Black Gold Online, Snail Games' steampunk followup to Age of Wushu, has announced the business model for its upcoming Chinese release. It's not subscription-based, but it's not traditional free-to-play or buy-to-play, either. What exactly is it, then?
The only word that springs to mind is strange, since the model relies on some sort of inventory- and loot-locking system. According to MMO Culture, the game automatically locks your loot on an hourly basis. Some looted items will actually be looted and available in your inventory, while others will be locked. To unlock them, you'll need to purchase in-game gold using real-life cash.
There's also an RNG element which may result in unlock discounts or possibly freely unlockable items. You can see a Chinese-language video of the business model in action after the break.