Warbeaver Rides Again: Tera Going F2P

By Nathan Grayson on January 10th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

I WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE A HUG.

I actually played a decent amount of Tera when it first launched, and I really enjoyed certain aspects. The sublimely timing-based hack ‘n’ slashery was to die for, and the war beavers easily ranked among gaming’s best. But goodness, those quests were a deal-breaker. When lumbering Big Ass Monsters weren’t involved, they epitomized MMO monotony. Go here, kill ten of these, go here, kill ten of another incredibly similar thing, THIS IS WHAT BEING A HERO FEELS LIKE YEAH. Point is, Tera’s best taken in small doses, but a looming subscription fee always made that a pretty bitter pill to swallow. So now’s the part where I conveniently tell you about that fee’s impending demise while also notifying you of promising promises like this one: “Tera will be free. No level, time, or content restrictions.”

In short, everything that’s in the massively multiplayer monster mash right now (plus a new dungeon and PVP arena) will be free when Tera: Rising launches in February. Contrary to popular belief, however, game developers do need to eat, and that’s where a cosmetic/convenience-focused store enters the picture.

“For those who want to customize their characters and stand apart from the crowd, the En Masse store will offer an even wider array of costume and customization choices. And for TERA players who want all the extras, there’s elite status, a purchase that offers 30 days of extra dungeon rewards, 10 bonus daily quests, a daily delivery of items and boosts, an elite mount, in-game store discounts, reduced brokerage fees, and more.”

So basically, vanilla players get a scoop of fairly serviceable ice cream, while elites (read: subscribers) pick up a cherry and some sprinkles for their troubles. The biggest limits for free players, meanwhile, apply to character slots (two) and taxes on Tera’s auction house equivalent (five percent for registering an item and fifteen for a successful sale). Beyond that, though, a handy FAQ makes it seem like big spending will actually add to the experience – not reclaim essentials that were taken away.

That said, En Masse could opt to slow overall XP/currency gain or employ some other common F2P tactic along those lines, so I’ve reached out via email to clarify a bit. But if Tera’s F2P approach is as smart as it seems, I’ll be crossing my fingers for its success. We need more F2P contenders without arbitrary roadblocks. Also, more war beavers.

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46 Comments »

  1. caddyB says:

    That’s what MMO games should do I think. People are willing to pay far more for cosmetics and convenience than sub fees and as long as you can balance it well enough to stop people quitting over pay-to-win issues it’s alright.

    • darlenejeffrey2 says:

      I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. Im using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I do..Golden Job

  2. f1x says:

    I played it for a month, (the free month with the purchase of the box) and would’ve maybe played a bit more but.. subscription,
    not exactly a problem with the subscription itself but rather about paying a sub for something I would like to play maybe from time to time

    So if it goes F2P without too much restrictions I’ll sure go back to play it a bit more again

    • FakeAssName says:

      Same here: been playing the “discovery edition” for a while now … it’s a good game but not one I would play often enough to be worth the sub fee and no way would I stay active enough to afford chrono scholls with in game money.

  3. Flint says:

    How is this game for a solo player (ignoring that the quests might be MMO-generic)? Does the game force you into groups and dungeons in order to get anywhere or can I peacefully go my own way and focus on exploring around the world and doing solo quests?

    • thematrix606 says:

      The one REALLY awesome thing about TERA is that it’s an aRPG. You can dodge, evade, roll away, block, etc. Which means (in theory) a lvl 1 can kill a lvl 100 mob or player, simply by skill.

      It’s what makes me love the game. Are there group quests? YEP, of course (it’s an MMO, after all). Can they be soloed? YEP, of course! But it’s not always easy, sometimes the fights last longer, depending on class. E.g. a defender can’t output too much dmg but can absorb a lot, so you can take a lot more hits (make more errors) while doing less dmg and taking a while to kill. As a DPS class melee class you can output insane dmg but only a few hits will kill you, allow you to make less mistakes because they are more deadly/critical, but killing much faster. Range can kite of course (and you have to aim, which is freaking awesome).

      So in the end the game really allows you to take a risk and see if you wanna tank stuff taking longer to kill but it’s ‘safer’ for you, or take the risk, go with a squishy DPS and take a risk of dieing (very little penalty).

      In the end game is awesome, and I agree with other comments, the game is F2P now, I’ll be going back for sure! I just did not want to pay money for a game I wouldn’t play on a daily basis.

      • Shooop says:

        So it’s basically what a GW2 said it wanted to be but failed spectacularly at?

        I may actually try it then.

        • max_1111 says:

          This dude paints it waaaaaaaaaaaaay rosier than it actually it.

      • max_1111 says:

        Except that’s not actually true.

