Skip to main content

NCSoft's Wildstar MMORPG Adding Free-To-Play Model This Fall

Nearly one year after launching the popular sci-fi/fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Wildstar, developer Carbine Studios and publisher NCSoft have announced that the game will include a free-to-play model this fall. Carbine and NCSoft want to bring in more players, and offering everything for free seems to be a great way to do that.

Unlike Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG, which includes a free-to-play model as well, Wildstar gamers won't be required to purchase the client when the free-to-play model kicks in later this year. Everything will be free, from downloading the client to setting up an account, to experiencing everything Wildstar has to offer.

So how will NCSoft and Carbine Studios make money? From the optional in-game purchases and the optional Signature membership. Gamers who sign on for the monthly fee (1-, 3-, 6- and 12-month options) will receive "convenience" bonuses and enhancements, such as special item drops, experience points, crafting and more.

To pay for in-game items, Wildstar will have an NCoin system established. Gamers will be able to use the coins for purchasing items that can also be obtained by investing time in the game; in other words, an item, like a sword can either be purchased in the store or obtained through gameplay.

"One thing that will not be available for purchase is power -- progression will continue to require both skill and effort," the Wildstar blog said on Thursday.

What if gamers already have paid game time when the MMORPG launches the free-to-play model? According to Carbine Studios, that time will be converted into the premium "Signature" membership service until it runs out. Presumably, customers can choose to renew their subscriptions or opt to play for free and purchase items in the store.

For those who have maintained a Wildstar subscription since the beginning, gamers will receive special in-game Player Appreciation items. These include four months of the premium Signature service, a Disco Snoglug companion pet, a DJ Caretaker housing décor item, an Ikthian Crawler mount and a new housing music track. Two titles will also be provided, "Nexus Loyalist" and "Living Legend." Customers who maintain a subscription through the transition, but weren't there for the games' opening, will also receive bonus goodies.

For detailed information about the differences between a free account and a Signature subscription, head here. The page also shows what gamers receive if they purchase a boxed version of the game.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • jpishgar
    I may have to head back.

    Played WildStar religiously early on since the beta. Stopped after hearing how the endgame was... not quite, done. But goodness, this MMO had and still has so much ridiculous potential. The housing system alone is the most powerful in any current MMO out there. And the telegraphs and combat is brilliant. The achievements, robust grouping, multiple means of crafting and exploration and everything else. WildStar is the best game that no one is playing.
    Reply
  • kenjitamura
    Inb4 the millions of "I told you so's".
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    here's how mmo's live and die (that arent WoW"

    1: Spend Hundreds of Millions developing a vast open world MMO and servers to run it all
    2: Charge $59.99 on launch, Plus charge $15 a month subscritpion.
    3: 3-6 months later, realize your not making enough money to pay back the loans you took out to develop, and spend another 10-15 million to re-engineer the game for Free to play economics.
    4: go free to play and start working on a hat simulator, or some shitty crate and key lottery system.

    Story of every MMO other than WoW i've ever played. STO, Star Wars, Skyrim, Wild Star,
    Reply
  • Quixit
    here's how mmo's live and die (that arent WoW"

    1: Spend Hundreds of Millions developing a vast open world MMO and servers to run it all
    2: Charge $59.99 on launch, Plus charge $15 a month subscritpion.
    3: 3-6 months later, realize your not making enough money to pay back the loans you took out to develop, and spend another 10-15 million to re-engineer the game for Free to play economics.
    4: go free to play and start working on a hat simulator, or some shitty crate and key lottery system.

    Story of every MMO other than WoW i've ever played. STO, Star Wars, Skyrim, Wild Star,

    You missed that the game has to be almost exactly like WoW. Cooldowns, stupid numbers of ablities, talents, just like WoW. That's why they most often fail. No one is innovating they're just making "WoW with aliens" or "WoW with superheros".

    This is intensely obvious with games that are followups to other MMOs that came before WoW. Champions Online is more like WoW than City of Heroes and is much worse because of it. Wild Star's fighting system is at least a little interesting but they're still stuck on the "like WoW" bandwagon.
    Reply
  • jpishgar
    Soon as I'm done with Galactic Civilizations III (which by the way is heavily overshadowed by StarDrive 2), I'm going to reinstall WildStar and give my gunslinger another go.
    Reply