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WARNING: The following is conjecture and may not be considered canon.


The Combat Arms Free-to-Play Pledge was Nexon's "vow" to never allow unbalanced items into the game.

History

The original F2P pledge (Image #1) was the statement Nexon adhered to when Combat Arms was first released. At the time, the pledge was maintained by the variety of GP weapons at the time and cosmetic variants in the Black Market.

Unfortunately, the company soon went back on all of their earlier promises. They began releasing unbalanced NX items and weapons with no GP variations (such as weapons and supply crates). No reason has been to given why it happened, though it is assumed that the change was made due to lack of sales (or sheer incompetence).

Several years into the game, after a multitude of various NX items had been released (as opposed to GP items, which are still at a disadvantage) Nexon managed to completely revise their F2P pledge without telling the Community.

The current state of the F2P pledge (Image #2) is exceedingly vague compared the original, allowing for all kinds of loopholes and a lot of flexibility in what the company can allow.

Basically, the newer version of the pledge includes excuses (that were not there before) to allow NX-imbalance in the game.

Analysis

Be warned; this section reflects the subjective opinion of the original editor, and may not reflect the general opinion of the Combat Arms community, or of a significant proportion of its members.


Is Combat Arms really "Free-to-Play?"

First off, a quote from the original pledge:


First, Combat Arms will never cost a penny to play. Period. Second, we believe that in any first-person shooter, being able to use real money to buy an uber gun sucks. It makes the game dependant on money and not skill (thus defeating the purpose of Free-to-Play), and skill is what a first-person shooter is all about. No point in competing if some new guy has a mystical weapon with magic bullets that always seem to find your head.
  — Original Quote 

The "revised" quote from the new pledge:


Combat Arms will never cost a penny to play. Period. End of Story.

Every single one of Nexon's games are Free-to-Play and subscription free. You need a free Nexon Passport and that's all. Once you have it, just download the client and start playing. It's really that simple. You will never need to spend a dime to get a fully enjoyable experience out of Combat Arms.

Of course Combat Arms does offer a variety of weapons and items for sale. Many of these items are cosmetic while others offer new capabilities and weapons for players to use in combat. That brings us to the second part of the free-to-play pledge:

No unbalanced weapons will be ever be offered for purchase with NX. Ever.

Skills are not bought, they are earned. Combat Arms is balanced so that success is always determined primarily by the skill of the player.

It's important to note that "Balance" does not necessarily mean exact equality. Some players work to achieve high rank and unlock a wide variety weapons. Others may want to speed through the process and simply choose to purchase from the variety of NX weapons available in the Black Market. Regardless of the path chosen, it will always be skill more than equipment that determines victory in Combat Arms. NX weapons offer a wider variety, some enhancements and modifications, and allow you to bypass rank requirements, but in the end it's still skill that wins the day.

That's the bottom line of our free-to-play pledge:

You will never be able to purchase victory in Combat Arms using money.

Being able to use real money in an FPS to buy an all-powerful weapon completely defeats the purpose of an FPS game, which is to show off your skills, not your wallet. There's no point in competing against a mystical weapon with magic bullets that always seems to find your head.

And in the end, that's our promise to our players.

Combat Arms is free.

No unbalanced weapons will ever be offered for purchase with NX.

You will never be able to purchase victory in Combat Arms using money.
  — "Revised" Quote 

Basically, in the new version, Nexon attempts to divert the attention away from gameplay by focusing on how Nexon Passports are "free". Then in the second, rather advertised paragraph, Nexon "subtly" tells players how a "variety of weapons and items" are for sale, how most of them are cosmetic variants (they are not), and that they offer "new capabilities and weapons for players to use in combat".


The Issue of Balance

Next, some key points from the original:


So, no unbalanced weapons will be bought with Nexon Cash. Ever.

If you're looking for the Golden Gun that will help you pwn everything with one shot, look elsewhere. Skills are not bought, they are earned.

You want that new, awesome weapon? Keep playing, and you'll eventually get it. All players will be on equal footing weapon-wise (grenades included). We make money by selling the cosmetic items - stuff like shades, different uniforms, helmets, etc. Nothing game balance related is sold in the Cash Shop, and it's going to stay that way.
  — Original Quote 

Now, the revised edition of the new pledge:


No unbalanced weapons will ever be offered for purchase with NX. Ever."

Skills are not bought, they are earned. Combat Arms is balanced so that success is always determined primarily by the skill of the player.

It's important to note that "Balance" does not necessarily mean exact equality. Some players work to achieve high rank and unlock a wide variety weapons. Others may want to speed through the process and simply to choose to purchase from the variety of NX items available in the Black Market. Regardless of the path chosen, it will always be skill more than equipment that determines victory in Combat Arms. NX weapons offer a wider variety, some enhancements and modifications, and allow you to bypass rank requirements, but in the end it's still skill that wins the day.

That's the bottom line of our free-to-play pledge:

You will never be able to purchase victory in Combat Arms using money.

Being able to use real money in an FPS to buy an all-powerful weapon completely defeats the purpose of an FPS game, which is to show off your skills, not your wallet. There's no point in competing against a mystical weapon with magic bullets that always seem to find your head.
  — "Revised" Quote 

As before, Nexon attempts to rationalize their profit by providing excuses that allow them to sell unbalanced items. If "balance" doesn't mean exact equality, what does?

The company openly admits that while some players do work hard to achieve their rank, status, and access to gear, a young player with enough in their wallet can skip all of that and choose from an even larger variety of weapons which the average GP arsenal cannot compare to.

What's the purpose of having ranks and restrictions if you can literally buy anything you want, even victory?

Yes, even victory can be bought, in the form of Elite Moderators. Abusing your power by kicking everyone on the opposing team (in a Clan War) results in a perfectly legitimate win for you, not so different from using the same power to rid yourself of anyone who tries to stop you from powerleveling.


Old F2P

The old, original version of the F2P pledge.

New F2P Pledge

Criticism

  • As Nexon doesn't adhere to their pledge; while Combat Arms is a "Free-to-Play" game, people often refer to it as "Pay-to-Win".
  • As Nexon edited their original Pledge to better suit their goals and wants, some say that Nexon cannot be held to their word, as their word is subject to change at any time.
  • The new Pledge also leaves a lot of room for movement in and around the original concept that Nexon attempted to put forth. Many feel this is rather unfair for players, but it can also be viewed as a good business strategy in many ways.

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