MMORPG: Let's first start by talking about how things have been going since the transition to completely free?
Patrick Sun: The transition has brought a lot of positive changes, and we’ve seen a large influx of players coming in just to see what TERA’s about. It’s great to see the community growing, and we are very happy with how players are adjusting to the new options provided through the in-game shop. It was a ton of work, but with the support of a team, who’s committed to delivering the best experience for our users, we are very happy with the results of the transition.
MMORPG: The 1.4 million users mark is pretty staggering. Where was it at before the change, and how has the reaction been from new players?
Patrick Sun: Although we haven’t disclosed those numbers, I can tell you that we’ve seen our daily registration increase over 10x since the transition, and the rate at which we’ve surpassed the 1 million mark was a surprise for even our team. The reaction from the new players has been very positive, and it’s great to see them joining our vets in growing the TERA community to what it is today.
MMORPG: The concurrency being 10X greater is also pretty impressive. Why do you think that is? It can't just be because of the free-ness... can it?
Patrick Sun: Well, the “free-ness” definitely doesn’t hurt. Anyone can just try the game for free with no obligations to pay in the long term, and without the burden of a monthly subscription, players can play as much or little as they want. The fact they stay concurrent users really speaks to their enjoyment of the content and the service we’re able to provide.
MMORPG: What does the future hold now, though? With all these people coming into the game you're going to want to give them more stuff to do. What's on deck, can you give us some details?
Patrick Sun: While we introduced new PvE and PvP content with the transition, we’ve been very busy working on the next set of game updates scheduled for summer of 2013. Epic scale raid dungeons, a new 20v20 battleground, and more open world events will all be included in addition to a vast revamp of our political system to incorporate alliances.
MMORPG: One of the big risks seen by the TERA F2P model is that you gave up well... EVERYTHING for free. Have you seen people spend money in the game regardless? If so, what items are being bought?
Patrick Sun: I think there’s a common misconception that free games should force players to spend money, which usually means gating content in such a way that prohibits enjoying the game. However, we’ve found that if players are truly enjoying the game, they’re just as happy to spend money on things they actually want to pay for. There are a lot of items in the store, ranging from cosmetic costumes and weapon skins to consumables and account services like race and name changes. And if players choose not to spend anything, they’re still helping to grow our community which is equally, if not more, important to the health of the game.
MMORPG: Do you have plans to flesh out the store more, add more items and such?
Patrick Sun: We continue to work with our development team to expand our current catalogue of store items. New costumes, mounts, and weapon skins are all in the works in our effort in bringing more options for players.
MMORPG: What about content expansions, will they continue to be free, or will we see DLC packs or something like that?
Patrick Sun: We have no current plans of gating upcoming content expansions behind a paywall.
MMORPG: What about another BAM Invasion for players to take part in? BAM's are the game's most fun content in the open world, and it definitely seems like something people would love partaking in. Will there be special loot tied to it or anything like that?
Patrick Sun: Our next BAM invasion event, Dracoloths Rising, is actually happening right now. Players can jump in and battle one of TERA’s coolest Big Ass Monsters appearing around the world. All players participating (read: fighting) in the event will get a special parcel in the mail with some goodies in addition to the loot.
MMORPG: Thanks for taking the time to chat. I hope you guys experience continued success. What do you think the key to keep it going will be for TERA?
Patrick Sun: We’re so excited to see such a positive response following our free transition, and it really inspires us to continue bringing new content our players enjoy. That, plus continually listening to community feedback will be critical in molding TERA to be the kind of game our players want to play.