You just knew it was coming. After the relative success Turbine had with Lord of The Rings Online (LoTRO), you just knew other developers/publishers are going to jump on the free-to-play (F2P) bandwagon. A few games has already done so (Champions Online, Everquest II), now the latest game is Age of Conan!
Seeing Turbine’s success, Funcom has now announced that ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’ will also go down the F2P route. Of course LoTRO is not really F2P as a large portion of the game can’t be accessed unless you buy the areas from the Turbine store, so I’m not surprised that the model Funcom will implement is not totally F2P.
Renamed ‘Age of Conan: Unrated’, the game will be under a F2P/hyrid payment scheme. Players can play game for free but some parts of the game will only be available if you are a “premium” player (with subscription). Most of the classes, most of the dungeons, almost all the raids are premium content.
I have no problems with most of the stuff I’ve read on the move to F2P (http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=166952). I even like some of them, the fact all the original zones will be free and players can level to 80 without paying for anything is great. However I do feel Funcom need to have a middle tier of payment for old players of AoC like me. I’m not a new player and have 6 characters, 2 of which are at level 80. I fail to see why I have to select only 2 characters to play for free while the rest of my characters (which I created and played while I had a past subscription with Funcom) are locked. I can understand that Funcom want to make money but giving some rewards to past players, who played the game despite wide criticism of it, will be great news for everyone.
Still, this F2P/hyrid plan is a step in the right direction. Along with the new Conan movie, who knows; maybe this will be a second dawn for AoC.