The online game-subscription model has generally waned in recent years, overtaken by the popularity (and apparent profitability) of “free-to-play” (F2P) fare. One of the earliest MMORPGs to switch to a F2P model, the Trion-published Rift, announced a curious change coming to its payment model: a branch-off of one Rift server, and its entire gameplay and payment structure, to return to the flat subscription model later this year.
As reported by Kotaku, the game’s developers announced plans for this new version, dubbed Rift Prime, in a Friday blog post. The plan actually began life months earlier when Trion asked fans about the idea of a “challenge server” product—meaning, a version of the game that was harder and segregated interested players into their own, higher-difficulty pool of players. Fan response to the pitch went a different direction.
The players’ “strongest cues,” the devs write, revolved around “how to make the business model more appealing.”