Funcom has decided to rework the business model for their MMO The Secret World. Starting today, you no longer have to pay a monthly subscription to play the game.
After purchasing the game itself, you can experience all of the current content in the game without a fee. The subscription will still be offered and will now provide additional perks. Subscribers will get a Time Accelerator to boost experience gains, an item-of-the-month gift, a 10% discount for the in-game store, and $10 worth of Bonus Points per month. The Grand Master lifetime subscription provides an additional 10% discount for the store.
From now on, the major content updates for the game (called Issues) will be premium DLC. If you don't own a subscription, you'll have the option to purchase it for cash. Subscribers can spend their Bonus Points to unlock the content.
Bonus Points can also be used to buy optional items. Two new items include the Ability Points Potion, which doubles a character's Ability Points for a short period of time, and a Run Speed Upgrade. Funcom promises to add new social items, such as clothing or pets, to the store on a regular basis as well.
Issue #5, arriving in January, will be the first DLC released under this new business model. It will cost $5 to purchase. If you purchase the game before December 31st, though, it'll be free. You'll also get the Initiate Pack, with bonus starter weapons, a Blood Raven pet and additional social clothing.
The removal of mandatory subscriptions has been a long time coming. The game's launch didn't live up to the company's initial projections, forcing them to make layoffs. Back in September, they hinted at a move to free-to-play.