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Death of an MMO redux: Warhammer 40k Eternal Crusade

Posted by Ozzallos Thursday October 8 2015 at 6:59AM
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How to kill your Silver Bullet MMO franchise in one easy step:

What business model will the game use?

Eternal Crusade will be available in retail, for digital purchase, and a free-to-play option we call “Free-to-Waaagh!”. By purchasing a copy of the game, you will have access to it forever with no need for a subscription. There will be post-launch expansions as well as a cash shop for aesthetic customizations and side-grades.

You can play Free-to-Waaagh only as an Ork Character. In contrast to the premium Ork progression, some options will be locked, but you’ll be able to go anywhere and fight for the Waaagh! If you like it, but don’t want to pay the full price, you can unlock some of the missing options with micro-transactions.

-Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade FAQs

Billing yourself as a Free to Play MMO from the outset is a risky proposition. Name brand recognition is almost mandatory and even then you’ll need some way to make profit on the backside so you can keep the lights on. Most of your player populace will be free to play until you can entice them to spend money and to do that, you need to give them a taste of the game. Like crack, if you will. The analogy is probably more relevant than not, but that’s neither here of there. Without that foot in the door, you will fail.

While no Star Wars in terms of franchise power, Warhammer 40k isn’t exactly a slouch for fandom, so let’s be generous and say that we’ve at least got a foot in the door. The next is convincing players to spend money, and that’s where Behavior Interactive has gone horribly wrong. Take your favorite MMO, for example. I don’t care which one, but pick one. Got it? Good.

Now you are only allowed to play humans. All other factions are locked out behind a paywall. What? Your MMO is only a single race type game? Okay, you only get to play fighters. Mages, Clerics and thieves are locked behind the same pay wall. While the latter example is less accurate, you get the idea. Free to play lives and dies by giving players a taste of their game. Most of them are not dumb enough to lock a majority of their content behind a cash shop veil from the outset, and that’s where the critical fault here lies with Eternal Crusade. I hear you like orks. So here’s some orks with some orks and a motherfucking cash shop for anything else.

I’m sure you can picture the meme well enough without me having to post it here.

Of the games out today, their business plan seems to resemble Guild Wars 2 the most, but let's be honest-- Does anybody here think Arenanet's game would have been even a fraction as successful if they had forced all F2P player to play just Charr until they ponied up the cash? Say it with me: Nope.

Now I’ve hear that part of this is on purpose. Behavior-if I remember right –wants there to be the hordes of Orks just like there is in the fiction. While it certainly serves the purpose, I can’t help but to think that you’ll completely devaluate the gaming experience by creating an us-versus-them environment, and not simply on the battlefield. We’re talking the have and have nots. The pay versus free players. This can already be a poisonous topic among the player community without going out of your way to actually instigate it as a policy. More to the point, you’re subtly insinuating your free to play user base is an expendable horde.

If this game is planning on surviving as a F2P title, it’s deliberately handicapping itself by locking a majority of its content out from the outset for those free players to sample; and make no mistake, that will be the majority of the player population. It’s also creating a poisonous environment by design and frankly, I don’t think there is enough of an initial paying base to sustain the actual pay portion. Yes, I know it’s Warhammer 40k… but most of this game’s potential audience doesn’t have a figure of Slaanesh on their desk or a 40k rulebook for reference.

I’m predicting one of two things here: Either Behavior Interactive realizes that /wrists is really a bad idea and opens up the race archetypes to everybody or this game implodes faster than the grimdark plot of Warhammer 40k itself.

Vilesavantx writes:

Wait, as I read it they are basically buy to play with a wholly free to play option. Buy the game you get access to it all (factions that is). If you don't want to buy it you play Free to Waaaagh, are locked into Orks faction, but get to experience the gameplay and make the decision if you want to purchase the game.

I mean if we wanted to make a comparison GW2 was buy to play and gave no free to play option at all, and still had the cash shop. So the way I see it, this model is more fair than what GW2 launched with.

Fri Oct 09 2015 3:22PM Report
Ozzallos writes:

@ While you are quite possibly correct, I didn't mention anything at all about fairness-- I spoke about what will kill this game first. Being fair and successful don't necessarily go hand in hand. You only offer free to play for one reason as a company: To get all the eyeballs that would normally never pay for your product (for any number of reasons and justifications) to look at your game.

Fans will mistake this post as not being a fan of WH40k and ripping on the franchise when it's nothing of the sort. It is, however, pointing out an extremely poor tactical decision on Behavior Interactive's part.

Sat Oct 10 2015 3:51AM Report
ConjureOne writes: What exactly is this whine thread about? I cant figure it out =/  Thu Oct 15 2015 9:27AM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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