NCSoft and Carbine Studios have decided to drop the $14.99 a month subscription fee to play their space western MMORPG WildStar. Instead, the game will now be free for anyone to download and start playing. Yes, free-to-play.
One of the reasons for this is, quite simply, to encourage more people to play WildStar as the game approaches its full launch this fall. Having more players should also benefit the game as it acquires more feedback according to the developers.
Those who have paid in advance for their subscription to the game will see it honored in the form of four free months of Signature service. To explain, now that WildStar is free-to-play, it has two types of accounts: the free accounts and the Signature accounts. Signature accounts benefit from getting access to perks and bonuses that free accounts don’t have. There are also loyalty rewards such as additional gear, items, pets, and mounts for those who keep up their Signature accounts and for anyone who makes regular purchases in WildStar’s shop.
Also detailed here is an extra bonus for those former subscribers. They’ll get an exclusive Ikthian Crawler mount, an exclusive DJ Caretaker housing décor item, a Disco Snoglug companion pet, a new housing music track, and two new titles: “Living Legend” and “Nexus Loyalist.”
The free-to-play transition also brings with a number of big updates to the game. This includes a new instance at the Alpha Sanctum that introduces players to the mysteries of the Nexus (the main storyline) much earlier. There’s also a new, randomized reward system called Madam Fay’s Fortunes that turns small investments into new treasures.
Smaller changes include a revamped Arkship and arrival sequence that lets players choose where to start based on their MMO experience. Character creation has been overhauled, the spring function has been revamped, and new navpoints will help to keep track of objectives.