Will I:B and I:TQfE be FTP?

I know this is a controversial topic but…

It seems that no MMOs are pay-to-play anymore (except for EVE). I know you guys are commited to the traditional model, but what if Infinity:Battlescape and Infinity:The Quest for Earth will need to be FTP in order to survive? I just wanted to start a discussion on this.

For I:B: From what I understand, the game won’t have a subscription. It’s a simple buy-once-play-forever, like most current FPS games, with things like add-ons/cosmetic-improvements or DLC possibly requiring more money.

For I:TQfE: They could always go the “Star Wars: The Old Republic” route for the MMO. Publish it as pay-to-play first and then switch to some-content-free later with things like creating corporations requiring in-game money or real money, while others (like exploring or trading) are free.

Of course, I:TQfE is still years away, even further than I:B, so I don’t think there’s much point in discussing that. Who knows what will happen by then? Maybe after the success of I:B, I-Novae will have found someone with enough money to finance a great FTP game. Or maybe I:B will do so well they’ll make loads of money and go live as kings on a bearded asteroid be able to finance I:TQfE themselves and make it FTP from the start.

We have no plans to make any free to play games as of this writing.


I certainly hope an eventual MMO wouldnt be free to play. Maybe theres a comprimise to be made with an “unlimited free trial” but honestly subscription is one of the few ways you can have an mmo that isnt ruined by it’s payment model.

For what the Infinity MMO would be, I’d be more than willing to pay a subscription - if only to reduce the need for INS to monetize the game with micro-transactions instead (not counting community mods)

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Like you, I have no interest in microtransactions, but a game could simply do both.

Separate servers that support subscription and servers that support microtransactions. Just like servers split between PvP and PvE. When you get tired of fooling with the limited content (because you don’t want to pay for gear) and are tired of the pay-to-win ethic, move on to the subscription servers. That would require starting over, but then the sky’s the limit.

There may even be hybrids in there, where lower tiers of gear are ruled by microtransactions while higher tiers can only be achieved if you join the subscription content. Or one class of gear is microtransactions (e.g. mining) while another is subscription (e.g.combat). Vanity items can always be obtained through microtransactions.

On a completely different note, how about different subscriptions for each class of gear? $24/year here. $48/year there. If you subscribe to enough areas of gameplay, subscribe to the monthly plan. Only $10/month. The pricing could reflect the amount of time that goes into the systems. If you do nothing but operate a hauler, pay $12/year and have a bunch of fun with the rather limited hauler content. If you’re into combat, pay $48/year because the company is spending (has spent) three times as much on their combat systems.

Split out individual factions as targeted subscriptions. Play all of Delta for $8/month.

Naturally, there would be the “all-in” plan for $15/month for the traditionalists out there.

IIRC, the original not-set-in-stone idea was to have a subscription model, with an unlimited trial period with access to limited content.
There had been discussions about how exactly should content be limited, and I remember liking the idea that trial characters simply didn’t own ships:

Any character could do missions for factions, and they would lease basic ships to you at first, as characters started without a ship on their own. Hence, they would be easier to funnel in “tutorial” easy missions at first (a veteran restarting could probably try harder missions right off, probably), and avoid the potential “create account - give starter ship - close account” exploit without making the starters ship worthless.
Once a character earned enough, she could buy her own ship and can go independent instead.
The higher standing with one faction, the better advantages you had. One of the advantages was to have better ships leased. Others would be being in command during a multiplayer mission, or having access (or discount) on buying advanced ships and hardware.

Trial characters would simply be forbidden to buy hardware, and could only progress by ranking up in factions, potentially as high as subscription characters. Their money earned would be frozen until they would subscribe, and if a subscription character stopped, it would freeze her assets back. (No ‘giving money’ hack, as it wouldn’t be more efficient to create trial accounts anyway, time-wise.)
It would still give access to the core of the game, and wouldn’t put soft or hard vertical limits to them (nor would make them less powerful) but instead put clear horizontal ones.

The problem being, that faction-driven play would be a pretty big system to implement to be interesting.

