This post is going to be, as the title says, partly a question, partly a suggestion, and partly a topic for debate that may end up giving suggestions to the developers. Here goes:
Question: Excuse me if this has been answered before, or if it's stated somewhere obvious and I've flat-out missed it/forgotten it, but have the devs decided on a payment method for the final game? I mean is the game going to be available via regular purchase, or is it going to be free-to-play, as some people on the forum seem to be assuming?
Because, well, I have to be honest, if it's going to be free-to-play I'll be pretty disappointed. I've put a lot of hours into free-to-play games*, and I think I've "grown up" enough to say that I'd prefer to pay $60 USD up-front for a quality game and get the game with no strings attached (except for things like DLC, which is beside the point right now, and which I don't really mind unless it's overly extreme), instead of getting the game for free but encountering the issues of that later. Free-to-play's a nice concept; after all, it means that anybody with internet and a good enough PC can play it, but to me, it seems like free-to-play inevitably comes with several major issues, that, over time, can seriously sour/ruin my enjoyment of a free-to-play game.
(*World of Tanks, War Thunder, Warframe, Star Trek Online, possibly others that I've forgotten, plus various free browser MMOs.)
The issues that come to my mind, though there may be more that may occur to other people:
1.) Premium content, or having sections of the game waved in players' faces but blocked behind paywalls. Normally this sort of thing doesn't bother me too much, but if it can be avoided, so much the better.
2.) Progression/grinding: Free-to-play games often turn in-game progression into a grind-fest. Instead of progression being solely to offer you content over time as you move through the game, give you a long-term goal in the game, and make you feel like you're getting more powerful over time, the progression systems in free-to-play games are often stretched (sometimes to ridiculous levels of grindwalling that would be very hard for a player to get through without paying his way past) in order to make people pay to get around them. If you don't want to pay, prepare yourself for a long, drawn-out, uncomfortably repetitive grind to get to anything you want. In my mind, this sort of thing just makes me tire of a game that I might very well have loved a lot more if this wasn't the case.
3.) The good, old "Pay to Win" debate/debacle: Probably all of you know what I mean, or can guess. The way, if developers allow it, for paying players to get their hands on ways to kick the backsides of the non-paying players, who may make up the majority of the game's members. Even if devs try to avoid this, if they make one questionable change to the game (perhaps by adding a new premium vehicle that happens to be overpowered), the people start grabbing pitchforks and yelling "bias!" and "pay to win!" and all that brouhaha. All the better if that can be avoided, no?
Suggestion: So, my suggestion here is, if they aren't planning to do so already, would the developers please consider making the final game available via a regular purchase (the standard $60 USD, for instance). While I haven't had a chance to pre-order Naval Action yet and play the Sea Trials, what I have seen of it in videos and screenshots looks very impressive and holds a lot of promise for which I am very excited. I can see quality in this game, even in this early stage, and even if I haven't played it yet, and I'm happily willing to pay for that quality up-front. Please don't let this game become bogged-down by the downsides of the free-to-play system.
Topic for debate: Well, this whole thing, basically. Feel free to debate which payment method you'd prefer, and perhaps the devs can watch and see what the people think. I'm just one person.
However, if it has already be decided that the final game is going to be available via regular purchase, I shall breathe a massive sigh of relief as I read the replies that tell me so, and my apologies for the huge textwall above, which in that case you can all ignore. If you're wondering who in the *expletive* I am, well, I'm a guy who's been paying attention to this game since December, started lurking the forums a few days before I joined, and then decided to create an account here, even though I was too late to pre-order. I'm very excited and hopeful for this game, and I just want to see it become as fun as it can be.