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A lot of people feel that free-to-play games turn into pay-to-win by having purchasable goodies that give cash shop buyers an edge over those who don’t buy from the cash shop. Well, Hi-Rez Studios doesn't want to discourage legit players out there with their free-to-play business model and they have confirmed that Tribes: Ascend won’t be a pay-to-win F2P title.
Over at the Global Agenda Forums, the team discusses their philosophy for the free-to-play model they plan to use, saying…
No. Even as a 'free-to-play' game our general philosophy is to make all gameplay affecting items and loadouts earnable thru gameplay.As some people may know, there are free-to-play games out there that place the importance of in-game strength, PvP efficiency or guild advancement entirely within the realm of cash-shop items. This means that no matter what you do in the game you’ll never acquire certain necessary goods to become as powerful or as strong as some cash shop buyers. Hence, the term pay-to-win.
Hi-Rez wants gamers coming back for more but not to bury opponents by out-buying them. They further mentioned in the forum post that…
We will not be using the same exact system as Global Agenda, but you can see that general philosophy in place within Global Agenda. When speaking with IGN we described our intent to have load-outs earnable thru gameplay or purchasable, but to also maintain balance between all the load-outs.The keyword is balance and it’s something that many games have to work out, especially for multiplayer. Hopefully Hi-Rez can find that sweet spot between being a profitable free-to-play title and yet an enjoyable competitive MMO. Hi-Rez definitely has their work cut out for them.
You can learn more about Tribes: Ascend, the spiritual successor to Starsiege: Tribes by visiting the Official Website.