How is free2play going to affect the dimension community? I bet that’s the big question on your mind, I know it’s the big question on mine.
Introducing a cash shop as the revenue raiser means items that tempt players to buy them will be the main priority of development. Dimension goodies are potentially big sellers. I can see a market for dimensions, dimension items and extra item slots for dimensions. The dimensions and items acquired through the cash shop are likely to be interesting and high quality. We pay $15 dollars a month now for our dimension goodies; under a well designed cash shop, we should be able to satisfy our dimension cravings for a similar amount. Some months we might pay more, other months less.
The logic of a f2p model relies on the triangle of time, money, reward. Players can save money by spending more time to earn rewards, or they can spend money to save time by buying items that bring rewards faster or buy the rewards outright. This is going to affect our game, it already has.
Consider the difference between the cost of dimension items for Fae Yule to the cost of items for Carnival of the Ascended. The increase in price for items like this is required to drive the triangle toward money for reward. Next year, patrons with their 15% bonus to Rift currency will find dimension items very expensive rather than hideously expensive and f2p players will have greater incentive to buy a patron pass for the event.
The mossy houses are another indication of f2p influence. The cost of these houses seems high, even for hollowed out houses. I’m going to speculate that these houses will be in game and in the cash shop (possibly a different model for the cash shop). Our choice will be to earn the platinum in game to pay for the mossy huts or buy them through the cash shop.
How f2p will affect content remains to be seen. F2p should lead to quality quests, events, instances and pvp. Trion must keep the game interesting to keep the f2p people engaged. Without that, there won’t be sufficient players around to buy from the shop. This should also mean that there are new dimension goodies in game on a regular basis, just don’t expect them to be cheap or better quality than cash bought items.
How individuals fair under this new system depends on their personality and which part of the time, money, reward triangle they value more. This system is most dangerous to those players with lower self-control, who value reward and are willing to spend money for it, regardless of personal consequences. Players with these characteristics should run hard and fast from Rift and never look back.
The rest of us should expect lots of dimension goodies available in the cash shop and occasionally in game, better content than the last 7 months and a lot more people around to share our love of dimensions. Rather than paying a subscription to support all parts of the game, whether we play them or not, we’ll be able to spend our money on the parts that matter to us. Dimensioneers should come out of the f2p conversion better off than before.