Why Wildstar Should Go Free to Play (F2P)

Wildstar Free to Play (F2P)

Why Wildstar Should go Free to Play (F2P)

Update (5/28/2015): Great news! Its official, this coming fall WildStar online will be going free 2 play! (Wildstar goes Free to Play (f2p)) make sure and sign up for the BETA!

Why Wildstar Should Go Free to Play

Wildstar the science fiction MMOrpg developed by Carbine Studios and published by NCsoft made its debut on June 3rd of 2014.  While many gamers mocked it and called it names like “WOW clone”, “WOW 2.0” and even “WOW in space”.  Its developers and a small but enthusiastic fan-base thought it would be the next big MMO.  The game that would finally kill off Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.  With its major selling point being that it was real time action combat, and not the out dated tab targeting combat system that MMOs like WOW and those of its generation use. WildStar’s creators prided themselves in the game being targeted primarily to the hardcore, basement dwelling, neck-beard, cheeto stained geek that would pour infinite hours into their game.  They promised to bring back the Vanilla WOW experience of the old days, like hardcore 50+ man raids and attunement.  They promised to bring back fun and challenge to the MMO genre.  However, despite these big promises the game has fallen on hard times.  Wildstar has fallen off the radar and into almost total obscurity.  Its had it rough for almost a year now and given that it never had much hype or a major advertisement campaign for its launch to begin with, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  I personally played the game in BETA and a bit after launch and wasn’t that impressed with the questing aspect of it. Right at the beginning, the game starts you off with mind numbing collect, kill and FedEx type quests. Nothing original, nothing special, its so bad that one has to wonder if they copied and pasted WOW’s quest coding right out of C++.  It felt simply like a re-skinned WOW except that it was in space (“WOW in space”), with its only saving grace being its combat system, humor and art design.  Combat in Wildstar is fun, exciting and skill oriented, you won’t be going on bathroom breaks while fighting mobs in this game. The Game is also extremely beautiful.  I know everyone is not into the whole cartoony art style but you have to admit it does look nice.WildStar Free to Play (F2P) Art Design   You must realize that everything in the world was hand drawn, colored and created before being implemented into the 3D world. That takes a lot of talent and skill, the artists did their jobs and did it well.  The corny humor it invokes by calling you “cupcake” over a thousand times, and having the announcer say stuff like this ever time you level up  made for some funny moments and lols that made you relax and remember you are playing the game to have fun. This is why I am firmly of the belief that the game can still be salvaged.   The questing system can always be tweaked and revamped and the game can be made better through updates.  In order to do this however, NCsoft must must change its payment model. Wildstar must become free to play! Not even buy to play, the game is not worth $40 plus a $15 a month subscription in its present state. Why must wildstar go free to play? Well, one reason is because as is stands right now the player population in the game is abysmal. To add to that, the game is like a gaping black hole for all the cash NCsoft is throwing at it.  Furthermore, its current payment model is antiquated, andby going free to play, and implementing the system properly the game can survive and become profitable to its creators and fun to its players.


The Population is Abysmal         

Just by logging into the game, one can see that it’s a ghost town. Capital cities have players sparsely situated around them, that is if you are lucky enough to find anyone.  Servers have had to be shutdown, and users from low population servers have had to migrate to a server with more players.  They have even implemented two Mega-Severs, one for the US and the other for EU (source) with one PVP and PVE  realm per mega-server.  The primary reason for this implementation being, low player population.  One player that goes by the YouTube name mirta000, has uploaded a four minute long video showing game footage of how pathetically abysmal the population really is now.

Keep in mind, this video was posted on  March 15, 2015 and mega-severs were implemented on October 14, 2014.  That is 5-6 months after the implementation of mega-servers ( check date: WildStar implements mega-servers).  In mirta000‘s video, it is shown in a “Who’s Online” search a whooping 17 users currently online.  Keep in mind this is a subscription based MMOrpg with only 17 users online and on a mega-server, it cannot get much worse than it.  That being said, if you plan to join a PVP the populations on PVP servers are even worse than those of PVE servers.  By going free to play Wildstar can alleviate his problem in an instant.  No one is willing to pay for a game or resubscribe to it if they don’t have anyone to play with, what would be the point?  If you think that video about the population is to old, here is a more recent one.

