WARNING LONG REVIEW...
It's P2A = Pay-to-Advance with a small splash of P2W (Pay-to-Win). It's not necessarily pay-to-win because there are comparable free ships, if you don't mind being slightly: slower, less damage, less hull...and other minor differences in most cases, but regardless it will take you forever to get to rank 15 without premium. (((WARNING SHIP PACKS RANK YOU INSTANTLY TO THE RANK OF PURCHASED SHIP PACK....ugh = Pay-to-Advance failure. I personally got top rankings in PvP, played PvE and was always top scorer among friends and especially solo-queues (a bit too easy) and it still would take forever to rank up. So buy premium? This is what they want more than anything and their thoughts are obviously wanting people to buy at least the 30-day premium per month ($10.50 USD). At least it's not standard $15/month. This game has more of an app game franchise feel, but more on the negative end example = beautiful, fun, can be exciting and eventful, but centered around spending money and of course it should be in free-to-play, but last year to last 6 months especially got worse. Game keeps getting better, community has its ups and downs, but not really getting all that big and it never will; due to people realizing just this. I have personally got around 50-60 people to play this (friends & viewers) and only 2 play anymore and I asked around and the responses were all the same or close to similar. #1 reason = Pack Prices
The best F2P games are the ones that have more aesthetic in purchasing options than the racing past your friends and/or one of the best ships for money to instantly rank up (This makes people feel left out if they can't afford the fast advance). My argument is even in top ranked matches the Tiger can still rule over the Lions, so player skill still plays a major role and guess what?......If you are the type to take the very slow road to top pilot ranking = you will own those (majority) that raced ahead due to having 10 times the amount of matches to achieve your experience. Plus you will have the most rewarding road as far as modules, credits, more daily login rewards, weapons, etc, etc....
1. Anywhere you see a reward of some kind you will always see what you could've had if and only if you had premium = "VERY ANNOYING" to most!
2. Buying Ship Packs (needs a Markdown) advances players instantly to the highest ranking ship in that pack. (UNSKILLED COMMUNITY at higher to max pilot ranks) This cheapens the very quality of the player community.
3. One of the slowest advancing games I have ever played in over 22 years of gaming experience......sigh
4. Premium missiles ...ugh
5. Additional Devices = one is Galactic Standards only (Real Money in-game Currency)
6. Missions that are twice your rank are available in one or more of your allowed quests quite frequently. Say you are new and rank 2....well a suggested for rank 10 can show up...odd right? Maybe just another one of their snares set to Pay-to-Advance method.
7. Admin immaturity. Don't get me wrong there are some good/bad in all games, but the majority seems to be very young and/or very inexperienced, they will show favoritism openly, not very supportive or helpful compared to most game communities.
8. Cost of things.....not really talking about the real money currency, but the modules, weapons and anything that can be equipped to your ship. Especially the costs to level up these parts...crazy expensive! Well unless of course you have premium. So BUY IT NOW! .....or some galactic standards. Even the faction based costs are crazy in cost starting at blue to purples.
___SPECIAL NOTE: For fastest ranking up possible for free just save your money until you are higher ranks, this way you will have tons of money once you hit higher ranks, but in turn you may rank up slower due to using less than mediocre gear most of the time, but you might have some luck at looting who knows.
9. No group? Not going to be as much fun until you do. Feeding off of PUGS, which mostly care less about win/lose is not the best way to start.
10. Community is not growing the way it easily could.
11. Many changes over time to the point new players are confused very easily. Example = my viewers, subscribers and followers responses
1. Beautiful Game! I mean the ships are all amazing looking and the hangar over time got great in its own right.
2. Best control out of all (realistic) space flight simulators I have ever played. I love Space Engineers, = worst for example.
3. When in Team the game is crazy fun. (Join a corporation)
SPECIAL NOTE: The best corporations are the ones that do not recruit less than rank 10 or some other similar requirement (Shows that you will stay around)[At least none I know of]. So your best bet is to join and grow with a newer corporation then later on moving onto a better setup corporation, if you’re not lucky enough to find a rebuilding corporation to take advantage of. To explain a bit further you want a events, weekly runs, and many other opportunities a structured corporation can offer (really can change your gaming experience), but like everything else you have some that are too demanding so move on.
4. Constant Evolution & Growth. What I mean here about growth is not the community size, because that is not changing much at all, but in game mechanics, visuals, available ships and updates.
5. Ship Customization.
6. Maps & Game Modes.
All in all not a bad game, I have more reasons to hate this game than I do to like it, but the true fact of the matter is that in moderation I enjoy playing at times.
Final Rating = 5.75 = 0.75 over not recommending
**Note my original rating over a year ago was around 7.5**
Although a very fun game to play.... Admins are the worst, Prices are crazy (Packs, GC, Credits and Premium) and will decide this games fate = already has with the lack of growth. In my circles 90% played and will not return. Hope not all circles have this same experience and they wise up and price things better for a F2P game. Maybe one day they will figure out that even at 1/3 the costs to the consumer with 5 times the sales they would have a greater chance to get closer to a mainstream game and have greater success all around. When people talk about space games this game is not on the lists...I truly hope things turn around one day :)