When a publisher – any publisher – announces that the next instalment in a well-loved, monumental video game franchise would be free-to-play – like what Sega did to Phantasy Star Online 2 – most fans would naturally be worried.
Would Sega be able to make enough profits through premium items for them to justify keeping the servers up? Would players be forced to pay an arm and a foot for features or items they couldn’t really go without – like a storeroom for items?
Well, it’s time to find out; Sega has announced a pricing structure for several key features and items in PSO2.
If you don’t want to go through all the details below, the long and short of it all is that you will definitely not need to spend a single cent in order to have a good time, if my personal experience from playing the closed beta can be used as an indication.
But if you’d much rather go through the cold, hard details:
*Note: in-game items will be paid for using AC (Ar kz Cash), at the exchange rate of 1AC = 1 yen
Free level of service
What does “basic service” refer to? Sega is promising the following:
– All story cutscenes and quests will never require AC
– There will be no caps placed on your maximum character level, or play time
– No paid quests, no over-powered weapons to be sold either directly or indirectly through scratch card lottery
– All chat functionality (signs, gestures, etc) will be completely usable without having to pay
Game updates, story developments, new areas and enemies will all be covered under the free level of service.
All free users will also be able to accumulate FUN points by communicating and interacting with other players (commending each other after a successful quest, for instance). FUN points is used exclusively in a special scratch card lottery that may confer any of the following:
– Room goods
– Music discs
– Additional lobby actions (gestures/animations)
– Limited trials of certain paid features/items (example: a 3-day pass for “My Room” or “My Shop”)
The aforementioned “My Room” and “My Shop” are paid features. Specifically, they are part of a Premium Set comprising the following:
1) My Room
2) My Shop
3) Premium storage (additional 300 slots)
4) Ability to trade items (you will, however, be able to trade basic recover items in a quest even on the free level)
5) Access to premium blocks/lobbies in a server
6) The rate you earn FUN points at is higher
*Features (3) to (6) are premium-only, so you won’t be able to earn limited trials for those features through FUN lottery.
Scratch and Scratch Gold cards will also be offered at 200AC and 500AC respectively. These let you unlock additional costumes and customisation parts at random; the 200AC scratch cards have other items mixed in as well, while the 500AC “Scratch Gold” lottery will only contain costumes and customisation parts.
Other paid items include consumables (prices start at 150AC), system expansion items (starting from 300AC), and the right to create an additional character or to change your existing character’s looks (500AC).
In addition, Sega has also announced dates for a pre-open beta that they will run to stress test their servers before the official open beta.
Pre-open beta test Day 1: June 15 (Friday) 19:00~24:00 (Japan Standard Time or GMT+0900 hours)
Pre-open beta test Day 2: June 16 (Friday) 19:00~24:00 (Japan Standard Time or GMT+0900 hours)