Trion Worlds has announced that RIFT is going free-to-play as of June 12, 2013. This means that everyone who wants to play RIFT can download it, log in, and play all of the entire game without having to spend any money to do it. The free-to-play day coincides with the arrival of Update 2.3: Empyreal Assault.
Brand new players will have access to all of the content within the game (without having to put up with level restrictions). New players will start with 2 character slots and 3 bag slots. Veteran players (which means everyone who has purchased RIFT or Storm Legion) will keep everything that they have earned. In other words, this isn’t going to involve a “reset” that wipes out your progress.
Gamers who have been holding off on playing RIFT because they couldn’t afford a subscription will soon be able to start playing it for free. However, if you buy the game before June 12, you will get extra character slots, extra bag slots, and expansion souls.
There is going to be new stuff in the RIFT store, but according to the announcement, RIFT is not going to be a “pay-to-win” kind of game. The in-store items will be cool, but the best stuff will only be available to players who earn it in-game.
The subscription system is getting a new name. Subscribers will be known as “Patrons”. Those that subscribe and spend money on RIFT will get extra currency, bonus experience, bonus tokens, and much more. The main point is that you won’t have to spend money to play RIFT, (which makes it easier for your friends to check out the game and play with you).
Why are they going free-to-play? It seems that this is what players have been asking for.