Wildstar Goes Free-To-Play: Why & How It’s Happening

o frabjous day

When I ask Wildstar’s [official site] Chad Moore and Mike Donatelli why on earth NCSOFT would release a subscription-based MMO at a time when most other MMOs had gone free-to-play, their answer is accompanied by one particularly important factoid: Wildstar is also going free-to-play.

I found out why NCSOFT are making the switch now, and what happens next.

But let’s jog your memory first. Wildstar is Carbine Studios’ wondrous, primary-coloured, frontier-themed sci-fi MMO – which our Pip described in true Michael Herr-styled in-the-trenches detail right here. It takes place on this newly discovered planet called Nexus, inhabited by two neatly categorized groups. There’s The Dominion, an intergalactic empire forged by a mysterious load of jingoistic alien guys, and The Exiles, who’ve all been driven from their respective homelands by The Dominion and have joined forces to fight them.

As Pip said at launch, the game’s a good time. But the situation has been bad in terms of business. Last year NCSOFT made public just how rough things were for Wildstar: The game had a decline of $25.5 million in revenue to $5 million by the end of the financial year. A heck of a drop.

So why exactly did it take this long to go free-to-play? Well, says Moore, three years ago the climate for MMOs was totally different.

“We started building [Wildstar] at a time when there were plenty of subscription MMOs,” he tells me.

First announced in 2011, Wildstar’s development spans a period in which the subscription-based MMO economy was still in decent health. BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic would launch by winter with a monthly fee; So would Trion Worlds’ Rift.

Wildstar’s subscription model was progressive by comparison: A hybrid, offering a monthly subscription of $14.99 alongside a “play-to-pay” option that uses an in-game item called “C.R.E.D.D.” to gain a month of game time.

But as the duo tells me, between Wildstar’s initial development and its eventual launch emerged a major change to game economics.

“It’s just a barrier to entry for players now,” says Moore. “Not launching free-to-play shut out, potentially, millions. The window for subscription games is very small now.”

Donatelli pipes in to clarify: “It’s gone.”

Wildstar is the last in NCsoft’s collection of MMOs to make the transition – It’s the end of an era, a final death knell for subscription models in the West. Like a failing Honda, the old model has seized up. And out of those smoking remains is this: a now-optional subscription model accompanied by what Carbine is calling “a smart, well proven” free-to-play model.

Here’s how it will work:

Subscriptions to Wildstar will be made optional starting this Fall. The team tells me it’s rewarding new subscribers, as well as anyone that has been a continued subscriber since the game’s launch, with in-game “Loyalty Store” items, which they’ll be talking about in more detail later in the year.

Likewise, the studio has yet to announce what subscription prices will look like once the game is playable for free – That’s assuming Carbine decides to change its current model which, at its least costly rate, is $10.99 per month for a year.

Moore tells me that Wildstar’s free-to-play model won’t be drastically different to what we’ve seen introduced to MMOs before. The game will feature an in-game store in which currency can be paid for in cash; However, the team also plans something called “omnibits” which is a kind of sweat currency, a way of earning spendable coin simply by playing the game.

“What sort of numbers are you expecting this fall?” I ask. “It’s potentially millions of new players,” says Moore.

It’s a hell of an influx of players. As Moore tells me, the decision to go free-to-play was made for qualitative reasons as much as economic. “Having lots of players around makes the MMO better,” he says.

In anticipation of the droves of n00bs, Carbine has “years of content already ready and planned for post-free-to-play release.” The studio will be introducing an improved tutorial and early game, as part of a major update releasing alongside the subscription-drop. Also incoming in Fall is new dungeon content, placed evenly through levels 0-to-50. All of this will be available on Wildstar’s Player Test Servers for those who have access, in preparation for launch.

You’ll still need to wait a few months before experiencing those F2P benefits, but as Moore promises: “It’s a better game today that it was at launch.”

56 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    I seem to recall this state of affairs being predicted by one or two folks here and there…

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I’m suprised they held out as long as they did.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Just a bit.

