After months of speculation, drama, and general craziness, the head honchos at Carbine Studios have finally gone on the record: WildStar will be transitioning to a free-to-play model this autumn.
According to the details page, there seem to be few significant restrictions for free players. Most importantly, content seems to be unrestricted:
We place no restrictions on any of the game’s content. Every zone, every dungeon, every raid, every battleground… they’re all available. All players will be able to create characters of every race, class, and path while choosing any tradeskills they like. Characters can achieve level 50 and path level 30, just as they can under the current system.
The only things that do tweak me a little bit are that Signature players — who are paying a monthly fee — will receive 25% more currency, 25% more XP, and 50% more reputation. I get that microtransactions that are of the “level faster” and not “pay to win” variety are good, but the game was seen by many as a ridiculous grind; that’s why they didn’t sign up or left. Does this help, or does it further reinforce that perspective?
Returning players will see their returning subscriptions automatically converted to Signature status, while players with lapsed accounts will still see benefits as compared to totally new, free players. Finally, subscribers, past and future, will accumulate Loyalty Points, which they can use to get even more cool stuff.
MassivelyOP’s Eliot Lefebvre sat down with from Product Director Mike Donatelli and Creative Director Chad Moore at a recent press event in California, and while it’s light on granular details were shared, the high-level thinking regarding the switch shows a refreshing honesty and acknowledgement of the reality of the game’s current situation.
Most significantly, Donatelli and Moore understand that, even if the game has changed for the better over the past few months, the public’s initial perception has largely stuck and having a barrier to entry in the form of a subscription keeps players from coming back and seeing the changes. Going free-to-play “fixes” that, letting new players who heard all the bad news and returning players who experienced it first-hand see what the game is like in its current state.
It’s still a ways off — “fall” technically runs from September to December — but you can sign up for the F2P beta right now. We all knew it was coming, but it’s nice to see it confirmed. I know I’ll finally be trying WildStar after the switch… will you?