Upstart eSports champion League of Legends is partly responsible for CCP taking DUST 514 free to play.
Chief marketing officer David Reid told Polygon that CCP took “inspiration” for the first free-to-play shooter on the PlayStation 3 from free to play games which have performed well on PC.
“Things like League of Legends or World of Tanks where you can play the game for free but paying does not necessarily give you an unfair advantage at time. Think of League of Legends – you can buy every champion, right? Doesn’t necessarily make you better at playing that champion,” he said.
“So DUST 514 has a similar idea to it. As you play through the game, you’re gonna pick certain skills, you’re gonna specialise, you’ll unlock certain weapons, certain dropsuits, certain vehicles that are more tailored to the game you’re playing at that time.
“But say you’re a real gun nut and you wanna try out every game in the game. The virtual currency we sell, the Aurum, will allow you to use those guns. They won’t give you an unfair advantage – it is very important to us, as a skill-based game, a first person shooter, that free to play isn’t pay to win. So it’ll allow you to customise and to sidegrade; we’ll certainly sell a lot of cosmetic items that we’ll allow you to buy and personalise your appearance a bit if you want to be a bright pink soldier we’ll probably let you do that, but that won’t be something you’ll do as a free to play gamer.”
Reid gave an example of a player who wants to kit out a sniper archetype with heavy armour; earning the right gear for that in-game would take a long time, but players who fork over real world cash in exchange for Aurum can shortcut the whole process, thereby netting an alternative build. However, players won’t be able to pay for ISK, the EVE Online core currency, which is at the heart of both games.
DUST 514 is expected to launch later this year.