It's tempting to see a new year as a fresh start. New trends, new possibilities, new problems. But no, while the number at the end of our arbitrary calendar may have increased one, cars still don't hover, evil robots still aren't waging war against humanity, and struggling subscription MMOs still seek a fresh start by re-launching as free-to-play. That's exactly what's happening with Tera, last year's combat-heavy fantasy MMO.
Tera will be available for free from February. Previous owners will be upgraded to "Veteran" status, receiving bonuses to character slots and bank tabs. Current subscribers will be moved to the TERA Club membership, receiving daily bonuses until their subscription expires, at which point they'll be knocked down to Veteran.
Honestly? I'm almost surprised the announcement took this long. As I noted back when I reviewed the game, Tera has one of the better MMO combat systems, but the mission churn of endless kill X mob quests soured the early-mid game.
Still, just looking at the free-to-play comparison chart , this seems to be a generous amount of content available to non-payers, without the silly restrictions that plague some MMOs. Yes, I'm talking about SW:TOR, which appears to treat its free userbase with a genuine disdain.
Basically, it's worth a look just to play about with the fluid combat system, even if you don't stick around to kill every goddamn monster in the game hundreds of times over. Just be warned that it does feature anthropomorphic animal-children running around in miniskirts. They're exactly as disturbing as they sound.