More on Spellborn’s North American launch

Commenter Ardenya wrote up a fantastic description of how Spellborn will be published in Europe (aside from the UK and the other Commonwealth countries (Australia, NZ, South Africa), which seem to be lumped in with North America in this case). I’m copying it here because it’s the most concrete info I’ve heard so far about the game’s launch, anywhere.

Considering packages and payment, earlier tonight I have recieved an email with some details and amazon preorder links. Unfortunatly, Im not at my desktop atm and will be as early as tomorrow so bear with the little details I have preserved in the twists of my mind… =) I’ll verify the info as I get home.

There will be two boxes: a regular edition coming with the game client on DVD, a world map and 1 month subscription time for around 15 euro (dont nail me on that… yet) and a special edition with the previous content and additionally an art book, some special ingame item and 3 month of subscription time for 39,90 euro.

The monthly rates will depend on the billing model you choose and will lower the longer the cycle. Itll start at 12,99 euro using a 1 month cycle and goes down to 10,99 euro per month using a 6 month cycle. Additionally, there will be 60 days Game Cards availible for 26,99 euro.

So, does that mean that we here will get a box in two weeks from Amazon?

No, no box for us. No collector’s editions, no nothing. In fact, for a major MMO on the edge of a worldwide release, you’d hardly know they were publishing it at all.

This isn’t a game that is underhyped. This game has no hype whatsoever. Aeria Games’ Pi Story has more hype, and that’s a 2D scroller MMO. The only information we have about the game at all is what Frogster and Spellborn NV are releasing into the European market.

All we know about how the game will be operated outside Europe is contained in this very short FAQ, which was written by a fan, not an official Acclaim rep.

This is the entire section dealing with obtaining and subscribing to the game.

1. Will The Chronicles of Spellborn be Free 2 Play?
– Yes and No. TCOS will be free to download, and will have a free zone where you will have the chance to learn the game. Should you decide you wish to continue into some of the higher areas, there will be an option for you to subscribe monthly to the game.

2. Will there be an item mall?- No. Although TCOS has the F2P area, it is a predominately a P2P game, and thus will not have any sort of item mall in it whatsoever. In fact, there will not be any shops of any sort since there is also no item selling in TCOS.

3. How much is the monthly rate going to be?

4. What is the official release date for Spellborn?
– November 27th, 2008

5. What countries will Acclaim be hosting for Spellborn?
– North America, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa

I am prepared to spend a lot of time in this game, but, this close to the game’s release, I’d like to know that Acclaim is prepared to promote this game. Maybe they feel it’s pointless to do much promotion when so many other MMOs are being released or expanded. Maybe they want to see how it does in Europe before trying to build an audience elsewhere.

I want this game to succeed, but, Acclaim, you HAVE to give us something. Your games are largely free to play; this one is not, so the regular Acclaim players likely won’t be that interested — they can’t even spend the Acclaim Coins they buy in the game. Your NA launch is probably the best kept secret in MMOs. Those of us who have been looking forward to this game for YEARS want info. You won’t be having an open beta, so word of mouth about the game will be virtually nil. We have no server lists or anything that would let us build a community before the game launches, aside from some anemic forums.

Frogster is adding community staff for the European launch; do we in NA even HAVE a community staff?

Seriously. Get in touch. Point us to your promo stuff. Give us an open beta, just a week or two, so we know it’s real.

Low hype is a refreshing change. NO hype is scary.

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12 thoughts on “More on Spellborn’s North American launch”

  1. All I can guess by the “silence” is the deal rests on some licensing fee from Acclaim. They get a discounted rate for an average of monthlies (lets say they averaged out how many players do pay for shops for the other games…), and must provide this upfront.

    So lets say 10,000 x 15 per equals (amount to pay the developers) …etc.

    Kind of like maybe a recording contract. Pay up front for the band and get a perform ratio…

    Hard to say.

    I am not holding my breath…that’s for sure.

    Got 2 games waiting for the end of November…so if Spellborn happens…cool…if not, oh well…NEXT!

  2. Ironically enough, NO hype might have a perverse interest-raising effect on us jaded MMO gamers. Word of mouth *can* get a game going, as it eventually did with EVE. Be interesting to see what happens – and since it’s free to download, I will most certainly at least be trying it out.

  3. Give us an open beta, just a week or two, so we know it’s real.

    Isn’t this feeding right into the current trend that beta’s are no longer Betas, but pre-release “free play” versions? It’s getting a free starter area, one that’s permanent rather than limited to 14 days. Isn’t that enough?

    Marketing, however… yes, Acclaim has seriously dropped the ball there. Only the MMO Hoppers, such as us bloggers and forum dwellers even know about its existence. Advertise!

  4. Great points Tipa. (as always) I think we are all dying to know if we care at all. I’ll definitely be downloading it after its launch and hopefully I can toss them some dollars (by playing) just to encourage competition and innovation.

  5. @Scott — open betas, as opposed to closed betas, have always been invitations to check out the game and stress the servers a bit. All I’m asking for here :)

  6. After Acclaim drove all their franchises into the ground in the late 90s I doubt I’ll ever trust them to do something right again.

  7. I read Virgin Worlds pretty much everyday, check out WK whenever it’s updated, and am fairly nerdy. I’m sure I missed a link or two off of VW but really, WK is the only way I know that Spellborn even exists.

    On an only semi-related note, 15 Euros / month? Is 15 the magic number these days or are they going to charge us US-ians the converted price in USD? If so, that’s going to be a subscription killer. I’m too lazy to look it up, just wondering.

  8. @redheadedtim:
    The monthly price has always been higher here in Europe for MMOs than in the US. But the quote from Ardenya did not say that the subscription fee would be 15 Euro, that was the game box.
    THe subscription price mentioned there was 12.99 Europ per month, which is pretty much the standard rate here. So I would guess the US rate would probably be at the standard 15 USD rate also.

    Earlier this year a reason for the postponing the release of the game (they said it was ready this spring) was that the US publisher needed 6 months of preparation. If Acclaim claimed that, they are not quite showing that on their Spellborn web site.

  9. @Sente Thanks for the clarification. Yeah I know you Euro peeps usually get the shaft, I just find it odd that they didn’t put any prices in USD (even say list both Euro and USD), but that’s just me being US-centric and they’re not a US based company (if I’m reading things right). Still, one more vote for the no-hype is bad idea thing. I even game weekly with some friends who are in the game industry and give me good summaries when i ask about diff MMO’s, reg pc games, and console titles. They have nothing to say about Spellborn. Yeouch, first time that’s happened.

  10. The problem with under hyped game is that they may end up with an under populated game which will eventually become a problem for them and possibly problematic for the players who do subscribe, even sooner.

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