A few weeks ago, we reported that WildStar, the MMO from Korean publisher NCSOFT, could be going free-to-play. This fall, this will become a reality, as the development team announced a plan to transition the game to a subscription-free model that has quickly become the standard for the massively multiplayer online genre.
While no exact date has been given yet for the move to free-to-play, not only will the subscription be dropped, but the base game will also be available for free instead of the current $20. In place of these revenue streams, WildStar will offer microtransactions in the form of “player services, convenience options, and cosmetic offerings.”
Those who already have recurring payment set up on their accounts or have a pre-paid Game Time Card will be grandfathered into the WildStar “Signature service.” Signature service payments will function similarly to the current mandatory subscription, but paying players will receive extra bonuses, including extra Auction House bids, a higher currency earning rate, and extra XP.
Longtime subscribers — those who have continued to pay from the game’s launch until its move to free-to-play — will also receive a special set of rewards, including four free months of Signature service, a new decor item, a new pet, and the titles “Living Legend” and “Nexus Loyalist.”
Even if you don’t plan to subscribe to the game, anyone who purchases WildStar before the transition will receive special benefits designed to “retain an experience that most closely matches that of the launch game.” While free players will only receive two character slots, purchasers will receive 12, for example.
Although WildStar will now be completely playable without paying a dime, NCSOFT is stressing that this could change in the future with the inclusion of possible paid expansion packs. However, all updates for the core game will be offered free to all players going forward.