Square Enix community manager George Kelion attempted to assuage any fears that upcoming free-to-play multiplayer arena game, Nosgoth, would be pay-to-win in a recent blog post.
“So, Nosgoth is a free-to-play game - but it's not pay-to-win,” said Kelion. “We made the decision to go to free-to-play to break down barriers and let as many players into the game as possible.” He goes on to explain how currency will work in Nosgoth, as well as how purchased items will affect the game.
“One of the key goals has been to create a fair experience that doesn't penalise players who don’t spend money in the game – as such Nosgoth doesn’t include items, weapons or abilities that are inherently better (aka “supremacy goods”),” explains Kelion.
There are abilities, items and skins that can be purchased - both for currency, gold, earned in-game and using paid for Runestones - but they aren’t upgrades. Kelion uses the example of the Alchemist’s Fullbore Cannon, which does more damage than the standard weapon, but has a smaller clips.
When I previewed Nosgoth, I didn’t spend much of the gold Square Enix gave me, but when I did, I didn’t feel like it gave me a particular edge. Instead, it allowed me to have more options to choose from when building my loadout.
As the Sentinel, for example, I was able to swoop down and snatch a foe from the ground, taking it up into the sky and then dropping it from a great height. While this was an ability I enjoyed a great deal, it meant I had to give up another ability to use it, and it wasn’t necessarily any more powerful than the abilities I started with.
All purchases that have an affect on gameplay, like items or abilities, can be picked up using gold earned simply by playing. While the amount of gold gained at the end of a match might change as development continues, in the preview build I earned enough to rent a new item and an ability for seven days after only an hour or two of playing.
These items and abilities can also be purchased with Runestones, at a smaller cost. But Runestones cost actual money. Skins can also be snatched up for a fee, but some will also unlock as players level up, along with new classes.
The two most obvious advantages to buying Runestones is that you can spend this currency on chest keys and boosters. Chest keys unlock special chests awarded at the end of matches which contain random rare weapons or abilities. Boosters can be used to speed up the rate at which you or your team earns gold and experience in battle.
Runestones cost from $4.99 for a 1000 to $79.99 for 20,000.
Nosgoth is gearing up to leave alpha and will be moving into closed beta soon.