Back when RIFT launched Nightmare Tide, it introduced earring slots and a new type of gear that required a “Planeswalker: Water” label. Both of these could be obtained by purchasing one of the special editions, buying it through the in-game store, or through a lengthy currency grind with an item known as voidstones.
Well, the voidstone route is now kaput, as Trion Worlds announced that it now requires players to use the cash shop for those earring slots and ability to equip Planeswalker: Water gear. “Starting with the update on January 27th, earring slot unlocks and Planewalker: Water will be offered as individual purchases for credits on the marketplace,” the studio posted. “You can still unlock them through gameplay by using your in-game currency to purchase REX from the auction house!”
The studio gave players a two-day advance warning to trade in accumulated voidstones before the change took effect. The response to the change has been overwhelmingly negative, as players blast Trion’s decision to put up this pay wall long after the expansion release as an apparent quick cash grab. It should be noted that the two expansions were offered to the playerbase for free, although certain elements (particularly new souls) have required an up-front fee.
Trion followed up its initial announcement about the change with an in-depth explanation for it:
Ultimately this is a business decision, to best support RIFT moving forward into the future. We’re on the cusp right now of RIFT’s 5th Anniversary, and we’ve got great stuff planned for 2016. But that stuff takes engineers and designers and CS and QA and a whole lot of other folks.
Having a large team producing amazing things is a benefit to everyone who loves RIFT, both those making it and those who play it. But making games like RIFT is expensive. and so we need to sell things in game to pay those folks. We try to offer a variety of services that appeal to a broad selection of folks. Sometimes we try one thing, sometimes we try another. But it’s always a learning experience.
Both earring slots and Planewalker: Water went through a number of iterations during development before release, and when Nightmare Tide did release we decided at that time to allow them to be acquired via either a substantial investment of time via voidstones or with purchase of a Nightmare Tide Collectors Edition. It’s been over a year now since that release, and the team has decided to move in a slightly different direction with these unlocks.
With the current system, at level 65 I can probably grind out the cost faster via purchasing a REX for in game currency than I could earn the requisite voidstones. I’ve spent money on RIFT so I don’t have to worry about the currency cap, and REX prices on NA have dropped a little recently which helps, but ultimately there still exists an avenue where players can turn in game effort into credits to acquire these items.
We are definitely listening, and want your feedback on this decision. As a result of one post for example we’ll be allowing gifting on these items so you can gift them to a friend if you so desire. Your feedback is being read by people at every level here at Trion, and is taken into account so please keep it coming. The one thing we ask is that even if you disagree that you avoid personal attacks, otherwise any sort of dialog on this choice breaks down.