Vanguard Going Free to Play At Last

The news that some of us have long waited for has arrived. This summer, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is going free to play. Story at Massively, FAQ at the Vanguard forums.

The last firm thing we’d heard about this was that f2p was apparently off the table for Vanguard; it was such a tiny game that the required investment was seen as not worth the trouble. Now SOE, with big successes in converting DC Universe Online and EverQuest II (and recently EverQuest,) have changed their tune. Most likely, this is the end of the line for SOE games on the old subscription-only model.

Details are thin on the ground at this time, but what we know so far is that there will be a larger development team, more frequent updates. I would expect we’ll see something not dissimilar to SOE’s other f2p models, although they do have more room to experiment in this case; it’s not as though they can drive the player numbers down.

For me, and I realize I’m stating a minority interest here, this is the biggest possible news to hit in months, amid all the press for high-profile games like SWTOR and GW2. It is, for me, the final death knell for subscriptions.

4 responses to “Vanguard Going Free to Play At Last

  1. Fantastic news on Vanguard.

    I really like SoE’s F2P model. I know it;s not to everyone’s taste but I vastly prefer having all the content with restrictions on services to the Turbine or even W101 model where you have to put your hand in your pocket for every piece of content as and when you reach it.

    I plan on keeping Station Access up, though. So long as they continue to offer it and it gives Gold status across all their MMOs I reckon it’s still a good deal and I will only drop it if I can’t afford it, which would only happen if I was out of work, never to be ruled out these days.

  2. The final deathknell for subscriptions will be when a game that’s actually successful in the subscription model voluntarily changes over, rather than doing so in response to lackluster numbers. LOTRO and EQ2 are probably the highest profile games to undergo changeovers in the F2P era, but both were suffering from neglect that strongly suggested lack of commercial success prior to (and, in EQ2’s case, continuing after) their switches.

  3. @GA: I’m not talking about in general, I mean for me. The absolute death knell will be when WoW goes f2p, or when a new f2p game surpasses WoW.

    EDIT: I also disagree with your conclusion re: LotRO. There was substantial evidence that it was doing more than fine when the announcement was made. There was indeed a content drought, but my hunch is that happened because resources had been diverted to the conversion behind the scenes before the switch.

  4. I prefer Turbine’s model precisely *because* I have to put my hand in my pocket to see more content – it turns content into a profit center, so you see mroe of it.

    Compare DDO post-FTP to EQ2 post-FTP … DDO had a whole stonking heap of new content, a lot of it aimed at midgame players, with an ‘elite’ setting for endgamers. EQ2 has seen a half-baked expansion in DoV and a not-really-content pack in AoD.

    From the point of view of seeing new content, gating it and selling it seems to be a better way of producing it.