Understanding the Outrage at Delaying F2P Release

Stunlock’s announcement that the F2P release of Battlerite would be delayed until late 2017 was met with both anxiety and appreciation from the community. They did eventually clarify that they meant more along the lines of mid-Summer 2017, but there still seems to be community disagreement about how this will affect the game’s future.

Many players felt that the initial Q1 2017 release goal was too ambitious, but they also fear that this delay may be too much.

“A number one rule in video games (and other business): don’t miss your time-to-market,” warned Reddit user Shinechane, mirroring concerns that delaying the final release for up to half a year may end up squandering the interest generated by the recent F2P Weekend event. With so much focus on Battlerite now, why risk letting the hype die down?

Others worry that the extended development time may not be spent well, considering the apparent priorities of recent patches: frills in the form of new champions and cosmetics, rather than the comprehensive balance and gameplay changes that many feel are necessary for Battlerite to reach full potential. The term “cash grab” has been tossed around in cynical circles, speaking to fears that the delay may be to eke more Early Access sales out of those who were waiting for the F2P release and to add more cosmetics for when the game finally does go free.

Some take a less dim view of Stunlock’s intentions, believing that their goal truly is to improve the game, yet still fearing that Stunlock may not have the development manpower to make the tough design decisions that many are clamoring for.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Many others laud Stunlock for making what they believe to be the responsible decision. “If they delay the launch… they’ll have the time to bring out new features that will ensure the longevity of the game,” wrote Reddit user Symethe in an impassioned post defending the delay.

Many feel the current iteration of Battlerite lacks a lot of the features found in other games: improved social features, BLC’s much-adored in-game tournament system, etc. But the good news is that Stunlock’s announcement did mention improvements to quests, spectator mode, matchmaking, and the ranking system. Six months of extra development time would provide them enough time to flesh out Battlerite’s appeal.

And in a competitive scene that’s growing increasingly anxious about a low skill ceiling and lack of depth, players are cautiously optimistic that future patches will provide changes in the core design philosophy of the game. Suggestions abound for Stunlock to use these following months to experiment, to upend systems and mechanics, to try outlandish and unique ideas for the next few champions. Though it’s hard to know if the developers are willing to take that kind of plunge, the possibility is exciting. If there was a time to take such risks, it would be during Early Access.

The success or failure of Battlerite’s delayed release will depend largely on how Stunlock uses this extra time. In my opinion, the recent addendum to their statement (suggesting openness to holding more F2P weekends) does a lot to diffuse the fear of the game losing interest before release. If those weekends are timed correctly, they’ll do a lot to bring in new and repeat F2P weekenders and keep them hungry for the final release.

Only one thing is for sure: change is needed. At this point there seem to be few in the community that don’t feel some degree of dissatisfaction with the current state of Battlerite and fear for its longevity. If nothing else, the delay suggests that Stunlock is dedicated to the long-term health of the game, investing the revenue brought in during Early Access to further development of the game and its features.

Where do you stand on Stunlock’s decision? Is a mid-Summer release stretching it too far or not far enough? Will the developers make the most of these extra months? What features are you hoping to see prioritized during the first half of 2017? Let us know in the comments!


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10 Comments on "Understanding the Outrage at Delaying F2P Release"

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They didn’t sit idle these past months, they made a lot more content than anyone was expecting and we are also getting more goodies in two days!!! I just can’t wait to see how much the game will change until summer, think about it! We are going to get at least 3 BIG patches and a many, many, MANY more little ones. If they keep the pace we could speculate maybe 5 new champions (at least) and enough time to improve everything twice!


Stunlock is good at churning out content. I’d be interested in seeing some kind of roadmap: “We’re aiming for Feature X by January, then Feature Y and Z by February, etc.” I understand it can be risky to announce those kinds of things because people will cry if they’re late at all, but it would give a lot of hope to the community.


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I’d prefer some transparency from the devs, i.e. them telling us their intent, rather than us speculating.

This is something that Blizzard has been doing well recently.


Really agree with you there, but maybe even one step further: not just intent (which they are pretty good about) but also hard details. It feels like a lot of their communications are unnecessarily vague, to the point where it feels like they aren’t communicating anything of substance. 😐


There is a danger in communicating too much though, especially in regards to hard details. Things often change, plans don’t work out and so on, so hard details is something you’re probably never gonna get until something is close to being finished. People tend to hang on super hard to anything that’s announced, even if it’s covered in caveats and maybes, so most developers just don’t do it, since it’s not worth the backlash if it doesn’t work out the way initially intended.


That’s true. What about striking some kind of middle ground? Instead of promising to do X, Y, Z, maybe they can come out and say that they WON’T be doing A, B, C. For example, if the community is asking for this or that, it’d be nice if Stunlock could come out and say “No, that’s not something we want to do” instead of staying silent. Not knowing is worse than being rejected, imo.


I personally like that they delayed the f2p release. I just got to start playing and I find myself struggeling to keep playing when none of my friends are online. The game still lacks some key features as a good social hub and the tournament system. Going solo in rankeds is not really fun to me. So I imagine many people would feel the same if the f2p release would hit too early.


Hey atocx, nice to see you again! Agree with you, can’t wait for the quality of life features like social hub. I’m sure a lot of players are dying for the tournament system too. Too early release would seal the death of this game. 🙁