Today, Funcom announced that LEGO Minifigures Online, the free-to-play LEGO MMOG based on the LEGO Minifigures collectables toy line, will be changing their playing and payment plan. This summer, LEGO Minifigures Online will no longer be a free-to-play game with microtransactions and membership levels, but will convert to a buy-to-play game where you must purchase the game up-front before playing. There has been no word on if players must purchase game-time to continue playing.
In addition to the buy-to-play change, Funcom mentioned that the structure of the game will be changing a bit:
…we are implementing a strong narrative, with a voiced storyteller guiding players through the game and the different worlds using cinematics and scripted events. We are also implementing unique gameplay events in the different locations that will make the worlds come even more alive, and much more.
Funcom’s CEO commented that the changes to the game should help the game be for LEGO fans of all ages.
No doubt free-to-play can be a great offering, but it is not necessarily the best option for any game. The model in itself can be challenging with a young audience, and we also saw that it had a detrimental effect on gameplay and the kids’ enjoyment of the game. As a result, we are taking the necessary steps needed to make sure we unlock the full potential of LEGO® Minifigures Online and make it an enjoyable experience for LEGO fans of all ages.
However, I am unsure if this can be believed, seeing as they have marketed LMO as a game for kids of all ages since the start:
LEGO Minifigures Online is a game for kids of all ages. Fun and easy to play for the younger ones, while still offering a deeper gameplay experience for the older ones with dungeons, boss battles, progression trees, and synergies between minifigures and their abilities.
See the link below for the FAQ.
See this link for more information:
This major change in LEGO Minifigures online might be for the better. I see it as a move more toward how LEGO Universe operated (requiring game purchase to play, having a more cinematic story). Unfortunately, the lack of any trial of free-to-play will lose many members. Let us just hope that LEGO Minifigures Online does not suffer the same fate as LEGO Universe did 3 years ago.