Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers

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MMO Co-Opportunities Volume XXIX: Changes, Relaunches, and Resurrections
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MMO Co-Opportunities Volume XXIX: Changes, Relaunches, and Resurrections

A change to the Secret World, an upcoming relaunch of FFXIV, and a resurrection of AC2

It’s been a couple months since the last MMO Co-Opportunities (the last one was in November with December being skipped). Quite a few interesting things have happened in the world of MMOs since then, and for this month’s installment I’ve rounded up three stories that might interest you MMO’ers out there. We’ll be looking at the Secret World dropping its subscription, Final Fantasy XIV preparing for its Realm Reborn revamp, and the delightful surprise of Asheron’s Call 2 being brought back from the dead.

The Secret World Loses its Subscription Model

In the middle of December, Funcom officially dropped the subscription requirement for its recently released MMO, the Secret World. Launched back in July (our own Mike and Jason did a guest MMO Co-opportunity on it), some may find it surprising that the game changed its payment model after just five months. While I can’t say it’s the fastest an MMO has decided that a subscription plan wasn’t working out (heck, Final Fantasy XIV didn’t collect any subscription money until over a year had passed, but more on this in the following story), it may not be surprising considering the amount of financial trouble Funcom appears to be in.

All that aside though, an MMO losing its subscription is often a great time for people who were on the fence about a game to go and finally try it out. While the game isn’t technically “Free to Play” like many other MMOs that you can just download and try without paying a cent, the Secret World has adopted a demi pay once, play forever system similar to Guild Wars 1 and 2. Players will have to buy the game (which usually costs $30, but can often be found for $15 or $20), but once bought they’ll get access to all the content of the base game. There will be paid content packs which players can purchase if they wish. While this might sound like a bit of a drag, in my opinion it’s one of the best ways an MMO can go, as many of the F2P MMOs have monster Cash Shops that have an enormous impact on just how far a player can go without forking over some cash. Some F2P games execute these Cash Shops more gracefully than others, but others enforce a structure that MMO players derogatorily call “Pay to Win.”

If you really get into the Secret World, there is an optional Membership which has taken the place of the subscription fee. The membership is still $15 a month and grants members several perks such as a reusable item that boosts XP gain for an hour, $10 worth of Bonus Points which can be used in the in-game store, an Item of the Month (given out on the first of the month), and 10% off everything in the store excepting packs.