It’s no secret that RIFT has a generous business model. The slogan “No Tricks, No Trials, No Traps” has proven true and made the game a beacon for free-to-play design. There is a store, and Trion would sure like it if you used it, but if you don’t, there is still a whole game to explore, all the way through endgame. That raises the question: why exactly would you subscribe and is it even worth it when so much is available for free? That’s the question we’re out to answer today.
The topic is on a lot of player’s minds right now. Just this week, Trion announced that they were expanding the benefits of becoming a patron – their term for a monthly subscriber – and giving players even more reason to sign up for a recurring plan. Let’s look at where things stand.
For clarity’s sake, this is what patrons have received all along: 15% extra currency; summonable bankers and trainers; 10% mount speed; 10% store discount; an extra ten daily quests; a free weekly supply crate; priority queue; artifact tracking (especially important with Dream Weaving in the game); and loyalty points.
This week’s expansion will add a passive 40% bonus to all experience, favor, notoriety, prestige, and tokens; 25% reduction in time to mount with 5% less chance to be dismounted; a free teleport anywhere in the world every thirty minutes; increased chance for marvelous loot from any supply crates; three extra weekly warfront charges; and a shorter 15-minute cooldown on all planar abilities.
Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? It’s hard to argue that patron’s don’t have a better deal. Some players might even argue that it tips the scales a little too much. And again, looking at profound buffs like the passive 40% bonus to all experience, prestige/favor, and tokens, it’s easy to see how free players might be tempted to pull out their wallets. But should they?
The question of whether becoming a patron is a worthwhile decision comes down to how dedicated you are to RIFT. Players who aren’t ponying up receive significantly less while simultaneously receiving significantly more than most other games they could be playing. For a casual player, there is no high pressure reason to become a subscriber (but those perks a good low pressure reasons to do so). Someone who plays every day… now they might want to give some thought to porting around the world and progressing 40% faster. But we’re forgetting something: that looming, dripping behemoth we call Nightmare Tide.
I’ll be honest with you all. We’re friends, right? Well, as friends, I feel comfortable telling you that I don’t spend a whole lot of money on RIFT. When something new comes along, like the recent pre-expansion soul pack, I’ll ease the open the ol’ money clip, but in a general sense, I’m not paying Trion every month. When I do, it’s usually less than the $15 I paid beforehand.
With Nightmare Tide coming along, my priorities are changing. All the sudden, I want to have a level 60 of each calling. Having already leveled through the old world more times than I care to repeat, the idea of doing it all again doesn’t appeal to me. What the patron bonuses offer me most is speed, more so than ever before without using booster potions. Those teleports and the 40% bonus to experience and PVP levels mean more to me than all the summonable bankers and supply crates in the world. If I want to go even faster, I can still buy a better boost on the store. It means rapidity, fluidity to race through the remaining zones and make sure all of my Ts are crossed in time for the expansion.
What Trion is banking on here is that the excitement for Nightmare Tide will finally push players over the edge, and they’re offering a mighty generous package to do it. Even if you’re done leveling your characters and couldn’t care less about preparing, there is something to tempt you into spending money. Maybe tokens are your thing. Maybe its artifact collecting. Or maybe you just hate running back to a porticulum every time you need to travel. Patrons have it easy, no matter how they play.
Since the free-to-play switch, I never once signed up as a regular patron. I wrote it off, if truth be told, because the basic experience was the very thing I had paid years for. Playing for free was the same as being last year’s subscriber. I was playing “normal” RIFT and happy for it, buying my perks at a whim. Now, as Trion piles layer upon layer of perks and benefits on subscribers, I’m beginning to feel like this is the new normal. Patrons just have it so much breezier than free players. Is that spoiled or what?
So returning to the original question, is patron status worth it? The answer depends on how you play and what your goals are, but unless you’re a weekend warrior, flitting in and out and never really getting invested, it’s probably yes. Being a patron isn’t required to enjoy RIFT to its fullest but it sure seems to make it better.
Are you a patron? Considering it? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Christopher Coke / Chris has been a RIFT fan since the days of beta. He hosted the RIFT Watchers podcast throughout 2011 and has reported on the game ever since. These days you can find him pretending he’s a battery with his cleric on Faeblight. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight.