Wallets Out For WildStar’s Payment Model

By Craig Pearson on August 20th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

Finally, some dry financial details!
And then some of you can put them away, again. It’s funny, given everything we’ve seen of Carbine’s handsome MMO Wildstar, which includes ten thousand videos and that one time I had a dream about playing it, everyone has been tempering their excitement with because Carbine wouldn’t say how they’ll be charging for it. This is what PC gaming is, now: even “free” comes at a cost, so these questions have to be answered. It turns out the reason Carbine had been keeping silent was because they were knocking together an interactive infographic to explain a system that uses a subscription or in-game money to pay for access.

It is like Eve’s Plex. You can simply buy a subscription, or you use your in-game gold to buy access with a currency called “C.R.E.D.D.”. C.R.E.D.D. in their own words: ‘This is an item that can be purchased online at the WildStar website, and can then be bought and sold with other players in-game. This trading happens via the Commodities Exchange – basically a stock market that lets you trade C.R.E.D.D. to other players for earned in-game gold.

‘So for those of you who don’t want to pay a subscription fee: you can use your first month of gameplay to earn gold while playing WildStar. When the next month comes around, instead of paying the monthly subscription fee, you can use gold earned in-game to purchase C.R.E.D.D. from other players on the CX. Boom, you cash in a C.R.E.D.D. for a month of game time. You can continue this cycle over & over again, enabling you to “play to pay” for WildStar.’

It works in the other direction, too. Say you have your eye on an in-game item, but don’t have the time to grind it. You can buy C.R.E.D.D. and trade it the Exchange for gold, enabling you to buy what you want while paying another player. Keeping it in-game will deter gold-farmers. Here’s what you’ll be paying/not paying for.

Monthly subs are $15/€13€/£9, and one C.R.E.D.D costs $20/€17/£12. That’s not even close! And we don’t know how much gold farming it will take to be able to afford the C.R.E.D.D. required. We’ll find out Spring of 2014.

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59 Comments »

  1. Yosharian says:

    Everquest Next

    • StephanieDavidson says:

      my buddy’s mother makes $61/hr on the internet. She has been fired for ten months but last month her paycheck was $12901 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more… http://www.Day37.com

  2. ZombieRiot says:

    This is just as confusing as Eve’s system then.
    I was very close to buying Eve at one point, decided to see how much in-game currency one month of playing would cost me and…I had no idea if that amount was anything close to attainable in a month of normal, non-grindy gameplay or not.
    That it’s not a fixed cost, but determined by the market does not exactly help.
    This might work for Eve, as it’s a niche game and people who join the game seem like the determined type who see a lack of transparency and decide they’ll just make it work.
    But for a game that seems to be aiming at the broader MMO market…I don’t know.
    I was cautiously excited for this game, now I’m just cautious…and slightly dazed, but that might just mean I need more coffee.

    • realitysconcierge says:

      In order to be able to play eve for free you’d have to have already invested a LARGE amount of time in it before being able to regularly purchase a subscription with in-game money. Scott Manley sums it up pretty nicely here: http://youtu.be/ziv2UQDrJQk
      It’ll likely be the same if not worse for wildstar since the economy won’t (AFAIK) be as tied to the core of the game as eve’s is and thus making it that much harder to have a decent income.

      I’ve got to admit with the news that I’m also not nearly as gungho as before for some reason. Likely because if I just wait long enough it’ll end up as F2P. I mean has there been an MMO that was released recently as a paid sub and hasn’t gone F2P?

      • ZombieRiot says:

        Thanks for the video, even though it crushed my little hopes and dreams of living a life of SPACE FREEDOM in Eve for free.

        I think most MMO developers start out thinking their game is special enough to stand out among the crowd, “we’re worth it, we know it, people will see it and give us their money every month!”
        When in truth, the market is oversaturated, the audience seems fatigued and even a game with a HUGE franchise behind it like The Old Republic can’t make the subscription model work (granted ToR had other problems…).
        MMO’s somehow present us with a scenario that doubles the risk. If I don’t like it, I spent 40-60 bucks for nothing. And with an MMO, you might take a while to realize it’s not as fun as you thought.
        All the while you have to keep spending money.
        And a lot of people probably don’t have the time to make it worth it, I mean, is it worth 12 eurodollar to play a couple of hours each weekend, for a working stiff?

        I’ll admit, I’m part of the problem too. I’ll be waiting for Wildstar’s (almost) inevitable move to F2P, because for all that talk, it doesn’t seem all that special to me in the end to justify a monthly drain on my almost non-existent finances.

        • Seiniyta says:

          No matter the franchise, if your end game sucks people flock away. Or if game systems simply aren’t fun. They go away.

        • Sharza says:

          Maybe you should ask Stephanie to help you with your finances – her buddy’s mother makes 61$/hour :P

        • Shuck says:

          “is it worth 12 eurodollar to play a couple of hours each weekend, for a working stiff?”
          Well, it’s a better deal than buying new games, based on dollar-per-hour played. (Heavily discounted older Steam games are another matter entirely, of course…) The bigger problem is that, since MMOs are designed to be time-sinks, even fans of MMOs generally only have time to play one. Which is also why it takes a pretty good amount of “play” to pay for game time (and why the game currency exchange rates have to be market-based) – players have to find the game currency to be valuable enough to not only spend real money on it, but to put enough money in to pay for the people who don’t have subscriptions.

  3. Iscannon says:

    Hey Craig, it does say how much it’ll cost, there’s a FAQ below the “Fancy” infographic. Unless you meant in terms of in-game currency. Then I don’t know.

  4. ghling says:

    Interesting payment system, I must say. But given the fact that the monthly subscription costs 15$/13€/9£ and one C.R.E.D.D costs 20$/17€/12£ it kind of feels like they try everything that nobody wants to use CREDDs. On the one hand I’m kind of happy to see a new MMO that don’t rely on free2play and ingame purchases, on the other I’m pretty sure subscription fees of this amount won’t get them much players.

  5. Megakoresh says:

    Bad, bad idea. Unless they regulate the price. IF they allow players to set the price themselves for this, this idea will turn out absolutely terribly.

    • Alabaster Crippens says:

      That was my first thought, but then I spotted this:
      “The CX is unique in that when a player wants to buy a particular commodity, they will only be able to buy that commodity at the lowest currently offered price, with no awareness of who’s actually selling it. Once the stock of that commodity at that price is gone, players will then be able to buy from the available stock at the next lowest price.”
      That gives an incentive to people who want gold quickly to drive the price down, it’s a small incentive, but it might just be clever enough economics to make it work.
      There’s still plenty to go wrong, but understanding that made me think, okay, they might just pull this off.

      • The Random One says:

        That solves some issues but raises others. What if I know a certain item is being acquired through an exploit an I want to avoid sellers charging too little for it? Or if I have just cause to dislike a certain player and don’t want to do business with them? I don’t think taking away the buyer’s ability to choose is a good thing conceptually.

  6. Auru says:

    It’s nothing new, which in a way is good.. as it will be familiar to most gamers.

    I was hoping for a gw2 style model.. easily the best in my experience, this one they have gone for won’t stop me trying out Wildstar.. I hope it’s more then just another themepark mmo.

    • Seiniyta says:

      How’s raiding con- oh wait. GW2 doesn’t do raiding like WoW/Tera etc etc does. GW2 is a really bad example in that regard. I hate the comparsion wiht GW2 since Wildstar can’t be compared to GW2 at all because the setup is different. GW2 is übercasual whilst Wildstar seems to cater more to people who enjoyed WoW/Rift but want a bit more action elements in it (which are better executed then GW2 I might add).

      GW2 isn’t a bad mmo, but stop comparing business models with GW2′s.

      • Bremze says:

        I love how people blame the failings of GW2 on the business model while conveniently forgeting about TOR.

        I was going to get this game day one if it had a b2p model, like GW2, and I’d probably sub for a month or two if it had no box price, but fuck paying a bunch for the privilege of paying more.

      • 2helix4u says:

        Hey buddy, lets not pretend that this isn’t “strongly influenced” by GW2. Every game wanted to be WoW and now post-GW2 every game wants to be a WoW-GW2 hybrid. Its wow but with lots of enemy template attacks you gotta action roll out of the way of! And public quests! It is a 2013 MMO!

        I’m not even sure why since I don’t think GW2 did too great MMO-business-wise. But all the videos I’ve seen of wildstar involve a Space-Charr running around the Barrens rolling away from cone AoEs.

        I also dont know how it all fits in that WoW now has every tough mob with these same template attacks, but I’m sure its relevant.

        Oh well, Wildstar will fail and the hype train will move on, sun rises and sun sets.
        It’ll be released, it’ll be pretty and new and have some novel ideas and 99% of players will think: A) Actually I can’t be bothered with MMOs like this. or B) Actually maybe I should resub to WoW and check out that dumb Panda stuff.

        edit: nitpick edit, GW2′s pre-endgame dungeons were a lot less “casual” than WoW’s.

      • DrGonzo says:

        I moved from WoW, to Rift to GW2, I think it’s very much like them, just better, not ‘super-casual’ as you say. It’s certainly more accessible, but that doesn’t mean there is no depth.

  7. Calabi says:

    Well thats just stupid.

  8. Commissar Choy says:

    Sounds pretty cool. Always end up with excess gold/credits/whatever, might as well use it to buy game time in addition to subbing. I’m personally just glad there’s no “premium” currency or whatever because keeping track of that shit is irritating.

  9. LionsPhil says:

    So, having paid £35 for the boxed copy, unless you also subscribe, if you stop farming gold hard enough for a month, you’ll end up locked out of it, unable to pay next month’s rent.

    I think that may even be more horribly “better play the game even though you don’t really want to!” manipulative than the old “better get your subscription’s worth ’cause that monthly bill is flat-rate!” of pre-F2P MMOs.

    (And the gameplay trailer is a lot of standing around, and a guy slashing in mid-air in the vague direction of an boss, who fires a laser into midair but somehow affects the ground under it. Nice to see that for all the excellent pre-render trailer stuff, the in-game animation is at the usual dire standards. Their cinematics department should cut loose and go make an animated series instead or something.)

  10. 88GJS88 says:

    Sounds like pay-to-win to me? If you have to money to purchase CREDD, you can then trade that for in-game gold? Which can then be spent to make you an uber-character?

    Conversely, the player who grinds in-game for the gold and doesn’t want to pay a regular fee ends up spending all their in-game gold in order to pay for the right to play and nothing more. So the difference between players A and B in that infographic in terms of the cost of their in-game equipment is actually 2x the gold cost of a CREDD for every month the players have been playing. Could easily be a huge gulf and makes it MUCH harder for the free players to ever actually achieve to a high level.

    • Screwie says:

      In EVE, this is self-policing. That in-game money can buy you that fancy ship, but only time will give you the necessary skills to pilot it (XP is earned continually as a character exists, not rewarded for completion of content).

      I’m afraid I don’t know enough about Wildstar to tell if they have the same restriction, but yeah unless they have something in place this could potentially be a shortcut.

    • lordfrikk says:

      In most MMOs having millions of gold doesn’t really mean you have “won” the game so it depends what kind of item you’ll be able to purchase for the in-game currency.

      It the end it’s up to your definition of what a “win” is to be able to classify it as pay2win.

    • xao says:

      You’ve been able to spend cash for in-game currency in every MMO I’ve ever played. There’s a reason gold farming has become so prolific. This time, Carbine is trying to cut out the middleman, but I’m not sure it will work.

      Since CREDDs are only resellable on the CX, the retail price will be determined by the playerbase, while the wholesale price is (at least initially) fixed. You can drop the wholesale price of CREDDs, but once it approaches the cost of a subscription, then you’ve eliminated the incentive to subscribe. It seems like you have a built in floor for the cash price, since the instant a CREDD costs less than a month of any of your subscription prices, Carbine is likely to have a riot on their hands.