        I realize you’re exaggerating for the sake of illustration but the chances of that fight between a level 1 vs level 100 actually lasting more than a half a second is slim to none.

        Speaking as a former Lancer that basically levelled through fighting BAMs solo, you cannot block attacks from mobs that are more than a couple levels above you, damage goes straight through it. Now since blocking is the Lancer’s only really effective and *reliable* way of escaping damage and because the Lancer is also slow as dirt in combat, you’re basically screwed in that sort of scenario.

        …and that’s not even account for the lack of buttons to mash at lower levels.

    • Iceman346 says:

      It’s easy to level to maximum solo, it gets a bit grindy at level 50+ (60 being the maximum level) as the leveling speed takes a dive but all in all it’s decent. There are group quests but they aren’t mandatory although they often give comparably better rewards.
      Additionally there is a dungeon finder ala WoW when you want to group an instance and as the dungeons are quite fun and more difficult than the leveling (which is a cakewalk) I enjoyed them quite a bit.

      What killed the game for me was the absolute lack of endgame content at release and the amount of farming necessary to improve your gear but as a free 2 play game I wholeheartedly recommend checking it out, mostly because of its unique combat.

  4. Dowson says:

    I still don’t understand why any MMO hasn’t tried switching to an hour based subscription rather than day.

    Instead of paying for 30 days, you pay for 200 hours or such. It means you lose the time pressure of having to play to maximise your subscription.

    • thematrix606 says:

      Because they would lose income.

      TBH F2P (like TERA, not SWOTOR) or B2P (GW2, TSW) is best.

      • Dowson says:

        But it might not, its a good middle ground.
        Most F2P games only have a small percent of the population who actually buy stuff, and still rightfully has a stigma, especially amongst people who play a lot of MMOs and don’t like the idea of content being split up.
        Monthly Traditional Subscription games clearly put people off now and also add in an element of getting your moneys worth, even if it means you then burn out because you played too much during the month your subscription was active.

        A Hour based model could fit right in the middle, it doesn’t have the cashshop elements of B2P, nor the time requirements of subscription.

        I’d probably play Rift a lot more if I could buy my sub time by the hour.
        And nothing stops them from adding it as an alternative to monthly subscriptions so hardcore players don’t feel ripped off, it just simply adds an option for more casual players.

        • Jayson82 says:

          Imagine a card that you top time up on but you can use the card on different games not just one you subscribe to.

          Play 5 hours one week in one game and another 5 hours in another game taking 10 hours off your card.

          • thematrix606 says:

            It’s a balance act.

            1 sub can cost 10-15 dollars/euro per month. They would get the money no matter how much a user plays. (Not taking into account server costs, which are these days very low).

            An hour would cost pennies.

            The question comes, how many potential customers do you lose if you opt for a sub method due to people not wanting to pay a monthly fee, compared to if no one paid monthly fees and only paid per hour.

            A game like WoW has enough subs to not worry about having to go F2P or B2P or PPH(pay per hour). However Eve has subs, much lower population, but enough to sustain a constant income and profit.

            All I think I’m trying to say is, if you have a good game, you will make money no matter which model xD

            Are there any games that use a PPH model?

          • Obc says:

            @thematrix:

            WoW is paid for by the hour in some far east asian countries like korea/china. though its mainly coz most of the players play the game in cafés.

          • b1042053 says:

            I do worry that someone wandering into the room would assume that I have been taken over by a terrible game-hypnosis based world domination tool, not unlike the Octopus from bonkers Children’s TV serial The Prime Ministers Brain.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WW3bDJ0RsL4#t=7m15s

    • frightlever says:

      Back in the day a few MUDs like, erm MUD (on BT) and SHADES charged by the minute. Was a couple of quid per hour to play, believe it or not, once you factored in connection costs.

      GW2 has the right idea. Pay once, play as much as you like. F2P is fine too if it’s relatively unobtrusive like LOTRO.

    • Didero says:

      Because that would change the problem from playing as much as you can during a month because you already paid for it, to always wondering whether you’re using your playing time in the best possible way and if there maybe isn’t a more fun thing you could be doing. Also, everything that’s even slightly tedious would get frustrating as well, because it’s costing you valuable time.

      So a by-the-hour payment just replaces one problem with another.

