Torchlight Frontiers is free-to-play, no pay-to-win, no gated content

Torchlight Frontiers is free-to-play

I just received some awesome news! Perfect World and Echtra Games have finally decided to reveal the business model for Torchlight Frontiers, something that they have been keeping secret since the game was announced. As we've reported before, Perfect World has a catalog with both free-to-play and buy-to-play games (Livelock), so Torchlight Frontiers could go either way.

Now, a new blog post details the free-to-play philosophy behind Torchlight Frontiers. Max Schaefer, Echtra Games' CEO, mentions the importance of the community, but also the indisputable fact that continued development on Torchlight Frontiers requires revenue. The team is crafting a system that should preserve and even enhance the goals they have for the game, and they aware of what has and has not worked for other similar games in the market. As for those ill-fated gambling mechanics and abusive payment schemes tried by other games, “we reject such approaches”.

Why free-to-play? Echtra Games believes that this will give the “widest possible audience access to Torchlight Frontiers.” The game was build with this approach to start, hoping that it will grow and expand for years to come – Path of Exile is a proven example of this approach, I might add. However, if this doesn't work out, the team will change course, a.k.a. switch to buy-to-play.

Torchlight Frontiers is free-to-play - Relic Weapon Firestriker

Item sales should benefit your enjoyment of the game, with the best items being the ones that you want, but do not need to buy. You should progress and earn rewards through adventuring and fighting, but real-life comes barging in for many players and this is why “within reason” some items will be allowed for “limited acceleration of various metrics, like gold, luck, etc.” Boosters, in other words.

Cosmetic items such as fort decorations will be up for sale. These have no gameplay impact, being entirely optional. Normal gear such as primary weapons and armor should be earned only through adventuring. That being said, you should be able to buy some special items such as specific Relic Weapons – if this happens, Echtra Games will still strive to find a reasonable way for players to gain or craft them through normal gameplay.

Finally, two more important pieces of info. Pay-to-win is utterly rejected, also taking into consideration that there is no specific “winning” in Torchlight Frontiers. Getting that rare item by killing a boss is immensely rewarding, but purchasing that same item from a store or auction house isn't. Torchlight Frontiers won't have any gated content, premium areas exclusive to paying players. The game world is open to everyone and all players are valued.

The post ends by stressing that the developers are prepared to adjust and tweak their plans as necessary and they need your input for this.

The first Torchlight Frontiers closed alpha starts on November 16 and the first wave of invites was sent today.

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