House Of Cards: BattleForge For Free

By Jim Rossignol on May 26th, 2009 at 1:44 pm.


Someone is going to be livid. Battleforge, EA’s card-trading, deck-based online RTS – which was a full-price game a couple of months ago – is now free to play. (The server is taking a pounding at the moment, and it’s achingly slow.) Anyway you can now get the full game, with two full decks, and full access to all content since release, for nothing. You have to level up in both PvE and PvP before you can enter full trading stakes, but that’s a whole lot of game for free. As an RTS Battleforge is slightly cumbersome, especially in PvE, but I can’t fault the balance or possibilities for deck-construction. Being able to build an army with the cards you’ve meticulously scraped together is surprisingly rewarding. It’s a genuinely interesting experiment, and I hope the move to a free-to-play model brings in a few more people who might get a kick out of that sort of thing.

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40 Comments »

  1. Tunips says:

    Not having followed closely, I had been under the impression that Battleforge was always going to be free. What with the emphasis on micropayments for cards and such.

  2. Jim Rossignol says:

    Well, it might have been an inevitability, but I don’t think EA would have put it out with a pricetag if they didn’t expect it to sell as a package.

  3. Lobotomist says:

    The idea of selling the game in which you had to purchase other elements only to stay in play , was wrong.

    Going free was inevitable

  4. Kanakotka says:

    Give me back my 40 euros, EA :|

  5. Optimaximal says:

    So, are there significant limitations on the play4free system or is the game now essentially micro-payments heaven, with people willing to pay money (or those who paid for the retail package retroactively) getting better stuff etc. (ala. BF Heroes and Burnout Paradise)?

  6. ChaosSmurf says:

    I know someone who bought this two days ago from Play for the “perfectly reasonable, a great deal” price of £19.99.

    :D

  7. Butler` says:

    so they sell it full price for a while to recoup some costs then make it free2play?

    that’s a strange way of doing things

  8. The_B says:

    Apparently the retail box is now worth 3000 of the games BattlePoints currency – dunno if that’s retroactive or not.

  9. Schaulustiger says:

    So, I can get it for free and then, say, play it with a friend of mine in co-op with no need to ever purchase extra cards? Or is it impossible to get a good gaming experience with the starter deck?

  10. pkt-zer0 says:

    It kind of makes sense now, but I still can’t see myself paying for cards and whatnot. If that were the case, I’d just go back to MtG.

  11. Iain says:

    Presumably the “free” version doesn’t come with the 3000 starter points you get in version you pay for. It also seems like it doesn’t come with all four of the starter decks.

    I think it still works out slightly cheaper to get the “free” version and buy 3000 points seperately, but hey, whatever, it’s close enough.

  12. Tei says:

    EA, better give me 50 eur of bf points. *shake hand*.

  13. Carra says:

    They must have figured out that they made a lot more money from selling cards then from the actual game.

  14. CakeAddict says:

    I can never get into games where there are micro-payments I hate it when this guy beats you simply because he is willing to throw money around, which I will never do. Never.

  15. Morgawr says:

    The free version only gets 32 starter cards in comparison to the 64 starter cards and 3000+ Battleforge Points the early adopters got, so as an early adopter, I don’t feel as ripped off as I thought I might. Hopefully the increased population will result in regular content updates from EA Phenomic.

  16. autogunner says:

    better of worse than magic: the gathering? I always take a few decks on holiday to play with my brothers, but this on a couple of laptops would also work?

  17. Rich_P says:

    The game dropped from $50 to $30 shortly after release, too.

    I detest the idea of paying $50 for what’s obviously a microtransaction delivery vehicle. Besides, one of the strengths of competitive RTS games is that the guy you’re playing against can’t buy an advantage. It’s his skills vs. yours

  18. egpheel says:

    Awesome news!

  19. waste_manager says:

    Got a free copy of this on launch after a PR event for it. Played it twice. Didn’t like. The PR thing was good though.

  20. Dominic White says:

    The ‘free’ thing is overstated. They’ve relaxed some of the limitations on the demo, but you basically start out with only 32 (of several hundred) units and no ability to buy/trade any until you register a retail key, or reach a certain XP level – and even then, nobody will want to buy your starting cards, as every free player has them already.

    A lot of people completely turned their nose up at Battleforge, but it really is a surprisingly good game (especially the co-op scenarios, which are remarkably tough and huge), so you should give it a fair shake.

    They’re not really devaluing retail copies here. Those who bought the game still have way more cards/points. They’ve just removed the campaign limitations from the demo.

  21. kvertiber says:

    Do you get any cards when levelling up? Or is paying the only way to advance?

  22. Tei says:

    About 99.99 % of this type of games is chatting with people, and trading. Trading is awesome game at itself.

    The other 65% is a rock solid RTS with great PvE missions.
    I don’t know the current state of the PvP, but the last time I played, building was a really bad idea, so the game was like totally pro-rushers. Good PvP, but not if turtles, … turtilng is a really slow self-defeating strategy.

