The hit mobile MMO Order and Chaos Online has gone from reducing its up-front client cost to eliminating it completely.
This past week, Gameloft dropped the price for Order and Chaos Online, making it officially free-to-play and gifting existing players 150 rune stones and a shining golden dragon hatchling for their financial support. The game originally launched as a subscription model, transitioned into a buy-to-play title for $6.99 back in 2012, and now will have to lean on in-game shop purchases to rake in revenue.
Order and Chaos Online is celebrating its third anniversary with in-game gifts and quests. The MMO recently added a new PvP mode, Battlefield, that allows players to duke it out in 2v2 and 4v4 matches.
Korean MMO maker Bluehole Studio officially shot down long-circulating rumors about an in-development TERA sequel this week. While the firm is working on two new games — currently codenamed Project W and Project EXA — they “will only be similar to TERA in terms of western fantasy design,” according to MMO Culture.
The studio is also developing a mobile TERA spin-off tentatively titled Elin Expedition which features turn-based combat and additional Arborean lore and backstory.
With the latest update to Rift, players can now enjoy the game for free. Empyreal Assault brings the new Dendrome zone, a ten-player raid, a new Chronicle, open-world raid bosses, game performance improvements, and more.
There are no restrictions on levels or content for registered free players; the entire world is open to explore and conquer. The expanded in-game RIFT Store offers thousands of items and services – from faction changes to mounts, pets, boosts, and much more – but the best gear must be earned in-game. For those looking for the ultimate RIFT experience, a subscription is available that offers a suite of awesome “Patron” benefits.
And strike another one off the rapidly diminishing list of surviving subscription MMOs. If there was any sub-based game not called “EVE” or “World of Warcraft” that had a possible, maybe, oh-so-slim chance of surviving with a monthly payment model. If nothing else, Rift had a history of providing generous new content to validate its regular toll. no, Trion have now announced that, as of June 12th, Rift will be entirely free-to-play.
“We have been listening to feedback from our players and watching the continuously developing MMO community, and we are now ready to launch Rift as a premium free-to-play experience,” Rift creative director Bill Fisher said in a statement. “After taking our time and planning a careful transition, we are very excited to bring an enhanced game experience to everyone.”
While new players will receive less starting inventory and character slots, Trion promise that for previous owners of the game – even those who no longer subscribe – nothing will be removed.
June 12th will also bring the game’s 2.3 update, titled Empyreal Assault, adding a new zone, world event, Chronicle and “Stronghold” challenges.
When BioWare and EA announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic was going free-to-play a competition was started to decide what free item players would get when the switch was flicked, and now we have a winner.
Players who were subscribed to the game before August 1 will receive a free party Jawa once the game goes free-to-play this fall. When used the item will spawn a Jawa who simply just wants to party all night long, so expect to see lots of them on the Fleet.
BioWare also announced an expansion to its free-to-play rewards chart, adding that purchasers of the game’s Digital Deluxe Edition will receive an extra 250 Cartel Coins (the game’s F2P currency) on top of their other rewards.
It has just been announced that less than a year since launch Star Wars: the Old Republic will be going free to play. They are adopting a hybrid model where you can choose to be a subscriber and get full access to the game or a free player and have (severe?) restrictions to what you can do. You can see the official page comparing the free and subscribed players’ restrictions and advantages.
Players who choose to engage in free-to-play will be able to experience a majority of the game for free, including the first 50 levels and all eight classes. BioWare did state that there will be restrictions, but those can be removed with microtransactions.
SWTOR will still be available in the standard subscription model. Subscribers will be given an allowance of store currency, called Cartel Coins, to buy customizable gear and other niceties. Current subscribers and those who sign back up before the fall can also rack up special rewards for when the transition is made.
Together with the announcement about the conversion to free to play there is also a promotion of the page detailing all the new content that we’ll see “by the end of the year”. The page also details that current subscribers and those that keep a subscription going will be rewarded with “Cartel coins” with which they will be able to “buy unique items as a part of our Reward program”.
According to a document released for the upcoming EA Earnings call, the free to play model will become available this November:
STAR WARS®: The Old Republic™ will move to a more accessible two-tiered pricing
model in November. Players can chose between a $14.99 premium monthly
subscription and a free-to-play model with some restrictions on content and advanced
features. Players will be able to purchase upgrades with in-game currency.
According to Gama, there are whispers of layoffs currently occurring at the developer, although this could be an extension of the “restructuring” measures it announced in May, which confirmed that the developer would be “bidding farewell” to an undisclosed number of staff.
Vogel’s career spans 20 years on some major MMO titles including Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies and his executive producer role on Star Wars: The Old Republic. His departure reportedly preceded the layoffs taking place at the studio.
BioWare’s woes seemingly continue after its expensive MMO shed almost half-a-million users and, in what seems like a attempt to regain some ground, has introduced a free-to-play trial up to character level 15.
There’s no word on Vogels plans for the future or his replacement at BioWare.
Free to play should no longer be considered a warning label. There are too many quality free games these days to write the entire sub-genre off. Still, there’s no denying that if Star Wars: The Old Republic were to go F2P well before it turns one year old, it would be considered by many to be a flop. So will SWTOR go free to play? After losing 400,000 subscribers in the last quarter, BioWare now openly concedes it is considering it.
In an interview with GamesTM, SWTOR Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi said BioWare will be flexible to adapt to the rapidly changing MMO market — even if that means going free to play.
“The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well,” he says. “Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations. So we are looking at free-to-play but I can’t tell you in much detail. We have to be flexible and adapt to what is going on.”
Based on the model, would you be more interested in SWTOR if it were free? Or is the bell tolling for SWTOR, free or not?