Howdy Freelancers! With the recent news that a Free-to-Play model might be on the cards for Anthem, among several other things going on at Bioware and EA right now, I thought we should look at the possible outcomes should the game move to this new model.

Outcome 1 – EA Give us Our Money Back

The first option for what could happen if Anthem goes Free-to-Play is that EA gives all players their money back. Specifically I’m talking about the cost of the game we all paid, whether that was through a digital platform or a physical copy.

EA could do this in one of a few different ways. First they could just say to all storefronts, physical and digital, that they’ll refund the cost of a copy of Anthem. Customers would need to bring in their copy or provide proof of purchase and then receive a refund as in-store credit or straight cash. Of course the issue with this is refunding all of those transactions and keeping track of them. Realistically it would be a logistical nightmare.

What EA could do is offer all Anthem owners free EA Access membership, preferably the top tier. The service will soon be available on Playstation 4, meaning all Anthem owners could make use of the membership from July. Anything less than a year’s membership would be insulting given that consumers have either paid close to $100 or £70 for the game in some form.

The worst way that EA could refund the cost of Anthem to players is with in-game currency. While it would be one heck of a lot of in-game currency, since we all paid a lot for Anthem, I don’t see EA awarding more than £20 worth. I could be wrong, but if they don’t do this at the very least when moving Anthem to a Free-to-Play model, they could face serious legal ramifications.

Outcome 2 – EA and Bioware Reveal a Roadmap with Regular big Free Content Drops

The current Anthem roadmap has been pulled. Right now Bioware is working on the Cataclysm that should have hit the game in April, so no one really knows where they stand with the regular content situation.

EA and Bioware could well release a new content roadmap that will feature regular big content drops for the rest of the year. As long as they follow through with this plan then the community should recover.

What would be the worst outcome for both the developer and the publisher is if no content plan is released, or a content plan is released and it’s not followed. Right now players are seriously annoyed at the fact that the revealed content roadmap wasn’t followed, so something needs to be done to reassure us that Anthem is going to grow.

Outcome 3 – Anthem is Geared Towards Player Feedback Beginning With Loot Changed

If we’re going to believe the Free-to-Play rumour then we also have to believe the fact that the loot update is being worked on. This loot update will be much more in-line with what players want, but it’s not going to release anytime soon.

Following the loot update EA and Bioware could start making similar changes to those that occurred during Warframe’s transition phase. These changes altered the game to be much more like what players needed it to be.

For Anthem this would look like a much more rewarding endgame experience, regular events that have an impact on the game in terms of both the world and time-limited loot, and regular changes such as new Javelins.

Outcome 4 – New Story

Everyone knows that Anthem is seriously lacking with the story, but that’s something that can easily be rectified. Should the game go Free-to-Play it would be changed towards a more player-driven experience. Players want more story, so more story will be added to the game if Bioware and EA want people to play it.

Outcome 5 – More Transactions are Implemented

Right now everything in Anthem is available through playing. Yes you might have to grind a fair bit to actually earn some items, but you can earn them from playing alone.

A Free-to-Play model relies on players spending money. What EA and Bioware could do is more to an annual pass model, similar to that of Destiny 2. While this doesn’t require players to spend money every week, or every month, they’re effectively purchasing a monthly subscription in exchange for regular updates, or seasonal content.

The likelihood of an annual pass coming into place is pretty high. Right now it exists in one form in most Triple A MMOs, and even in Fortnite if you combine each season into one yearly cost.

Outcome 6 – EA Artificially Increase the Grind

A Free-to-Play model relies on players paying to advance their progress. This is more easily thought of as the time saver expenses in so many toxic mobile games that base progress on real time spent waiting.

I imagine it would be EA more than Bioware who would implement this system into Anthem. That’s because they’re a publisher, and publisher’s need to have games on their books that make money. Eventually this situation would kill Anthem, because even the most dedicated of players would quit when faced with an artificially increased grind.

Conclusion

Anthem going Free-to-Play would lead to a lot of changes, but the biggest of those I can foresee is the community as a whole changing. I don’t mean that we’ll all change as people in the game, but that eventually everyone playing Anthem now would drop off, and be replaced with a new breed of Freelancer.

I don’t think that EA taking Anthem to a Free-to-Play model would be a good thing, but if it finally got the content roadmap rolling then that’s progress. I wouldn’t enjoy a Free-to-Play Anthem, but I also don’t want to see the game go under and disappear.

Let me know what you guys think about the potential situation of Anthem going Free-to-Play in the comments.

Image Source: EA

6 Comments »

  1. To anyone with a spine, free to play is still too expensive.

    Anthem was a middle finger to gamers. Never let it succeed.

  2. It wouldn’t make a difference to me if it did. My “I wouldn’t play this game ever even if it was free” stance would still apply lol.

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