      I’m pretty sure by now, this “oh it looked sustainable the time” be damned, that subscription MMOs are doing it to milk the “fat head” of enthusiasts that are willing to pay before going F2P to get the long tail of everyone else. It’s the F2P equivalent of a normal, single-purchase game starting at $ludicrous and getting deeper and deeper sales over time.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        I’m not sure that’s as good as you might think though. Their flurry of initial advertising ends up mostly doing nothing since the people who sub will be the ones who’d have subbed anyway. They also lose out on all the publicity from reviews, articles, etc. When they go F2P, they get some, but nowhere near as much coverage, and the game’s aged in between.

        I’m not sure the gains from the subs they have is worth all of those potential free players forgetting about the game.

    • Bradamantium says:

      Of course, “It’ll go free to play!” is basically the free square on the Modern MMO Bingo Card.

    • Hawks says:

      F2P predictions happen in spades with every MMO.

  2. gibb3h says:

    “It’s just a barrier to entry for players now,” says Moore. “Not launching free-to-play shut out, potentially, millions. The window for subscription games is very small now.”

    Donatelli pipes in to clarify: “It’s gone.”

    FFXIV is doing ok isn’t?

    • Christo4 says:

      The thing is, final fantasy is a pretty established franchise, unlike wildstar.
      As such, a lot less people will actually try wildstar as a subscription based game, when it’s new, unlike final fantasy where already being established give it a kind of hmm safe feeling I would think, for your money.
      I mean, already it being turned into F2P after a year points out the fact that people choosing to invest per month in FFXIV was a wiser decision.

      • King in Winter says:

        Also, FFXIV is actually pretty good. The original FFXIV was a terrible, terrible mess but they did a rather amazing turnaround on FFXIV:ARR. I grabbed the ARR version off Steam when it was going for peanuts there because it came with a month of play and noticed it was basically a new game. If I were looking for a new MMO to play, out of all I’ve checked in recent times it would no doubt be my choice.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        “The thing is, final fantasy is a pretty established franchise, unlike wildstar.”

        You’ve hit it on the head, and frustratingly it’s something I’ve been saying about sub MMOs since DAY FREAKING ONE.

        If you have an established franchise and fanbase, you’ve got a good chance of making it as a sub MMO if you keep the quality and content up. If you haven’t? Don’t even think about it. F2P is your only window.

        There is ONE scenario where I can see that being different (the expection that proves the rule, perhaps).

        If you have a unique sandbox MMO experience, like Star Wars Galaxies was, you can happily go sub provided your business model is small. You’ll get mostly over 30s happy to sub-up for a functioning game of that type where they can feel like a ‘living’ world and its possible to play purely as a crafting/resident type character. If you can live with a steady ≤ 300k subs, that’s the MMO type to go for, IMO.

        • LexW1 says:

          The big problem there is development costs.

          A “unique sandbox” MMO for modern machines is likely to cost upwards of $80-100m to make (and really, that’s the low end). If you’re AIMING for 300k subs on a good day (which is more than enough to keep an extant MMO going, I agree), you’ve got a problem because you’re not going to make your development costs back on box/game sales (unlike most MMOs), and instead absolutely must make lots of people sub for several months, or be deeply in the red. One screwup and the receivers are getting called.

          So it’s a really dangerous game.

          Whereas if you go more mass-market, more boring, but less unique, even if you lose all your subscribers in a couple of months, you’ll make your dev costs back and then some, and will probably be well-positioned to transition to F2P. This is probably why so few games are willing to take that risk.

    • Luciferous says:

      based on what the devs were expecting FFXIV is positively thriving, they had always planned on a sub million playerbase, so considering that they have a potential of 4 million registered (and active) accounts Yoshi-P and chums are probably giggling… Think it’s SE’s current highest earner as well.

      Makes me hapy cos FFXIv has been my jam since launch.

    • Shuck says:

      FFXI, FFXIV and DQX collectively have less than a million paid subscribers. As subscriptions go, it may be more than enough to support them, but that’s nothing, especially compared to the peak when WoW had 12+ million, another half-dozen MMOs with 1-6 million subscribers and a dozen with a quarter- to one- million subscribers, etc.

      • JarinArenos says:

        Um… sources on those numbers? I’m hearing lots of horribly conflicting claims being tossed around.

        • Xerophyte says:

          In February FF14 announced that it’s at a bit over 4 million registered accounts worldwide, so that’s where that particular number comes from. This is not the same as active subscriptions. They’ve also claimed that their retention rate was over 35% a year ago. Retention has almost certainly gone down but I’d expect around 1M, with probably an uptick in a month when their expansion launches.

