ArcheAge is one of my most anticipated MMORPGs due to its heavy sandbox elements. I want to farm, I want to travel hazardous trade routes, build my own ships, and live in a house I built myself. Most of all, I want ArcheAge to hurry up and get localized.
I should note that it being localized is not as important as the quality of the game itself. At this moment, I want it to be localized more than any of the other seemingly amazing things the game has in store. It turning out to be a high quality title is more important in the long run.
Founder of the development studio that handles ArcheAge, Jake Song, recently commented (MMO Culture) on how the free to play model better suits the Chinese market. With closed beta testing happening in China between May 22 and May 31, it’s possible this may point to the game seeing a F2P launch in the region. Then again, Aion is still pay to play in China and is still doing fairly well. It could really go either way.
So What About NA?
The game’s payment model in China (free to play) and Korea (subscription-based) doesn’t matter once the game reaches North America, but this whole thing has me wondering:
Isn’t the F2P model more successful just about anywhere?
While some games can float on subscriptions, the percentage of games that can only stay open because they are free to play is much higher than that of the opposite regardless of release territory.
For example, RIFT is mostly pay to play in North America. This has worked out fairly well — but in China and South Korea, RIFT is failing harder than I did in 10th grade math class.
On the reverse, Aion has been able to float on full or partial subscription models in key Asian territories. This looks good on paper, but the North America and Europe servers suffered under the pay to play model and hence took to F2P. The exact same situation happened to TERA, though I am still convinced TERA‘s P2P release was simply to rake in money before the real (F2P) release earlier this year.
The point is..
With how things are, wouldn’t it be better for Trion Worlds to release ArcheAge as at least a partially free to play game in the West, if not completely free to play?
I’m not fond of the type of mock-community the F2P model brings in, but these days it looks like the only way to play is not to pay. And the only way to win is to pony up.
I’m excited to see Trion bring ArcheAge to North America, and I would happily pay a subscription to play. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see it doing well without being free to play. That’s just the way of the MMO world.