    On this game you DON’T get new cards simply playing. But It will be cheap to sell & buy your way anywhere if you are smart.

    The game has something like a “RTS laboratory” that all in itself, is fun for 1 hour.

    Probably It worth the 50$ I paid for it… but you can get it for free?? eeeehhh… Its a worth download. I guest the starting desk will suck, but If you agree with my opinion that this game has something, maybe you will buy some cards, and build something usefull.

    Other than that… is a EA game. And EA is evil. And this is a microtransaction game. I have no problem with that, but I will tell, I toldyosa.

  23. Dean says:

    Wait, you can’t give EA money to buy cards with this version until you reach a certain rank? Isn’t that just bizarre? Yeah you can buy the game to remove that restriction, but EA not letting you give them money right away? Are they feeling okay?

  24. Mortis says:

    IMHO! This is not a “rock solid RTS,” it’s a terrible unbalanced grindy thing. PVE generally consists of fighting wave after wave of reskins of your own units except they’re fundamentally stronger AND they do massive AOE damage when you kill them. Ranked PVP is all about levelled up power rares or promo cards you got with preorder (and unranked pvp has no rewards).
    I have never played a more perfect recipe for frustration, it is the anti-fun equation.
    For me.

  25. Blast Hardcheese says:

    So EA is handing out things (anything!) for free now, and Activision is shoving crap out the door and treating their employees poorly?

    This is like Fox becoming MSNBC, and vice versa. Not the political viewpoints, just all of the spin. Which is 99.99% of American news anyways.

    I’m just gonna go with “terrorists did it”.

  26. Thranx says:

    I want my $50 back, or I want $50 worth of BF points. To burn the faithful persons who have bought the game and paid for cards by hosing them in this fashion is infuriating.

  27. Dominic White says:

    Again, the free players get ZERO BF points, and start with 32 pre-set cards, none of which are particularly great. Your initial purchase is not devalued.

    Anyway, the standard retail price for the game now is $30, which is exactly the same price as the 3000 points included. They’ve locked the price down at $10 = 1000 points now, and that’s fair enough.

    It’s an odd business model, when you think about it. They’ve made an RTS where the actual campaign is free, but the units aren’t.

  28. Hmm-hmm. says:

    Micro-transaction games make me twitch inside. Too bad, I like card-based games (like, say, the necronomicon flash one) which don’t feature the buying / trading aspect.

  29. wertyrass says:

    so is there any other way to get bf points ??

  30. DreamPhreak says:

    Woo! I beta tested the game, and even though the cards in the game were limited for the beta, it was still a hell of an awesome time. They released all of the cards after the beta, but beta testers didnt get the game for free or anything, so i stopped playing. Now that its free to play, you can seriously look forward to me pwning everyone in game.

  31. Not.so.Nice says:

    i really don’t get it. why the hell would they say it’s free to play ?!
    it ain’t. it’s like a stupid demo. 32 cards out of hundreds and no actual way of getting new ones. played for like 2 days , got to the point where i almost made a trade , but the guy asked me “only starter deck ??? ignore”. so “free2play” means, you download the game, register and play the demo.

    • Railick says:

      Not.so.Nice has gained a level in Thread Necromancy.
      Thread Necromancer – Level 2 : You now have the ability to raise threads from the dead that are up to 3 months old!

  32. Railick says:

    I guess you could call it a demo if you could call buying a start deck of magic the gathering a demo. How many cards do you have get before you’d consider it the full game because if you want them ALL you’d have to pay thousands of dollars for the full game of Magic the Gathering :P . (No idea how many cards are in Battle Forge )

    You got the full working game and you get to play it for free, but if you want to be more powerful you’re gonna have to pay. That is their scheme.

  33. fireblood342 says:

    there is a slow way to get new cards. play campaign or pve till you get 2000 gold (the tutorial deck isnt that bad, tremors quite good. also,some of the sstarter cards are quite good). you can find people who will sell bf for gold (1bf point for 1000 gold.) if you save up enough, (i warned you this is slow) you can get decent creatures for about 5 bf on market. think of it as a slow reward system. hope this helps.p.s if you get lucky and find some people in the game that actually talk, they might help you

  34. fireblood342 says:

    also, this is gloating, but i gott the game in a sale for 9 euros. 300 bf for 9 euros :D

  35. fireblood342 says:

    also, i got the game in a sale for 9 euros. 9 euros for 3000 bf points :D

  36. fireblood342 says:

    oops double post D:….. can someone delete the one that said 300 bf cos that one was an accident

  37. richo says:

    thats is a load of fucking shit i paid 90 bucks for that

  38. fireblood342 says:

    also, with some people, it works out better value to buy the game in store. but with some it doesnt. it depends when you got it. it worked out ok for me so… im fine with it.

  39. RickyJames says:

    what they should do is completely randomize cards that you start with while making sure noone starts off with some of the ultra rare cards

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