Maybe not what you’re expecting, but in a good way.
The world of free-to-play MMO’s has yet another new competitor in the form of Wakfu. Wakfu already advertised itself as free-to-play, but outside of a single beginner area players required a subscription in order to interact with any of the content. On July 9th, that’s changing and players will soon be able to interact with content in all areas of the game without paying a subscription fee. Ankama Studios has promised that existing subscribers will receive their money’s worth for their subscriptions, but has not yet said exactly what they are thinking of giving them.
This is probably good news for the Wakfu community, which has been dealing with low player counts since the open unpayed beta of the game ended back in Febuary of 2012. Many of Wakfu’s systems rely on high player counts to keep running, and it is not a stretch to say that with a dwindling player population the game’s economy was quite literally grinding to a halt.
Things aren’t all rosy for Wakfu however as the game clearly isn’t built to handle players using disposable alts to circumvent the game’s karma system. In Wakfu, gatherable resources do not respawn but must instead be replanted by players, so a large influx of disposable alts dedicated to harvesting could in theory be very damaging to the game’s economy.
It seems like in place of the subscription model Ankama is putting in a World of Tanks style premium service that offers faster experience gain and higher drop rates. Accompanying this is a hefty nerf to the game’s current experience rates, so it seems like the idea is to keep the current players paying to maintain their leveling speed. The game will continue to offer it’s cash shop, but the majority of content in it is for the game’s poorly supported player housing system, so it is likely that it will not be the game’s main source of income.
Whatever’s happening next for Wakfu, you can be sure it’ll shake the game up.