This is exciting! Wildstar’s Free-to-play closed beta has officially started and since I am currently subscribed to the game, I get to participate. Now, excuse me while I’m still wearing my rose-coloured glasses when it comes to Wildstar. I have not quite left the honeymoon-phase yet with that game, so my opinion may be biased.
At the same time, this is just a quick glance at the features summary and how they are going to go forward with their free-to-play model. A “first impression” if you will. My favourite change has nothing to do with the change of their business model: Currently, you can sprint for a limited time when you’re not in combat. Once this patch arrives, you can sprint for an unlimited amount of time, as long as you stay out of combat. I cannot wait for this patch! I always sprint as often as I can and my thumb will get some much-needed rest when it doesn’t need to constantly hit the button for sprinting. :p But let’s focus on the cash shop.
What I can tell you right now is that there is a distinct lack of “buy weapons or gear here”. Although to be honest, that was to be expected, right? There is always discussion about what exactly “pay to win” is (and, of course, that pay to win is bad!), but if it’s max level items and at a reasonable price even, then yes, the majority would agree that this is pay to win.
Wildstar will follow in the footsteps of Rift or Lord of the Rings Online and will basically be a freemium model. Or free-to-play with optional sub (called Signature in Wildstar), rather. As far as I know, there won’t be any content restrictions (like in Rift – Lotro DOES restrict content as you need to buy quest packages there). Whenever you buy something in the shop (or pay for a sub), you will gain loyalty which will give you additional rewards. This is very much like Rift and their loyalty system.
You can also pretty much pay for everything either with NCoins (the currency bought with real money – 400 NCoins cost $5 according to the account website) or with Omnibits. The latter can be gained by playing the game. This is similar to Trove where you can also buy a lot of things with the money-currency (here: credits) or a special kind of game-currency (here: cubits). The big question here is how easy it is to earn omnibits and thus, how easily you can buy things in the shop.
One thing that no free-to-play game can live without is lockboxes, I think. I don’t like them, but I’ve come to accept them as part of that business model and I can tolerate them as long as they don’t shove any of that in my face… like having a locked box drop and being unable to open it. I fear this may be the case here in Wildstar with lockboxes from adventures and veteran dungeons – this seems very similar to what Guild Wars 2 is doing with their lockboxes.
As I said, this is a very brief first impression of the shop and what they’re going to sell there. Except for the locked boxes possibly dropping, I did not see anything “bad”. On the contrary, I have seen things I want to buy, but nothing where I feel I need to buy it.
I will show you some parts of the shop in the gallery below but keep in mind: This is beta! I strongly assume that everything is subject to change!
This post is part of Blaugust 2015.