GDC 2014

GDC 2014 Session Scheduler

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Rift Transformed: From Subscription to Free-to-Play in Seven Months

AR Schleicher  |  Lead Engineer, Trion Worlds

Location: Room 2001, West Hall

Format: Session
Track: Design
Vault Recording: Video

This session presents a detailed overview of the successful transition to free-to-play for Trion World's subscription-based MMO, Rift. In this postmortem, AR will present details and statistics around the transformation, and valuable lessons learned, which can be applied to current free-to-play games as well as subscription games that are considering a transition. Details will include how we grandfathered in existing users and the evolution of major UI elements, going from early wireframes to finished in-game assets. The talk will also describe our take on pay-to-win, the popularity of gifting and anonymous logins, and graphs displaying concurrent users before, during and after the transition. Both successes and failures are presented, such as the need to prevent frictionless, unlimited credit to platinum conversions and the huge growth in population we experienced as a result of the changes.


Attendees will learn how Rift's successful transition from subscription-based MMO to free-to-play took place. The talk will detail choices made, (such as transitioning subscribers to patron plans and making cash shop currency available to free players), statistics that include the percentage of users involved in gifting, and graphs displaying concurrent users.

Intended Audience

This session is intended for MMO designers of both subscription and free-to-play games, but will be of interest to anyone interested in MMOs and the design decisions related in going to free-to-play. Knowledge of Rift is beneficial, but not required.