Forge, developer Dark Vale Games' massively multiplayer online action role-playing game, is going free-to-play with the game's next update this week, the developer announced in a recent post.
According to Dark Vale, it's a decision to "change our business plan in order to get more players playing Forge," but the developer says that the MMORPG will never adopt a "pay-to-win" strategy.
Dark Vale plans to offer Forge "Starter Packs" through Steam. The first pack will retail for $19 and contain a timed XP boost and skin sets. Those who've purchased Forge at its current $20 price will receive the pack free of charge.
"As you see from our item store already, items are cosmetic," the developer wrote. "We hope in the future to add customization to cosmetic items as well. So the assassin could have a different dagger that gave her some kind of customization as well. For now, we will offer armor sets and XP boosts. We will be introducing four new sets including Bivröst Armor, Gullveig's Armor, Armor of Muspelheim, and new war-painted helms: the Bardajalmor. For a while we had the idea of being a little more of a freemium offering and charging for progression. We have since decided from feedback from all of you to drop this idea and allow all access to the Item Store."
Forge launched last December for Windows PC. In a developer update earlier this year, Dark Vale admitted that the number of players had "diminished sharply" since launch and announced its intention to lessen "the difficulty new players have getting into the game" and to increase "the general level of polish of the game that's there."