Yesterday, TechRaptor reported that first person shooter Evolve had been pulled from the Steam Marketplace on July 6. Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games, the respective development and publication teams behind Evolve, have announced that Evolve will be re-released in its free-to-play form as Evolve Stage 2. The reasons for the removal, re-branding and decision to go free-to-play can be found in yesterday's announcement thread in the Turtle Rock Studios forum.
With the new launch of Evolve Stage 2 also comes some new information on features and a clarification on the Evolve "Founder" status that was discussed in yesterday's thread. Turtle Rock Studios says that Hunt Mode will be the focus of Evolve Stage 2 during its launch period, but that a Spectator Mode is available for streamers and shoutcasters. Maps have been refined using player feedback and gameplay data, allowing for consistently fair fights for both Hunters and Monsters. User interfaces have been improved to give players a better experience when playing.
The biggest change in the beta launch of Evolve Stage 2 is the class balance for the Hunters and the Monster, so that players can have better synergy with their teammates. All Hunter classes have been given a passive regeneration ability that is in effect whenever players aren't taking damage. The Trapper class has been given a new ability that gives the general location of the Monster on the map, and a speed boost when the ability is active. Support classes now have the ability to charge the shields of nearby teammates, and the Assault class's shield has been changed from invulnerability to damage reduction. Monsters start with higher health, have been given increases to their strength and speed, and begin rounds with the skill points necessary to activate all four of their abilities.
Additionally, Turtle Rock Studios posted patch notes to Evolve Stage 2's Steam discussion page, highlighting recent changes. The full list of changes can be read here, as well as on the Evolve website. Important changes to note include receiving Markov (an Assault Hunter character) and Goliath (a Monster character) as rewards for completing the Hunter and Monster tutorial sessions (if players already have both characters, they will instead receive silver keys, the in-game currency used to unlock characters, skins, and abilities). Evolve Stage 2 will feature a weekly rotation of four Hunters and one Monster, all free-to-play. The leveling system has been overhauled; players all start at level one with a maximum cap of thirty. Each character also can level up, with different progressions tied to each character. Players receive perks, badges, and silver keys as they level their characters up. The biggest change that previous Evolve players should be aware of is that Masteries have been removed in the beta. Consistent logins and play will be will be recorded in a "punch card", with rewards given to players for meeting goals.
As discussed in TechRaptor's previous article, players who owned the original Evolve or bought any downloadable content will receive a special "Founder" status in Evolve Stage 2. Founders will be able to keep any paid content they purchased in Evolve, and will be given special badges, skins, and cosmetic items. Three thousand silver keys will also be given to the Founders in appreciation of their loyalty. Turtle Rock Games also promises continued Founder support in the form of future exclusive content.
As of right now Evolve Stage 2 does not have any real money transactions. How Turtle Rock will implement them, for the presently in-game only Silver Key currency, or for cosmetics is something we will find in the coming weeks but right now they state that they want to focus on making Evolve Stage 2 the best it can be.
Stay tuned to TechRaptor for continuing coverage of Evolve Stage 2.
What are your thoughts on Evolve Stage 2? Do you think Turtle Rock Studios has done a good job listening to player feedback? Let us know in the comment section below!