Torchlight isn’t the biggest video game franchise out there, but it’s one of the most beloved. As such, a free-to-play MMO based on it — especially one under the auspices of Perfect World Entertainment — probably has a few people feeling skittish about exactly how the monetization will work. It’s understandable, considering the reputation Perfect World has and the fact that the last time it got its hands on a beloved game, it completely ruined it and turned it into pay-to-win garbage, as detailed here a couple of days ago.
(That was sarcasm! Do you understand? HERE, LET ME PRINT IT IN ALL CAPS! AND BOLD IT! SARCASM!)
Speaking at an preview event for the Torchlight II console port (as spotted by Escapist), Echtra Games Founder and CEO Max Schaefer reassured potential players about what the differences would be between a free player and a paid player. In essence, “not too much”:
“Most of the good stuff is in the free track. We want to be very gentle with monetization. We don’t want this to be a pay-to-win game. We don’t want you to feel like you’re at a point where you can only progress if you pay. That’s not how you get a good long-term dedicated audience.”
That’s all well and good, but it’s another line in the piece that has us wondering a bit. Notably, the article states that “you’ll never be able to pay directly for items or experience points.” (Those are the article writer’s words, and not a direct quote from Schafer.) “Pay directly for items” is hardly uncommon in F2P games — and is generally preferable to loot boxes — though, being an ARPG, one might infer that to mean stat-affecting items and not cosmetics or consumables. And lots of games let you “pay for XP” in the form of XP or level boosts, though Frontiers’ unique leveling and progression probably make that sort of thing less appealing.
Schaefer also talked about Torchlight Frontiers’ content, mostly covering the way frontiers will work, with them having 60-80 hours of linear content total in the game. The team is also working on developing competitive aspects to the game; examples given in the article include “acing to see who can kill a boss the fastest” and “a PvP system.” “We’re throwing things against the wall right now,” said Schaefer. Good thing you’ll have a pet to help clean that up.