WildStar is going free-to-play this autumn

Critics, current players, former players, people who had briefly heard about the title from friends and family – a lot of people didn’t think that WildStar could keep its subscription model forever. The question, for most observers, was when it would go free-to-play, not whether. But Carbine Studios has remained silent on the subject… until now.

Yes, WildStar is going to be transitioning to a free-to-play model this fall. And we do mean free-to-play, not buy-to-play; you’ll be able to download and play the game without paying a cent, whether you’ve purchased a copy in the past or you have never played a day in your life.

At a recent press event in California, I sat down to talk with product director Mike Donatelli and creative director Chad Moore about the transition, the team’s overall plans, and what it all means for the game’s past, present, and future players.

Moore and Donatelli began by outlining the ways in which the game has changed over the past several months, walking back through the game’s past several patches. Both of them argued that the driving force behind the updates has been how the devs have listened to player feedback and changed course based upon it. It surely won’t be a surprise to many of our readers that one of the most regular pieces of feedback was that the monthly subscription was a major barrier to entry for would-be players.

And that compounded the fact that there was no easy way to show that the game had changed if players weren’t able to join and play seamlessly. With the monthly barrier in place, people had an image in their head of what the game was like, and regardless of whether or not that image matched the reality, that was how people thought of the game. The team was patching up the game, but folks on the outside just weren’t seeing it.

Free-to-play, Donatelli and Moore now say, solves both problems neatly. Players who have stepped away from the game for whatever reason can jump back in and see how things have changed, players who have never played before can judge on their own rather than listening to secondhand opinions, and players who are already happy subscribers can continue to enjoy the same game — only, you know, with a more robust playerbase and loyalty rewards.

You didn’t think they forgot about loyalty rewards, did you? There will totally be loyalty rewards.

Players who have been subscribed from launch to the free-to-play launch will gain a special mount and title, while everyone who subscribes between June 15th and the free-to-play launch in the fall will receive four months of Signature service, a title, a new companion pet, and a new bit of housing decor. In addition, former and current players will be rewarded through the game’s loyalty program; you can find out some of the early details now and keep your eyes peeled for more.

You can also get lots of guns, yes. If you must.If the free-to-play transition alone isn’t enough to entice you, take heart because autumn will also see another major update for the game, with stats and the new player experience both getting streamlined and overhauled. Players can also look forward to a rebalancing of open-world content and dungeons to fall a little more on the “difficult” side rather than the “hopelessly brutal” side. Oh, and at long last, all Amp slots will be automatically unlocked, which negates that particular barrier to building your character.

If you needed to be told that the game will have a microtransaction currency, you might be a little new to the whole free-to-play routine. Players will be able to purchase Ncoins and use them to purchase outfits, dyes, and other cosmetic items, along with convenience items like XP enhancements. Power will not be sold, Donatelli and Moore insist; you may level faster, but you won’t get extra power for money.

You can also purchase a membership for various perks, but none of those perks includes content access. New players and constant subscribers alike will have complete access to all content in the game, no matter what. Membership means additional character slots, costume slots, decor items, and the like, but it will not mean unique access to content.

We don’t know all of the details about the shift yet, obviously, but we’ll have time to test it all out. Moore and Donatelli told me that the free-to-play shift will land on the game’s test servers first, so players can thoroughly break it ahead of time. The transition is currently slated for sometime this fall, depending upon testing.

It’s a big shift for the game, but is it enough? Is it important? You should keep an eye open for someone who has a bunch to ramble on about regarding this shift later this morning. (Spoiler alert: It’s me.)

Disclosure: This information was obtained at a press event in California; travel, lodging, and most of the food was provided by NCsoft. Yes, it was the same event as last week. I also did get some swag, most notably a USB power charger for my various devices. It’s a cool little device; I’m rather fond of it. I played a bunch of Shovel Knight on my trip. I’m rather fond of that too.
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720 Comments on "WildStar is going free-to-play this autumn"

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progshine
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progshine

Zeplini Not really a smart comment. But anyway…

jeremy2020
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jeremy2020

This is shocking news. I don’t think anyone was expecting this.

Professor K.
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Professor K.

Since its going to F2P, i’ll give it a whirl. I played during beta but couldnt justify the full price costs at the time..

chosenxeno
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chosenxeno

JcsP Oh no! How will the game survive without you…..

Mister Tuggles
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Mister Tuggles

Zeplini 
 Then you should probably pack your bags up, and move to single player RPGs. F2P is here to stay. The majority of games that will be coming out will likely be b2p or f2p with cash shops. Hell, even the sub games have cash shops or purchasable add-ons of some sort now.

 As far as f2p model “nickel and dimming you”: You quite literally don’t have to spend a single dime in 99.9% of f2p games. All cash shop items are typically able to be traded. The entire premise of cash shops is that you either spend your time in game grinding coin to purchase items from cash shop users, or you spend your time irl grinding at work to purchase cash shop items with real money. They don’t force you to spend anything. However, they do force you to decide if you are willing to spend your time, or your money to get certain things you “need”.

JcsP
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JcsP

Is this article where we should drop the “We told you so!”?
Still not jumping aboard the wrecked train, even with free tickets.

Schlifer
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Schlifer

I had the good chance of playing this game during its beta phases, it was fun the combat different, and i could not do as i do with many standard MMO´s split screen it with a tv show as i grind it out, yet the game offered those paths, and i found them all equally fun especially explorer/scientist, more so scientist as i love knowing more about…. yeah everything, and the planet nexus had a lot to be explored so to speak as a scientist, especially exploring the story behind the eldan, i did not manage far but i loved it, at the end of the day i just dont have the time to game a lot, most of my day i go to work and by the time i get back from work i add a training routin.

Jogging for the sake being healthy and increasing my oxygen uptake as well as to be able to last longer, then at some days i workout strength-training, combined with other duties i scrape together a few hours a day monday to friday excluding weekends, and for me as i have so little time leftover i wont be getting the full value for a monthly sub, as i play so little i just cant see a value in paying monthly when i get to play so little, but thats just how it is at my end and we all have our versions of life and issues as well as opinions towards this.

Cash shop is bad, it is stupid, it lets everyone in even the disgusting casual….for me it is freedom, play when i want, it is on my terms, and if i feel like it ill drop a dime or two to get some cool looking outfits, will i be limited in bag space? will i be limited in character slots? probably yes, but who knows i might get so invested that i even might go subbing even if it did not have the same value before, my opinion changes, maybe, perhaps, there is a chance at least. 

I have been waiting for this F2P conversion for quite some time as i saw that the potential for customization during the beta, and i await eagerly to explore nexus and take as much time as i want with no taxi-meter telling me “You got 12 days left to explore nexus.” 

This is just an opinion and i understand if there is some who do not share it, as i am not here to launch an argument for f2p, just some insight for anyone curious.

chosenxeno
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chosenxeno

TheJewishMerp 2014 was bad for Gaming in General.

chosenxeno
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chosenxeno

_Ariel_  I feel like I have more control over the mouse when I can hold Right Click. Maybe you Palm Grip though. I’m a Claw Grip.

RicharddeLeonIII
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RicharddeLeonIII

Zeplini well, its either this or the game shuts down :(