          Whether or not it’s doing par with expectations is another question, but I’m guessing Squeenix are pretty happy with where they are.

          As for the future of subscription games as a concept, I dunno. Personally I hope there will be some premium niche remaining. Free to play schemes always seem to be based around having a constant level of low-to-mid annoyance that you then get to temporarily soothe by paying a bunch of money, and as a rule I really prefer video games that instead try to not annoy me.

      • LexW1 says:

        Er, which games have 1-6 million subscribers? I am not aware of a single one.

        AFAIK, few games have ever broken 2m subscribers, and no game other than WoW ever has for more than 3 months.

        So I think you’ve got yourself a bit confused.

  3. Cryptoshrimp says:

    Ah yes, the fate of the latest “WoW Killer”. Pity.

    • Cinek says:

      I doubt they ever wanted it to be a wow killer.

      • EkoAzarak says:

        He thought it’d be cool to say “pity”.

      • anotherempty8 says:

        Oh, they definitely did. I went through the interview process to work on this project (didn’t get hired), and all of the developers I spoke to throughout constantly referred to WoW, how they needed to do it “just like WoW, but a little better”. Everything was in reference to WoW, and how they needed it to be very much like WoW to get the WoW crowd.

        • LexW1 says:

          Indeed and that bleeds through from almost everything about the game – it’s trying so hard to be WoW+, but it just doesn’t quite get it. Too sexualized (though they did tone it down at the last possible moment), too self-knowingly corny, too painfully obsessed with keying and ENDGAEM and so on, and missing a real personality of it’s own (it almost has one… almost).

      • mavrik says:

        I’m not sure, when I tested the trial it played, look and felt EXACTLY like WoW… just a bit more campy. The quests were structured the same, played the same, the skills worked the same… it was what really made me bounce off of it. Why do devs think we need or want to play another WoW? We did that already, it’s old and problematic.

  4. Goronmon says:

    I enjoy the implication that it was the subscription model that was the main problem for Wildstar, and not the state of the game at launch. Does anyone think they would have been much better off releasing the game as a F2P or B2P title?

    • Sakkura says:

      An F2P or B2P model would have fit poorly with the hardcore gameplay the game launched with a focus on. Of course, they could have changed both those things, but that would have been a very different game. And they’d have had to come up with something else to differentiate themselves in the crowded F2P/B2P MMO market.

    • Baines says:

      It is never the game at fault; it is always the players.

    • Emeraude says:

      Yeah, I do think subscription-based games are a tough sale – but then I think it’s just the audience that *wants* the equal level field implied by the subscription model is just too small for the kind of budgets those huge so-called WoW killers need to be worthwhile investments (and let’s be honest, that’s exactly what Wildstar was: a game trying to emulate WoW while bringing very little that made it unique – unless I missed something, if so feel free to correct me).

      If anything, the issue is that the “first-wave” of MMO players for whom the model works has reached its peak long ago, while the other players that only suffered the model for a while have found alternatives that fit them better.

  5. Synesthesia says:

    oh come on. No staring eyes / mouth of the void tag?

  6. Baines says:

    When they started work on Wildstar, subscription models were already in trouble. Subscriptions were already shifting from a sustainable model to a short term (year or two) period where you could make money before going free-to-play. And that was true even for games with better hooks than Wildstar.

    • Allenomura says:

      A lot of the explanation/defence here seems insincere. How could they not have realised. They sought to buck an establishing trend, played for a niche. Did they just not have enough players to sustain it, or did the game suffer erosion from its base which lead to this outcome?

    • Sakkura says:

      They started work on Wildstar much earlier than you think – all the way back in 2005.

      I think part of the reason Wildstar has had it so rough is the major delays it suffered during development. 9 years of development is not a good thing for a game.

  7. Allenomura says:

    What they initially presented in term of game focus, was too far distanced from what they delivered. Also, in play, the game descended mechanically, into rote busywork. Goronmon – B2P would have allowed them to hit the ground running, while making reliable money from players likely to stick around. . I think they completely misread conditions and steered the game away from a waiting audience in positioning the game, and this proved costly.
    ““Having lots of players around makes the MMO better,” he says.” #themoreyouknow :)

  8. zhivik says:

    The big question that no one asks is – if MMOs tend to turn free-to-play within a year of launch, why should anyone pay full box price and a subscription? To give developers some credit, they would probably prefer to keep the subscription model as long as they can. However, given that the game was launched in 2014, it should have been overwhelmingly clear that the market has changed. If you take Carbine Studios’ words on face value, it would seem they were in some bunker between 2011 and 2014, not being able to follow MMO trends.

