty and currency rewards for their investment into Rift.
“We have been listening to feedback from our players and watching the continuously developing MMO community, and are now ready to launch Rift as a premium free-to-play experience,” said Bill Fisher, Creative Director of Rift . “After taking our time and planning a careful transition; we are very excited to bring an enhanced game experience to everyone, without barriers.”
Don't worry, free-to-play doesn't mean pay-to-win. The best items in the game will be available for anyone to obtain — regardless of how much money is dumped in. The ideal goal — as with most free-to-play MMOs — is to have as little barriers as possible.
Rift will kick off its free-to-play model with content update 2.3, Empyreal Assault, which will be totally free to download. This will open up a brand new zone, introduce a world event, chronicle, and much more.