Whether we like it or not, free-to-play gaming has completely transformed the MMO genre. Combined with WoW sucking up all the players who are willing to pay a monthly subscription, F2P has sapped much of the gaming community's will to drop $75 just to try a new MMO.
As a result, really interesting games like The Secret World sometimes get swept under the rug. It may not be the best game (opens in new tab) in the genre, but The Secret World is definitely interesting enough to at least try out. To that end, Funcom is hoping you'll give them some of your time next weekend, August 3-5 as the game goes free-to-play for a limited time.
Ultimately, it seems like the destiny of the MMO genre to go completely free-to-play. A full-price investment is just too much to ask of consumers who have long been scarred by a largely hit-or-miss MMO genre. Unfortunately, we're still not sure (opens in new tab) whether "free" is a good thing.