In news that won't be of much surprise to anyone who's been following the game, The Secret World has dropped the need for a subscription fee. What is a bit different is how they're going about it: instead of going free-to-play, they're following in Guild Wars 2's footsteps - a one-time purchase gives you access to the full story-heavy MMO.
Buying the game now gets you access to the complete range of launch content, as well as the four subsequent content packs (or Issues, as they're known in TSW's vernacular). Going forward, Issues will be sold as optional DLC, although the upcoming fifth update will be free for anyone who buys the game before the end of December.
The existing subscription will continue, now as an optional "membership," and offers a selection of extra benefits. These include a Time Accelerator, which gives a 1-hour XP boost of 100%; $10 of bonus points per month; an item-of-the-month gift each month; and a 10% discount to items in the store. Members also get any future DLC as part of their subscription. The full range of options and benefits are explained on the TSW blog .
Overall it seems like a good move for the game. Still, I can't help but wish this had been planned from the start. There's a lot to like about The Secret World - it has some exceptional writing, great characters and tries interesting things with classes and skills. It also has an awful lot of quest churn once you progress out of the starting area of Kingsmouth, with the brilliant investigation missions becoming increasingly spaced out.
Has this subscription switch tempted anyone to take look?