Wildstar Going Free-to-Play This Fall
The sci-fi MMORPG Wildstar is being revamped and adopting a free-to-play business model this fall.
Carbine Studios has announced that its MMORPG Wildstar is going free-to-play. As you would expect, MMORPG fans were thinking that Wildstar would be the next "WoW Killer" (which has yet to happen, even with Final Fantasy XIV). As with most MMORPG games that have gone free-to-play, there is a premium membership still being offered that will give you some bonuses, including more bank space and character slots, but nothing that could jeopardize the equality between premium and non-premium players, as progression and gameplay skills are still needed to succeed.
Those who have kept up with a paid subscription will get some player appreciation rewards from Carbine. These loyalty rewards include a Disco Snoglug pet, a housing track, a caretaker decor piece, an Ikthian Crawler mount and a free four months of the premium membership once the game adopts its free-to-play model this fall.
Last month, we reported that Wildstar publisher NCsoft suffered a serious round of layoffs, and that the F2P move was likely happening. NCsoft West will be handing off its customer support services to an external provider (likely in a poorer area of the world where the rate of pay is much cheaper) as many of the company's previous customer support workers have been laid off. This past October, Carbine Studios, a subsidiary of NCsoft, had to layoff roughly 60 of its development team members, less than five months after Wildstar debuted in stores (which shows that subscriptions and sales may have been lower than NCsoft had been hoping).
It's getting awfully tough for subscription-based MMORPGs to thrive nowadays (World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV aside). This marks yet another major MMO that had to abandon its paid premium subscription plan and adopt a F2P model.