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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That is what they all say.
Until we see the ACTUAL shop it can go in any direction, and even then it could still go in any direction because no f2p shop is final – As seen with many other games that also were against “p2w mechanics” which is a highly subjective concept.
There it is though, a stated awareness of the f2p problems from the developers, so lets the result after ambition meets reality, and as always what is p2w is in the shop details and perception of each individual player.

Geux Bacon

Is it just me, or is the pic out front for this article look exactly like Landmark?


Nothing here that sounds like it would be that different than what Cryptic’s doing.

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Chris Neal

Personally, I’m most worried about the addition of Relic Weapons to the game store. Granted, the blog stated that you’d be able to pick these items up through in-game means as well, and they might not even be included in there at all, but I can’t help but think that those specific Relics will be gated behind so much grind that the attraction to pay for power will be too great for many.

Which, one certainly can argue, is a form of pay-to-win.

Castagere Shaikura

This has me worried too. People don’t remember how PWE played this in sto. In sto you could get all of the ship in game in the beginning. Then PWE started adding c store copies of those same ships but with better stats. Now most of the ships can only be got from the store.


If anything this sounds like a confirmation of p2w to me. He tries to play with what people mean when they talk about winning. He talks about convenience which is usually PR talk for p2w. He even talks about selling special items.

So overall I am nearly 100% certain that this game will be p2w. As in that they will be selling power or accelerated access to power. There are many levels of p2w so at least there is hope that it won’t be too awful.

James Crow

i like it more if it was B2P but lets see.
one of the things i like in rpg games is to find and get the most powerfull and uniqe skin for it.

but if the shop having a premium skins that look better it kind of take the fun of the gameplay.

for example: GW2, you can get the last armor,legendery weapon but…. the skins in the shop look alot better.

Bruno Brito

Well, color me interested but we’ll see.


I would prefer buy to play model like in TL1 and TL2 please.
I’ve put multiple 100 hours into those games.


A company saying it’s not PWE is hard to trust. If the company came out and said, “yes we are going to have pay to win. This is what it will entail” I’d trust it a bit more.

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I will be honest if they ask for a pint of my blood each day in payment I am probably going to give it to them as I like Torchlight a lot. Basically as long as its fun I am going to play it and I will deal with the monetisation whatever it ends up being.

Yes I am part of the “problem” and no I don’t care what you think. You are all free to make up your own minds and enjoy whatever games you like too.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Same here. I have no patience for the hair-splitting about what makes a game P2W or not. Everyone has their own sense of what works for them. If I’m enjoying a game, I’ll buy stuff.

I’m really looking forward to Torchlight. And, I most definitely will support it by buying crap in the cash shop if I enjoy it, because I want to keep playing it and games and the people who make them don’t run on thin air.

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Completely understand your approach to this, at the end of the day it’s everyone’s own call to make.
See, i’ll buy stuff if i desire it, not because i want to support someone.
The supporting part is simply a secondary effect of any purchase i make, not the primary motivation.
I didn’t ask anyone to give me a F2P game, that’s their choice, thus i feel no obligation (let alone “guilt”) whatsoever.
If their choice had been a B2P game they’d seen some of my money straight of the bat.
They want and need to make money, obviously.
They will make money regardless if they launch as B2P or F2P, they’ll just make it of different people.
And that’s of no concern to them, all they have to ask themselves (and i’m sure they did) is which business model is the most favorable for the game in question.
All that said, looking forward to TLF, i like what i’ve heard and seen so far.