For those who haven't heard, Sony's MMO Vanguard Saga of Heroes, is switching over to the F2P model, like oh so many before it. It was announced that it would make the switch about a month ago, but earlier yesterday they came in with an update (you can see the post here) :
Hello fellow Telonians!
It’s been a few months since my last Producer letter, but I’m happy to announce that we’re approaching the final stretch of our free-to-play conversion – or as we call it, Free to Play. Your Way. As a company, we’re focused on giving players choices so we’re thrilled to be this much closer to offering our players even more flexibility with their gameplay experiences.
Over the past few months, you’ve probably noticed a significant increase in game updates by our team. We’ve been tweaking and improving upon existing content, but we’ve also been burning the midnight oil in preparation of our upcoming free-to-play launch. Over the next several weeks, as we begin publishing new content to the Test server, we’ll share details with the Vanguard community about previewing and how to help test the upcoming changes.
So let’s talk about what we have in store for today, as well as the next several weeks leading up to our free-to-play launch!
Today, we’ve released our free-to-play feature matrix and FAQ (available here) including answers to some of your previous questions, along with information about the upcoming free-to-play transition. A huge thank you to the Vanguard community for your ongoing and helpful feedback (we really are listening so please keep sending us your thoughts!). Your feedback combined with our previous experience transitioning legacy games over to our Free to Play. Your Way model contributed to the development of what we think is the best free-to-play strategy for Vanguard and our players in that we will be providing the most compelling offer for both free and subscribing players.
Many of the matrix features may look familiar as they closely mirror Sony Online Entertainment’s other free-to-play games in that we’re offering more flexible options for every type of player, however, there are a few differences; most obvious being the number of membership tiers. Aside from our free-to-play offering, we determined it was in the best interest of our players to eliminate the Silver membership and instead provide primarily a Gold membership offering. In doing so, we’ve moved a few elements which would normally fall under a subscription category, and opened them up to the players for free.
Over the next several weeks, we expect to begin rolling out a number of improvements throughout the game, in preparation for our free-to-play launch. And, as I mentioned earlier, we’ll need your help testing these changes in order to refine and finalize our improvements so expect to see many of our developers recruiting your help in the Vanguard forums soon!
Lastly, I want to answer the question I’m sure is at the top of your lists – the release date. We are planning our free-to-play transition this summer and as much as we’d love to share a specific date with all of you, we want to make sure we take the appropriate time to test and do this right so that way we’re ultimately delivering the best possible experience to our players. As I mentioned in my last Producer letter, we assembled our team with only the most passionate Vanguard developers. Therefore, you can rest assured that they’ve fought tooth and nail to acquire as much polish time as possible! ☺
Again, thank you all for your feedback and continued devotion to the game, and as always, please visit the Vanguard forums for the latest news and game updates.
We’ll see you online!
Now it is nice to see another P2P game switch over to the ever so popular F2P model.....well, not popular with all of you, but more on a company point of view, but once I read the actual FAQ for it, some of the excitement for a new F2P game faded. They did some of the decisions I didn't like with other games that did the move like Champions Online and others that go with a more rash "Freemium" model.
They did retain some of the main things like free players being able to make 4 character while gold 12, and for free players having the ability to get to the max level, but then they start to do things that are a bit less popular. Some of the restrictions being; Free players cannot form guilds, can only equip common items (what? who does that?), they cannot sell items through the broker, cannot use all of the chat channels (to be honest, this one doesn't bug me too much), and they cannot send mail.
That type of model that they describes pretty much gimps free players from really being able to get anywhere in the game. Sure you can get to the max level, but with all the other restrictions, you would feel more like you're playing a trial or demo for a game that is heavily restricted than a game that was meant to welcome free players. Before any of you think I am bashing the move, or their need to make money, I really am not. I just don't like the way they decided to go about it with this game, others have made the move and did it in a much better way, two of my favorite examples being Star Trek Online and Fallen Earth. Both of these games do have the "freemium" model in place, but the restrictions they put are a lot more reasonable for people to even play as a free character.
Now, my personal thought is that if they really want to bring in a lot of free players, who potentially could invest a bit of money in the game, I think they really need to re-think these limitations and maybe go about it a different way. What do you guys think?