      Even if you put a floor on how much a player can sell their CREDD for on the CX, it’ll be interesting to see what happens once it becomes cheaper to buy gold from farmers than to buy CREDDs and sell them for gold. Once the price for a CREDD-equivalent volume of gold drops below the subscription price, CREDDs may become essentially unavailable on the CX, and players would be forced to subscribe to keep playing.

      The lesson, as always, is listen to Malcolm Reynolds!
      ”Bout 50% of the human race is middlemen, and they don’t take kindly to being eliminated”

  11. FriendlyNeighbourhoodMurderer says:

    People are being overly dramatic about this. Think of the game as subscription, but with the possibility of being “free”/cheaper if you spend a lot of time with it.
    I for one am really glad about it not being F2P. I hate those bloodsucking in-game purchases, which always end up being almost required.

    • Commissar Choy says:

      Exactly this.

    • Mbaya says:

      Indeed, I’m happy it’s going the subscription route myself – hopefully it means the game has been designed around the players and not around microtransactions. Of course, the pessimist in me expects its simply a way of maximising revenue with the knowledge they can turn it into a free to play model in the future…but lets hope it’s successful enough that they don’t have to go down that road.

      Will be interesting to see how viable CREDD purchases are however, it seems in Eve, the system is out of reach for all but the most dedicated players.

      I was expecting something a little newer however, I would have liked to see the option for prepaid time cards, where you could spend £10 or so for a certain amount of hours of game time, catering more to the casual play style without the begrudging a static monthly subscription brings.

      • Rizlar says:

        Don’t mean to be a dick, but Wildstar are basically using the same sub model as WoW, the same subscription model that various games in the past few years have launched with before going f2p.

        Wildstar looks entertaining, but does it really look that much better than all the other MMOs, most of which are cheaper? Are they intending to somehow transfer all the WoW subs to themselves? It seems like the MMO market has moved beyond expensive subscriptions, I cannot see this ending well.

        • Mbaya says:

          Aye, didn’t claim any different – it’s just I’m one of those that are happy it’s using the same subscription model. I’m interested in the game because of the world and new things to see, not because it’s a ‘better’ game than what is already available – that’s just a bonus if it turns out to be true.

          For me however, if the game is designed from the ground up to be subscription based and not F2P based, that should mean my time spent with the game will be more enjoyable, without the constant badgering of a store or locked content.

          I honestly believe that the future isn’t so bright for Free to Play and expect a crash at some point with either a replacement payment model (such as the one I mentioned above, which I think is being used in some Asian areas – like a pay as you go sim card for a phone rather than a monthly tariff) or a return to form (the re-release of Final Fantasy XIV is also using a subscription if I recall correctly and is out this week).

          I doubt very much that Wildstar will ‘be the next big thing’, I do however, believe it’ll be more than entertaining enough for me to enjoy for many hours – and that’s all I really ask of a game!

    • 2helix4u says:

      It will go Free to Play within 6 months. And as usual buying the box price will retroactively mean nothing as you’ll have to dig around in the dirt with everyone else unless you pay for the “premium membership” subscription.

      Its NCsoft people, the game has a chance of being good, but as an MMO/service it will not be.

  12. Screwie says:

    Meanwhile at another NCsoft developer, the B2P Guild Wars 2 pushes out extensive new content every fortnight.

    Granted, EVE is perhaps the best subscription model to emulate, but how can this game justify a subscription at all?

    • satankiller says:

      Here is a more detailed article about the subscription model and their reasons for it. http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/632/feature/7690/WildStar-Revenue-Model-Revealed.html

      Basically, the devs felt that the B2P model wouldn’t work for them.

      • DrGonzo says:

        TL;DR of that is, they are charging a sub because they think they can get away with it and make more money, not because they need to. Fair enough, it’s their game, but I’ll be waiting for it to go free to play in the future.

    • j3w3l says:

      Looking at the earnings report for q1 and q2 of this year guild wars 2 doesn’t earn as much as you would think. It seems it is more profitable to go a sub first then cram out a ftp transition later on

    • waaaaaaaals says:

      Guild Wars 2 isn’t without it’s problems.

