Remember back when free-to-play was still a pretty rare thing, and we used to run polls on which MMOs would go free-to-play next? And then pretty much every major game was free-to-play or buy-to-play in some way except the ones that said they were never switching, so those kinds of polls became moot?
Well, maybe not so moot. This week Darkfall Rise of Agon pulled the trigger on its new model, which it’s calling a “freemium soft launch.” It’s not a brand-new idea for the game; indie developer Big Picture Games was floating it at least a year ago, which itself was a year after its launch.
“We will be using this soft launch to test the limitations of the free accounts to tweak any changes we deem necessary before the hard launch with advertisement, videos etc.,” the team says. “We will also be using this time to fix any bugs that the players find with the freemium features.”
So, what kind of experience will have if you dip your toe into these new “freemium” waters? Well, you can’t claim a house, create a guild, craft matery items, keep toons after a month of inactivity, make use of harvesting multipliers, store more than 500 items in your bank, carry as much stuff, or put in more than 20 market orders. And premium accounts will see crafting, skilling, and meditation rates twice as fast as yours.
Big Picture Games is one of multiple player-led studios given the blessing of original Darkfall studio Aventurine to reboot the game for a new audience.