RIFT addresses paywall controversy, explains F2P finances

The recent decision by Trion Worlds to set up what many see as a gear-related paywall in RIFT certainly has cause quite the discussion this week. The studio hasn’t been ignoring the controversy, but unleashed Director of Community Relations Linda “Brasse” Carlson on the forums to lay out the case for Trion’s balancing of its need to finance operations versus its desire to provide as much as possible for free.

RIFT is not dying, not by a long shot. What is happening now is a shift in how we ask for support to keep the game healthy and moving in the right direction,” Carlson wrote, going on to state that only a small percentage (seven to 15%) of players subscribe or purchase items from the cash shop. She said that she wished the studio had rolled in the new changes more gradually but didn’t apologize for the company’s need to make bank.

“It’s not a choice based on greed,” she wrote. “It’s a choice based on the reality of running a business, ANY business, be it retail, service, or even non-profit venture.”

On a separate thread, Carlson defended RIFT’s inclusion of lockboxes, saying that they were on par with opening packs in trading card games like Hearthstone. “Lockboxes work because they allow for the element of surprise and anticipation, which humans (and Dwarves) love. Endless reams of data support the fact that people enjoy being surprised, and will support lockboxes far more than buying individual items on the store.”

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249 Comments on "RIFT addresses paywall controversy, explains F2P finances"

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draylynn
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draylynn

TheGremmel Well, I suppose Archeage had to try and recover it’s cash somehow after such a bad start;
– Account database leaked. Accounts were locked for protection. Monkey support system confirmed users and accidentally IP banned legit players whilst removing the protection… then failed to remove the bans properly for weeks on end.
– Accounts are still going ‘walkies’.
– Exploits, hacks (a lot of economy/game breaking bugs) that were present in Beta, were reported repeatedly and are STILL present in game (something seen in their other titles too), rather than holding off release and actually fixing them like game developers used to do to make the game ‘fit for purpose’.
And instead of fixing the core issues, they decide to exploit the players for more money for an otherwise, broken game. It’s dishonest, quite frankly disgusting and not a single one of these companies will have my wallet any longer or sympathy, you reap what you sow.

BD isn’t much better, cash shop compensation, rather than fixing core issues… not to mention the game practically plays itself, it’s more point/click boredom.

Miss the good ol’ days of MMO’ing where you could pick up a game, play it and not worry about your account, or hackers exploiting the servers or having to pay real money just to keep up with other players, you know, the time before blizzard sold their soul towards the end of WOTLK.

F2P cash shop model doesn’t work, it’s destructive to the game, it’s destructive to players.

BigMikeyOcho
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BigMikeyOcho

SallyBowls1 Dixa Right on. I feel like paying for gaming time in the form of a subscription is the biggest ripoff there is. I really don’t mind paying and I’ll pay for games in 3 ways: pay up front, pay for content, pay for life. Asking me to pay, as an adult, for the one commodity I don’t have much of? Ridiculous. Subscriptions take advantage of way more psychological tricks than any lockbox does. Plus, you could ignore a lockbox, you can’t ignore a sub.

Malthesia
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Malthesia

BriarGrey Malthesia paragonlostinspace Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme Thanks so much for the suggestions! :) Hopefully she finds some of her friends from the Ice Age. :)

BriarGrey
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BriarGrey

Malthesia paragonlostinspace Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme Oh and also GS4’s public page – https://www.facebook.com/GemStone-IV-60194690885/?fref=ts  can probably find people by comments and such there too!

BriarGrey
Guest
BriarGrey

Malthesia paragonlostinspace Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme Hey, the wife in question here ;)  There is a group on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/gs4life/  It’s a closed group, so I think when you go to it, you just ask to join or something?  I read it from time to time.  Also, the PC forums are, I believe, still in operation, but I was never much of a presence there. 
The FB group would be my recommendation – there are about 700+ members, and there’s bound to be people who knew her and who know others who she may be looking for, for example – and from there you can friend them or message them, etc.  I’ll say I rarely even look at the group itself, but I found lots of people through it that I had missed :)

paragonlostinspace
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paragonlostinspace

Malthesia paragonlostinspace Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme   I’ll forward this onto the wife. Not sure if there is a GS list or something on Facebook.  :)

