In order to sustain a hit online game, developers always need to look for new ways to excite and attract additional players. This holds especially true for traditional MMOs, but RIFT® developer Trion Worlds recently proved that revitalizing a subscription game doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds.
Near the end of 2012, Trion Worlds partnered with Raptr to launch a new Raptr Rewards campaign to acquire and retain new users for the year-and-a-half-old Rift. The two companies offered a series of tiered virtual rewards to encourage users to try the major fantasy MMO, and according to Raptr’s data, this campaign proved to be a resounding success.
In just a few short weeks, RIFT’s activity levels skyrocketed as the game welcomed a new wave of online adventurers. Raptr’s tiered rewards program helped draw in a fresh new audience and gave RIFT a solid head start as it entered the new year.
Here, we’ll take a brief look at RIFT’s Raptr Rewards program to demonstrate how it worked, what it accomplished, and how it illustrates the power of leveraging Community as a Service. Other developers may want to take note, as the evidence suggests that other games could easily benefit from RIFT’s example.
How it worked
The goal of RIFT’s Raptr Rewards program was two-fold: attract new players into the RIFT universe, and give existing Rift players more reason to return or to further engage with the game. To meet both these targets, Trion Worlds and Raptr offered four distinct tiers of rewards based on a player’s activity levels within RIFT or other related role-playing games.
The first and most accessible tier rewarded players with a free copy of RIFT along with a 1 month free subscription. This reward was offered to Raptr users who had reached the “Experienced” rank in other role-playing games such as Skyrim, World of Warcraft, Torchlight II, and more. If players met this requirement, and fulfilled a few other minor qualifications, they’d get quick and easy access to Trion Worlds’ game, making them much more likely to give RIFT a try.
The remaining reward tiers included in-game items for RIFT itself, giving both new and returning players even more reason to keep playing after they received their free game and subscription time. To earn the second, third, and fourth tiers, Raptr users needed to reach the “Newbie,” “Elite,” or “Experienced” ranks in RIFT, respectively. (Players could achieve these ranks by logging more time in the game using Raptr’s Desktop App.) These rewards included items such as the Smithy Goggles, the Exotic Spider Mount Spindrel, and the Arbiter’s Helm.
The rewards were first revealed on November 6, 2012 and were available to players between November 13, 2012 and January 31, 2013. These rewards had a notable and immediate impact on RIFT’s activity levels, and gave the game its first major activity boost in quite some time.
During the Raptr Rewards promotion, RIFT’s daily active player numbers among Raptr members increased a full 470%. By giving away free copies of the game, and giving users exclusive rewards to work towards, Raptr and Trion Worlds managed to lower the game’s barrier to entry and revitalize the game’s community.
Of course, the new users weren’t the only ones driving up the game’s playtime. The existing users, who were playing RIFT before the Raptr Rewards program began, also became more engaged with the game. In all, the average daily playtime per player increased 58% to 6.3 hours per day.
Looking at the chart at the beginning of the case study, we can see that RIFT’s Raptr Rewards program helped Trion Worlds accomplish both of its major goals. The campaign helped attract new active users and drove up player activity across the board, and all Trion Worlds had to do was offer some tangible incentives to reward community participation. In the course of just a few weeks, Trion Worlds was able to grow RIFT’s audience and give the game a significant boost.
Why rewards matter
RIFT’s tiered rewards program is a clear example of how developers can benefit when they give back to their communities. Trion Worlds’ promotion gave players simple in-game rewards for playing RIFT, and this community-first approach ended up giving the game its biggest boost in months.
And RIFT’s case isn’t an anomaly. Players tend to respond very positively when developers thank them for their dedication, and Raptr’s data indicates that this approach can help many other online games find long-term success.
In mid-2012, for instance, Raptr and then publisher OG Planet debuted a similar rewards program for the free-to-play brawler Lost Saga, and like RIFT, that game also experienced substantial growth months after its initial launch.
Judging from these case studies, developers should consider implementing similar loyalty campaigns when looking to grow an ongoing online game. Raptr’s data shows that players are far more likely to engage and stick with an online game if they’ll be rewarded for doing so, and these player loyalty programs are an efficient and easy way to develop a community and ensure a game attracts the players it needs.
For more, be sure to check out Raptr’s previous report on leveraging Community as a Service.