The lifespan of massively multiplayer online games is a fickle thing. While there are some that are able to sustain themselves for years on a subscription basis, for most it’s just a matter of time before they make the shift to a free-to-play format. The latest MMO to make this jump is the companion piece to last year’s SyFy series Defiance.
Taking the idea of transmedia storytelling to heart, Defiance acts as an additional limb to the science fiction television series’ narrative, guiding the outcome of major events within the mythos. This is similar to how CCP’s DUST 514‘s integrates with EVE Online. In what can be assumed to be an attempt to revitalize the game and draw new blood to the show as its second season approaches, Trion Worlds has begun to shift Defiance over to a free-to-play model which will come into effect starting in June.
The update will first find its way to PC users with the free-to-play monetization going live on June 4. PS3 users on the other hand, will have to wait until their July 15 release. Those who are interested in the Xbox 360 version of the title though, may have to wait a little longer as plans are still in the works with a tentative date of mid-July. This will ensure that anyone with even the slightest interest in the show will be able to get their hands dirty before the show’s second season comes to an end.
While legacy players may cry foul at this reveal, Trion Worlds promises that they will be treated “like the wasteland kings and queens [they] are.” Not only will they have access to an increased number of character and inventory slots, ark keycode capacity, and loadouts when compared to free-to-play players, they will also receive a one-time stipend of 1000 Arkforge (one of the game’s currencies) as well as 30 days as a Paradise Patron. This alliterative status will grant the following:
- Boosts to skill, XP, scrip, salvage, and reputation gain rates that stack with boosts available in the store.
- 10% store-wide discount on boosts, costumes, lock boxes — all of it!
- A daily grab bag of two-hour boosts.
- Arkforge from Daily and Weekly Ark Hunter Bonus Lock Boxes. (Playing on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3? Be sure to link your account to get this bonus!)
With recent offerings like The Elder Scrolls Online vying for its own share of the MMO player base, it’s no surprise that Trion Worlds is initiating a renewed push to get players into their game. The higher player base will not only generate added income for the game itself, but it could also help further raise brand awareness in hopes of developing an even stronger following for the show.
Would you be willing to give Defiance a chance as a free title? Do you think the future of MMOs lies in free-to-play pricing models?
Defiance is out now on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 and is set to go free-to-play on June 4 for PC, July 15 for PS3 and in mid-July for Xbox 360.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @ThatRyanB.