Carbine has revealed that it's sticking with a subscription model for its upcoming sci-fi MMORPG WildStar. But it's not completely old-fashioned. You'll be able to pay in-game gold in exchange for game time. Details after the break.
The system is called CREDD (Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction and Development), and players familiar with Eve Online's PLEX system may well recognise it. The idea is to enable authorised gold buying for one segment of WildStar players and free gameplay for another. Players with plenty of real-life cash but not much time can buy CREDD as an in-game item directly from Carbine, and then sell it for gold through WildStar's trading system to other players who have lots of time on their hands, but not much real-life cash.
CREDD will be priced higher in real money than a standard subscription so that the system won't suffer from exploitation, but its price in game gold will be at the mercy of the game's economy. CREDD can't be gifted. It can only be bought at an in-game auction house, the Commodities Exchange.
It's a complicated system, and it's difficult not to wonder if it might put players off, particularly as outside of the CREDD system WildStar will have a typical subscription model - something that has killed off several MMOs in recent years. The game will be sold digitally and at retail, with 30 days of game time included in the price. After that time has elapsed you'll need to pay a subscription that will set you back £9/$15 a month. Deals will be available if you buy in three, six, or twelve-month blocks. CREDD will cost £12/$20.
In an age where free-to-play is increasingly prevalent, it seems an odd choice for WildStar. Eurogamer spoke to executive producer Jeremy Gaffney about the decision.
"What we're doing is launching having designed for the ability to either pay a subscription or earn CREDD in the game if you don't want to," Gaffney said. "We've let player A play for free without a subscription. He's stoked, he's a happy unit. He's traded in some of his time for the ability play for free. Player B, who sold him the CREDD, is stoked because they basically went and bought an item for money, it was a secure transaction, they're not getting hacked or scammed or anything, and they traded that to another player for in-game gold pieces. It's kind of win-win. That's the answer for me - keeping the player types happy."
What do you think about the decision?