Repost: Combat Arms: Free-to-Play FPS

Multiplayer is one of the most important gameplay design aspects of any first person shooter. But how does that coincide with a free-to-play title?

Nexon America published Combat Arms in the United States, a title which has quickly developed its own strong community to become one of the most popular FPS titles online.

The title was an entirely different direction from Nexon America’s previous titles, but time has shown that the company knew how to use its previous experience to make another great free-to-play title.

Associate Producer Davy Garaix answered my questions on Combat Arms.

GotGame: Why a FPS, considering the previous titles? It seems like a recognizable extension for PC gamers who enjoy FPS multiplayer, but how has it become so popular? Posting videos through YouTube has brought a lot of comments.

Garaix: Nexon saw an opportunity to make an impact in the North American market with a free-to-play FPS, and feels it’s been proven through the success of Combat Arms. First person shooters are arguably the most popular form of hardcore gaming, and offering players a free, fun FPS game like Combat Arms seemed like a tremendous value.

GotGame: Combat Arms is celebrating two years of existence, how much has the title grown during that time, not just considering content updates; but how it was received?

Garaix: Well, it’s hard to not focus on content updates because it’s been a major part of the game’s growth. There are now dozens of maps, hundreds of weapons and several new game modes, including multiple co-op options which didn’t exist when the game launched two years ago. Players appreciate the updates, but the core game play dynamics of Combat Arms – fast-twitch and arcade-style action – keep players coming back.

GotGame: Applying a microtransaction model to a FPS appears to be simple, cash for weapons and supplies; but to become proficient requires players to have some skill. How does the title level different skills and abilities?

Garaix: Most of the guns in the Black Market, which is the Cash Shop in Combat Arms, have equivalent counterparts which players can acquire with Gear Points (the in-game currency earned by playing). Players who have more skill will always rise to the top, and those who choose to purchase from the Cash Shop are paying for cosmetic customization.

GotGame: How important have guilds/clans become in Combat Arms? In full retail releases, finding the proper clan is very important to the enjoyment for a title with a group of players.

Garaix: It’s a really big deal. There are more than 350,000 clans registered right now, and we’ve worked with the development team to deliver some major enhancements to the clan system, including the Clan Matchmaking System to help Clans swiftly find rivals. We’ve also added clan-exclusive weapons and gear so players who enjoy clan-play can earn some well-deserved rewards for it.

GotGame: Combat Arms doesn’t feature more common content updates like storylines, how does the development team decide what to add?

Garaix: As a production team we’re constantly paying attention to the players, and what we’ve tried to do is make sure there’s always something new for players to try out. This past year, we’ve identified three core areas to focus on; new maps, new weapons, and new game modes.

We’re always tweaking other aspects of the game, but we’re sure that continued addition of content in these categories will generate a very positive reaction from the players. The foundation of this game is its fast-paced gameplay and nearly limitless customization options, and we want to be sure to continue to provide a fun environment for our players.

GotGame: What are some of the most common community requests for the title? Are there some requests that are so extreme that they wouldn’t make sense for the title, but would be fun to add?

Garaix: In an ideal world, we’d be able to add everything our community requests. Even though we can’t necessarily incorporate every suggestion, we pay attention to what our users want and do our best to get it to them.

A few suggestions we’ve been able to include have been various weapons like the M-200, permanent weapons, and the Vote Kick System. We’ve also been given some fun-but-unlikely requests, such as Player-powered Helicopters, Combat Vehicles, Battering Rams, Attack Dogs, and even an Attack Walrus.

GotGame: What are the greatest accomplishments for the title?

Garaix: It’s hard to say anything is the greatest accomplishment, but we feel like some of our user numbers are just awesome. We recently released in-game statistics and to know there’s been more than 8.6 billion soldiers killed in action and more than 99 million of those were Nutshots – feels like quite an achievement.

GotGame: Is there ever going to be a Combat Arms 2? Possibly featuring a new engine and updated assets?

Garaix: Never say never! It feels like Combat Arms is just getting started, so we don’t see the need for a sequel anytime in the near future. There’s still plenty of great stuff that will be added to the current version, so make sure you’re logging in and checking back with the game; it will continue to deliver great monthly updates, all for free.

— —

It appears that Nexon America have created a secondary genre for the free-to-play market with Combat ArmsCombat Arms can be found here for interested players.

Thanks to Davy Garaix for answering my questions.