    • f1x says:

      I’m not sure pay per hours would be such a great idea,

      I rather go, like the previous commenter said, pay once play forever and then sell some cosmectics/conveniences

      Because the worse part about subscriptions is not exactly about the price, but about the feeling that you are “forced” to play in order to take profit of what you pay,
      so with pay for hours, of course you would only spend the hours when you played but you would still feel pressed to either use all the hours you paid for and take the max profit when you are spending those hours,
      therefore for example exploring the world, waiting for a party to get assembled or wiping in a dungeon would feel like a punishment because of the loss of time

      edit: someone said the same in more brief way right when I clicked comment ;D

    • JakeDust says:

      Ragnarok Online in Brazil back in 2005 had this, you could buy monthly or hourly based subscriptions. As I didn’t have a stable Internet connection for some months, I used to buy packs of 12 hours and play in LAN houses occasionally.

    • fish99 says:

      This is what I’d like to see from MMOs as well. There’s quite a few, including WoW, that I would have played under this model, but haven’t spent a single penny on since they are subscription. They’re definitely losing out on some revenue by not providing a more flexible payment model.

      I don’t think you’d see significantly less subscribers either, since the subscription would still offer much better value for people who played a lot.

      I guess F2P is the closest to this model right now. Case in point – I’ve spent £20 so far on Planetside 2 and played well over 100 hrs, but I wouldn’t have touched the game if it was sub only.

    • Enikuo says:

      APB: All Points Bulletin launched with an hourly sub. However, it went into administration and was rebooted as f2p pretty quickly. They weren’t able to run it as a sub game long enough to see how the hourly sub worked out.

      • Bhazor says:

        I honestly don’[t think Realtime Worlds had any of what they were doing towards the end. I do like the idea of per hour subscriptions, gives a steady income without the time pressure of full sub mmos and without the drip feed and segregation of F2P.

    • Kdansky says:

      Because that has the opposite psychological result: Instead of making people play more than they should “because I pay the subscription anyway, and I need to get my money’s worth!” it makes people want to keep it short. That way, you end up with people first rationing their game, and then losing interest. Yeah, it would be the better deal for the customers, but not for the publisher.

  5. AmazingFly says:

    Glad to see this game going f2p, liked this game quite a lot for the combat but didn’t buy another month since I don’t have much time to play games these days. I wonder if the pvp in this game got any better since release.

  6. Grmp says:

    They Screwed up or patched out everything else that was not boring
    i am suprised they didnt patch out the charms and or the campfire

  7. nu1mlock says:

    I’d like to get something cleared up; Will they really remove the hotbars? After all, it is a game which relies heavily on abilities and without hotbars to store your skills..?

    • AmazingFly says:

      No, that was just a jab at the SWTOR f2p model

      • nu1mlock says:

        That’s what I thought at first, but he clearly states that “instead of charging for existing dungeons, we’re taking away your hotbars”, then that panda jump on the ground – removing the bars.

        • AmazingFly says:

          He says “instead of charging for existing dungeons or taking away your hotbars” they wouldn’t take away hotbars, that’s just a bit too stupid of an idea.

          • nu1mlock says:

            I think I hear a “we’re” not “or”. Besides, if he’d say “or” then instead of what exactly? He’s not mentioning anything about what they’re doing instead of charging for dungeons and removing the hotbars.

            He was talking about an in-game shop for vanity items, but he was done talking about it.

            I agree that it would be stupid to say that we’d be getting the “full experience” if they’d remove hotbars.

            I hope you’re right though and that he’s just incredibly bad at reading his manuscript and whoever created the video gets his stuff together not only making it sound like they’re removing them but also look like they are.

  8. lordcooper says:

    MMO gets made, doesn’t do as well as planned. MMO gets sad for a while, then decides to try out this F2P thing all the cool MMO kids are talking about. MMO vanishes into obscurity. MMO is sad and a lot of talented people lose their jobs. MMO should have seen this coming.

    • Grygus says:

      I know, right? I really miss Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Aion, Ragnarok Online, Star Trek Online, and The Old Republic. All of them started as subscription-based games and switched to a free-to-play model. And now, as you say, they are all gone. Very sad.

  9. tungstenHead says:

    I think that the EU conversion to F2P may be a little different than the NA version which Mr. Grayson has pointed us to. I’m NA so I’m not inclined to scrape through all the details very carefully, but here’s the EU announcement: https://forum.tera-europe.com/showthread.php?t=134993

    It looks about the same, but there will probably be some notable differences in the details. I know that NA’s conversion is going to look rather different to the Korean version. With all these different companies handling the game and being responsible for localization, there are probably going to be a pile of minor variations.

  10. caddyB says:

    Tera EU is pretty bad compared to the NA version from what I hear, which are totally different apparently. Now this news is about the NA version, and I like their model a bit more.. so yeah, how’s the pings for people who play from EU?

    • Iceman346 says:

      You can just create a test account for US Tera and try for yourself ;) I get about 150-200 ms ping on the US servers from germany, which is playable but sometimes creates a noticeable delay. I haven’t tried dungeons on the US servers so I don’t know how much the harder content is affected.

