Tree Of Savior Receives Harsh Criticism Towards Developer’s Business Model

Tree of savior (ToS for short) received much acclaim when it was first announced as being the spiritual successor to the very popular MMORPG Ragnorok Online. ToS has close to a hundred different classes, a beautiful art style, and a fan base that took to the game the moment screenshots were released. So what could go wrong?

IMC Games happened. Forgive me if I don’t get straight to the point, but there is a lot to cover. Players of Tree Of Savior had a few complaints about the gameplay, but for the most part it sounds like a pretty solid and fun game to play. Most of the reviews have over 70 Steam hours logged, plus a few additional hours they had played from the closed beta. Almost all of the negative reviews are in agreement and will say that the core gameplay isn’t so much the problem and they really enjoy the game for the most part (there are some disputes about leveling up and classes), but the main problem is IMC Games business model and how they fail to update the game to fix major issues, and that is where it all falls apart.

Tree of Savior officially launched their North American version around March of 2016 on Steam, and from that time until now the reviews have fallen into a Mixed rating as hundreds of angry reviewers came on to share their disdain for the changes that were made — or in some cases, the lack of changes made since closed beta to fix balance issues.

I haven’t personally played the game, but I have been following its development since it was announced and really wanted to join (sadly I was not accepted in the closed beta), so I can only go by what is written on the forums and in the reviews.

The problem? The cash shop and how players interact with one another. It sounds like IMC Games business model alienates paying players from the free-to-play players, which ruins player to player interactions. Core gameplay mechanics like chatting or trading is either impossible, or very difficult to do between paying customers and free to play customers because it requires TP, which is their premium currency in Tree Of Savior. If you don’t pay? You get locked out of a lot of the major gameplay mechanics that makes it an MMORPG.

On top of this, the players were disappointed with the premium founder packs after paying money to access the game, only to get hit with lag problems and server issues that either weren’t corrected or that they failed to anticipate from the closed beta, causing a lot of the paying customers to have a lot of problems with a stable connection to properly enjoy the game.

Steam gamer Yamamoto sums up the problem in their short, yet accurate review that I took a screenshot of down below.

Tree of savior yamamoto review

Yamamoto however is not the only one that feels this way. Steam user Kami goes in more detail about the cons and why the current game has fallen downhill since the closed beta with his extremely long review that includes all of the cons. I won’t post his entire review of cons because it is way too long, but here are a few key points to give you an idea about the current state of the game that I quoted down below from Kami’s Steam review.

tree of savior Kami review

The legendary never ending list of cons…

No P2P trading for free users. Even Token is limited to 30 trades a month.
Can’t trade Silver (In-game general currency) through trading.
Extremely limited AH, only 1 without a Token. Even with Token its limited to only 5 items for sale.
AH is on a ridiculous timer to claim silver after an item is purchased. Nearly 2 days wait to retrieve most sales.
AH takes a HUGE cut of profit, 30% might as well vendor the items unless they’re worth 1mil+ even then you lose a ton. Token users get this reduced to (?15%?)

Just to clarify, the P2P trading he is talking about is player to player trading between free members, which pretty much locks them out of the ability to share items with their friends or profit from selling items. Steam user Kami goes on to talk about the loot distribution system as well as the gameplay system regarding how you have to create and form guilds.

Loot distribution is allocated to persons dealing highest amount of damage on every setting. Tested and confirmed, aprox ~90% of the time the person with highest damage gets loot. As an aoe wizard I clear groups and get most if not all loot over my friends in the party through-out the zone. Even on round-robin I had gotten 5 items before someone else got 1.

Guilds can’t be made unless you become a Templar class which is Swordsman ONLY access. As far as my own research has gone, you need select it for your 7th class advancement, which is pretty much end game, before you can even think about leading.

Last but not least, Seizon Senryaku also confirms what the above users were talking about by pointing out IMC’s incompetence at handling the servers and major gameplay fixes that are crippling the overall fun factor of the game.

-A lot of server lag;
-Can’t trade with the rest of people if you don’t pay for a premium account;
-If you pay for a premium account, you can trade 30 TIMES PER MONTH!
-IMC is a company that can’t keep up with their word. I.e.: saying that they’ll allow server transfers in the future when regional servers are released. Then, they say transfer won’t be possible.
-Bugged quests;
-A lot of crashing during cutscenes;
-And much more.