Malthesia
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Malthesia

paragonlostinspace Malthesia Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme Heheh..I hear you about being spread to thin at that particular place in time. Never mind the cost! :) Another reason why I love the pricing nowadays. I don’t think twice about paying subscription fees to 2-3 games that I really enjoy. Of course, finding time in the day to play them all is another matter…

My wife has been trying to get in touch with her old GSIII friends recently and hasn’t had much luck. I wonder if my wife and your wife have any friends in common…

paragonlostinspace
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paragonlostinspace

Malthesia paragonlostinspace Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme Thanks, its an addiction or so I tell the wife. Though I think I’d better make this one last for a few years or my wife will disown me. :) 

I recall when LoFP came out, I was so deeply committed at the time and DragonRealms when that came out that I was worried about spreading myself too thin and not getting anywhere. Always had to keep that sort of thing in mind due to playing with hourly charges in those days.  I felt I was spread too thin as it was due to also playing Multi-Player Battletech 3025 as well on GEnie.

 My wife keeps more in touch with the old GS crowd than I do these days. Mostly through Facebook, something I don’t care to really use. Plus she was staff with Simu for some years. She just passes on messages from them to me and visa versa these days. :)

Malthesia
Guest
Malthesia

paragonlostinspace Malthesia Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme Congrats on the new ride! :)

And, yeah, definitely a small world. My wife and I went on to work on a game called Legends of Future Past after we left GSIII.  Some of the people we met there are still friends 20 years later.

paragonlostinspace
Guest
paragonlostinspace

Malthesia paragonlostinspace Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme  Oh yeah I recall her name, I think her surname/name was Wayfinder. Yup there still is a street named after her priest. The Kelfour’s Edition/Chronicles of Kulthea recall correctly was the name of the paper. Louvella Parsnips always amused in the paper. Loved reading it, really miss the community.

Sorry for taking a day to reply. I went in for a service of my 2015 Softail Deluxe and had been grumbling about getting onto a touring motorcycle and well six hours later ended up leaving with a brand new Road Glide Special. lol Been busy since yesterday getting it all adjusted, set up and broken in. 

 Anyhow, gotta love how small our gaming world can be. :)

Lhumierre
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Lhumierre

It shouldn’t have went F2P honestly.

Vunak
Guest
Vunak

DugFromTheEarth Vunak Xijit
I understand how a business is run, You make calculated risks based on market data. This is not a calculated risk IF t hey were already doing reasonably well with the previous way the cash shop was being run. 
If that is the case, then it is like I said earlier. It seems like an act of desperation to monetize the game and the players to the extent that they get some more cash flow for more in depth updates to perhaps bring in more players. Pull a SWTOR. 
If the cash shop is doing reasonably well, then this is nothing but a greed move and goes against everything she has been posting about. Which seems more than likely the case with TRION based on previous games and monetization schemes.  
This is not a calculated risk. Players hate RNG, everyone knows players hate RNG especially RNG based on cash monetized items. Especially on things that gate players from simple things aka earring slots as she put it. 
She also goes on to say that cosmetic items are not enough to sustain, when in fact this has been proven false in many other F2P games. TERA and POE are examples of that. Running a successful business is about keeping your customers happy. This based on forum reaction and blogs around is doing the exact opposite. While a few intelligent individuals will see this as what it is. Many more will not and be upset as they have the right to be.

Zariarn
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Zariarn

ArbsX Xijit Zariarn   However you want to look at it I guess.  The only reason I quit ArcheAge is due to it being a time sink.  It had nothing to do with TRION.  I still believe people making it a lot worse than it actually is.  I don’t believe for a second that any other F2P company would have done it any different as a publisher.  You have to remind yourself that TRION just publishes the games.  90% of the so called problems are related to XL Games.(hacks and exploits)
Let it be known that I played the game casually.  It was fun and I was never affected by exploits, hacks, and/or so called p2w.  I just don’t have enough time that I want to put into the game.  It’s the reason I don’t play EVE also.

Jack Pipsam
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Jack Pipsam

Veldan Jack Pipsam That’s a shame, at SOE she had proper personality, but still managed to get across what needed to be said.
I mean it’s possible that she just had a better working relationship/power with the teams there than she does at Trion.

ArbsX
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ArbsX

Karl_Hungus Veldan blackcat7k Well that is what happens when they build a MMORPG on the Gamebyro Engine. 
An outdated Engine at that too, the last update came out in 2012.

