Joel Bylos' first End of Days video log hinted at it (if you call busting into a conference room hinting!), and now it is official: The Secret World is permanently removing subscriptions from the equation. Some of you are undoubtedly exclaiming, "I knew it!" but all of you may be wondering what that means for you. Here's the scoop.
Funcom's new payment model for TSW is buy-to-play with three membership tiers: free, member, and grand master. After purchasing the game itself, folks can play indefinitely without any additional fees, or they can opt to purchase monthly memberships that provide special bonuses. Players who already have or purchase the grandmaster package maintain their lifetime membership and receive additional bonuses.
Gamers will be glad to know that the conversion will not introduce any restrictions to the game's current content; free players will have full access to every aspect of issues #1 - 4, including weapons, dungeons, and missions. But what of future content? TSW will continue to receive regular patches of free content, just not at the volume of previous issues. More content will be also available periodically through downloadable content packs (DLCs) in the in-game store. Issue #5 DLC, coming soon, will be free to all accounts registered as of the end of December.
Players opting to maintain a membership will get an XP bonus item, 1,200 bonus points monthly, a special monthly gift, and a 10% discount in the in-game store. Grand masters will receive all that plus another 10% off store purchases. Both members and grand masters can use their free monthly bonus points to purchase DLC.
Folks who purchased the initiate pack previously will be reimbursed 1800 bonus points, and all remaining subscription time will be converted to membership time. For more information, you can check out the official FAQ. And catch the new trailer after the break!
[Updated with Pay Once, Play Forever trailer]
[Source: Funcom press release]