Atlas Reactor is free to play again

Atlas Reactor was announced in the summer of 2015 as a free-to-play online tactical combat game. In May of 2016, based on closed beta feedback, it made the transition to "premium digital"—that is, "buy-to-play"—at three different price points, ranging from $30 to $100. Then in August, it implemented a new "free mode," giving curious-but-uncommitted players no-cost access to a weekly rotation of characters. And now, as the second season gets underway, it's come all the way around to where it started as a free-to-play game. 

"From the beginning, the Atlas Reactor team has listened to and responded to your feedback, and earning freelancers [the playable characters] through gameplay has been your number one request post-launch," executive producer Peter Ju wrote in an update posted earlier this month. "By making the game fully free to play we give more players the opportunity to experience everything Atlas Reactor has to offer. Now, players will be able to play the game for free, earn some freelancers along the way, and at any time they can upgrade to a premium pack to get all current and future freelancers."

All freelancers will now be purchasable individually with "flux," a new in-game currency that's earned through gameplay, which can also be used for Master skins and mod tokens. For those who'd rather spend than grind, they can also be acquired with real money at prices ranging from $3 to $7.50, and the all-character Freelancer Packs remain available at their original price points. Non-paying players will also now be able to take part in ranked play, provided they own at least ten freelancers and have a minimum of 50 PvP matches under their belt.   

Players who have already paid for the game aren't being left completely out in the cold: They'll be given "reward packs" including exclusive titles and emblems, loot matrices, 50,000 flux and 5000 ISO, and access to all future freelancers, including the newly-added Brynn, the Sky Warden, "a fearsome warrior who wields a lance and shield with unmatched expertise." 

Other changes coming to Atlas Reactor for season two include a new tutorial mode, a "Random Freelancer" game mode, XP bonuses for waiting in queues, and a good-sized pile of bug fixes and gameplay tweaks. The full list of updates is available from Steam, or you can just opt for the quick rundown in the video below.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.