Apparently I missed the announcement that GamersFirst (currently pimping out APB:Reloaded) was taking over Fallen Earth, at the very least the hardware side of things, but now GamersFirst are taking over the whole thing and turning it Free-To-Play. While the core team are still developing and designing it, GF will be running the money side of it.
They’ve announced several subscription Tiers. Each giving different bonuses, with VIP boosting you and your party’s something. They haven’t actually said what that is (but each tier boosts your own XP gain, so it may be something along those lines). They also mentioned paying to decrease crafting time, and cosmetic content, and subscribing gives you so many points to spend in the FE store per month, as well as allowing cash purchases of points.
As it stands I loved Fallen Earth for a few reasons. The crafting probably tweaked my interest the most, being as it was incredibly fleshed out and complicated, while remaining raw and simple. What you made felt like you actually made it with your own two hands, and that was something rare and special in an MMO. Lets put it this way. Of all the MMO’s I’ve played, Fallen Earth was the only game I actually decided to model my avatar after myself, that is how immersive and personal the game felt to play.
However, at the time I couldn’t really convince myself that I could pony up the cash for two MMO Subs (The other one at the time being the recently released Champions Online, which, incidentally, has also gone F2P, and I don’t play any more either) and to be honest the game wasn’t really for me. Sure it was fun, and satisfying, and immersive and getting my first bike was a great achievement, and I loved the constant feeling of danger, that you were never guaranteed a win. But the shiny cartoony fun, community and cosmetic options of Champions won me over in the end. While it was all well and good playing Fallen Earth, I did like to play with other people, and Champions gave that in spades, whereas FE’s clan system was lacklustre, and the attitude of some people were less than friendly.
But one thing about Fallen Earth was that everything you had in the game was yours. You made it. From scratch, from the ground up. And unfortunately, there’s little room for that in Gamers First’s business model.
The initial announcment ofthe payment model appears to tweak crafting slightly, allowing you to speed it up, but since crafting is a major part of the game I don’t expect it to stop there.
All the other games GF have released have been localisations of Korean or Japanese MMOs, with their own cash shop bolted on and used to milk people with Pay-to-win items. While APB for now isn’t like that the cash shop appears to be focused on unique, but balanced, weapons that you lease for 30 days. (although if you ask some people the OCA-Whisper silenced Sub Machine-gun is rather over-powered and that’s only after a month) So on top of premium you could be paying the same again to use certain weapons. They released a permanently owned Upgraded Rifle for $60 (that you can get in game at higher levels, and then you have to buy it every 10 days with in-game cash), and there are people who shelled out for it.
And this brings me back to Fallen Earth. They will bring out a cash shop. The currently announced items will not be the end. They will eventually either sell high-level, hard-to-attain items, or rare crafting materials needed to make it. They will be expensive, but people will buy them.
Selling hard to get items, or high level items on the cash shop, especially ones you can make yourself in game, can cause problems. If I see someone pottering around in a unique gold plated quad bike they bought off a cash shop I won’t feel bad, I might put them in the more-money-than-sense camp, but It doesn’t directly affect me. But if I’m pottering around in the best bike in the game that you can also buy off the cash shop, or pay money to lop off a significant amount of work to get it, that takes away from the real achievement of making something yourself. It’ll be the only reason I ever thought to come back to the game watered down to who has the largest pile of cash.
And that’s sad.