RIFT Prime is an interesting idea, but will it get me back?

I wasn’t anticipating thinking about or even playing RIFT right now (I always am in a process of drifting away or toward the game, and right now am probably somewhere in the middle of that), but yesterday’s announcement of a new RIFT Prime server for this spring kind of caught my attention.

If you didn’t see it, the idea is to create a new type of subscription-only server that won’t have most of the F2P elements (like lockboxes) but will feature special achievements and rewards, accelerated progression, monthly milestones, zones scaling to characters’ level, level-appropriate loot in all dungeons, a cap on professions, and a trip back through the game — with a server conclusion at some point.

It’s not quite a vanilla server, but it is a definite change from the current server status quo: “We plan to present RIFT at its roots as much as is possible to do, and look forward to sharing details over the coming weeks. The Prime server will progress at a faster pace than the original launch and will eventually come to an end in spectacular fashion.”

So as a former RIFT player, the question in front of me is, “Is this something that raises my interest and will it be compelling enough to call me back to the game?” I would say that “yes” and “maybe” are my answers.

I think we’re seeing a small but noticeable revolution among MMOs to present classic, legacy, progression, and other alternate ruleset servers. The EverQuest games have been doing this for years, of course, but now we’ve seen how popular Old School RuneScape is and are drooling for World of Warcraft Classic. It’s a good idea for RIFT to look into this, because the general perception of this MMO is that it was incredibly fun in vanilla, suffered over the rollout of expansions, and was dragged down by the overly aggressive F2P business model practices. Now Trion can offer two versions of the game to players and see which appeals more.

I have reservations. I have questions. We obviously need a lot more specific details here, and I am wondering the most about the pace of progression (will it be a stressful race?) and the decision to give the Prime server a definite conclusion. Even with rewards porting over (to characters I don’t play at the moment), having a looming end date does sap enthusiasm. And housing! Why would I engage in dimensions if it is all going to end, unless I can take that dimension with me? Housing is one of the best parts of RIFT and it would be a shame not to partake in that because I was afraid of assured demolition.

But will there be a restart of a second prime server? That was the idea with the challenge servers that Trion presented last year, and if the studio can come up with a format that encourages subscribing players to reroll while keeping the interim experience fun and enjoyable, it could go a long way to taking the stale feeling out of the endgame.

I’m going to think on it, especially as more info comes in. I could very well see myself subbing up for a month to see how this goes, especially if there is a groundswell of community excitement over it. There are so many things that I love about RIFT, and I do miss it a lot sometimes — especially how it used to be in those first couple of years. What about you? Did this announcement have you mulling over a return to the game? Is this a good move to offer a lockbox-free, sub-only solution?

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6 thoughts on “RIFT Prime is an interesting idea, but will it get me back?

  1. DonV January 19, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    Rift was a game with a lot of potential. I was the leader of a small guild we formed during beta. For me it was just a number of things that wound the game down for me to the point where I quit and never went back. It took me too long to download the game and so I had lost a few guild members before I could even get in the game. The remaining few soldiered on and it was not bad till the power gamers capped and then started farming the low level areas for comendations. This kind of turned the starting areas into no fun waste land. I think returning would depend on the player base / community. In any case this game would probably not compete well with my current subscription lineup.

  2. bhagpuss January 19, 2018 / 3:09 pm

    Hmm. I would need a LOT of reassurance before paying a subscription for this. Why accelerate the pace? By how much? What is a less aggressive cash shop? How long before the server ends?

    Also, above all, I have no interest in any part of Rift beyond Vanilla, so there’s no chance i’d want to play on for even the first expansion. When I played from launch, with everything new and fresh, I lasted six months of which only the first three were really enjoyable. That doesn’t really suggest much of a shelf-life for a return visit. I guess I might sub for a month and see how it goes – chances are I’d have wrung all the fun out of it I’m going to get in the first week or two anyway…

    Now a F2P server that stays Vanilla forever, that would see me coming and going indefinitely. Might not get much money out of me though, not even the $9.99 of a single monthly sub, so I see why they’re going the route they are.

  3. Telwyn January 21, 2018 / 4:24 am

    I think for me the most important issue is whether they’ve tried to learn from post-expansion experiences. If there are big experience curve and difficulty level bumps post 50 it would be of very imited time interest to me if at all. Also if players can bring their uber high level characters down-synced it’ll make Rifts and Invasions very difficult to meaningfully participate in – they need to isolate the server from high level characters “visiting” and cross-server groups: one person deciding they want to trivialise the Rift or whatever will have an impact on everyone else’s experience of playing public content.

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