ArbsX
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ArbsX

Xijit Zariarn I was excited for Archeage, I expected Trion to fuck up. But I wanted to be optimistic & have them surprise me. Nope they did exactly what I expected & it got worse.

Malthesia
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Malthesia

paragonlostinspace Malthesia Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme My wife played Taarna. Think she still has a street named after her in GSIV. :)  

Yeah, I really enjoyed the Shadow World setting. Heck, I even wrote up some lore articles based on the setting that got published in that monthly magazine they had. Kelfour’s Chronicle I think it was called.

paragonlostinspace
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paragonlostinspace

Malthesia paragonlostinspace Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme Oh and I miss recalled, it was 12.95 and hour by 92′-93. And yeah I think before that they were even higher prime time rates. heh… I just recalled that the 9.95 didn’t quite sound right, of course we’re talking now more than twenty years now! ((flails)) You gotta tell me which cleric your wife was, or actually priest as the class was known back then. :) 

I still prefer the older Shadow World setting as an aside, the deICEing was the worst thing that ever happened to the lore of the game world. Ah well. Anyhow I need to finish getting ready, taking the bike in for its service and to talk to them about a potential trade in next month. Oh and I played Greyslayer or Celtar back then.

Malthesia
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Malthesia

paragonlostinspace Malthesia Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme <laughs> Yeah, I think when I played GSIII (back in 1991-1992) our prime time day rates were $18.00 an hour. I’m very, very glad that I didn’t play a Cleric who could rez. :) My wife, at the time, was one of only two Clerics who could rez and she would often get those calls.

paragonlostinspace
Guest
paragonlostinspace

Malthesia paragonlostinspace Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme     Definitely, $15.00 a month for unlimited access, what a steal! I also had the $2.00 an hour extra surcharge of needing a Sprint Net node as well to connect to GEnie. Lol. Imagine players frame of mind if they also knew we had to pay an extra surcharge to log in during prime time day hours. If I recall that was $9.95 an hour not counting the Sprint Net surcharge. Always dreaded those phone calls during prime time asking me if I could log in and rescue gear and drag a corpse back to town to get healed and raised.

Malthesia
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Malthesia

paragonlostinspace Malthesia Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme Heh…I recall that the end for me was when my credit card statement showed up and I saw a $2,000 charge. To go along with that was a $900 phone bill because I didn’t have a local node. :) Granted, it wound up being worth it because I met my wife on GEnie, but, man, when we see a $15 monthly charge we thank our lucky stars for the value! :)

Inertpenguin
Guest
Inertpenguin

I think the main issue with F2P right now is it doesn’t really encourage a developer to expand and improve gameplay in an obvious sense.

When you profit from keeping people paying for access to content, content is what gets the focus. When you profit from selling premium items, premium items become the focus.

Wildstar is a great example of this problem. It went free to play and has gone 4 months without a drop (despite the renewed promise of quarterly updates before relaunch). Yet nearly every other week the cash shop has been updated with new costumes.

Free to play shouldn’t mean less to play, but it basically always does. And as people quit, they have to monetize the leftover players more and more… It’s an ugly cycle.

Veldan
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Veldan

Jack Pipsam I can only judge her by her RIFT forum posts, but… I’m not impressed. I often find her posts more annoying than comforting or informative.

Xijit
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Xijit

View post on imgur.com


Oops, yeah … Krill.

crackfox
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crackfox

Xijit Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme paragonlostinspace  I think you mean ‘krill’ rather than ‘kelp’. Tiny crustaceans.  The word means ‘small fry’ apparently. Seems rather appropriate in this context.

SwobyJ
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SwobyJ

A Dad Supreme SwobyJ Sythalin I’m just saying its restricting a lot of gear. Its not just looks.

Jack Pipsam
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Jack Pipsam

Wait Brasse is now working for Trion?
I knew she was one of the ones Daybreak sadly fired, I am glad she found another job, she’s great.

blackcat7k
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blackcat7k

Veldan blackcat7k 
A house built on the sand looks real good until the tide comes in. Most F2P conversions look real good until the developers realize that they’ve painted themselves into a corner and have to start with all manner of shenanigans to make money.

paragonlostinspace
Guest
paragonlostinspace

DrowNoble paragonlostinspace   Let me correct your opening line…

                      “Actually most of your points are 180 degrees off, in my opinion.”

