Pre-Order Tribes: Ascend, Pre-Order Microtransactions

I don’t want to come across ranty, but I have to speak my mind about the latest Tribes Ascend news.  Hi-Rez Studios announced today that pre-orders are available for Tribes Ascend and those customers who pre-order will get:

* VIP Status (Value: $20 USD)
* 800 Tribes Gold (Value: $10 USD)
* 30-Day Booster (Value: $15 USD)
* Admission to Beta (Value: Priceless!)

My immediate reaction was to ask the following three questions: (1) What is VIP status?, (2) How much does 800 Tribes Gold buy me, and (3) What is a booster?  My first question is answered by Hi-Rez’s closed beta FAQ:

“VIP” is a special account status that will be available to those that purchase it in Tribes: Ascend. Those with VIP status will have priority login, access to exclusive servers, and will earn Tokens and Experience faster inside the game, allowing them to unlock items faster.

Essentially, if my understanding is correct, it’s like saying you earn more silver coins in HoN or more in-game LoL points than a normal user.  If I don’t become a VIP, what will my user experience be like?  Lousy log-in and game servers?  Why is this valuated at $20?  In fact, why would I really want any of this up front?

I feel like I’m being asked to buy microtransactions in a box similar to how League of Legends offers the 20 hero box deals in-stores.  In a sense, we’re being asked to pre-order our microtransactions!

There are still unknowns.  What can be purchased/unlocked with these “tokens” — everything?  Just how much faster can they be obtained?  How much of the game is or will ever be gated to just VIP’s?

What Hi-Rez should do is offer a full-price version that comes with all weapons/armor/classes/etc. unlocked.  Let me pay $49.99, get all the unlocks like a normal game, get priority access, and then charge me for cosmetic goodies like skins.  That would be true VIP status.   Let it be similar to how TF2 handles their business model.

I don’t feel like a VIP when all I really get is the opportunity to be first in line to spend money in their cash shop.

Subtract all the microtransactions they’re selling you ahead of time and this is just a $30 way to buy into a beta test.  I’m not impressed at all.


  • When did beta access become something you could buy? I mean, it’s not beta at that point anymore is it?

    I’ll stick to my “wait 3-6 months buy a box and sub” rule tyvm. Which means I won’t be playing Tribes…life goes on.

  • This is why I’m not all gung-ho to monetize every single aspect and every single genre of gaming. I know publishers probably are. But if I can get a drastically superior FPS experience with say, Battlefield 3, which uses a traditional play experience rather than monetizing every minute of my time, then why should I play Tribes: Ascend? I was a huge fan of Tribes back in the day, and even Tribes 2 which was much less popular. But this isn’t even Tribes by the real Tribes team, it’s more of an homage to Tribes that just happens to be using the name.

    Then again, gamers only have slightly more self-control over their impulses and habits than drug addicts, so everyone will jump on this like hotcakes just because it says Tribes.

    Ironically, I’m a fan and proponent of well-done F2P for MMOs, just not for real games yet. Not until there are none left.

  • This is particularly insidious and I think you should be ranting!

    From a business perspective this of course drives up revenue and also increases the likelihood of “conversions” since you’ll already have invested actual money in the game pre-launch.

    But it’s just fundamentally wrong for money to change hands in a BETA TEST, even if you are just pre-ordering the actual game/features. Hopefully if you do sign up and discover you hate it you can cancel everything and not be out of pocket.

    P.S. I imagine that the “Booster” is an XP boost.

  • …What icedern just sadi. This is the exact model of Global Agenda. Not a bad game for the $13 I spent on it (for VIP status). My $13 gets me double the exp, some coins per match, no tokens (rmt or booster for those) and an item per match. I have never felt the urge to spend the $15 for a month’s booster, which would get me more exp, another item per win, more coins and some tokens per win.

    Oh… And coins are not the same as cash in game. Three types:
    Cash – buys you general low level gear, AH stuff and armor\helmet skins
    Coins – which buy you armor and gear upgrades (not skins)
    Tokens – which buy you just about anything, plus some exclusive skins

    I may have missed something, but the is the general idea.

  • I’m going to have so many multiplayer FPS in my life soon that I can’t justify pre-ordering this just for beta access. And, as much fun as I had playing Tribes 2, I just can’t bring myself to take this game seriously. I don’t like Global Agenda and I don’t like it when games monetize everything. On a similar note, this “online pass” stuff has me equally annoyed.

  • Hey HiRez, thanks for raping the Tribes IP. Old Erez over there is trying to apply his failed Global Agenda money model to Tribes. I’m going to have to fly the full, rigid middle finger to HiRez on this one.

  • Yea it’s the GA model, which honestly is not all that bad for a ‘casual’ FPS game. If GA was a hardcore, ranked game, the model would suck though.

    Being able (read: required) to buy better gear with tokens, which you can either gain at a stupidly slow rate or get automatically with the booster, along with stuff like mods and such, works well enough in a game you don’t care much about, but I would hate the system if it was my primary MMO or a title I was actually invested in.

  • I completely agree. I used to play Tribes I into the wee hours for many a night. I had my first clan, practiced, read user stories, was into mods…man those times were fun. Tribes 2 came along and was fun but not as breathtaking as the initial buzz of Tribes I, imo. With this game, the graphics look great, it rekindles that zeal I once had for Tribes, but after reading the vaccuum that is being placed to my wallet to really enjoy this game I doubt I will invest anything more than just the price of admission. I dont believe in games that charge x, y, and z. They make it such that the only way to compete is to open your wallet and ‘level up’. And VIP access to the servers? You’re going to hell. tokens, points, gold, vaseline, fisting….oh its coming.

  • I don’t think you understand, VIP access is what you are buying, the rest is bonuses. Much like global agenda there will be a free agent and a what ever its called when you upgrade from free agent. in this case VIP and non-VIP. VIP will not be pre-order exclusive, people will be able to upgrade to it, though they will probably rename it to something tribes-y. This is now their model of free to play works, its still tons better then what you got when global agenda came out, they didn’t give you any coins what so ever for buying the game. This time around they are starting off with a free to play model like they transitioned into with global agenda and get you to buy VIP early with some added coins to go along with it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that VIP is only for pre-orders, its just a better deal now rather then later. especially if you consider all the extra exp and tokens you will be getting over the course of the beta which will not have a stats reset on launch ;b