Switch made "strictly because we wanted to get more players to play the game".
We caught up with Carbine Studios' Mike Donatelli to discuss the upcoming free-to-play transition for Wildstar and the developer's commitment to the game.
"We decided to switch over from subscription to free-to-play strictly because we wanted to get more players to play the game," says Donatelli. "We came to the realisation that a $60 box and a $15 a month fee had really... People were wanting to play, people were talking even on our own forums saying 'hey, you know if this game was free I'd play it'. So free-to-play was actually not a difficult decision, but we knew there was a lot of work to do."
Interestingly Carbine saw an increase in the playerbase as the move to free-to-play was first announced a few months back.
"We expected there to be a little bit of a backlash," says Donatelli. "There would be people who were just like 'well, I'm stop subbing if it's going to go free-to-play' or 'I'll sub back when it comes free-to-play'. But strangely enough we actually saw a big bump in subscriptions. Because we announced at the same time that we wanted make sure that we were doing right by our players who had stuck with us all along. So we're going to add this loyalty system, pretty chunky loyalty system. So if you've been with us from the beginning or if you started last month, every month that you were with us you get all these bonus items."
Donatelli also detailed some of the changes made in terms of the game's structure (more tutorials, earlier story content), as well as a commitment to players in the future.
Wildstar will transition to free-to-play and the closed beta of the new content (for all current subscribers as well as non-subscribers with a beta key - sign up here) is live right now.
Below are some screens from the upcoming new content available as of the free-to-play switch: