I had kind of fallen into one of my “off again” phases with RIFT shortly before the free-to-play announcement, and of course being a grump I certainly wasn’t going to log on again after. In fact, I wasn’t planning on logging into RIFT at all, but as is so often the case my friends are terrible enablers.
One of them IMed me late last night and said simply, “Hey, did you know you can buy the space horse with F2P credits?”. For over a year the space horse, a.k.a Nebula, was the thing I coveted most in RIFT. Was it worth relenting on my grump stance and checking out the game’s changes? For a horse that looks like it’s made of space? Um, duh.
The first thing I noticed — thanks to the big pop-up and tickertape rain — was the new loyalty system. What was previously sold as veteran rewards on a special vendor is now available through loyalty tiers. Loyalty was granted to subscribers based on their activity, and can be earned in the future by buying and using cash shop currency. To be fair you get perks sprinkled throughout a loyalty level and a bunch of stuff at the end, and the gifts seem to be everything that was on the old veteran reward vendor plus funky new things like a pet gift box and hats. Apparently I’m already halfway through the “epic” loyalty tier.
Speaking of the cash shop, I have to admit that I’m pleased with the amount of credits I received in the F2P switch as permanent subscriber and one of the suckers who got the Storm Legion 12-month package. I had almost 12,000 green diamond thingies, worth about $60 on the store, and mounts ranged from 200-1200 in price. The selection of items in the shop is pretty much the usual — mounts, pets, costumes, dimension stuff, cosmetic changes, and so on.
A new set of gear is available for players every 10 levels, going up to a tier below whatever is current. Someone on the official forums worked out that it would be roughly $50 to buy gear from level 10-59, although why someone would spend money on level 20 pants totally escapes me.
The new cash shop also seems to have replaced the lingering post-event vendors. Applicable items can be bought with the pre-requisite event currency (for those who participated but forgot to buy things) or green diamond thingies. This new system enabled me to buy my pretty space horse, so I recognize the hypocrisy in what I’m about to say, but I hope event items aren’t available for cash until after the event is over.
I like spending a week or whatever collecting special currency for event items, and it will honestly degrade the value of said items to me if someone can come along at the same time and plop down $5 for an instant horse. Honestly, I feel sort of bad for people who went through the huge grind during Summerfest to get Nebula, particularly as it was a grind I opted to skip at the time because it seemed so heinous.
But now is not the time for sombre reflection — now is the time for ponies. I spent just over 800 green diamond thingies for the space pony, and then picked up an Akylios balloon for another 200. Judging by the prices that’s roughly $6 for the mount and $1 for the pet, although thinking about it that way makes me feel awkward. The remaining 11,000 or so credits are unspent. I’m not sure if I’ll get anything else, or at least not for a while.
So, in conclusion, ponies are nice and the RIFT F2P conversion seems to be pretty generous for long time subscribers. Meridian and Port Scion looked quite busy, although the quality of General Chat was much, much worse.
Logging on again did remind me of one thing — I truly have loved RIFT, in a way that was previously reserved only for World of Warcraft. It’s a great game, run by what I think is still a great company. I’m sorry to see that they had to resort to free-to-play, but on behalf of me and my spacepony I wish them nothing but the best.