      Tera EU is run by Frogster which made quite a mess of the game in the first months after launch (haven’t played since). They were multiple patches behind the us version, server stability wasn’t very good and had no additional content like costumes which the US version has. Costumes etc. will come with the f2p conversion but all in all I don’t have high hopes. If the pings are bearable I would rather play the US version.

      • dE says:

        I’m wondering how much of Tera EUs Struggling is owed to it having been a Frogster Game. Not as much the patch policy or the mishaps of bugs and issues – but simply the tag “Frogster” on it. Their loose cannon approach to forum moderation in Runes of Magic was a constant source of hilarity with at times the first three pages of their main discussion board consisting entirely of locked threads with half the users in them permabanned. Quite often from the game as well.
        Or how they killed off their Addon Population by blaming everything on them. Hacked accounts? Naturally the most popular addon for the Auction House was to blame, despite the source code being open and readable by everyone. Lost items? Addons. Bugged Quests that had been bugged since day one? Addons. Lag and crashes? Addons. Didn’t use addons? Must be remnants from addons, better reinstall. Not sure anyone ever made it to that stage though, because by then the topic about your crashes was usually deemed trolling and slander by at least one loose cannon moderator and as such got you permanently banned. :D

  11. pupsikaso says:

    Wow, could this be the one that implements F2P successfully?

  12. 8bitbeard says:

    I’ve always wondered how a subscription basis would fair if it worked similar to prepaid mobile phones. I’ve always felt obligated to play an MMO more than I normally would because time is money, and I paid for that time. I want to squeeze all the value out of it that I can. Every minute I am NOT playing the game is wasted cash.

    What if you bought minutes. These minutes could expire after, say, a year of inactivity, and would buy you game time.

    The only problem I can think of is it would upset the iron-man type players to are used to MMO gaming for several hour stretches on a daily basis, but for any typical human being who is employed in order to maintain their livelihood, it might work.

    • Brun says:

      This is how WoW subscriptions work for a large portion of its users (all the ones outside the US and EU markets, so mostly Asia). They pay by the hour, but the different model is driven by the differences in Eastern vs. Western gaming culture – in Asia gaming takes place much more often in Internet Cafes and similar venues which already operate on an hourly basis (pay X amount to use the computer for X hours).

      That said, I’ve never understood the mentality that having a subscription to an MMO means that you *must* play it as much as possible. At typical rates (we’ll use WoW as an example), it doesn’t take many hours of play for the value to exceed that of other forms of entertainment, often by large amounts.

      Assume $15 for 30 days, and that you only have 20 hours of “entertainment time” available during each 30 day period (this “entertainment time” doesn’t include social things like going to bars or parties or something.). That’s equivalent to about 40 minutes per day.

      This means that you’re paying $15 for 20 hours of entertainment, or $0.75 per hour. Now we can think about other forms of entertainment you could be using here. You could go see 10 two-hour movies in the theater (I don’t know anyone who would want to see 10 movies in one month, but hey, let’s just throw it out there). At a typical ticket price of $12, for a 2-hour movie, you’d be paying a whopping $120 for 20 hours, or $6.00 per hour. Let’s say you bought 10 movies on DVD for $10 each, even then you’re looking at $100 for 20 hours or $5.00 per hour.

      What about other video games? Let’s make it a good, AAA title, so $60 for 40 hours of gameplay, or about $1.5 per hour. That makes things complicated as you now have to split up your play time over two months, which means you’re paying $30 for 40 hours on the MMO in the same two-month period. About the only thing I think could really compete would be something like a multiplayer Xbox game over Xbox Live, and (assuming you prorate the cost of the game over the subscription period of 12 months), you’d be paying ($50 subscription + $60 game) / (12 months* 20 hours per month) = $0.46 per hour.

      In general video games are an extremely cheap form of entertainment on a per hour basis, compared to other forms of entertainment (music, movies, etc.).

      • Bhazor says:

        The problem with that reasoning is you can just go for cheaper enjoyable activities. Like fapping.

  13. MugiMugi says:

    To bad that the F2P patch also destroyed a LOT of the harder open world content, right now bams is a cake walk. I recorded this before on Ktera and well I haven’t played that char for over a half a year and 400ms ping isn’t exactly helping what so ever in terms of both damage and defence.

    Not to mention I barely know my skills LOL

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXkJPZFaQ58

    But yeah before a Mystic would take 30+ min and many of this skills would nearly or completely kill you.

    Enjoy a Solo game with instances thats it. Sure instances isn’t exactly nerfed but what is then the point of lv 1-60?