Do you folks remember last August, when Gamigo formally announced ArcheAge Unchained, promising a new monetization model for a buy-to-play version of the sandbox, where “with a onetime purchase, you can enjoy the content as often as you want“? I sure did because I’m the one who wrote that post, complete with the direct quote from Gamigo’s press release. The idea was this clean edition would be funded with vanity items and the seasonal ArchePasses rather than pay-to-win shenanigans.
But as it turns out, “onetime” doesn’t mean “onetime,” as the community discovered yesterday.
Last week the company announced a new expansion for ArcheAge and ArcheAge Unchained, Garden of the Gods. The first announcement, on May 13th, didn’t mention the word “DLC” or imply there’d be any fee at all, so that’s how we reported it: as a typical content update, akin to what ArcheAge has been receiving for years. The second announcement, on May 20th, also made no mention of “DLC”; it focused on a free trial voucher code, and while it does mention pre-orders, I don’t think I was alone in assuming those were bonus packs in addition to the new land and content (that’s pretty common these days).
But yesterday’s post on the official site makes it far more clear. Calling these bundles DLC, the landing page appears to be declaring that all access to the expansion itself is locked behind the purchase. A Discord comment from Gamigo has further clarified the move. This has caused the ArcheAge subreddit to light itself and everything around it on fire, since the playerbase was entirely unprepared for DLC-style monetization, believing that the game would continue to be funded as originally advertised: with the one buy-in and ArchePass seasons on top. Some players even argue they’ve been delibertately lied to, pointing back to the old lawsuit where former publisher Trion was sued by players for false advertising specifically in regard to ArcheAge. (The players won, incidentally.)
In fact, it at least one interview last year, ArcheAge’s Merv Lee Kwai was asked directly whether ArcheAge Unchained players would be expected to pay for future expansions. The answer was a clear no.
Ragachak: On the topic of payments, will players who purchase ArcheAge: Unchained on September 30th have additional expansion purchases at a later date (such as WoW/Final Fantasy expansions)?
[mleekwai]: Nope. Future ArcheAge content updates/expansions will be provided free of purchase, as they always have been, on both the Legacy and the Unchained version. We have some exciting stuff coming up toward the end of this year and an amazing content roadmap planned for 2020 and beyond.
In our own interview with Khrolan last fall, we asked point-blank whether “initial sales and cosmetics” would be enough to sustain the game long-term. He said he was confident they would be.
We reached out to Gamigo last night with questions about the DLC switcharoo and future expansions, but we haven’t heard back yet; we’ll update if and when the studio responds. We’re also including the original PRs and posts below for posterity.