Battlefield: Gundam Edition Gundam Battle Operation is set to debut at the end of the month, and at first, the announcement that the game itself would be free to download and play seemed almost unlike Namco Bandai in its not being overpriced. That is, until they recently revealed what players will be able to opt to pay for. The result? A scheme that wouldn't seem too out of place if it were attached to Farmville.
In essence, Gundam Battle Operation is free to play roughly twelve times per day. Playing a session of the game uses a unit of "Mission Energy". Mission Energy recharges at a rate of one unit per two hours, and players can store up to three for free. Players who want to play more can buy Mission Energy at Y100 per unit, with discount rates for bulk purchases. I can imagine this scheme will be alright for the type of person who doesn't really do a lot of marathon gaming, though anyone expecting to devote themselves to this like they would to, say, a Call of Duty or Battlefield may resent having to cough up the moolah.
All the game's mobile suits and vehicles will be unlockable for free, but some of the info is a bit vague regarding the interaction between weapon and part upgrades and microtransactions. Depending on which translations you read, either weapon and vehicle types have caps on the amount of upgrades they can receive (which can be removed for money), or upgrades obtained in-game have level requirements to equip (which can be waived for money).
Now, I have nothing against free-to-play games or Facebook games, though I have to say that a cooldown-based economy doesn't sit as well with me as, say, a hat- or commodity- based market. And where's my Idolm@ster-themed DLC?
If nothing else, the news doesn't seem to have dampened enthusiasm for the game overmuch (it is free, after all), and Namco Bandai have announced that over 100,000 pilots have registered to play so far. Registering early unlocks a pair of mobile suits for immediate use on launch day.
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