The relaunch of Dungeons & Dragons Online as a free-to-play MMOG in the U.S. is a big success, according to Turbine's Adam Mersky, who said the game is racking up impressive numbers despite not yet being open to the public.
Turbine announced in June that Dungeons & Dragons Online would switch from conventional subscription-based operation to a free-to-play model that would let players enhance the experience with "Turbine points" that could be spent in the DDO store on customized items, premium adventure packs and more. Gamers are given allotments of points as they progress through their adventures, while the more dedicated (or less patient) among them can simply buy points to spend on whatever they like.
That's apparently happening quite a bit, according to Turbine Director of Communications Adam Mersky, who said the studio is selling a huge amount of Turbine points even though the game is still in "head start" mode and only open to beta testers and previous subscribers.
"They all got a ton of points for being loyal subscribers, for being in the beta. We weren't really expecting a ton of sales... They had no incentive to. They already had access to all of the content as VIP subscribers, and we just gave them a buttload of points," he told Kotaku.
Yet in spite of all that, players are spending to get more. "They've gone through their points, and we've already sold millions more Turbine points, and we've not even opened up the world to the public yet," he said.
I don't see it as all that terribly surprising, really. Most "head start" players are going to be fans of the game already and will want to cut straight to the good stuff, which in this case appears to be the new Favored Soul class, "the hottest selling item" in the game, Mersky said. "[It] is unlockable in game, but all of our subs just went ahead and spent points on it, unlocked it, and they're playing it right now," he added.
It's good to see DDO getting off to such a strong start in its new free-to-play guise, although whether it will be able to maintain this level of interest with a larger and less-focused audience is still an awfully big question mark. Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited opens to the public on September 9.