                            -DrowNoble

  I’m not being elitist, I’m being logical and basing it on what I’ve been observing for a very long time with this hobby of mine. Not to also mention life experiences and observations that date a half century plus. (shrugs) In your opinion I am wrong, I can live with that.

DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

paragonlostinspace Actually most of your points are 180 degrees off.

F2P or B2P models are good for the mmorpg genre, not bad.  When you forced people to buy the game and then keep paying to play it, you got less total people playing.  MMOs are social games by nature after all.  You can see this in WoW, as more and more people leave the community suffers, which causes more people to leave.  If WoW went to a hybrid model it’s player numbers would stop shrinking.

The whole F2P model is based off simple psychology, people will eventually cave in and buy something.  Buy the basic pack for an expansion and that’s more money than a 1 month sub.

Basically some players get bitter, they feel that F2P allows “filthy casuals” into their game.  This elitist attitude is what drove people away from sub-only games in the first place.

Zariarn
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Zariarn

Xijit Zariarn I think people take small things and make them much bigger than they need to be.  If these articles weren’t posted, I would have never known about the change.  I could care less about this.  It doesn’t really affect my overall gaming experience.
They’re not doing anything any different than many other companies that host F2P titles.  Everything can’t be free, even it it means changing something that was previously free.

I think people just like the drama and MOP knows this.

paragonlostinspace
Guest
paragonlostinspace

Malthesia Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme paragonlostinspace  LOL! Yeah the complaints would be pages and pages long. I don’t miss the days of Visa burn and I think most of them would find those of us who played back then crazy to pay the hourly amounts we paid. I tried to limit myself to $500.00 a month max, but occasionally would cross over and upwards of 1k. Nope, don’t miss it at all.

Malthesia
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Malthesia

Mark Jacobs A Dad Supreme paragonlostinspace Imagine what most of these people would think about the price they would have paid to play Dragon’s Gate, GSIII, or Air Warrior back in the early 90s? :)

Malthesia
Guest
Malthesia

MassivelyMacD A Dad Supreme paragonlostinspace

DugFromTheEarth
Guest
DugFromTheEarth

Vunak DugFromTheEarth Xijit Vunak, which is more likely

A company lies
or
A company does thing with the main goal of earning money

Last I checked, the sole reason for running a company, is to earn money. IE: greed.

So yes, Brasse is running around with flames on his pants.

ausj3w3l
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ausj3w3l

TheGremmel I definitely had the urge to punch someone when playing archeage haha – would pay for a non cash shop server

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

I have to give you credit for that point. They can’t go back.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

Yep. The pack buyer receives the credits they want and I receive that specific item without spending a dime.

dorn2
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dorn2

What a load of horse crap about lockboxes.  They’re just too lazy to find a monetization strategy that works.  So they’re choosing the destructive approach of lock boxes and cashing out.

Eventually we’ll get some legislation over this crap hopefully.

TomTurtle
Guest
TomTurtle

I certainly don’t envy developers needing to make money in the MMO market these days. It’s not as simple as choosing a business model and running with it. There are so many small details to take into consideration. I get the feeling that Trion made some wrong choices for their F2P model for things to end up like this. A result that could have been avoided by charging for content for instance.

I don’t think there’s any damning takeaway from this in regards to the F2P model. I feel that whenever there’s a big controversy like this, people will use it to proclaim doom, possibly to further their pre-existing opinions on the matter. F2P isn’t going anywhere just yet. Neither are microtransactions in general, especially with the rising costs of development and how players expect certain fixed costs and high quality out of their games.
Developers have to get inventive with eking out more money from players in the current environment. I’d be surprised if any developer were ever able to price the base cost of a game at a price point higher than $60 with no significant griping and the majority of players buying in. I’d be further surprised if that somehow became the standard as a result. I’m not necessarily against that either, but I’m doubtful of it happening anytime soon.

MMO developers are struggling to find what works right now what with the competition being extremely high. I’m still curious to see what business tactics are yet to come that will become the new standard, if ever. I will say that with how variable the business models are right now and how volatile those various models can be for the health of these games, I have to wonder if something is going to give. I know you can’t directly compare media products, but I do wonder if there’s any discernible pattern going on here that hasn’t already happened to other media such as movies or TV.

breetoplay
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breetoplay

SallyBowls1 Half of the people have been saying that for years. It’s the other half not listening. It’s way more comfortable to blame it on kids these days than on your own generation.

