Although the MMO genre has grown to include every kind of game from RPGs to space sims, one thing is consistent across the eclectic board: the debate over free-to-play. Some MMOs still cling onto a subscription-based model (like TESO will launch with this week), while others opt for a “free-to-play” model with restrictions and/or optional microtransactions. As the debate rages on, the creators of the new racing MMO World of Speed are ready to offer their perspective.

Although MMOs like Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Secret World don’t require players to have a subscription (anymore), there are some serious benefits for the ‘preferred customers’ who do shell out real world dollars in the free-to-play games. Lots of players get frustrated that certain aspects of MMOs are hidden behind ‘pay walls’ and plenty of consumers have given up on games that are only partially free. Slightly Mad Studios wants to ease the minds of potential racers by assuring them that in the case of World of Speed, free really does mean free.

Slightly Mad creative director Andy Tudor reminded gamers of the difference between free-to-play and actually free during an interview with Edge Online

“It’s not free-to-play, it’s free… It’s very obvious when you start putting walls into your game that require people to pay money to get over.”

World of Speed Downtown London Screenshot

Tudor went on to explain that the developers are totally opposed to allowing certainly racers to gain an advantage over others because they’ve purchased some kind of in-game boost with real money. The team is striving to create a fun, free racing environment that has all players on an equal playing field, or in this case, race track.

“I don’t know why games do it; we’re certainly not going to do that, ever. It’s also annoying when another player gets an advantage because they’ve put money into the game. We will never have a super-nitrous pack that will allow somebody to accelerate away from you… We expect you to get to the upper echelons of the game, with the best kit and best cars, and not have spent a single penny.”

Whether you’re a fan of racing games or not, after the controversy surrounding the most recent Forza game’s microtransactions, it’s definitely refreshing to see a game in the genre embrace the mission of giving all users the same opportunities. Obviously, consumers can just decide not to purchase games that reward only the players who spend the most money, but until more high-quality alternatives emerge, lots of players will continue to get sucked into frustrating microtransaction-based economies.

Whether or not World of Speed can deliver a quality MMO with stable servers and frequent game-improving patches has yet to be seen, but we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the game when it launches later this year.

Do you mind playing games with micro-transactions or do you just ignore in-game items that you don’t want to pay real world money for? Sound off in the comments.


World of Speed is set to launch a closed beta this spring.

Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.

Source: Edge Online