As you saw just now, Trion has announced that End of Nations is going to be Free to Play, but what exactly does that mean? We spoke to Executive Producer, and Trion's Vice President of Third-Party Development David Luehmann to get the details:
Strategy Informer:So, do you think the Free-to-play business model fits this game specifically better than the subscription model? Or do you think the free-to-play model as a whole is better than subscription?
David Luehmann: For a premium strategy game like End of Nations, we really want to bring as many players as possible into its massive-scale strategic warfare. And as we looked at the enormous battles and huge persistent world, we realized that the success of End of Nations would be driven by having thousands of players from around the globe battling daily in the world’s biggest strategy game. Essentially our goal is to minimize the barrier to entry and maximize the fun!
Strategy Informer:Does this reflect at all on the decision to use subscription for RIFT? If the opportunity presented itself would you want to move that over to the F2P model as well?
David Luehmann: We’re focused on providing AAA titles with business models that make the most sense for the Trion community and players. We feel this model will best fit what we’re offering with End of Nations. RIFT is growing as an MMO and community and has been a tremendous success since launch. We’re pleased with its growth rate and success and have no plans to change its direction.
Strategy Informer:What kind of research did you do / what factors influenced this decision?
David Luehmann: We utilized a number of industry resources, independent research, and communication with our current customers that indicated the number the most important feature was the ability to play for free. The audience we polled included online gamers, casual gamers, RTS players, shooters, etc.. so we felt it was an accurate representation of our target audience. Our goal is to make a premium title that is accessible to everyone and I believe we are taking the right steps to ensure that happens with End of Nations.
Strategy Informer:You've mentioned the optional subscription, but what other ways are there in this game to generate revenue? Are we talking micro-transactions? Content packs? Skins?
David Luehmann:End of Nations is truly free to play—so no money or credit card is needed to play or succeed. Most items in the store will be purchasable with either End of Nations Wealth (currency earned in-game by playing) or with Trion Credits (purchased currency).
Strategy Informer:Coming back to the optional subscription, can you lay out specifically what benefits players get by choosing to subscribe, and do any of these heavily impact gameplay / provide an advantage?
David Luehmann: The optional subscription is just a way to offer the best value to our most committed players. End of Nations can be enjoyed entirely without the subscription, but subscribers will get significant value and convenience extras for their monthly fee. The optional subscription is all about value, but not about gameplay advantage.
Strategy Informer:Looking at this from the other perspective, if a person choose to try and play the game without paying any money what-so-ever, what COULDN'T they do, in the long term or in the short term?
David Luehmann: None of the content is restricted to paying players, but paying players can access the in-game store which will offer a wide selection of items, including customization and convenience items. We will not be selling pay-to-win items that give one player a significant gameplay advantage over another. Most items in the store will be purchasable with either End of Nations Wealth (currency earned in-game by playing) or with Trion Credits (purchased currency).
Strategy Informer:Are we right in assuming then that it's also free to acquire /download the game, and that the only editions that you have to purchase - be that at retail or online, are the collector's editions?
David Luehmann: Yes the standard edition or End of Nations will be free to all! There will be a Collector’s Edition for End of Nations available at retail. Expect it to be packed with a cool selection of both physical and digital extras! The Collector’s Edition will be the only “box” at retail, although we will also have End of Nations prepaid cards. We will also offer a digital version of the Collector’s Edition, with just the digital extras.