Atari and Cryptic's superhero-themed MMORPG picking up hybrid microtransaction/subscription model in early 2011; beta begins November 9.
With Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft now over 12 million players worldwide, staying relevant in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game space has been no easy task. An increasingly common option for doing so, though, is switching to a free-to-play, microtransaction-supported business model. Recent converts include Turbine's Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online, as well as Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest II.
Today, one more struggling MMORPG can be added to that list, as Atari and Cryptic Studios announced that their superhero-themed Champions Online would adopt a hybrid free-to-play/subscription model during the first quarter of 2011. A closed beta test for the free-to-play model is scheduled for November 9.
When Atari makes the switch over next year, gamers will be able to download Champions Online at no cost and play for an unlimited amount of time. However, those players will be able to augment their experience by purchasing premium content, including adventure packs, items, powers, and costume pieces. This content will be offered through what Cryptic is calling the C-Store, a Web-based and in-game marketplace.
Gamers will also have the option to continue paying a flat rate for Champions Online. Both new and continuing players can opt in to the $15-per-month subscription rate, which will grant them access to "most of the game's content" as well as other bonus features.
Champions Online was the first of two MMORPGs that Cryptic launched within a five-month period, having debuted in September 2009. Though it received more favorable reviews than its Star Trek Online cousin, the game failed to elevate Atari's full-year earnings out of the red. In August, Cryptic creative director and Blizzard North cofounder Bill Roper departed the company, with the studio going on to announce the Dungeons & Dragons-themed Neverwinter later that month.
Say y not just release MMO's with Free to play as first choice, then add in a sub model as an option... The thing is the MMO market is becoming more crammed, and even if you offer something unique, its no guarantee it will be a hit and a hit for long.. Peoples patients with MMOs being released half finish, not enough content, and bug ridden is growing thin and all these small companies will feel it... Why do u think blizz is in no rush to release there next mmo... The best micro model i have seen so far in Guild wars option. Bioware will release a star wars MMO next year, and while it looks good so far, that too can be subject to going to free to play route too if its not successful over a period of time. I'm sure it too will have bugs, class balance issues, not enough end game to suit everyone. People will come and try it out but not all have the patience to ride through the bug till they are fixed and so on. The main miss conception people have of MMO's is that they should play like a finish game and not be too much of a grind... Just my 2cents
@KotickIsGenius I think we can add The Old Republic to that list. Sins its sed to have slightly higher needs form the PC then WoW.
@SDSkarface I've never played Guild Wars 1, so your probably right about that, but it is listed as an MMO just about everywhere so...But I've been following Guild Wars 2 and it looks like a real MMO, from all the video's and news articles both here and at there web site it looks like there doing everything right. I guess we'll all have to wait for the reviews though. I agree with you about the FTP model...I've played many of the FTP MMO's and they're all lacking in quality. But Guild Wars 2 will not be FTP, they'll make all there money from the initial purchase, and following expansions. It's the only MMO I'm looking forward to playing.
@wexorian Wow is fun, but it's really showing it's age, I suppose that's why Blizzard is doing so well though, because it's really the only good MMO that you can play on an old PC.
@KotickIsGenius GuildWars isnt even a true MMO,its more like a 3d Diablo with just 5-6 players at a time. and the FTP Model is busted,its a sign of desperation and it ruins gameplay when anyone can buy stuff with real money instead of putting in the time and acquiring it in game,lets face it if you dont got time to play maybe you shouldnt be playing MMO's.
I love wow and playng every day but also playng othe mmo's nice if it will have free play i'l try, yes it's hard battle againt blizzard but keep going MMo creaters maybe you will ovetrhow wow :D
I'm glad to see this happen, seeing all these MMO's fail because of a greedy business model, maybe all these company's will finally get the message and see that nobody wants to pay monthly fee's anymore. Free to play with micro-transactions are just as bad....you'll end up with a bunch of 8 year olds running there mouths in chat. And not to mention the restrictions they'll place on the FTP people until you fork over the cash...it's just fail all around. I like NCSoft's pay method with Guild Wars 1 & 2, you pay for the game ands that's it.....play online as much as you want, no micro-transactions and no monthly fee's. Hopefully all the company's planing to release new MMO's will learn from NCSoft, but I doubt it.
