In the move to make all premium content available through gameplay, the game's currency -- Empire Points -- can now be earned through conventional play or purchased through Steam. Chris Taylor, founder and CEO of Gas Powered Games, explains, "With Empire Points and this true free-to-play business model, we are giving players what they have repeatedly asked for... fewer pay walls and more ways for players to experience this legendary franchise."
As the game transitions to this new model, all current players will receive a gift of 500 Empire Points automatically, while new accounts will receive 100. Current players who had Empire Points previously will see them converted into in-game coin.
[Source: Gas Powered Games press release]