[UPDATE 8/21 1:55pm EST] We've added the latest WildStar game play trailer to the video section at the bottom of this article, above the three WildStar DevSpeak videos which were included when this story was published on Tuesday.
Exactly one month after revealing the final two races that will be featured in WildStar, Carbine Studios is back with a long-awaited explanation of how the company plans to monetize their highly-anticipated MMORPG -- and the WildStar business model is likely to be a pleasant surprise for anyone getting tired of the free-to-play market.
Just days after Carbine Studios design director Mike Donatelli announced major changes for several of WildStar's core game mechanics, the WildStar dev team confirmed that the planned changes to their upcoming MMORPG have ended any chance that the WildStar release date might arrive before the end of 2013. Instead, the WildStar dev team says fans should expect the game to make its debut sometime during Spring 2014, though the closed beta (and eventually, open beta) will still give some lucky players access to the WildStar servers before the game's official launch.
While word of the WildStar release date delay is unlikely to brighten anybody's day, Carbine's newly revealed business model for the upcoming MMORPG will probably put smiles on a few faces, thanks to the adoption of an optional "play to pay" subscription model coming to WildStar when the game launches next year.
Of course, like most MMOs, buying WildStar will give new players 30-days of free access to the WildStar servers. From here, your monthly cost to play will depend, in no small part, on how much time you're willing to dedicate to playing WildStar each month. We suppose efficiency could play a role here too, though it's hard to know given that we haven't been one of the lucky few to receive access to the WIldStar beta thus far.
Much like fellow space-faring MMO Eve Online, which allows players to trade large amounts of in-game currency for extra game time, WildStar players will be able to accrue and trade C.R.E.D.D. in lieu of paying the monthly subscription fee that will be required of most WildStar players.
To be specific, WildStar players will have the option to buy C.R.E.D.D. from the WildStar website and in-game store, which can then be traded to other WildStar players in exchange for the game's base currency (gold). At any time, C.R.E.D.D. can also be traded for additional WildStar play time, theoretically removing any need to ever pay a monthly fee if a player can find ways to keep themselves flush with the gold needed to buy more C.R.E.D.D. each month.
Alternately, you could just pay the yet-to-be-revealed subscription fee for monthly access to WildStar after your initial 30-days have passed. Those who pay out of pocket for their WildStar subscriptions will also be able to buy small amounts of C.R.E.D.D. to swap for additional in-game gold if/when they need it.
The WildStar dev team hopes the Commodities Exchange will solve a variety of problems, including the increasingly high demand for cheap or free-to-play games, the increasing prevalence of gold farming services (and ensuing hacking) in other MMOs and the studio's own need to make money in order to stay in business. Only time will tell if they've succeeded.
For more on WildStar, check out some of the early game play footage featured in the WildStar promotional videos already released by Carbine Studios and NCsoft:
Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for more on WildStar as we continue to follow the development of NCSoft and Carbine's new space-exploration MMO in the months leading up to the WildStar release date next spring.
What do you think of WildStar's newly introduced business model? Bummed that the WildStar release date was pushed back until early next year? Already hooked to the game before the WildStar beta even goes public?
Let us know in the comments section!