Posted Tue, Jul 26, 2011 by Sardu
Ten Ton Hammer: A concern that many players vocalize when free-to-play conversions of existing MMOs are announced, is the fear of how intrusive a paid item shop or services are going to be on the in-game experience. With some games it’s kept very minimal with perhaps one button – you know it’s there so there’s no need to force it on players every time they interact with another NPC or world object - though some titles have definitely strayed too far in the latter direction for many gamers. Along that spectrum, how will that aspect of Freedom factor into the player experience?
Positron: We’re more towards the former on that, so when you’re in the game you do have just the one button for the store that’s always there.
[At this point Matt opens the costume creator on a nearby demo station to help illustrate how the store will factor into the in-game experience]
So here’s our costume creator and it includes some of the parts that we used to sell in the booster packs and that kind of thing. When you get into the costume creator you’ll notice that some of the parts like the ones from the Magic Pack, you’ll see that it’s locked here, so this account does not actually have those pieces unlocked. So we have the store button added here to allow the player to unlock that.
We allow you to use all of the costume pieces we’ve ever created in the character created here, and if it’s locked, players just can’t exit and go onto the next screen until they purchase everything that’s currently locked. From there, if you go to the store it will all be in your cart, so you can just hit purchase and be taken directly to the checkout.
Ten Ton Hammer: Just the ability to see the costume pieces on your character in advance to make a more informed decision about whether or not you want to make the purchase seems like a nice improvement over what we’ve seen previously. I know that in the past I’d get the email updates saying new packs were available, but it can be a tough sell for some people based on just a screenshot or video footage.
Positron: When we worked on the free-to-play stuff, one of the very first things we did was sit down and take a look at how we could improve the costume creator to take advantage of this. So out of that it was like, you have to be able see all the costume pieces on your character, you have to be able to go straight to the store and buy them right then and there.
Ten Ton Hammer: With that system then, can players pick and choose which of the individual pieces they want to purchase as opposed to keeping them tied to a larger, themed pack that they have to buy all in one go?
Positron: Absolutely. So if I just wanted the witch’s hat I could buy that for a certain amount of points.
Ten Ton Hammer: What if I ended up deciding I wanted the full set but didn’t necessarily have it all equipped as part of my costume when entering the store – would I have the option to pick the full set up at that point as well?
Positron: I believe you will have the option to still pick up the full set as well, yes.
Ten Ton Hammer: Moving on to the power sets then, some of those will be available for all players, but some will be unlocked through subscription or direct purchase only. How did you decide which of the power sets made the most sense to include on either side of that split?
Positron: It really is a matter of how much time and money we put into the set. Like the ones where we kind of went a little bit overboard on, in terms of animations and effects and tech to make the set work at all, those are going to be the premium sets that everyone is going to need to buy.
But things like Time Manipulation that we had the tech for, and we didn’t need new tech, and the effects weren’t crazy, the animations weren’t crazy, but the end result is awesome. You’ll be able to manipulate time on your enemies and friends – so those are going to be for VIP players, but a free player can purchase those as well.
But all the old power sets will be available for all of our players.