Free-to-Play Is Not The Way Says WildStar Producer

Free-to-play may work for some games, but it's not the way to go according to Wildstar producer Jeremy Gaffney.

These days it seems like more and more MMOs are changing from a monthly subscription to the free-to-play model. Even some very big titles such as Star Wars: The Old Republic and World of Warcraft have their own version of free-to-play. However, there are games out there that decide to sick with the "pay-to-play" model such as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online.

One hotly anticipated upcoming game that also sets to buck the free-to-play trend is Carbine Studios' WildStar. As an MMORPG set in a sci-fi universe with a very imaginative art style, WildStar looks set to be a very successful title. Players are given an initial 30 days of playtime with the purchase of the game. Afterwards they will have to choose between two options offered for a subscription. By offering players two different ways to subscribe to their game, it seems the producers at Carbine Studios hope to cater to a wider audience. 

First off is the traditional subscription model with a variety of options ranging from a monthly subscription all the way to a yearly subscription. Depending on the length of time you pay up front the cost for each month's amount of play time differs (cheaper if you buy one year at a time versus one month at a time).

The other option players will have is to buy C.R.E.D.D. (Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction and Development). Similar to systems found in RIFT (REX) and Eve Online (PLEX), C.R.E.D.D. will be available for purchase with real-life money and can later be sold in-game for in-game currency.

Players can then use the C.R.E.D.D. they bought in-game to pay for subscription time. In this way, players who are unable to afford a monthly subscription but have a ton of in-game gold can still continue to play. Also, those who have money to pay for a subscription but don't have a much in-game gold can obtain currency easily.

WildStar producer Jeremy Gaffney recently spoke with PCGamesN and shared his thoughts on the free-to-play model:

“There’s variability as a player because you don’t know if you’re going to get sucked in and pay $1,000 a month, because some people do. As a publisher it’s a juggling act because most the games I’ve seen end up devolving to the point that one or 2% of the players are paying $100 or more a month and they’re actually funding most of the free players, which can be up to 70 – 80% playing completely for free.

“As a publisher [that variability] can be distracting because when you’re making money you never know when that’s going to go away. As a player it’s distracting because generally you have a very different experience if you’re playing for free – and if not, then why the hell pay?”

I think he makes a very good point. With many free-to-play games devolving into "pay-to-win" where players pay cash for in-game advantages it's unfair for those who simply wish to enjoy the content but can't afford the other features.

As for myself, I like the idea of giving players options. It shows the developers are concerned about their players and are willing to be flexible. One thing's for sure, with more and more games turning to the free-to-play model it will be interesting to see how the C.R.E.D.D. system will work out.

How about you? Do you like the C.R.E.D.D. system? Or do you wish WildStar would offer a straight-up free-to-play option? Let me know in the comments below!

Published Sep. 24th 2013
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  • Ribbon_2239
    Lets say League of Legends. Free to Play right? The community is TERRIBLE, if you find a normal plays who just wants to play and have fun and most likely win. Is like finding Waldo in real life.. I've been playing Pay2play too.. Such as WoW.. The community is much much better. Obviously u'll find bad attitude players but where the hell not? But the roles are diffrent, if u find a terrible person. Its again like finding Waldo IRL.. Looking forward to finally purchase this game.. Wanted to look at some IG experiences before buying it myself first..
  • fubar_1251
    How many hours a month do u work to pay a month of an avg mmo? How many hours a month do u play? 15 bucks is 2 cups of starbucks and a burger at the most. So really what do you people gripe about? The devs work hard for this and I doubt most of you can do better or it would have been done already. I think wildstar brings more to the table than wow. Its not even close to the same. And everyone needs to stop the comparison like wow was the godsend of mmos. It was good for its time and they will never be close to the same ever! If everyone is so hing up on freakin wow then GTFO and play a free vanilla version.....
  • Spr1nk3ls
    Featured Contributor
    I'm happy, I always end up spending more on F2P than I do on a sub game. Don't get me started with the amount I dumped into Neverwinter Online. Lol
  • Smart Person
    If I had the balls I would buy some NCSOFT. http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/financials/financials.asp?ticker=036570:KS

    The gaming communities inside WOW, SWTOR, Secret World, and many more are buzzing like crazy about this game. Remember, game titles don't go F2P because they are good, they go because they suck to play (The actual GAME). They lose players back to games that are FUN to play and HAVE to go F2P to pull in population and fill up their shitty servers. Hence why Blizzard is so successful. This game is different, it's fun, and has the potential to keep players playing longer.