      It’s still missing activities (that were confirmed completed and guaranteed to be in the game already by developers before release) a year after launch.

      The “regions” are split into Europe and America with no gameplay interconnection between them without spending large sums of gems, a huge step back from Guild Wars 1.

      They’re progressively adding a new (quite grindy) tier of gear to the game, which they started months after launch to the frustration of a great percentage of their playerbase, particularly those who they “inherited” from GW1.

      The gem shop is getting seriously out of hand with them being wildly misleading about the chances for lotto bags that they hype the hell out of. They also keep selling overpriced gear that looks great until you realize they’re useless (an infinite mining pick that would take something silly like half a million uses to break even and a bottom tier “infinite” salvage kit that eats your money as you salvage).

      They’re also going into I believe, their second free trial weekend, something which doesn’t get many people’s hopes up after they royally screwed up with the Karka free weekend event and displayed the game in the worst light possible (colossal lag everywhere, servers breaking on somewhat high load, a three hour bossfight with the colossal lag making it and it’s minions invisible most of the time.)

      GW2 had really good potential but it’s as if somewhere along the line, it’s given up on a lot of what it could be and decided to act like a F2P game, complete with their development cycle.

      • aliksy says:

        The amount of farming, grinding, and RNG-worship GW2 promotes is disgusting. And then you try to explain that all the grinding shouldn’t be in the game, and it’s like talking to someone with a gambling problem.

        They did a lot of things right, but they also really dropped the ball in other places.

        • Enkinan says:

          I don’t follow. You don’t need to farm anything unless you want pretty cosmetics. I’ve spent about $60 in gems in a year of playing and have one of every class, 6 of them max level and all of those fully geared for WvWvW without having to grind anything. I WWW quite alot, but I have fun doing that and hardly consider it a grind in any way. I do the living story content if I like it, and every once and awhile PvE with my lower level characters. I have never been an MMO raid content type person and more of a group PvP player, so maybe that is the difference.

          • DrGonzo says:

            Me and the gf have been playing GW2 for a few months now and haven’t spent a penny on in game purchases, though we don’t do the wvw stuff, as that doesn’t really appeal to me. I was expecting it to be more like Warhammer online in that regard, but it just feels zergy to me.

          • aliksy says:

            Exotics cost 1-5 gold for the ugly ones. Each character has 6 armor slots, 2-4 weapons, 5 jewelry pieces. Runes vary but are typically a few gold each. That’s a lot of money if you want to outfit your character, especially if you want to try different sets or weapons. That’s not even counting the ‘ascended’ gear, which I refuse to acknowledge.

            If you don’t farm, you won’t have enough money to outfit a character naturally.

            You could argue that you don’t /need/ the biggest-numbered gear, but having inferior gear makes a sizable difference. Losing because your gear wasn’t good enough is incredibly frustrating.

  13. TehK says:

    It seems to me that this model is rewarding people who play a lot (which isn’t bad) and then can pay for the subscription with ingame gold while at the same time punishing people who don’t have that much time to play (which is bad), because they can’t afford to get that CREDD with ingame gold and therefore have to pay subscription fees.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, please.

    • Warruz says:

      Yes it rewards those who play alot, those who cant play this amount will have to use real cash.

      But i just find it interesting that eve has a very similar system, and not one considers it a bad thing. It is considered a good thing , a bonus for playing if you will rather then a negative for not playing enough.

    • Commissar Choy says:

      If you don’t have much time to play, then subscription based games probably aren’t a great idea to begin with.

  14. FriendGaru says:

    I’m cool with buy once for a high price and play forever like Guild Wars 2. I’m also fine with subscriptions. But both? That’s just way too high a barrier to entry for me. I wish them the best of luck, though, and will come take a look at it when the price comes down.

    • zhivik says:

      My thoughts exactly – I am aware of the advantages of a subscription game, but adding a box price is a little bit too much, as it leaves you quite far behind if it turns out you don’t like the game after the first 10-20 levels. Besides, there is always a risk that this is only a way to recover development costs, and then switch to another business model after the first year. SWTOR did it, The Secret World did it – I think I’ll pass on this one at first.

