Total War Lead Designer: Multiplayer Games Must Be Free-To-Play To Be Good

Total War: Arena lead designer, James Russell, believes that all new multiplayer games have to be free to play or risk ruining the experience for their players.

“Fundamentally if we want to take multiplayer to the next level we need a massive userbase,” he explained. “One reason for that is to make matchmaking better. Matchmaking is faster and you get into battles quicker the more players you have. Because we want these team-based battles [in Total War: Arena] – up to 10 versus 10 – it needs a huge player population.”

Free-to-play multiplayer games have a reputation of being “pay-to-win” games as they rely on micro-transactions to earn their revenues. But Russell reassures that this won’t be the case with Total War: Arena.

“The first is the reason why we’re doing this is to make this great multiplayer experience…to have a player population on a different level,” he asserted. “What I should emphasize on the sort of monetization philosophy that we want to follow is that we really want to focus on what we call ‘accelerators’. So we could have loads of premium content, consumables that help you win battles, but that is not what we want to focus on.”

“What we want to focus on is accelerators that help, let you level-up your character faster so you get to high-level content more quickly,” he added. “Just to be really clear: our intention is to make the vast majority of content available to everyone for free as long as they earn it. The focus of monetization is really around enhancing the speed at which you get access.”

It’s too early to judge, but we feel that those accelerators would still imbalance the game. What do you think?

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Besides, this balance stuff

Besides, this balance stuff has gone way to far. Its not even essential to a good strategy game and many times simply thrown off the cliff. MOO2 and MOM are too good examples of awesome, inbalanced games that still rock peoples world today. Even medieval knights placed little care in balance or Sun Tzu himself. Love the captchas.

Balance Doesnt Matter ?

"Besides, this balance stuff has gone way to far. Its not even essential to a good strategy game..." Words cannot describe how incredibly wrong you are... Balance is absolutely essential in MP gaming. Without balance people will just exploit the most powerful factions/strategies/units and you get little variety. Example: Kangaroo Carrier in (older version of) CoH and killstreaks in CoD series.
You voted 'no'.

Too early but according to arithmetic...

It will not because of the matchmaking, and because they arent going to focus on that. What they want is millions of people playing ARENA, which will later be transfered to the Total War series as household clients and maybe win a few euros with texture packs and the sort. Right, its early to judge but if we have to according to these words, this would be the best.

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