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Indie dev delists Steam game to remove all microtransactions

Wayfinder developer Airship Syndicate is removing all microtransactions and the always-online requirement from the RPG in a big revamp.

Wayfinder monetization changes: a lion man in armor

After delisting Wayfinder once it was given publishing control of the game, developer Airship Syndicate has announced some big changes coming to the online fantasy RPG. Namely, when it comes back to Steam there will be no microtransactions or an always-online requirement. Airship Syndicate admits that Wayfinder has had a “rocky past” during its Steam Early Access launch, but sees this pivot as better for the game and its players, especially compared to a complete shutdown.

Originally published by Warframe developer Digital Extremes before the studio decided to close its publishing arm, the Wayfinder rights were given to developer Airship Syndicate earlier this year. The RPG was then pulled from Steam and other platforms while Airship made some changes, and now we know what the revamped Wayfinder looks like. This means the full launch will no longer be free-to-play.

One of the big changes is the removal of the always-online requirement. “We realize this is a big shift, but [it’s] a necessary one to guarantee that the game is around forever,” Airship Syndicate says. “No queues, no login, no accounts.”

This does mean not all progress will be carried over for existing players, but it makes up the basis of the game’s revamp, called Wayfinder Echoes.

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The other big change is Wayfinder’s removal of all microtransactions. Airship concedes that the sheer number of games releasing, many of which are vying for daily and weekly play sessions, makes pushing into the market harder than ever. “Players today are more apt to outright purchase a game they know is full of content and also respectful of their time,” Airship adds, saying the new Echoes update will see Wayfinder cost $24.99 during early access. This will increase after the full launch.

“No in-game microtransactions or in-game purchases, just one price.” This means the Founder’s Packs will not be put back up for sale, and that any purchases of the in-game currency of Runesilver will be converted to a new currency for exclusive cosmetics. The Founder’s Pack was required to access Wayfinder’s original early access period, where it would have launched into free-to-play after 1.0 – it’s now only going to be available as a paid-for game.

Monster Train developer Shiny Shoe did the same thing to Inkbound monetization last year, showing how many developers are noticing a change in the market – players don’t want to be drip-fed content and microtransactions in every game anymore. They just want to pay a flat fee for a game and play it.

Wayfinder will also be getting some gameplay changes, as detailed by Airship: all weapons will be randomized drops, armor will now be collectible with stats, you’ll have thousands of cosmetics to earn, you’ll have four difficulties to choose from, there will be less of a grind for new characters, and much more.

Wayfinder monetization changes: a roadmap for Wayfinder's relaunch

Wayfinder will return to Steam on Tuesday June 11 with all the changes listed, while players who already own the game can jump into the revamped version of Wayfinder on Friday May 31. All current player data will be removed from then on as well.

Between Wayfinder and Inkbound, we’re seeing the ripples of an ocean-wide change in how so many videogames are made and sold. Constant microtransactions and the drip-feeding of content have become a stable way for developers to keep income, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that not enough players are responding to this model, especially for smaller games.

Bigger games like Overwatch 2, Call of Duty, and countless others already have gargantuan audiences that help this model work, but many of us still want to pay less than $70 for a fun, smaller game and leave it at that.

We’ve also got some of the best fantasy games and multiplayer games you’ll want to add to your backlog if Wayfinder sounds like it’s for you. Just be sure to keep on top of that ever-expanding library.

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