Karl_Hungus
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Karl_Hungus

Veldan blackcat7k 
Yep. The reason it didn’t last has little to do with F2P in general. RIFT has too many design and engineering issues for any longevity. That’s why it had to go F2P in the first place. Trion should have been investing in their own future instead of squandering all their revenue from RIFT on publishing other people’s games. Now they’ve got nothing.

Higgens
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Higgens

SallyBowls1 Dixa Because, you pay to play. Killing that boss is playing, the loot is a bonus. A lock box is not gameplay, its a scratch ticket.

TheGremmel
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TheGremmel

Until it falls completely flat on it’s face I’m putting all my hope for the future of the entire MMO genre on Black Desert this year. Seeing how utterly shit all these MMOs instantly become after going F2P, we need a successful MMO launch to prove that games like WoW and EVE is still how this genre should be monetized.
EVE is successful but apparently no one agrees with that, holding steady, I assume, at around 300k subs now for several years and prior the that growing for an entire decade. Having just two servers and one of them regularly having over 30 000 people playing on it. For a 13 year old game, I’d say that should be the industry standard on how to build an MMO, not copying WoW but making it free.
Do anyone else ever look at Archeage and get a feeling to punch something? It is such an amazing world (not a game like 99% of new MMOs have become thanks to WoW) but it’s completely discouraging to play it once you realize that the difference in power between someone who pays for a subscription and someone who spent a few hundred bucks on their gear might as well be the difference of a level 1 character and someone who just hit max level in WoW.

Blade and Soul at least balanced the arena pvp but instead the fault of that game is like most other MMOs, that it’s just a game, not a world.

Rift was a decent MMO at launch, it hasn’t aged well but it was decent. Instead of trying to form something new however they just copied WoW but did everything just a little bit worse. Now they’re relying on rng to make money, just like a casino does, it’s not a world anymore, not even a game I’d say, it’s just a slot machine with a intricate graphics engine. Just go play a round of 21, you’ll have more fun for your money.

Higgens
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Higgens

SallyBowls1 MTG is 100% pay to win. Not “to a large degree”. 

That quote makes a fair point, but it does not justify it.

Veldan
Guest
Veldan

Higgens SallyBowls1 I think people seriously underestimate how much money some people drop on systems like this. Trion (either Ocho or Daglar) once made a post about it on the official forums. I’ve tried to track it down several times, but never found it again (perhaps it was deleted?). The message was in a thread about lockboxes, and said that there were a whole bunch of people that had dropped over $40,000 on the cash shop so far. That’s some mad income right there, that bunch of players just funded a bunch of devs for the year.

And I already knew it was true. I’ve met such players in RIFT, people who for example prided themselves on having every single mount in the game, even though most of them were cash shop / lock box purchases.

Veldan
Guest
Veldan

Estranged In all fairness, Trion has added to their Patron sub 2-3 times already. If you think it doesn’t have enough value now, you should have seen it initially (or perhaps you were there to see). I think they did what they could. That’s the problem if your whole game is already free, a subscription will always feel meh. It can’t add more features because you have access to all of them already, and it can’t lift restrictions because there aren’t really any.

Veldan
Guest
Veldan

Benbrada rottenrotny When there already are a million mounts and armor skins in game (to the point that nobody even remembers where they’re all from), adding even more in a cash shop is not going to convince a large amount of players to buy them. Especially if they’re Trion mounts. Like the unicorn that was literally just a horse with a horn smacked on its forehead.

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

Xijit Veldan chernabog  Cause WoW and EVE don’t have bots?  And a newer thing seems to be using stolen credit cards for that so the price is not as big of a hindrance.

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

Synchronicity:

Tobbold’s blog today:

“When you hear talks on game developer conferences you might think that the concept of giving the player with the biggest wallet an advantage in a game is a recent invention from casual and mobile games. In reality, the idea is over 20 years old (not counting gambling, where unlimited funds always were an advantage). Magic the Gathering is to a large degree “Pay2Win”, and many people (me included) spent thousands of dollars on that game.”

The fact is, P2W games and people who spend thousands of dollars on them, are older than UO, older than Trion, older than Smartphones,

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