So what exactly does a user in the new free-to-play account model get? More precisely, what is a free-to-play account lacking, when compared to the other options? There are three types of accounts in DCUO: free, premium, and legendary. Free is just what it sounds like; premium is for those who have spent $5 for in-game purchases, and legendary is the typical $15 a month subscription. Legendary members have access to all features, including downloadable content, with no restrictions.
The differences between free and premium are significant. Free accounts are limited to two character slots, while premium get six. Similarly, inventory and bank slots are increased when you upgrade from free to premium. Premium accounts also get access to the auction system, and item trading. While the free account is still fun, a premium upgrade is all but required to get the most out of the game. Fortunately, spending just $5 on a DLC pack or special character skin is enough to upgrade, providing a tremendous amount of gaming value.
The free-to-play model is fantastic for casual gamers, as you don't have to pay for an account that is falling into disuse. It's like having an extended demo, where there is no time limit, and you can play through a huge amount of content before you commit a single penny. For our two-hero household, the model is even better, as both dad and son can team up when the mood strikes us without spending the equivalent of half a new release game price each month.
Overall, I have been very pleased with DC Universe Online. The free-to-play model gives you lots of bang for the buck, especially at the premium level. While DCUO's features probably won't change any MMO haters into rabid fans, the game merges the superhero and MMO genres into a highly polished package that is the best combination of the two genres yet.