There are players out there right now who would happily spend money on WildStar but don’t know how or when. Obviously you can’t spend money on WildStar right now; the game isn’t out yet and won’t be until spring 2014, we’ve just learned, so there’s nothing to spend money on yet. But even when it does get released, how will anyone be able to tell the people at Carbine Studios to shut up and take our money?
Wonder no longer because the game’s business model has finally been revealed to the world. No more lying awake wondering how you’ll be able to pay for the game (something you really shouldn’t be lying awake wondering about anyhow). So is it buy-to-play? Free-to-play? Subscription-based? Yes. It’s all three at the same time, if you look at it from the right angles.
How does it manage that? Well, you have to understand how C.R.E.D.D. works — starting with what in the world it is.
C.R.E.D.D. is an acronym for “Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction, and Development,” which nicely summarizes the game’s four paths. It will also be available for purchase for $19.99 when the game launches and can be redeemed for a month’s worth of subscription time. That might seem like a bit of a ripoff when you consider that a monthly subscription is $14.99 (with discounts available for longer purchases, as with most games), until you realize that you don’t have to use C.R.E.D.D. yourself.
Exploration with an eye to money worked out well for Columbus, after a fashion.At launch, WildStar will feature an exchange similar to the Gem Exchange in Guild Wars 2, allowing players to sell C.R.E.D.D. for in-game money. While the game does require a monthly subscription, it’s entirely valid for players to earn a lot of money in the game, buy CREDD, and then continue playing without a single further expense. This makes it more like a buy-to-play game than a normal subscription model, even though you do need a subscription.