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Wildstar will go free-to-play this year

NCsoft drops premium pricing after less than a year, makes Carbine's entire MMO available for free

NCsoft will embrace the free-to-play business model for Wildstar this fall, just under a year after it launched with a premium business model.

Following the transition, Wildstar players will be able to access the entire game for free. NCsoft will offer an optional membership that will yield various bonuses, items and enhancements in return for a monthly fee, and it will also sell items through the in-game store, but it has assured players that nothing will be made available for which there isn't a free equivalent.

"One thing that will not be available for purchase is power," the company said yesterday. "Progression will continue to require both skill and effort.

While decisions like this are invariably driven by economics - in Q1 of this year, for example, Wildstar made just KRW 2.59 billion ($2.3m) in revenue - NCsoft and Carbine Studios, the game's developer, are framing it as an opportunity to share the love.

"At the beginning of 2015, we outlined key points of focus for WildStar to help make this great game even better, focusing heavily on player feedback and bringing meaningful changes," said Mike Donatelli, product director at Carbine, in a statement.

"We continue to deliver on those points and feel strongly that removing the subscription cost will give everyone who loves MMOs, or just wants to have an incredible gaming experience, a chance to try WildStar."

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Latest comments (7)

While I recognise that this is due to Wildstar's somewhat lacklustre performance and I have sympathy for Carbine in that respect, as someone who was incredibly excited for Wildstar when it originally launched and then stopped playing a month or two later I am really pleased at the prospect of being able to play again without the weight of a subscription on my wallet.

Wildstar has had its problems and I'm hoping things have improved some since I originally quit, but it is a relentlessly pretty, silly and fun game. So I hope this is a real second wind for the game and a boost for Carbine!
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Benjamin Crause Supervisor Central Support, Nintendo of Europe6 years ago
This should surprise no one. It was written on a wall after launch.
While it is a quirky game and a good sense of humour the available content was nowhere near to justify a premium setting.
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George Williams Owner 6 years ago
Long overdue. I really don't understand why Publishers take so long to decide these kind of things. During the period, they lose even more players/subs due to empty servers. SWTOR is going through a major low as the majority of its servers are now 'light' 80% of the time.

Wildstar really needs to take a close look at GW2 and ESO models because if they want players to subscribe, they need to add actual value inside of nickel dime approach used by SWTOR.
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Show all comments (7)
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Progression will continue to require both skill and effort
Despite this, they will be accused of being pay to win. Or is that just my stuff.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany6 years ago

Of course! As a gamer, you need mindlessly bash every F2P as P2W to show everyone that you are L33T and H4rdC0re and not a N00b!

Now seriously: yes, every time. It's the same sport as Bashing Destiny and Diablo III

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 1st June 2015 7:57am

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Tobias Burandt6 years ago
While the market changed and acceptance for F2P grew stronger, I see Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa getting some company soon.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises6 years ago
I never did finish WildStar, I wanted to but it turns out that the older you get the less free time you have.

@Alfonso, Destiny wasn't a game it was a $60 demo, with no story and just two levels (the moon, and somewhere not the moon). It's not the worst game I've ever bought, but it would be if I didn't buy Guitar Hero Aerosmith.
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