Battlecry Dev Wants F2P To Help Build Community

There tends to be a negative connotation when the words “free-to-play” are attached to a game.

Look no further than the Dungeon Keeper Mobile fiasco from Electronic Arts, or the idea of “pay to win,” to see some of the pitfalls developers who choose the F2P model must overcome to get a community excited about their game.

The team behind Battlecry, the third-person F2P multiplayer action title from the studio of the same name, is very conscious of how the F2P moniker can be a drawback, said Design Director Lucas Davis, and they are specifically keeping details of the model under wraps until they can show players a fully fleshed out store.

“We are all gamers,” Davis said during a chat at QuakeCon 2014. “We have all been burned by poorly realized free-to-play models. I would hope the industry is learning how foolish that can be. That is why we want to make sure when we unveil the store that we have a positive experience for the community. The last thing we want to do is hurt the fans who are excited about Battlecry.”

Davis emphasized that the store will be filled with vanity items, but that the game itself will be the same experience for everyone, regardless of how much money they choose to spend. “We have a games-first mentality,” he said. “That is the free part. All of our characters already have fantastic weapons, armor and uniforms. What the store will offer will be items that players can use to help their character stand out in the community.”

One of the key words that Davis kept reiterating was “community.” Building a strong group of people who want to play the game and be a part of the growing battle between Battlecry’s two warring factions will be key to the game’s success. “Why would we want to alienate our fans when we really want them to evangelize?” he said.

Right now, the dev team is focused on creating its own items for the store, but will be looking to get feedback from the community on what is working and what isn’t. Davis also didn’t rule out the possibility of fan-created items.

“They key is figuring out how to give the community ways to bring their ideas into the system we are creating,” Davis said. “We want them to be an active part, but we still need to figure out the process.”

As of now, there will be two ways to buy items from Battlecry’s store. Players will be able to buy gold with their own money to make purchases, and they’ll also be able to earn iron through in-game achievements, war-zone wins and advancing their faction’s objectives in the War Effort meta game.

Davis wouldn’t go into too much detail, saying that nothing has been finalized yet, but he said players will still be able to get new items without dropping a dime of their own money.

Battlecry is progressing nicely, Davis said, as the team works toward its next reveal at GamesCom next month. He said the studio brings in focus groups and outsiders to play the game to make sure the team isn’t developing any blinders and missing obvious problems that may crop up during the creation of the large arena-style multiplayer experience. But he did say he has been pleasantly surprised that the team has not missed much so far.

“I guess when you have 32 different people hammering at the game on a regular basis in teamplay, it is a lot easer to find problems early on,” he said.

Battlecry isn’t scheduled to hit beta until sometime next year, but Davis said the game is meeting its milestones. The only real issues so far is making sure that the classes stay balanced.

“Some classes, like the Enforcer, are easier to pick up and play, while the Duelist and the Tech Archer might have a bit more of a learning curve,” Davis said. “We want to make sure that players can jump into any class depending on their tastes and enjoy it almost immediately. Win or lose, we want you to have fun.”

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