Editor-in-Chief Christopher "Pwyff" Tom sat down with Lineage II's Associate Producer, Nico Coutant and Executive VP of Publishing, Matt Turetzky, to get the finer details on their new "Truly Free" model
With their announcement that Lineage II would be going "Truly Free" with the launch of their Goddess of Destruction expansion, there were obviously a lot of holes to fill and facts to learn with how the team would go about this transition. I got the chance to get a quick Q&A in with Lineage II's Associate Producer, Nico Coutant and L2's Executive VP of Publishing, Matt Turetzky, in order to find out more about what going "Truly Free" really means. I suppose you could say that it's a fairly straightforward definition, but it never hurts to confirm! Read on for the interview!
ZAM: This is some big news for one of the industry's most well known MMORPGs! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions we had about this new shift!
NCsoft: Thanks. We are really excited to finally talk about the details of our Truly Free model.
ZAM: Lineage II is one of the most well-known MMORPGs in North America and Asia, with dozens of other MMORPGs taking inspiration from it. Why make the change now? What precipitated this move to a free-to-play model?
NCSoft: We've actually been evaluating a business model change for some time now, and once we learned about all the great improvements and new content coming with Goddess of Destruction, it seemed like the perfect time to make the move. This update improves the game for new players and provides new content for veteran players, so there is something for everyone.
ZAM: The free-to-play microtransaction model has been very popular in Asia for some time, but it's only been catching on in the past few years in North America. These days, there are dozens of triple-A MMORPGs going free-to-play and adopting their own hybrid business models, where players can pay a subscription fee for premium access, or they can purchase and unlock core gameplay mechanics with microtransactions. On that note, Lineage II appears to be taking a more straightforward approach, with no limited content and only microtransaction goods. What was the reasoning behind this decision?
NCsoft: As we've been monitoring the latest MMO conversions from subscription to free-to-play over the past year or so, it became obvious to us that we needed something different that would help us to stand out among a myriad of F2P games. Our Truly Free model allows players to access the Lineage II game world for free without having to worry about what account type they are, nor will they need to deal with the limitations placed on free players of traditional F2P MMO games. Our approach more closely mirrors the Freemium model, as players will be able to buy items to help their game progression from the L2 store, but all these items are optional.
ZAM: This free-to-play shift also comes with the game's highly anticipated Goddess of Destruction expansion, which features an incredible amount of new content and is considered the largest update to Lineage II in its history. Am I right in saying that all of this new expansion content is going to be absolutely free to access and play?
NCsoft: That's correct. Other than L2 Store items, all of the new expansion content is free. Combined with all the free content in the game from the last seven years, it's an extreme value to get all the new and newly optimized content of Goddess of Destruction, plus the option to supplement your gameplay with L2 store items.