Two years ago I was wondering if The Elder Scrolls Online and WildStar were throwing themselves under the bus by declaring for a monthly subscription model in an era when only a select few games seem able to hold enough customers to make that model work for their vision.
Back then the team doing TESO said that a subscription model was essential to deliver the experience they wanted while the WildStar team felt they could offer a PLEX-like option and declare themselves free to play already.
The subscription business model champions of 2013 have come around to free to play in 2015.
TESO went first, going free back in January, while WildStar, after a precipitous drop in revenue, reflected in the NCsoft quarterly results… I believe somebody said that WildStar might end up bringing in less revenue that City of Heroes when NCsoft shut that down… announced that they were going free to play back in May. This staved off closure by the trigger happy team at NCsoft for the time being.
And today is the day. WildStar is now officially free to play, another such title in a veritable forest of free to play MMORPGs. I cannot name a single factor that would set it out from the crowd of other options. We shall see if free is sufficient inducement for players to keep the game going.
The WildStar site has been updated and there is a FAQ spelling out what free to play means for the game. As with the game itself, nothing in the FAQ stands out as new and different enough to separate it from the pack.