Checking out The Free Mode of Atlas Reactor
We wanted to dig a little deeper into the recent announcement for Atlas Reactor’s newly announced Free Mode, the previously buy to play only consecutive turn based strategy from Trion Worlds. Going live on August 9th the game has now implemented a try before you buy element to the game giving players access to a selection of characters from the game to try it out before spending real cash to buy the game.
Previously players would have to spend over $20 to access the game (current pricing of $20 is marked as Limited Time Pricing) which would give players access to the full game, all the game modes and the full roster of twenty mercenary characters. Still in Beta this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as a pay to play beta is fairly normal in the industry these days, but it seems this business model will be an ongoing thing following in line with the likes of Blizzard’s FPS Overwatch, which also offers a full roster for an upfront payment.
What Atlas Reactor is offering that Overwatch doesn’t is the new Free Mode where players can check out the game and play six free characters that rotate each week, with each player getting a different combination (unlike MOBA games where a select group of heroes/champions go on rotation each week but are the same for everyone). We can confirm this as we accessed two Free Mode accounts and had a different pool of mercenaries for both; what was the same was that each account had 4 DPS characters and a single Tank and Support that we could choose from, which makes sense given the favour that generally shifts to these DPS roles and is reflected by the number of characters for each role available in the game (10 damage dealers, 5 tank frontliners, 5 supports).
With our free account we were able to play in Practive, Vs Bots (either with or without bot teammates) and unranked PVP; ranked play and custom games are restricted solely to those players who have purchased the game. What aren’t restricted are the seasonal rewards, either from gaining XP and levelling up or completing quests, allowing players to still earn their Loot Matrix crate rewards whilst levelling which grant all manner of random taunts, skins and avatars. That said the facility to buy these Loot Matrices in the cash shop isn’t available and players can only open one of them every 36 hours, so there are some further limitations.
All in all we think it’s a step in the right direction for Atlas Reactor, whilst a fully free to play game that follows a more traditional MOBA route would be more desirable (free game, buy the heroes/champions/skins you want), at least for those that don’t want to spend cash, we also think it would probably hurt the game too much and require an extremely aggressive schedule to push new characters out regularly, one we doubt the developers could keep up with. Staying with the pay to play option and offering up a free trial mode is a good option for the game, anyone playing the game regularly for a week or so will have a good idea whether they’ll like the game and so the relatively small price tag isn’t quite so bad.