Torchlight Frontiers’ free-to-play model rejects pay-to-win and gambling schemes


Given that Torchlight Frontiers is being published under Perfect World Entertainment, you’re probably not going to be shocked to hear that the MMO will run with a free-to-play business model. Echtra Games’ Max Schaefer confirmed the model today in a dev blog that acknowledges the pitfalls inherent in monetizing MMOs.

“Continuing development on our awesome world requires revenue, so we are crafting a system that we believe preserves and enhances the goals we have for our game,” Schaefer says. “We are, however, going in to this with our eyes wide open, and are willing and able to change if whatever we are doing isn’t working. We are well aware of what has and has not worked with other games in the market, but also understand that every game is unique, and what works in one game may not work in another. We are also painfully aware of the abusive payment schemes some have tried, including those that exploit gambling mechanics, and at Echtra Games, we reject such approaches.”

The company doesn’t expressly say it won’t be touching lockboxes or lootboxes, but that sure seems to be the gist here. In a nutshell, the game will use a free-to-play model with item sales that sound like cosmetics and housing deco and convenience consumables; the team has no plans to gate or sell content or premium locations. And as for pay-to-win? Well, I’m afraid Schaefer does toy with the “but there’s no win” hedge, but ultimately, it sounds like PWE is angling away from abusive P2W mechanics.

“We reject ‘pay-to-win’. For one thing, there is no specific ‘winning’ in Torchlight Frontiers. We want you to be who and what you want to be in our world. We know that killing a boss and finding that cool rare item is immensely satisfying, but buying that same item from a store or auction house is less so. […] We believe that normal gear, like your armor and primary weapons should be attainable only by adventuring and finding them. That said, we may sell some special items, like specific Relic Weapons. If we do, we will always strive for there to be a reasonable way to attain or craft them through normal gameplay.”

As we noted this morning, PWE is planning an alpha stress test this weekend and invites are going out already.

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