Rift’s senior designer kept one important fact in mind during the MMO’s transition to a free-to-play model: players are not cash cows to be milked.
“I just hate that word ‘monetise’. ‘Let’s monetise our players!’ They’re people and they’re playing a game because they want to have fun, they’re not a frickin’ ATM machine,” Trion Worlds’ Simon Ffinch told PCGamesN.
“I don’t like that attitude at all, and in the business world you can’t help but hear it. In the development team we actively fight against it.
“I mean hey, I want to have a job, I want to have enough money to pay my mortgage and feed my family and I love making the game and I want to continue doing that. Obviously I want people to buy stuff but I don’t want them to ever feel like that’s why I want them in Rift.”
Ffinch said the reason he wants players in Rift is because he’s proud of what the development team have achieved, and that he and his colleagues enjoy playing anonymously alongside punters just for the fun of it. He does use these play sessions as a chance to gather feedback, though.
“I hear the raw feedback that’s for sure. So I know what people like and what they don’t,” he said, noting that it’s not always positive, or kindly worded.
“I don’t take that personally. Sometimes I gently probe, being careful to not reveal who I really am, and then we talk about it with the team,” he added.
Apparently, players seem pretty happy with Rift in the month since it chucked subscription fees.
“It’s been amazing. It’s doing very well for us,” Ffinch said.
“That’s where the industry was going, that’s what our players wanted, we just wanted to remove that barrier of entry so that everyone could just jump in and play under the assumption that if they loved what they were doing and played Rift and thought that it was a great game, they’d buy a hat.”