A F2P model would be harder to get right, particularly in a sandbox, (partially) player-driven economy and world like was planned for the TQFE.

Now, by the time the MMO is advanced enough they have to think about its payment model, general MMO models may have evolved yet again. Think about it, five or ten years ago, who would have bet on F2P as the main model?
Who knows, Facebook may finance them just for it to work on their new Occulus Panoramic :smile:

Puzzle pirates did this, they had shards where you had to buy a special currency to do anything (or slowly grind for it) and another one where that currency didnt exist but everyone had paid a subscription, i never actually played that game much but there is precedent for it working. However im not sure that type of model works in larger sandbox settings.

The point of doing an MMO and not just minecraft(more apt a comparison would be ark’s official dedicated servers, actually) style servers is that there is one (or a just few) universes where you can establish an organization, have a reputation etc. That is devalued to a large extent the more shards exist. IIRC, the likely idea was one shard for EU, one shard for US, then probably some more for asia, oceana, etc mainly for latency concerns. Splitting the game between two different payment models splits the playerbase once more and that’s something i dont beleive is worth it. Imagine asking a friend if they play the game but it turns out theyre on the pay to win server, you cant play with eachother and neither of you want to move to the other server for various reasons of investment ingame and irl personal finances.

The F2P model is now somewhat more accepted than the subscription model, Star Trek, Star Wars, Guild Wars, DC Universe, Wildstar are some of the big ones that I recall going F2P.

My opinion is that the subscription model is better if you actually play the game, we had some in-depth discussions about this on the old forums, but there is no denying that times have changed since then.

@mattk50 Should the MMO happen, whatever type of model is used will have to be on some manner of single-shard architecture. And considering that an optimistic timescale of that is no less than 5-10 years, I think virtually ubiquitous fibre optic connections along as much of the internet infrastructure as possible all the way to the user’s computer may be good enough to make it happen.

Screw the latency! (Although, one hopes that it will be negligible anyways.

In my view, playing in a single instance of this type of game adds far more to the gameplay than a few extra milliseconds of reduced latency.

@cybercritic I haven’t subbed for a game for ages now (R.I.P City of Heroes…) but, I think that it kinda just depends on the subscription model really. If it will be possible to sub on a rolling one-month contract basis, it gives those who don’t play after a while the chance to stop the sub whenever they stop playing.

Flexibility would be key.

I think the subscription + limited free-to-play content/gameplay/whatever model seems to be a good middle ground.

On DDO The FTP works with people wanting to pay for extra. It doesn’t effect other players directly.
There is little competition between players.
I can’t see that system working in a heavy competition game like TQFE.

I’m suggesting the possibility of just a few shards that exist only to support distinct financial models. Note that the number of factions in a game has a similar effect. If I invest of myself in faction 1 and you invest of yourself in faction 2 and at some point we decide that we’d like to play together, we have similar issues to crossing shard boundaries. In truth, the same can be said of games with a large game world.

If we’re to imagine the “faction boundaries” as similar to eve’s implementation of them, then you can always just fly over even if it takes some time. On different shards there is no way to transfer wealth, items, or even move temporarily (at least, there shouldn’t be).

By design no amount of “investing in a faction” or region of space should be completely nullified if you choose to move, there should be ways to sell your infrastructure to other players or if we’re talking about ships in hangers, just leave them there for if you ever come back.

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I thought the original ambition was to have a single shard universe? Even if that is a bit far fetched.

Yes, but only because a single shard could hold an almost infinite number of players seeing that the galaxy is huge. Other MMO games have a defined scope making them create new shards depending on player count, unless some of them use procedural generation to enlarge the world(is there?). But since Infinity MMO, unlike EVE Online, would be a twitch based game, then the view was that it would need to be divided into 3 shards (Americas, Europe & Asia) to avoid ping differences as well as time zone exploitation. I had the fun idea that black holes would act as portals to other shards, having a scenario like the Chinese Axis Corp invading Europe Axis Corp with a ping disadvantage. [edit] Meaning each shard would act as a new dimension to Infinity Universe.