Atlas Reactor: Purchase into the beta or not?

Update May 7, 2016: Trion Worlds has just announced a change in their business model. Atlas Reactor will not be free to play anymore, but buy to play!

We’re going to be discounting the Atlas Pack to $19.99 for a short period of time. We will also be giving many opportunities to try the game before buying. Free weekends (including the weekend of May 13th – 15th), trials, friend referrals, and the Open Beta are all on the horizon.

So, read the following information with care as the whole “unlocking freelancers” part etc. are void. The goodies for Rift, Trove and Defiance are still there, though. :)


Open alpha is coming to a close and the closed beta will be open soon – on April 14, to be precise. As is custom for games by now, you can “preorder” or “pre-purchase” the game. Atlas Reactor will eventually be free to play, so you don’t actually have to pay anything for it if you don’t want to or cannot afford the purchase.

But just in case you are wondering about Atlas Reactors’ preorder packages, I thought I’d try to help you make a decision. For the most part, my blog post about my first impressions is still accurate. I still think it’s a “gem” and if the idea of playing a turn-based MOBA-like game sounds intriguing, then I definitely recommend checking it out! The question is now: Do you want to check it out in closed beta or wait until the game’s release?

So let’s have a look at the preorder packages. There are four different ones. The cheapest starts at 10 € (I’m rounding up here), the most expensive costs 100 €. All packages will give you 10 € worth of in-game credits to buy things. So, if you know you want to play the game and if you know you would spend some real money on the game sooner or later anyway, then why not jump in right away and get some extra bonuses on top? At this point, it’s probably also important to note that the ability to upgrade is not yet implemented, but planned. So, if you know you do want to spend some money, but you aren’t sure how much, it’s safe to invest those 10 € now and possibly upgrade later on. This is what bookahnerk and I have chosen, by the way. We know we definitely want to support the game, so we bought those… we would have access to the closed beta anyway, since we already had access during the first alpha.

Other than the in-game credits, there are three different “categories” of bonuses. Number 1 is goodies in the other games developed by Trion. You get “Zuki’s Helmet” in Defiance (cosmetic item, no stats!), you get a “Lil’ PuP Ally” in Trove and you get a sword and a shield skin in Rift. Number 2 is Atlas Reactor goodies like freelancers and skins as well as some boosts. I assume that some of those boosts will be bought with real money/in-game credits only. The same goes for the skins of the freelancers. The freelancers themselves all have both in-game credits as well as currency you get through gaming attached to them, so you will be able to eventually unlock all freelancers just by playing the game. The obvious advantage in these packages is that you can “buy” them right away and save time. The “Trust” package with 100 € is definitely a very committing one and I think the name of the package fits just too well. I would say you should only get it if you really know you will play the game and that you will want to play all the different freelancers – or if you at least know you will definitely want your freelancers to walk around with golden skins. ;)

Number three is tied to “community missions”. By doing these in closed beta, everybody who buys at least the 10 € package will get the community rewards. Those missions are not revealed yet, so we will have to wait until closed beta starts to see what they are and what we will get.

By the way, if you hover over the text lines on the preorder page, you will get more information on what you will be getting.

I was – and still am – tempted to get the upgrade for the 25 € package. The thing is: If they had included Nix, who is my favourite freelancer, or Garrison, who is my no. 2, I would have bought it in a heartbeat. Zuki, Rask and Aurora are not even in my top 5, though. So really, for me it was the question: Do I want to spend 25 € now and get freelancers I don’t really care about – or do I want to spend 10 € now to get the community rewards and the items in the other games (I play all of them, after all) and spend some more money once the game is released to buy some more freelancers… or maybe unlock the freelancers simply by playing and buy GG boosts which give XP bonus to everybody in my match?

So, long post short, I would recommend getting the 10 € preorder package if you like the game enough to know you’ll want to play during the closed beta as you get 10 € worth of in-game credits anyway, or the 25 € package if you like the freelancers that are included. The two more expensive bundles are probably rather for those who want lots of freelancers now or those who really want to show support to Trion for developing a great game.

SWTOR: The other FAQ

Today with a special edition of Bookahneer’s Geekwatch. It’s all about Star Wars: The Old Republic!

Bioware announced the preorder and I think quite a lot of bloggers have already declared their allegiance: Pro or con CE. ;) I also saw lots of questions and had some people ask me whether I knew about X or Y. So I looked around and found some answers.

If you want to know something, your best bet is probably to go and look it up at Bioware’s FAQ. There, you will found out, among other things, that:

Will SWTOR have a monthly fee?
Yep. How much it will be is unclear at this point: Yes, a monthly subscription is required to play Star Wars: The Old Republic. Exact pricing will be revealed at a later date. (found under “Purchasing”)
Update July 24: Monthly fee will be revealed closer to launch date but the cost won’t be “anomalous”. (Source)

When will Early Access start?
No precise date yet. But the earlier you entered your preorder key, the earlier you will get in there. I saw rumours about it being 6 days for CE owners and 3 days for regular preorders. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. All that counts is apparently how fast you entered your preorder code, according to Stephen Reid, Community Manager for SWTOR.

What is this CE-exclusive in-game vendor?
Apparently an NPC in game that you can only buy stuff from if you have bought the physical Collector’s Edition. The Digital one does not count! A user summarized some things Bioware mentioned at San Diego Comic Con: 4th posting on this page. There is also mention of this vendor. In addition, Stephen Reid posted in his twitter: “We are being very careful not to unbalance things with CE.” – I personally have become rather cynical with stuff like that. Read it like he wrote it. Don’t interpret. In the best case, this means that there’ll never be more powerful stuff to buy at this vendor. In the worst case, while they tried to be careful, they still managed to unbalance stuff and you can buy things that are more powerful. Only time will tell, I guess. ;)

Some more stuff from that posting about SDCC:
– respeccing of advanced classes will be possible
– ship interior customization (that is, most likely, “housing”) will not be in game at launch but they’re planning to add it in the future
– SWTOR “runs great in Bootcamp” – for MAC users (no guarantee, though).
…and more. ;)

Who can preorder?
While SWTOR will be released in North America and “Europe”, what Bioware actually means is that it will be released in parts of Europe (9 countries that belong to the European Union are not part of Bioware’s Europe. More if you count countries that have territory in Europe but don’t belong to the European Union…). (Found under “International”). Stephen Reid “will look into it” when asked whether he could add a FAQ to help those players who aren’t part of SWTOR’s launch with more information.

I am in Europe and belong to those who can buy the game. Yay! But can I play together with friends from the USA?
Yep. :)

Will there be IP blocking?
Approximately 6 hours ago, Stephen Reid said “On IP / region blocking. Current plan is no blocking.”. He wasn’t sure, though. A bit later, he sent another tweet: “Sleep soon. Please understand on IP blocking stuff, I will investigate, doesn’t guarantee I am right or you will like answers.”
Update July 24: On region locking: right now things are unchanged, anyone can play #SWTOR from anywhere in the world on any server, but latency may affect. (Source). – Important to note is the “right now”. Hopefully, that’s just him making sure that even though there are no plans at all, you never know what happens in about 20 or 30 years and he doesn’t want to be called a liar in the future. ;)

What does that mean now? Nobody knows but Bioware. We’ll see soon, hopefully.