Snail Games recently updated the info regarding its controversial loot system for Black Gold Online, detailing how the system will work for its North American release. After some initial confusion, we think we’ve got it puzzled out.
tl;dr: It might not be that bad, and it looks like you can play totally free, with no loot restrictions, as long as you don’t play for too long every day.
Rather than trying to directly dissect the article, let’s go with this approach: You know how when you play a game like League of Legends, PlanetSide 2, or World of Tanks and you gain experience at a normal rate for free, but you gain more and speed up your progress if you spend money? You can still get to max level or unlock everything the game has to offer (well, premium vehicles in WoT notwithstanding), but it’ll take longer for a free player to do so.
That’s how BGO works, but in regards to loot. All loot can be gained in the game normally. You won’t be unable to acquire rare loot if you’re a free player, just as how you aren’t restricted from playing certain champions in LoL or from buying certain weapons and upgrades in PS2 if you don’t spend money.
So what’s all this “Black Gold Time” stuff? That’s “extra loot,” like the bonus XP you get in the other games. Once every hour, BGO will “rate” your activity and make available to you a Vial of Time, colored white, purple, or gold, depending on its quality. The more stuff you did, the better the quality. You can purchase the loot contained in that Vial or sell it on the auction-house-like Time Exchange.
So it’s really like a getting a color-coded lockbox every hour: some unknown loot that you can pay a fee to acquire.
But here’s the surprisingly good part: Twice per day (currently; the exact number may change before launch), you can acquire one of your Vials of Time, of any color, for free. In short, if you only played BGO for two hours every day, you could play totally free with no effective restrictions on your item acquisition. And even if you didn’t want to pay for a Vial, you could still put it up for sale and get credits you could use to buy your other Vials.
So… that’s not bad, I guess? But it took at least six readings, and a few questions directed at none other than Magicman, who contacted Snail Games directly, to piece it all together. Snail Games isn’t doing itself any favors, either, with their less-than-perfect writing quality, and the overbearing “We’re doing this all for you, the player” is more likely to make players suspicious than accepting.
Still, this new info moves Black Gold Online from my “Not gonna touch with a 10-foot pole” list to “OK, maybe I’ll check it out now” list. How about you?