Counterplay Games’ Duelyst has won over legions of fans looking for a more strategic and/or less random version of Hearthstone, but that wasn’t always the case. It may seem like ancient history now, but it was just over a year ago that the game switched gears from pay-to-play to free-to-play, enraging a number of its backers on Kickstarter.
The negative response was amplified, as most negative things on the internet are, but in an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Counterplay’s Keith Lee said that only 3% of players took him up on a refund offer. He and his counterpart, Emil Anticevic, agree that the outrage was justified, but they’re more than pleased with how the game has turned out since declaring as F2P, with over 100,000 games being played per day.
A big reason for that success, Anticevic says, is Duelyst’s generosity, with the ability to earn roughly a pack a day through gameplay and the chances of getting a legendary card at about one in four packs, as compared to around one in 20 for Hearthstone, prompting him to boldly declare:
“In terms of free-to-play, our game is purely better because it’s more generous.”
Lee adds that they’re just trying to “offer players the most value” and not expecting to have profits that rival the bigger games out there. It just goes to show that you can have a successful and well-liked F2P game without gouging players, as long as you accept that it’s a niche title.