Fans of this year’s modern MMO The Secret World have been expecting this kind of news for a while — the game is transitioning to a “Pay Once, Play Forever” model. Despite tons of hype and delivering a unique, high-quality game, TSW has struggled to compete with 2012’s other big MMO releases, Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2, both of which were free-to-play on launch. From what I’ve read, a lot of people feel that free-to-play is the “future” of all MMOs, and Funcom’s gamble of using a subscription-based model on the cusp of that change unfortunately hasn’t paid off.
The new model works like this: If you’ve ever bought the game, you can now play all of the content without a subscription. Players may opt to buy a “Membership” (which looks to be about the same price as the old subscriptions) to get some perks like increased experience, in-game store discounts, and exclusive items. New playable content will continue to be released in the form of “Issues,” with the upcoming Issue #5 available free to everyone who has purchased the game before the end of the year, and subsequent issues available for $5 (this is the only DLC I can see myself considering).
I was really excited about TSW from the moment I first heard about it. The secret societies and puzzles of course caught my attention, and the modern setting seemed like something I could really get into (I’m not much of a medieval/fantasy fan). I signed up for the open beta, and my husband let me play on his closed beta invite, and then I bought the game and subscribed when it was released. I really enjoyed the game, even though I couldn’t convince anyone else I knew (even people who have played lots of MMOs) to play with me. But after a few months, I got busy with work and stopped making time to play. Last month I went ahead and cancelled my subscription, which made me a little sad since I hadn’t even made it to the endgame content. I still wanted to play, but I wasn’t making time for it and couldn’t justify the money I was spending.
So you can definitely count me among the people who are excited about the new model! I’ll probably go back and try to finish the game with my character, and maybe try to play all of the instances (I only finished 2). Maybe I can even convince some of my friends to play with me now, and I could start a new character to play with them. And of course, if any of you readers out there start playing, come find me! I’m Clavicarius, a Templar on the Grim server. And I look totally badass like this:
Hopefully this change will bring some sustainability to The Secret World. It really is a great game with a beautifully detailed world, thoughtful and challenging puzzles, and fun content. I recommend it to anyone, even people who don’t like or haven’t really played MMORPGs (that was me before TSW!). There’s no better time than now to try it out, and I’ll be adding it to this year’s Gift Idea page!