While there’s no doubt that Carbine would have liked to have made yesterday’s free-to-play announcement without the previous weeks’ spoilers of said announcement, those leaks had one benefit that I can see: They seemed to shatter the delusions of the anti-F2P brigade and allowed the real announcement to be mostly free of vocal grousing. Mostly.
In other words, it was a really positive day in the WildStar corner of the community, and boy have we needed that. It’s a game that deserves a second chance and some room for growth, and it might actually get just that if it can harness this newfound community interest and keep it going until the F2P transition comes this fall.
Other than having to wait several months for this — and the next big patch — to happen, there’s nothing that disappoints me here. From the looks of it, the plan is well-laid-out, generous to a fault, and hopefully will lower the entry barrier enough to draw in all of the people who were turned away by the monthly sub.
A few items that impressed me:
(1) I love that there’s some consideration for people who bought the box (as in everyone playing the game right now or who purchased it in the past). Extra character slots, costume slots, bank slots, loyalty points, and a higher decor limit are all very nice bonuses — or compensation, if that’s how you want to look at it. Hey, I won’t complain at having a couple more costume slots, no sirree.
Then there’s the incentive to sub up right now and/or stay subscribed until the transition: a pet, a housing DJ, a music track, and additional months of “signature” service (XP bonuses and the like) after F2P goes live. Since I’m planning to stay subbed up anyway, those are just freebies.
(2) No content restriction. Coming from SWTOR’s restrictions on endgame activities and races, this was really nice to see and have them emphasize.
(3) It’s good to see that some of the social/services restrictions (or limitations, however you want to look at it) can be removed or lessed by spending loyalty points. Looking over the list, I don’t see any restriction that would be truly oppressive for any F2P newbie.
(4) The FAQ mentions “holiday event” currency acquisition, which means that there are actually plans to get holidays up and active in the game. There was also a mention of possible expansion packs. Huzzah for that!
Of course, to temper my excitement, I have to admit that we won’t know the full picture until Carbine releases all of the info on what it will be selling in the cash shop. The studio indicated that players will be able to find most of the same offerings in-game and that it doesn’t want to sell power or other “pay to win” advantages, but again, we won’t know until we fully see the list.
There’s also some bruised feelings from fans who won’t be getting the special loyalty mount for being subscribed constantly since launch. Hey, I took a break and won’t be getting the mount, and oh well. Life goes on and it’s not that important. Hoverboards > everything else, after all.
The whole announcement has me excited enough to consider working on my lowbie Esper, since I now feel more in it for the long haul than ever. It’s going to be a long — but exciting — summer.