I played the free-to-play version of Star Wars The Old Republic, and it too suffered from similar pitfalls with their cash shop system and free to play members. Members that were not part of the subscription service for SWTOR that were under level 10 could not chat with other players, and even after that were restricted to only message once every minute or so.

Majority of the alien races were also locked behind cash shop walls, which made the free-to-play version a pain to actually play. It sounds like IMC Games has followed a similar business model like Bioware and EA where greed has gotten the best of them. They seem to be attempting to restrict the players gaming experience to force them to become a subscribing member, and their fan base isn’t happy about it. Combine that with the unstable servers and players say there is no point in paying money for the game.

Furthermore, there is a discussion going on in the Steam forums about the in-game auction market about to crash due to its restrictions on how you list and sell items, which was pointed out up above by user Kami. They fear that the trade and listing restrictions will cripple the market and eventually crash, which will also slowly kill the player base.

Regardless, if some major changes aren’t made I can see Tree Of Savior having some serious problems in the future with keeping players in-game. Tree Of Savior doesn’t sound completely doomed gameplay wise, and the fans seem to think that the game can be saved with a few adjustments, so let’s hope the developers take note and make changes before its too late.

If you would like to read the Steam reviews and comments for yourself you can follow the provided link for further details. You can also head on over to the Official Tree Of Savior forums where the community has put together a complaint thread to get the developers’ attention to address the current problems in the game.

Author: Nick


Staff/guest writers are content contributors who provide articles, news and editorials for One Angry Gamer.

4 thoughts on “Tree Of Savior Receives Harsh Criticism Towards Developer’s Business Model

  1. Sounds absolutely terrible.

    I’m reminded of another game on Steam Greenlight about surviving on an island. Forgot the name of it, haven’t tried it myself.

    Apparently, when it had crappy graphics, the gameplay was amazing and everyone loved it. Then, when they redid the engine and improved the visuals, they decided to change the gameplay as well, which essentially ruined the game. Last I heard, I think they didn’t want to change it back.

  2. A lot of weird stuff.

    I’d like to know how they decided those were good ideas.
    Was it their attempt to reduce gold selling?
    Or was it their idea of a pseudo sub payment model, having people buy token every month or whatever?
    Not even clear on how it all works but it just seems weird, I’m open to novel ideas on how tweak MMO’s, too much freedom and lack of consequence and you get something forgettable and tedious like WOW, but limiting everything so hard doesn’t seem fun either.

    That bit about how looting works is horrible though, just purely horrible.
    The game has a ton of classes and options and emphasis on how players can support each other through more than just damage and healing, yet it is entirely disregarding those ways of playing with a purely damage based reward system.

    1. It is a lot of weird stuff. My guess though is that majority of this can be changed in the server settings, for example, if someone owned a private server they could change the EXP and team distribution rates.

      As for the auction house and pay to trade, that doesn’t make sense. At least set it up like Eve Online so that paying customers can sell or trade their premium tokens to free to play members on the auction house to help fuel the economy, this would also open up a lot of the restrictions that free to play members have.

      Seeing how some of these features have changed from closed beta until now, my guess is that IMC purposely made it this way to gain more money, but they are going about it the wrong way.

      Nexon might be greedy, but at least their F2P model doesn’t ruin the entire game. Maple Story still has a large fan base that is still playing the game because of the way it is set up; IMC should take hints. They should make trades open to everyone, remove the cap on the auction house for pay to play members, remove the class restriction for making a guild and put it at a lower level, then make that a premium feature to be a guild leader. This way, core gameplay mechanics are there for everyone.

      If they REALLY need money, just keep the game pay to play with a subscription system for a few more months and remove all the listed restrictions, and then focus on fixing server stability and EXP distribution. AFTER that is ironed out,then make the game free to play…
      But I guess that is why so many people are mad, all of this should have been addressed in the NA closed beta. :/

  3. Grindful gameplay, insufferable free to play and paywalls at every step? It seems they followed Ragnarok steps too much.

    I would actually give them a pass if their game at least worked as a paying customer, still prefer subscription system over any system all the way, but not even the paying model is working, it’s just shit…

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