When an MMO goes free to play, it's usually a sign of the end times. That's not the case with RIFT, however. Although it went free to play last June, the in-game RIFT Shop has apparently been raking in enough money for Trion to continue releasing new content for the once so-called WoW killer. Update 2.6 is now live, and it's brought a whole bunch of goodies to the realm of Telara in the sizeable 1.02 GB patch:
- Dreamcrafter profession: A few people enjoy playing around with the various Dimensions, or player/guild housing, in the game. This new profession allows them to create new items out of extra artifacts they've been saving up or haven't been able to sell on the auction house. For Ascended that aren't fans of dimensions, they can create new enhancements to give their gear an extra edge.
- A new Air Saga story: Travel back in time to experience the story up to and including the Exodus of the Storm Queen. The first few legs of this story are live now, with the rest to be added over the next several weeks. By following this story through to its completion, you'll end up with two new titles and a new Storm Griffon pet. Who doesn't love pets?
- Bounty system: Gather more artifacts for your Dreamcrafter skill by hunting down bad guys and other notorious beasts across Telara. If you're not picking up the new profession, hold on to those artifacts and complete new sets for bounty hunter titles and other goodies.
- Combat pet skins: Pet-based classes have new skins available for a number of various combat pets. Some will be buyable with in-game creditss, though others can be unlocked in other ways.
- Rideable squirrel mounts: Wait, what? By collecting new unstable artifacts, you can have your very own rideable squirrel. Giant nuts not included.
- Graphical optimizations: RIFT has had a very vocal community about supposed poor graphical optimization over the years. Claims range from excessive heat from a player's graphics card to top of the line cards like the GTX Titan not being able to handle more than two or three frames per second. Trion's acknowledged this and has promised to optimize the MMO for some time now. A few graphical tweaks managed to find their way into today's patch, but it's unknown just how much of an effect these tweaks will have.
There's also a new loyalty tier for players who have supported the MMO since its launch. People who subscribed to the game before it went free-to-play have received loyalty points based on the amount of time they were subscribed and for any subscription time that extended past the free to play launch.
Anyone who wasn't a subscriber prior to the changeover can still obtain loyalty points through buying and consuming in-game credits in the game's store. The more loyalty points you rack up, the better the rewards as you move through each tier. Trion launched a new black loyalty tier with this patch, giving people who have been sitting on maxed out loyalty for a while something new to work for.
Sadly, the new tier doesn't really unlock anything cool except for maybe a larger bag and a portable auctioneer. It'll be tough for Trion to top their Nightmare mount, given out when you reach the end of the now next-to-last tier.