    The game that will destroy all others is the one that gives players unlimited power based on the time they have spent with the game. SWG pre NGE in a Wildstar or WOW format will destroy everyone for the next 5 years maybe longer if technical capabilities of smart devices like phones and tablets allow for cross platform titles (This includes consoles, which may not make it soon anyway.)

    Rothalack, I play wow because it's good not because of how I pay for it.
  • Seraf_2543
    One thing to say: Guild Wars 2. It is the game I thing that had the best gameplay, best content and the best graphics in mmorpg history. I'm playing Wild Star Online and I will pay for it because I work and do not care about 15 box a month. The thing is, if Guild Wars 2 have so much success, why another ncsoft game won't? I think the game will work even if it is F2P but OP just wants money, I would love to play with my cousins and brotherd and all of my friends like I do on Diablo 3 or League of Legends. But not everyone can afford it, especially students. Plus the best community I ever seen was guild wars 2 community. The worst one, world of warcraft. You just have yo be severe and not let things pass in front of your eyes. Dota 2 vs league of legends, both are free. Why does league have a crappy community? It is because their tribunal sucks. Dota 2? Still bad but not ad bad, you get in a low priority queue and have to wait someyimes to 10 mins and more for a game. So people calm down on high elo. Anyways good luck, I enjoy the game honnestly but it would be better if it was f2p I prefer playing in group. And more people online, more skins, non-pay to win things sold. Good luck.
  • Nicholas Dawe
    I don't know about other people but whenever I play a Sub game I feel obligated to play to get my money's worth and I get burned out on the game quickly because I keep forcing myself to play with a PROPER F2P model (some proper research show many MMOs doing F2P w/o P2W) I don't feel forced into playing so I play when I want to and for example if I can't afford to pay one month I'm not booted out so I keep playing than the next month I drop 50$,,,sure if I had been subbed that would have cost 30$ but I've found that if I can't play for a month I fall behind my buddies in levels etc. and I don't want to play anymore.

    Sure F2P MMOs can suck, so can P2P one...the payment model doesn't change that

    My "perfect" payment model is B2P+Expansions with a Sub option that gives you everything and a stipend of cash shop currency to purchase xp potions cosmetics etc. hell if add a "CREDD" like system for another option...the more options you have the wider your possible player base which means more money

    As for a "sub-only" game guaranteeing a better game or making it so ":the devs wont suddenly lose a bunch of money" thats BS people can unsub just as easy as they can stop buying stuff and there's just as many bad P2P games as there is F2P/B2P ones and the same is true for good...you just have to find them.
  • Tilo _8403
    u Do relize u dont get the young audience by doing subscripe? i prefer it but u lose on that , This game cant match up with other subscribing games ?
  • Ryu Sheng
    F2P is a nice idea, but it has never worked out. What people don't seem to realise is that they spend more on F2P games than they do on a monthly subscription. F2P is a fad that is starting to fizzle out, thankfully.

    As for the CREDD thing, EVE already proved that the system works, and it works really well.

    As for the game itself, meh. Everything i've seen leads me to believe it's just another WoW clone not doing anything to different to make it stand out. that in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but as someone who is sick of MMO's like that, it's got nothing to interest me.

    ESO had potential, but they've already lost me by locking content behind Pay walls, as well as having a subscription fee higher than WoW. Frankly most people i know who played the beta, like i did, see this going F2P within a year to 18months. They're already planning for that by implementing a cash shop.
  • Ovicior
    Truly, I think this is unrealistic. Suppose you get the game,and cannot afford a monthly subscription after the month and you blew all your gold on potions. What then? Do you lose all your progress unless you pay for another month in real life? I think it should be pay to play. Or maybe even like Wizard 101 where you can unlock areas with a membership or use a special currency to permanently unlock them. I do not like P2P games.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    I'm so extremely happy with Wildstar's and ESO's decision to go subscription. My original argument towards this being better was that a subscription will keep the crappy players out, this seems to be untrue, for example WoW... There will always be terrible players.

    What a subscription model has going for it though is a guarantee of good content. The developers know almost exactly the amount of money coming in, therefore can create content accordingly. I know there is plenty of people who would argue with me, but I don't care, WoW's content is absolutely spectacular and they put tons of work into it. I am a firm believer that this is because of the subscription model and that they can directly plan exactly what they can do. This means that they scope out what they want to get done for the next patch, then make it perfect (which they do).

    I've played my fair share of free-to-plays. What I've come to experience with every single one, without fail, I cannot last more than 30 minutes of playing before I say F*** this, I'm out.

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