So I finally used my codes for a copy of Rift I got a long time ago to continue playing past 20 in Rift and am absolutely looking forward to more time enjoying the content in this linear but fascinating MMO.
There is only one problem for me in playing Rift, and that's my alt habit. You see, I treat MMOs like alts, and with the dominance of the f2p market, I very often find myself jumping from title to title; a few times I manage to keep at 2 games at once. Where in this moment, I "play" GW2 and Rift, it is more like a pause in the shuffle. What I need is either to maintain 2 concurrent games for when one gets a little stale, or just stick with one.
This problem began when after a year and a half of WoW, I wanted to play another MMO, or hell anything else really. So I began jumping around from MMO to MMO, beginning with EVE and finally settling in Atlantica Online for a while before discovering how neat LotRO was. This rootles period lasted about a year, with the only substantial gametime spent in Atlantica. When LotRO's deed grinding became oppressive, I moved on, embracing the former rootlessness with abandon.
I kept telling myself that these were alts but at least alts you keep up with to some degree. The f2p market was exploding - Fallen Earth, CoH, etc. etc. There were some pretty good games floating out there now accessible to my fleeting touch.
But now, I am afraid that I just want a freaking game to hold me, perhaps with a subscription that ties me into its world with that obligation. And the thing with Rift is that the sub seems meaningful for a number of reasons:
1. This game would not work as f2p. The way that classes and the world are structured, the only way that f2p would work would be to gate either the content or the gear through the cash shop, but this could very well distort gameplay in ways that might make the game very unpalatable. A good portion of the content is distributed through the Rift concept (rifts, tears, planar invasions, crafting rifts, chronicles), and where zones might be a la carte such as LotRO's zones, the core of the gameplay would need be subject to the same tinkering. So sorry f2pers can't participate in this invasion until they sub or buy the ability to fight these invasions off (see how silly that sounds). And since Rift is a gear progression-oriented themepark and since its vanity items don't appear to be very robust, gating gear would of course distort the very progression that gear represents. I guess the AA system (the attunements) can be purchaseable, but that's a tiny sliver of progression. Maybe Trion would be able to pull this off, but I really would prefer the game to remain as is with their earnest content development focused on the game and not monetization.
2. Rift works actually better than WoW at delivering solid AAA content, while yanking its themepark strings on the levelling design, and the sub should be the norm for this kind of content delivery. I don't have a problem with cash shops at all really (I love LotRO and Atlantica and a few other cash shop games), but the point of Rift seems to be this content-rich environment. The cash shop approach would break immersion from the content and invite me to jump around again, maybe visiting Rift on occasion, and I would then be missing the point of Rift entirely.
So while this post has turned into a f2p rant, I actually intended it to be a rumination on my habit of jumping MMOs and my worries about being able to stay in Rift with this crazy habit of treating MMOs themselves like alts. Another issue is that I really, really want to play FFXIV 2.0 when it comes out. Will I shuffle two subs at once? And then this invites a 3rd f2p game, GW2, maybe, and you see how this madness continues....