Breaking the mold of many MMOs, WildStar's C.R.E.D.D. system creates new ways to pay for or earn a subscription.
Carbine Studios, the developer behind space MMO WildStar just announced the game's inventive new business model. Combining elements of free-to-play and subscription models, the system benefits both those who play the game frequently and infrequently. The model revolves around a new in-game item called C.R.E.D.D. - which stands for Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction and Development. Players can still choose to simply purchase a month of game time, or they enter themselves into the micro economy Carbine has created. Regardless, players still need to purchase a box copy of the game.
C.R.E.D.D. works in two ways. First, it is purchased for real currency. It can then be sold on the free market Commodities Exchange (CX) for in-game gold. Consuming C.R.E.D.D. grants an account a month of game time.
Still confused? Think of it this way. If someone plays WildStar obsessively, earning more in-game gold than they can spend, the player can use that excess gold to buy C.R.E.D.D. and not have to spend a dime on a subscription. On the flip side, if a more casual player wants gold to buy a neat gun but doesn't want to invest the time into earning gold, they can purchase C.R.E.D.D. and sell it on the Commodities Exchange for some quick gold. This is designed to undercut gold farmers and ideally remove them from WildStar entirely.
Right now, C.R.E.D.D. is priced at $5 above the standard price for a subscription. However, as Jeremy Gaffney, executive producer for WildStar explained, "we don't expect anyone to buy a C.R.E.D.D. and consume it themselves. The whole point of the C.R.E.D.D. is trading it back and forth with other players."
More enterprising players could buy a large amount of C.R.E.D.D., wait for the market to turn in their favor, and unload it into the market to make a huge profit. And, by cutting gold farmers out of the equation, Carbine hopes to create what Gaffney called, "a much healthier model than just letting cash change hands with all the hacking and scamming" that goes with other models.
In WildStar, the legendary planet Nexus has been found. As the opposed forces of the Exiles and Dominion rush to capture it and its secrets you must pick your side and join in the fight to unlock the planet's secrets.
Gaffney explained the reasoning for the new model in a call last week:
Over time we'd like to provide as many options as possible...because if there's anything you can determine by looking at the forums on any site anywhere it's that people are really passionate about business models. People hate at least one, and usually multiple business models because they have been burned horribly by them in the past.
My favorite part of this model is the fact that the CX is a free market economy, meaning that players will buy from whoever marks their C.R.E.D.D. at the lowest price on the CX. A shortage of C.R.E.D.D. sellers could drive C.R.E.D.D. prices through the roof, while an abundance of sellers could transform the gold price of a month's membership into peanuts.
As of now, there are no major microtransactions planned for WildStar, though the team hasn't written them off yet. "We're interested in microtransactions because we're money grubbing bastards," said Gaffney. "The players are not so interested in microtransactions because they hate money grubbing bastards." He went on to explain that any microtransactions in the game will simply be there for the convenience of interested players - not the main driver of Carbine's revenues.
Free-to-play, microtransaction, and subscription models be damned, Carbine is carving out a brand new way to play online, transforming a facet of WildStar's into a micro-free-market meta game. Keep your eyes on these guys, they're going places.