TERA: Rising F2P Conversion Interview
Questions by Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Answers by Patrick Sun, Associate Producer, En Masse Entertainment
Just three months ago on our combo 2012 Awards Show I gave TERA the Combat of the Year award. However I ended the award stating that it was my sincerest wish that the game would go free to play in the west so that an entire untapped market would have access to the same visceral experience I had tried to share with anyone who would listen since launch. And now today we see a TERA F2P system that is not only fair and balanced, but has returned unbelievable new life to the game. And so we’ve brought on Patrick Sun from En Masse Entertainment to talk briefly about the F2P conversion and how the company pulled off such a successful sudden jump from their subscription model!
OnRPG: Hello! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do for En Masse.
Hello! My name is Patrick Sun, and I’m the Associate Producer for TERA here at En Masse Entertainment. I’m mostly in charge of working with the development team, Bluehole Studio, at getting content builds of TERA out to our market. I also voice player concerns, help plan community events, and get owned by other players in our battlegrounds when I have the time.
OnRPG: When did orders come in that it was time for the free-to-play transition? How long had you been preparing for it prior to the announcement?
We started months before our announcement. There really wasn’t a switch we could just flip to make TERA free. A lot of our back end systems, as well as the game itself, had to go through a complete overhaul to make this transition as seamless for players as possible.
OnRPG: Your model is incredibly fair for new players while still providing plenty of goodies for long-time veterans like myself. Were there any past conversions from subscriptions your team looked at to get a nod of either good or bad ways to go about it?
We looked at a variety of titles ranging from super popular to niche, but I don’t think there’s any specific title (or titles) that led us in the direction we eventually took. We’re all gamers here, and as a player and a consumer we know what feels right which helped us structure our current business model. Our philosophy from the beginning of the transition has been to avoid gating content to force players to spend money. We find that if players are truly enjoying the game, they are happy to spend money on things they want to buy.
OnRPG: Again and again end-game content seemed to be a constant complaint with the early launch state of TERA. With a whole new audience rising through the ranks, what do you have planned and what have you introduced since launch to change this consensus on TERA’s end-game?
Since launch, we’ve introduced a variety of end game content which continues to expand in the oncoming months. The Nexus introduced a multi-stage raid event while PvP players compete against each other in 3v3 and 15v15 battlegrounds to win epic gear. Battlegrounds will continue to grow in our future updates to a massive 20v20 siege in addition to an extensive revamp of the political system to include alliances. These are just some of the updates we have planned, but we’ll provide more information in the near future.
OnRPG: And with the incoming planned content, are you intending to adopt a B2P model for major expansions akin to titles like WoW and the original Guild Wars?
We’re invested in our free model and currently do not have plans on changing it to anything else.