Bear in mind this is after the release of the “Invasion of Planet Nexus” expansion,  and as you can see again in the video it is still a ghost town.  The YouTuber Fevir also stated a lot has changed since the expansion and Wildstar has become a better game.  The problem is while Wildstar might have became a better game, no one will know that unless it goes free to play.  No one will come back even though its a better game because there isn’t anyone to enjoy this better version Wildstar with.  Very few people are going to be willing to take a chance and dump $40 on Wildstar or pay $15 to resubscribe to “check and see” if they like it.  The game will have to be free to play, even going buy to play won’t work as Wildstar doesn’t have that luxury.  Take The Elder Scrolls Online fore example, it went buy to play but unlike The Elder Scrolls Online, Wildstar doesn’t have a massive popular following, as it is a new IP.  The Elder Scrolls was already an insanely popular franchise, free to play is the only way for Wildstar.


Its a Gaping Black Hole For all The Cash NCsoft Throws It

Take this article posted by Massively OP just last month titled “investment firm sees a dark future for wildstar, bright hopes for guild wars 2”.  In the article it is stated that “Korean investment firm KDB Daewoo Securities is not predicting a rosy future for WildStar, although it still is recommending NCsoft as a “buy” prospect. The firm sees WildStar dropping to $585,000 in revenue per month, with a year-over-year drop of 91.1% from its launch last year.”  The numbers don’t lie, when it comes to Wildstar NCSoft is throwing money into a black-hole WildStar Free to Play (F2P) Blackhole Dye (no space pun intended). NCSoft’s own Q12015 report shows Wildstar sales to be dismal, compared to its other games.  Here is a screen shot taken from the report of breakdown of sales among its different games, and as you can see for yourself WildStar’s sales for Q12015 were horrific.

WildStar Free to Play (F2P) Sales Breakdown

Guild Wars 2 sold over 20,026, Lineage 1 66,024, Aion 18,258, Blade and Soul over 26,771 and as for WildStar 2,593.  Keep in mind all those games are either free 2 play or buy to play.  There isn’t more hardcore proof of Wildstar not being profitable to NCSoft than this.  A money sink of black-hole proportions, that needs to got free to play and needs to go fast!


Its Current Payment Model is Antiquated

The fact that every other game published by NCSoft that is buy to play or free to play is squashing Wildstar is proof positive that the subscription model for MMOrpgs is out dated.  I to was once part of the subscription based MMOs crowd, but have since changed and now I’m more in favor of the hybrid free to play or buy to play plus cash shop model.  However, this cash shop must not be a “pay 2 win” shop.  It must contain only cosmetic items and at most a minor 5% experience boost potion or the like.  In no way should cash shop items give one player increased power that would in some way give him or her an unfair advantage over another player that hasn’t both that item.  In the beginning cash shops in MMOs and other free to play games use to be gimmicky and shameless cash grabs with the developers designing the entire framework of the game around the cash shop, mostly due to greed.However, as we’ve seen things have changed since then and gamers have gotten smarter and games like that tend to fail anyway. 

Why the Subscription Model Sucks Fevir sums it up nicely

Games like League of Legends, Team Fortress 2, Path of Exile, Planet Side 2, DOTA, Hearthstone and Firefall have all shown that cash shops can be implemented and be profitable to the game creators without becoming “pay 2 win” or gimmicky cash grabs. These games are all insanely profitable some more profitable than subscription based games, I’m talking millions or dollars here.  Even more proof of this is that most new games being released by developers and publishers are learning towards this model.  Games like Heros of the Storm, Everquest Next, Overwatch, Black Dessert Online, H1Z1 are all high quality many of which are being developed by AAA companies.  Free to play games are now just as polished as AAA games these days and the argument of them being poorly made is as antiquated as subscription based payment models for MMOs.

Does this game look poorly made to you?

There is no logical reason for Wildstar to keep its subscription based payment model.  By doing so it offer no advantage to its players or the Carbine and NCSoft.  There are rumors swirling around the internet that it might go free to play in August, but they are just that – rumors.  For one i personally hope its true NCSoft has in the past killed off IPs by shutting down its servers.  Remember City of Heros?  Sometimes they simply refuse to let a game go free to play, I hope this doesn’t happen to WildStar.  Wildstar is a great game and in my opinion all it needs is some tweaking in its questing system and it should be a strong contender to other gamers of its genre whether the are subscription based (FFXIV ARR, WOW) or otherwise.  If you want WildStar to go free to play, not to get shut down and to continue to exist share this post with as much people as you can.  While it maybe clearly obvious that a game can still be profitable by adopting the free 2 play model some publishers can still axe them without warning, we don’t need another Warhammer Online or City of Heros, we need a free to play WildStar!

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