After months of waiting, we finally know when everyone and their rowsdower will be able to head down to planet Nexus. This afternoon NCSOFT and Carbine Studios announced that WildStar will be making the switch to its free-to-play model on September 29th. This will coincide with a massive content update that will add a new streamlined starting experience, many quality of life improvements, and additional content throughout the game. To ensure that everything is running smoothly, a second closed beta phase will kick off tomorrow.
According to Carbine, the second phase will focus on the economic side of things, providing "a risk-free opportunity to test the new in-game store by buying NCoin—a real money currency that is all new to WildStar." Any NCoins purchased during this phase will be applied to all beta characters on account, but testers need not worry about wasting their money in a beta phase - any purchased NCoins will be transferred in full to live accounts at the free-to-play launch. Subscribers will automatically gain entry to this beta phase, while anybody can sign up to join in by heading over to the WildStar website.
Carbine have also reiterated that "veteran players will be handsomely rewarded for their loyalty," being given "exclusive items" if they are a subscriber when the free-to-play transition happens. This is on top of the already promised perks for 'Signature Players', which include increased XP and reputation gain, additional character slots, more costume slots, and extra bank tabs.
As we pointed out earlier this year, the switch to a free-to-play model is absolutely the best thing for WildStar, and if the improvements in the upcoming patch make the overall experience a much smoother affair - and the free account restrictions don't feel too punishing - Carbine may well bounce back after a turbulent first year. Regardless, the important thing is that newcomers be able to give WildStar a try and discover if it's the MMO for them without paying a single penny.