@GodsPoison You have to remember all the additional factors behind MMO's. All those servers which people need to play cost a lot to maintain, plus you need customer support, hardware support, server maintenance, backup servers and whatnot. They need to charge a monthly fee to stay afloat and make a profit at the same time. But on the other hand you have games like guildWars which you was a much smaller scale version of an mmo but still you payed for the game once and received updates frequently.
The only game to beat Duke Nukem Forever in development time by over a decade... and now it's going free to play. This one just never offered anything different enough from City of Heroes. Honestly, I'm surprised that CoH didn't go free first.
Why not just do a one time charge for the damn game and then let it go from there? Thats what i never liked about MMO's you buy the game then you keep paying so you can play it.
I'd still play it, if only so that I could use travel powers instead of just doing the tutorial endlessly.
Absent doing this they would have to shut the doors. A whole different class and crowd of players will enter the game. I am just not interested in the free to play genre. I tried them out a few years ago and it is just plain annoying to download and try to enjoy when everything that game is intending for you to do is buy, buy and buy.
You know, this actually annoys the heck out of me. I don't like micro-transactions that much. I'd rather they keep the 15 bucks a month model, but oh well.... Edit: oh didn't see that other part about also having the monthly subscription, but that "most of the content" part worries me now....
The key phrase in this article is "two MMORPGs that Cryptic launched within a five-month period". When companies like Blizzard, Bioware, Sony and Arenanet take enormous resources and time to polish an mmo, what gives Cryptic the idea that they can create two simultaneously? It's destined for mediocrity at best. This free-to-play experiment is a futile effort. DC Universe Online will crush this game.
just "most of the games content" for the users who pay the $15 monthly fee? Seems kind of unfair to me
I've played champions for a couple of months and it started out cool but.. i felt like I was playing a solo game and didn't need a group for anything.
I gave LOTRO a shot when it went F2P and am addicted. Subbed 3 days after trying it and loving it. I did not like Champions Online when I tried it when it first came out but I will give it another shot when it goes free to play
I played CO for the first month of its release and was very unimpressed. The character creation was its best asset by far but that alone can't make a game good. There was never any real reason to team up, i found the interface rather clumsy and unintuitive, and i thought the flying mechanism was rather dumb in its implementation. COH did a far better job with travel powers. I knew it was a matter of time before CO either folded or went to the "free" model.
Really hate Free to play MMOs, normaly very bad quality and have awful communities. Not to even mention the microtransactions...
Apparently this game was way cooler, and felt more like X-Men Legends: the MMORPG at first, but then all the beta testers complained that it wasn't WoW-like enough, so they changed it and everyone said the game sucked. I hear DC Universe Online won't make the same mistake.
I'm staying away from micromanagement. I don't really have the time to play this game fully anyways.
I've got a question to all those that play free-to-play MMOs, can you only get the good weapons and gear if you pay money for them? that's my biggest fear with microtransactions
I paid 200 bucks for the lifetime subscription, so I would'nt have to pay 15$ a month. FFFFFFUUUUUUUU---. ...I guess it doesn't really matter, I never play this game anyway. It sucks.
´´for i am the destroyer of worlds´´ i swear i heard that in a comic before. this looks bad, really bad. the only way i could consider playing this is if my PS3 was kidnapped by my boredom and even then i could just play S4 League lmao
Oh the irony, just yesterday I downloaded the demo and thought of buying the game... Heh, I guess I'll now wait for next year.
really its just like city of hero game. one thing hellgate game had was you felt like a dam.... did i just do that
Yeah. It's basically an old school, convoluted, not very fun MMO with superhero character skins. F2P doesn't solve core design problems. It just lowers expectations far enough for people to put up with them.
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