Trion Worlds adds premium server with "no lockboxes" to Rift
Rift Prime server's "progressively unlocked content" a response to debate in the wider industry
Trion Worlds is adding a new server to its MMORPG Rift, one with a premium subscription model and a guarantee of no loot boxes.
In a blog post published last week, Trion Worlds said it had noticed the discussions within the Rift community and, significantly, "within the broader gaming community" around business models in online game.
As the game approaches its seventh anniversary Trion will introduce Rift Prime, which the company has described as a, "fresh Rift server using an oft-requested subscription model and progressively unlocked content." The cost to the player of using Rift Prime was not disclosed, but the motivation for introducing it was made abundantly clear.
"Our goal for Rift Prime is to provide the experience that many of you have requested: no lockboxes, a significantly reduced store with more of the current store-based items obtained through gameplay (or removed entirely) - plus the excitement of sequential progression through Rift's content with monthly milestones and achievements."
Rift launched with a subscription model in March 2011. It switched to free-to-play in May 2013, adding a "Patron" option that offered certain perks in exchange for a monthly fee. While details are still thin on the ground ahead of its launch this Spring, Rift Prime would seem to be a return to the subscription model after almost five years.
This decision arrives in the midst of a very public debate around how games companies monetise their products, principally the use of loot boxes - which Trion referred to as "lockboxes" in its blog post.
The use of this and similar mechanics caused significant problems for games like Star Wars Battlefront II, prompted statements from politicians in various countries, and has raised the possibility of imminent - and potentially damaging - legislation.
To read our investigation into the use of loot boxes, follow the link.