It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that free-to-play is the future of MMOs. Hell, you don't even need a normal, fully clothed person for that little hop-step of mental gymnastics. Case in point: Even colossal, loincloth-clad barbarians are doing it now. Following in the footsteps of Champions Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Everquest II, and pretty much every other MMO not named “World of Warcraft,” Age of Conan is casting aside its mandatory subscription fee.
"The time is right for Age of Conan now as we recognised the opportunity presented by the increased profile of the license, with the new Conan movie coming out this Fall," executive producer Craig Morrison told Eurogamer .
"This is done by allowing free players to most of the original content, and having the expanded content as premium content. So free players will have access to all the original levelling quests and outdoor playfields that take them all the way to level 80."
Expansions and bonus items, then, will drive you before them and hear the lamentations of your bank account – but they're far from required.
To go along with its shiny new business model, the game's also snagging a snazzy new nametag: Age of Conan: Unrated. When the revamp launches (cue movie announcer voice) “this summer,” two new solo story based dungeons will come along for the ride. Meanwhile, later this year, the game will see a full adventure pack chock full of characters from the upcoming masterstroke in realistic barbarian cinema. Will there be Matrix leaning and gratuitous slow-mo? We can only hope.