I snagged the "digital collector's edition" of Rift when it went on sale for a significant discount a few weeks back. It was only with this weekend's final "closed" beta event that I learned what I had actually purchased.
(The future gold spammers of Telara would like to take this opportunity to thank Trion for dangling highly desired in-game perks in front of players at a point before they will have legitimately earned the money to purchase them - in related news, your third "role" costs 4 plat, and I assume that the fourth one costs even more.)
The Details Go Downhill From Here?
If Trion announced a cash shop tomorrow, and said that the first offering was a package containing the mount, the pet, and a four-slot upgrade to your backpack space (which may or may not be upgradeable by other means) for $10, the reaction most likely would not be positive. The only difference between the cash shop plan and what Trion has actually done with the digital CE (which contains nothing to actually collect) is that anyone who has already purchased the non-CE version is unable to pay for the upgrade later. How long will Telara remain without a cash shop, when they can spin it as something that at least some players who passed on the digital CE actually want?
CE vs Cash Shop aside, my point is that the curtain is about to be drawn back on Rift as it actually is, rather than how its' top-notch marketing campaign has portrayed it. No one is talking about how the game apparently will not include max level content in it's final beta event next week, and continues to maintain an NDA on its "simultaneous alpha". The last major MMO I can think of that did not drop the NDA for its endgame testers up to and past the open beta was Warhammer, and that proved to be a harbinger of exactly how un-prepared Mythic was for its endgame.
I've been saying for months now that the most obvious concerns with Rift's staying power are not likely to be apparent from first impressions at press events or carefully controlled and staged beta windows. What I wasn't expecting was to see the honeymoon come screeching to a halt before the game even hits its "early start" pre-launch. Now, Syp's wondering if the game is getting overhyped and Pete, formerly a staunch supporter, wants a "classic" server with the beta two build from December.
If this is where we are before the open beta even starts, things might get very ugly around March 30th when those first subscriptions come due.