Almost 10 months ago, I posted that Age of Conan will be going Free to Play in Korea. Players soon got worried if the English servers will go down the same route, with a staff assuring them that business models differ in different regions and might not work in the English market. But seeing a drastic loss of players over time, with games like The Lord of the Rings Online getting huge financial returns for switching to the hybrid model, Funcom has finally decided to follow suit as well. Details can be seen below or in the forums here.
(Source) Age of Conan developer Funcom has announced that its low-fantasy MMORPG will be switching to a hybrid free-to-play model, akin to the sort of model used by Lord of the Rings Online, EverQuest II Extended and Champions Online. Funcom is no newcomer to the free-to-play scene, in fact they helped pioneer it in the western market when Anarchy Online switched to an advertisement-supported model in 2005.
Ads wouldn’t fit the Age of Conan universe, of course, so AoC is instead turning to the tiered-pricing models adopted by others, where players may still subscribe to the game for a monthly fee and gain access to everything they normally would, or can spend “Funcom Points” (bought with real money) to purchase specific items such as consumables or recipes, or access to a new dungeon or territory. Or they can play without spending a cent, though there are typically limitations on conveniences such as mail, chat, and the number of characters allowed on an account. Side-areas may be locked out. According to Game Director Craig Morrison, the subscription price will not change, and that the price of microtransactions will be in line with other free-to-play MMOs.
Funcom Points are already in use for Funcom’s free-to-play competitive multiplayer online arena game Bloodline Champions, so Bloodline Champions players will now see their point stockpiles doubling in usefulness.(continue reading here)