Why you want MechWarrior Online to be Free-To-Play

by InnerSphereNews in [ Into the Lab ] on, Nov 4, 2011 4:16 PM UTC

Why you want MechWarrior® Online™ to be Free-To-Play!

Since the announcement came out, one of the hottest topics has been about Free-To-Play (F2P). This Into the Lab will discuss the details of why MechWarrior® Online™ is F2P and how we came to love the concept () and why you should too. So let’s get started.

How many times have you bought a game for 60 bucks and felt disappointed? Or if you’re like me, paid 60 bucks, played for 2 hours and never touched the game again because you get busy with life or work? Or loved a game so much, that you wished there was more, only to wait 2 years for a sequel! The Free-To-Play model solves this problem by allowing players to drive value and content.

How does this translate into MechWarrior™ Online™? Great question! Let’s talk about the design principle we’re using to drive MWO, simply referred to as: “All Carrot, No Stick”.

The core experience is available to anyone for no cost at all. You as the player, get to choose how and if you spend money. And make no mistake, I want you to spend money, but only on the things YOU value. In fact, when you spend your money, it tells me that we’ve succeeded in creating a game players enjoy. Sounds like a basket full of carrots to me.

Key to achieving this concept is a design that rewards players for participation, skill, tactical thinking, team play, and heroics in a way that is engaging to the individual and contributes to the overall community experience. These rewards take many forms, including in-game currency called C-Bills, experience points, and prestige. Players can also purchase items which make this experience more fun, engaging, or efficient depending on what matters to them.

For example, if you are an offense player like me, you will be rewarded with money, experience, and prestige by dealing damage, and killing or helping to kill the enemy. I’m also a collector; I love to own one of everything. So MWO provides me with the ability to acquire and store items of value (collector), while rewarding me for doing what I love most, crushing other MechWarriors in the field of battle (offense player)!

We are catering to all major player archetypes, the lone wolf, the team player, the collector, the efficiency/tuner, the tinkerer/builder, the leader and many more. These archetypes are all represented within the context of MechWarrior® Online™ a free-to-play BattleMech action/sim.

Now let’s talk about Pay-To-Win, the red-headed step child (no offense to all the red heads, we really do love you).

There are those who will rumble about Pay-2-Win, which equates to the person with the biggest wallet winning. I’m not going to lie, some things can and will allow you to acquire items faster, or even instantly with real cash.

Foul! Foul! You said you can’t buy a tactical advantage! That’s a stick! That guy with the wallet is going to be able to buy the biggest, bad assed items in the game! He’s going to kick my butt with his wallet.

Well here’s some food for thought, maybe the biggest isn’t always the best! To take a quote from an early MechWarrior® presentation – This is not your father’s MechWarrior®! One of our core pillars is Role Warfare and is designed to, well – level the playing field – another concept from our original design. We're doing away with the arms race and making BattleMechs of all shapes and sizes have a purpose and role on the battlefield. If you love scouting, grab that light mech, train and gear it up. Be that sneaky guy who relays critical information back to the rest of your lance. Maybe you’re a commander type, who loves to multitask, directing fire support, air strikes, and multiple lances in a mech suitable to that role. If you play any of these roles well, and with skill, you will be rewarded.

So remember this, time and experience (the real kind), will always equal greater skill. Greater skill will always equal more rewards. You can’t buy skill, you earn it.

Now if that wasn’t enough here are some of my other favourite reasons why you want MechWarrior® Online™ to be F2P!

We can iterate quickly.
  • This means we can listen to your feedback and actually do something about it.
We have live game metrics.
  • This means we can respond to key indicators and refine the game play experience.
We are not bound by content delivery limitations of a console platform.
  • For now, getting new content delivered through a console is a costly and arduous process.
We can use test servers and a beta community to test our ideas and new content before pushing it to live servers.
  • This isn’t new concept. However, it’s vital to keeping the quality bar high for MWO.
In summary:
  • All Carrot, No Stick.
  • Balanced roles to suit a variety of player styles.
  • Skill is earned.
  • You can make your own choices!
  • Spend money on things YOU value.
  • MechWarriorâ„¢ rules! (Fan Boy moment)

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