Yesterday was the big F2P relaunch for Champions. The patch notes are pretty extensive, which I think highlights how much work Cryptic has done to improve the game both for existing subscribers as well as new free players. There were two surprises about the launch that I wanted to highlight, and you can see them both in the minimap image to the left.
First there were thirteen instances of Millennium City when I logged in last night. I’ve not seen more than two or three in a long time. I honestly wasn’t expecting such a large turnout for the launch, but I’m pretty excited to see such a large turnout. I’ll be very curious to see what the population looks like a week from now and then a month from now. How many people were old players just popping in to check things out like me? How many were former subscribers trying out the silver-level version of the game? How many were brand new players? I wasn’t paying much attention to the chat last night so I’m not too sure about any of the answers to those questions. Yet.
The second surprise was the new store icon. It’s the orange circle with the Atari logo on the bottom left of the minimap. Atari and Cryptic are dropping the idea of Cryptic Points in favor of Atari Points, apparently you can now buy Atari points which are good for more than just C-Store purchases. The Atari Points stipend that subscribers get though is locked to the Champions C-Store only. The original C-store button was just a menu item under the Champions C button (top left in the minimap) so the new store button is more visible. But I do like that it’s less conspicuous than the LotRO store button.
While it’s much much too soon to declare Champion’s F2P switch a success, I’m very surprised by the initial level of interest and pleased at how subtle the C-store integration has remained.