GamersFirst has both announced the launch date for Fallen Earth’s free-to-play model (October 12th) as well as presented a more informative (but not yet fully complete) chart of payment plans and subsequent affects on the game. Looking it over, I feel like I’m getting away with something huge by gravitating to the completely free option, like I want to be chuckling in glee but worried that the publisher will realize its mistake and yank it away from me.
From the sounds of some other bloggers, Fallen Earth is becoming an enticing prospect once again as well. While playing, I’ve been watching the Help chat tackle this issue over and over again. Veterans seem split down the line: Some are genuinely excited for F2P, hoping that it’ll bring in a lot more players and extend the life of the game they love; some are despairing that the freebies will be uncouth savages that’ll ruin their playground. You know, the now-standard anticipation response to a F2P conversion. Personally, I side with the former crowd — Fallen Earth does not have that big of a population (I heard 5K bandied about at one point, but I have no idea), and if it isn’t made more viable, this great game’s going to be headed for the dumpster sooner rather than later. Plus, free players aren’t and shouldn’t be stereotyped into a “bad” lump; like any group of players, they contain the good and the bad.
In short, the free version looks perfect for me and where I’m at as a gamer. Let’s take a closer look:
The stuff we get: I liked a comment someone made on a Massively FE post, in response to the whining that they didn’t get more with the free model: “How much daily crafting time do you get for free now? How much mail and auction access do you get for free now? How much EXP and AP gain do you get for free now? How much local chat do you get for free now? So, to clear things up, basically you’re crying like a spoiled little baby because they’re planning to give people a bunch of stuff for free which currently costs money, but you think they should give you even more?”
That’s how I feel.
Looking the chart over, it’s really cool just how much we get: All of the game’s content (no locked zones or purchasable quests or restrictions on vehicles and combat and weapons), all the skills, full level cap. Free players can even form clans, access mail, and use the auction house, which most F2P conversions tend to deny. It’s even kind of generous that free players will get a meager 50 reward points a month for, y’know, doing nothing. It’s not much, but it’s far more than I expected.
Now, it says “limited” chips, but GamersFirst qualified that by saying that if you ever subscribed or spent any money on the game, that limitation would go away. So that’s nice and not a personal concern of mine.
Crafting is a big issue that a lot of the F2P discussion’s revolved around. Since crafting is one of the big cornerstones of the FE experience, these limitations may seem a bit harsh at first. 8 hours of crafting a day, slower crafting speed, slower harvesting speed, slower salvaging speed. Yeah, I’ll admit, that will chafe — but it’s something I could get used to, as well, in exchange for its free cost point. It only becomes restricting when you compare it to what others have, and Fallen Earth doesn’t feel like a gear race to me anyway.
Finally, there’s slower advancement (XP, AP, death toll, faction gain) to be considered. Again, it comes down to whether or not this is an acceptable trade-off for playing free. For me, sure it is. I’m not in a rush to level, and if I was, I’m sure I’d be subscribed.
The other three tiers come in $10, $15, and $30 versions, and include better rewards, incentives, and crafting/advancement rates. It’s interesting to note that the $10 rate includes everything that current $15 players get, so you can actually downgrade your subscription cost while retaining all of the benefits you currently enjoy. Or you can stay at $15 and get more. The $30 “Commander” edition is probably only going to appeal to a very limited niche of players who either have the money to blow and want an easier mode, or those that want to help out their friends and clan with the nifty aura that bestows faster crafting/xp/salvaging/harvesting rates to pals nearby.
Anyway, I’m pretty psyched, especially now that I won’t have to worry about another sub in October. Fallen Earth is one of those games I’d like to play from time to time at my own pace instead of in a huge chunk, so this model is great for me.
I’m taking the weekend off to be with my family, so see you all on Tuesday!