    It also speaks quite badly about game quality if you cannot keep a subscription model for more than a year before you need to make changes. To be fair though, it may be that the market simply cannot support more than just a couple of subscription MMOs – World of Warcraft is increasingly turning into the exception that proves the rule, EVE Online as well. For instance, the Secret World is a very decent and unique game, but even it couldn’t sustain the subscription model for too long. Another factor is that judging from personal experience, people tend to stay loyal to the MMOs they play, for one reason or another – whether they have friends that won’t move to another game, or they don’t want to learn an entirely new system and do all the obligatory grinding.

    Or to put it bluntly, maybe the whole MMO model is inherently broken and people are just refusing to fund it anymore. There are probably very few games that don’t follow the scheme – level up, do content, get gear to level up again, then do more content and get better gear that would let you level more, do some other content, and so on. The whole grinding process may be a challenge in the beginning, but it becomes increasingly boring each time you need to do it, and if you don’t have much else to do, you start not seeing the point. You should either let players run the content, like in EVE, or create engaging enough stories. Unfortunately, few dare give players a lot of freedom, even fewer are able to offer engaging stories.

    This is why I don’t think many people take seriously claims for new MMOs that claim they will last through the subscription model any more. It is much like with AAA games – if you wait for a year, you may get a much more polished games at a fraction of the cost.

  9. The_invalid says:

    I think it’s pretty unfair to claim that Wildstar going F2P is like some kind of death knell for the game. The only two major MMOs that still have a mandatory subscription model are EVE and (to a lesser extent) WOW. It’s not like there aren’t a whole slew of games in the MMO / multiplayer space doing pretty well out of variants of the F2P model. Hell, Planetside 2, Warframe and Phantasy Star Online 2 are practically all I play these days, and all of them have been thriving on F2P for years. And they probably aren’t even the best examples out there.

    • Sian says:

      “I think it’s pretty unfair to claim that Wildstar going F2P is like some kind of death knell for the game.”

      Which is why nobody said it was. This is what’s actually in the article:

      “a final death knell for subscription models in the West.”

      • The_invalid says:

        That was what was generally implied from several previous comments. Or at least that’s how it came across.

    • Rizlar says:

      Don’t think anyone (with any sense) would argue that it’s a death knell for the game, it’s a death knell for subscriptions though, since Wildstar was pretty much the last big MMO to launch with one and hung onto it the longest. The injection of new players from going F2P is going to be great for the game, by all accounts.

      I’m actually very tempted to dip into it without a subscription. Played a bit in beta and although the world is very cardboard cutout the game had a lot going for it. Stylish, fun combat and fantastic player housing!

    • vexis58 says:

      “The only two major MMOs that still have a mandatory subscription model are EVE and (to a lesser extent) WOW.”

      Don’t forget FFXIV! It’s doing quite well for itself these days.

  10. zenmumbler says:

    What the hell is wrong with the teeth of the woman in the first picture? Is her palate falling out or what? And oh yeah, F2P boo or something, but let’s keep to the important things here.

    • LionsPhil says:

      That…is a really good question. Eeesh. How do you do that in a 3D model without doing it on purpose?

  11. satan says:

    I really enjoyed the first 20 or so levels of Wildstar, but then it all just seemed to go horribly wrong… crushingly difficult random dungeons, the xp (to level) curve seems to just suddenly go way out of whack, telegraphs go from being helpful and obvious, to overwhelming/everywhere, professions quickly spiral into some kind of insane casino nightmare, the wheels seem to fall off the story (to be fair the story came back around level 45)…

    I suppose I could recommend it for the world/art/theme/music, also liked the playable races (space zombies!).

    • Sakkura says:

      The game became challenging, that’s all, and unfortunately most people don’t really want a challenge. It really was an amazing experience until you hit your limit.

