Riftâ€™s reappearance on Steam in its free-to-play get-up two weeks ago wasnâ€™t heralded by choirs or TV spots or even interviews. But a big purple banner on the front page of Valveâ€™s platform can work wonders, and Trion World have reported their best numbers in quite some time.
Ever since I was a tiny child, I've had a love affair with an MMORPG. With huge open worlds, populated with thousands of players, each day would be laced with adventure. Some were short-lived affairs, while others earned months if not years of my attention. From Runescape, through to World of Warcraft, to more complicated fare like Eve Online - MMORPGs remain my preferred way to play.
And I think that if you choose the right game, they could be yours, too. Hereâ€™s my list of the 10 best MMORPGs on the market. Theyâ€™re in no particular order, but whichever place you choose to explore, will be stay with you. Hereâ€™s to growing old in strange new worlds.
Rift isnâ€™t known for its soft-footed approach, populated as it is by mountain-high titans whose stomps reverberate throughout its humongous world like distant Glastonbury soundchecks. Yet it clambered onto Steam last week, found a spare dark-grey page to nestle in, and remained there for four days before we stumbled across it.
The spookiest day of the year is fast approaching, when the dead will rise from their graves and consume vast quantities of sugary treats. Trion Worlds has been celebrating the best not-quite-a-holiday in Rift with the Autumn Harvest event. What's being harvested? Souls! Well, I don't know that for a fact, but it sounds appropriately Halloween-like.
There are a slew of Halloween gifts, prizes and activities on offer until November 4th, so consider slapping a pumpkin on your noggin and taking a look. It's free-to-play these days, so what's the harm?
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Rift had its cataclysmic event in expansion Storm Legion, when planar gates were opened and Colossi descended on its servers. And then it had another six months later, when it joined the legions of older MMOs abandoning their increasingly dangerous subs-marine for the free-to-play lifeboat.
Turns out the new Rift (â€œNo Trials. No Tricks. No Traps.") has done rather well for Trion Worlds since then.
The Rift that doesnâ€™t have an Oculus attached to it recently went totally free to play, shooing its MMORPG subscription model out the door before activating its paid-for cosmetic items store, which allows players to stock up on bedazzling costumes and other wonderful trinkets. Itâ€™s a tumultuous and often confusing time in any growing MMOs young life, the transition into a free to play model, all of these exciting new feelings and impulses, players where there were no players before.
So howâ€™s Rift handling it? Has it been a success? And how will the move affect further updates? How how how. I know all of the answers because I spoke to Simon Ffinch, with two effs, the senior design director on Rift at Trion, and he told me. He also revealed how he plays his own game in disguise in order to spy on players like a reverse Batman.
One of my most pleasurable surprises at E3 was a Trion-published MMO called ArcheAge. It caught me completely guard, ambushing my low-expectations for an imported Korean fantasy MMO using some spectacular ship battles, castle sieges, and an overall sensibility that sounds much more like EVE than any generic fantasy MMO.
Trion have broken from the mould of other free-to-play MMOs by choosing to avoid paygates and pay-to-win items. Instead, all the content is available to free players, with only elements like extra character slots and cosmetic items coming with a price tag attached.
Itâ€™s a progressive approach, one outlined in a new free-to-play features trailer.
For a while there, Rift was the post-WoW subscription success story to beat. No longer. As of this week, itâ€™s simply one of the more exceptional fantasy MMOs you can potter about in for free, or something close to it.
Trion Worlds are introducing something quite curious to the new, free-to-play Rift: Rift Exchange items, or REX. Theyâ€™ll form the basis of a new in-game stock exchange that Trion say will provide an avenue for free players to obtain items and services from the Rift store without the use of real money.
Rift has been the great (read: only) new subscription MMO success story of the decade, launching in 2011 to applause and a flood of direct debit details. But by mid-2012 subscriber numbers had begun to wane. In October Trion Worlds launched a new initiative with gaming social network Raptr to draw in fresh meat. In essence, the initiative saw players bribed with in-game items to keep playing. The result? The planes of Telara ran red with metaphorical new blood, and players began to play for longer too.
Starting on Thursday, Rift's land of Telara has been taken over by the Carnival of the Ascended, bringing with it pets for your pets, carnival games and class changes.
The full list of changes is copied in below but the biggest alterations which 2.2 brings is the new Planar Attunement Tier 3, Planar Attunement of War Tier 2, and the Planar Attunement level cap lift, increasing it to 1079.