  15. Christo4 says:

    Why don’t games just allow you to play for free 1 week, then pay 5$ subscription a month anywhere you are (EU/USA) through paysafecard (i don’t have a card for paypal) and you can obtain have all the items except some cosmetic ones.
    The only other stuff that you can buy through real money are vanity items and are completely optional, otherwise you must obtain all other levels/items through playing the game, not buying them with real money.
    I think this would be the model i would like the most.

  16. Lobotomist says:

    Big mistake
    Dont let this CREDD stuff confuse you. Its basically subscription based game all the way.

    Basically F2P games are free only for casual players, since when you get commited you are compeled to pay for things.

    so F2P = free for casual

    However Wildstar is going the route of EVE, where you can buy PLEX (same as CREDD) with money made in game. But to do that not only you need to earn game money that you will need in game, but earn at least double (or x10 in EVE case) to pay for Subscription.

    EVE = free for hardcore

    So , how is this bad ?

    Basically most MMOs suffer from fragmentation.
    You need lot of players online to keep the game fun. So when lot of people leave, also people that want to pay leave too.

    F2P solves this by keeping lot of players in game by virtue of its fee cost. So that paying players have people to interact with.

    In Wildstar case they are catering to wrong crowd. (free for hardcore)

    Casual that dont want to play a lot, will not pay for sub and will not be able to gather enough CREDD
    Hardcore players that gather enough CREDD would be ready to pay anyway…

  17. trueplayer says:

    This is a really fair payment model I have no problem with and I’m really glad they haven’t gone the f2p route.
    What’s even more awesome, they have confirmed that CX (Commodity eXchange – WildStar’s form of Auction House) will be realm based, yay!

  18. Wyrm says:

    ..and with the announcement of subs my interested waned. Shame really as it looked nice. Back to GW2 then! :)

  19. dagudman says:

    I wonder how long it will take until they go f2p…

  20. Tei says:

    X-RPS-88 and his sketchy site will be sad.

  21. Jenks says:

    I had absolutely no interest in this game because I was sure it would go the f2p/cash shop route. Now if they confirm that there won’t be a cash shop, I’ll definitely give this a go.

  22. Shezo says:

    I have a funny feeling that bots will outright kill this idea of creed.
    Have fun competing with bots on the market to play for “free”

    • armchaircowboys says:

      Using bots and getting your account banned by doing so means you have to buy the game again. Sort of a turn-off for most.

      And it’s not that gold sellers want in on the action since they can’t sell their gold (no trade) for cash with this set-up.

      This is a pretty anti-bot if you ask me.

  23. trjp says:

    Here’s why it won’t work.

    Subscribers are almost impossible find for modern MMOs – the only game left with a mandatory sub is WoW isn’t it?

    So people will buy it, play it and perhaps enjoy it – perhaps they’ll even sub for a month or 2 and then they’ll realise they ‘could’ earn their next month’s play.

    Problem is, it’s bound to take more time than most people are willing to give (economics works like that – if it was too little they’d go bust) and so many people will ‘fall short’.

    Thing is, they’ve part-paid for a subs so they won’t want to pay it all in cash and so they’ll realise they’re on a treadmill and quit.

    The key to making a successful MMO is getting people TO PLAY TOGETHER – this is the bit most MMO makers have long forgotten, but guilds keep people coming back to a game wheras solo play makes players fickle and hard to keep.

    But then I remembered – this is the game which oiffers guild ‘death fortresses’ – so that’s OK then.

  24. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    The game looks interesting. Sort of. But box price plus sub-worthy it doesn’t seem to be (for me). Then again, unlike in my WoW days (years) I am not likely to spend most of my time playing just one game.

    Also, rather odd that the PLEX of Wildstar cost more than a sub. Yeah, that makes people want to buy PLEX to sell.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Wildstar will do.

  25. CutieKnucklePie says:

    All this says to me is “What we really, really want is a pay-and-subscribe-like-wow model but we wouldn’t know how to justify it in this day and age”.