      For me, that limit was after the first raid (which was already hard). Not only did you have to gather 40 attuned people to enter the second raid – an enormously difficult task in this day and age, even in WoW it’s hard work keeping a 25 man guild going – but you also faced an incredibly difficult first boss. That is almost a perfectly designed guild killer, and it was very effective. So that even hurt the hardcore raider demographic, the small core of players the game almost seemed tailor-made for.

  12. Voqar says:

    It’s pretty sad. It’s all about money. They want the maximum amount of profit, not the highest quality gaming environment. F2P brings in lower quality players and more money, I’m sure, but it leads to a game nobody cares about.

    The reason I never bought in to WildStar and the reason I recommended to my friends they not play wasn’t because of the game, the game is really good – lots of stuff to do and lots of good group content (even if it’s still to solo idiot mode heavy).

    The reason I never would pay a sub to WildStar is because of CREDD. I don’t want to play games that include built-in cheating and I sure as heck won’t pay a monthly sub to play a game where the developer is selling in-game gold for real cash, which is what all of the crap like CREDD, PLEX, REX, WoW Tokens, and all of that boii down to. Sucker pays more than the cost of a sub/perk for cash, gets some item representing it they can sell in-game in the game economy, sells it to another player for gold, and boom, you just bought gold for cash – facilitated by the host company of the game. I don’t like cheating, don’t like cheaters, and I’m not going to pay to play a game with built-in cheating. Having cheating built in to F2P trash is bad enough – most definitely not paying to play with cheaters.

    I also don’t know what is more sad…the fact that companies now sell gold for cash when it was always a bannable cheating offense to buy gold to get ahead, the fact that players these days just don’t seem to care and cheating is ok, or the fact that the gaming press doesn’t ever cover this issue for what it is and instead just parrots the marketing nonsense these companies put out about how this is a way to pay for your sub with your in game gold (sure it is, but the only reason you can do that is because somebody else paid extra with a hefty fee on top of it to be able to sell you that item, no company is going to truly let players NOT pay cash in some way to play).

    • Procrastination Giant says:

      As someone who played EVE for a couple of years i only can say that i don’t find PLEX-like systems problematic at all (quite on the contrary) and don’t see how selling plex for gold amounts to cheating or pay-to-win, since it doesn’t give that person any advantage whatsoever that isn’t achievable by regular gameplay – Cheating usually means getting ahead of everybody else (who doesn’t also cheat), and since that isn’t the case (at all) i’d argue that you’re having a bit of a strange, strange entitlement problem right there.

      Systems like that really only have advantages, since it enables people who can’t afford a sub and have an overabundance of time to have just as much fun in the game as someone who has a more-than-decent income, yet very little time to spend on things in game that isn’t enjoyable to that person. If someone only has time to play for a couple of hours over the weekend to unwind they probably don’t want to spend those hours on grinding/mining gold and want to get right into the action… sell a plex, buy a couple of nice battleships and do some pvp in nullsec, etc. If the game has a propper economy (and systems like plex usually lead to just that… have you SEEN the eve economy? it’s brilliant) than those ships won’t perform any better than those bought with ingame cash, not to mention that they probably have slightly less practice. And this particular archetype wouldn’t play the game at all if such a system was lacking, which leads to fewer players.

      Also also: In a proper economy like EVE’s the ingame money you can buy with plex is a miniscule amount for someone who has TIME to invest into the game – Anyone who’s half decent at trading and has enough of a bankroll to throw at one of the tradehubs can make that amount of ISK over the weekend – So it’s not like a person selling plex gets ahead of a regular player. It just allows people who have money, yet little time, to be able to keep up.

      Ah and gold-selling and buying usually isn’t a bannable offense because it’s “cheating”, but because it brings in a whole host of unrelated problems, like account theft, botting, large scale scamming, etc. etc., not because it might hurt someone’s feeling.

      • Emeraude says:

        I […] don’t see how selling plex for gold amounts to cheating or pay-to-win, since it doesn’t give that person any advantage whatsoever that isn’t achievable by regular gameplay

        Well yes, but the person buying isn’t playing the game to obtain the result. The equal level-field meritocratic in-game structure is broken, and replaced by one that is plutocratic in nature – the ones that can and are willing to pay the most can get the best results with little to no investment in the game proper.

        To some players: that means nothing. To others, it basically breaks the game on a primordial social contract level.

        • Procrastination Giant says:

          The “problem” with that reasoning is that the “equal level-field meritocratic in-game structure” is a completely fictitious construct that never existed in the first place since gold-sellers/RMT exists just as long as any form of online gaming. Systems like this just make it more visible that the desire to turn time into money exists, it doesn’t create that desire in the first place.

          In my opinion it’s the proper way to do it since it’s a: a more honest approach, b: a safer approach for all involved parties and c: (game-)internally self-regulating, since you always have two opposing factors around which the prices will be balanced: the amount of time people that use that system to keep their accounts active are willing to invest and the amount of people that consider their time to be more valuable than their money.

          Not to mention that neither of those two sides would be part of the playerbase without such a system in place, since there’s no point in paying a subscription for a game that you can’t enjoy on your terms, nor is it possible for people to play if they simply can’t afford it.

          (Sidenote: The problem with Wildstar’s CREDD system is that they’ve handled that really, really poorly… i’m pretty sure that things would have worked out a lot better for them if they’d made two further eve-inspired changes: Giving people the option to reactivate their inactive account for an hour or so to activate stored CREDD and not have CREDD expire after 3 months or so, since that’s just really silly)

          • Emeraude says:

            The “problem” with that reasoning is that the “equal level-field meritocratic in-game structure” is a completely fictitious construct that never existed in the first place

            Just like it doesn’t exist in competitive sport yet we act like it does. Just like the democratic system we supposedly live in is completely fictitious. People are playing pretend. But as long as they do, some of the lie is given truth. But for being able to do so we need our magic circles. We need lines drawn in the sand. For sports its doping. For democracy we have a whole concentric hell but the idea the equity of law is a good start.
            For MMOs it’s the idea of being able to buy game accomplishments.

  13. cylentstorm says:

    I played a bit of Wildstar when it was still in beta. It reminded me of TERA, but with more sci-fi cartoon animals than half-naked Barbie dolls with huge…assets.

    P.S.: Nobody cares about World of Wankers anymore, but FFXIV: ARR (whew) is a blast no matter how you approach it–subscription be damned.

  14. KoboldPrime says:

    So… how long until this shuts down like City of Heroes and Tabula Rasa did? I’m betting a year, two years at absolute most.

  15. liquidsoap89 says:

    Holy mother of deja-vu! Not even 24 hours ago was I wondering when they would announce Wildstar was going F2P. I HAVE THE GIFT!

  16. Jahnz says:

    When the game was up and coming I was very excited for it, but by the time it came out I was already paying for a WoW account so I was on the fence about buying it. I managed to get a guest pass to the game and I loved the start of it. I played for several hours the first day I installed it. The next day I went to play and my account had a temporary ban on it for using third party applications. I never used any applications while playing, and the ban was for longer than the guest pass was for. I tried to contact customer support about it, but they wouldn’t even tell me what third party applications I was supposedly using. I don’t know if my guest account was hacked, or if they just went nuts trying to catch bots, but that put a damper on my giving them any money of mine.

    Perhaps I will play around in it when it is free, but I’m not playing any MMOs anymore, and I don’t know that I want to start again at this point, even for free.

  17. The Ultimate Clone of The Ultimate Warrior says:

    I really badly want City of Heroes back. Or even for NCSoft to just give the rights to Titan Network so they can make a private server. That would be awesome.

  18. racccoon says:

    Wildstar from the get go was and played f2p not that there is a certain criteria, its just the way the gaming is today it makes it a more better to give players a chance to play the game freely in this massive multi packed game world. If you want consistent flow of clients you got to give them freedom of play. otherwise its only hard-cores that do the paying up. F2P was introduced as it pours in far greater revenue and keeps the playing base on rolling entry’s. Getting back to the game Wildstar as it plays, it so played in “certain” ways like Chronicles Of Spellborn.I do not know why I feel it has these similarities but it just feels that way when I last played the beta.

  19. PenGunn says:

    Elder Scrolls Online is crushing it. The move to BTP has been the reason there is no one playing Wildstar. ESO is absolutely crammed with newbies and the console launch soon will hurt even ESO PC, it will kill Wildstar.

  20. Jackablade says:

    It’s certainly pretty. What’s it play like as a faux-single player experience? I wouldn’t mind installing it and exploring the world for a bit.