The Secret World is losing its mandatory subscription fees. The Funcom MMORPG, among the last to require monthly fees aside from World of Warcraft, is converting its monthly payments into optional bonuses for members.
Players still need to pay $30 to access the game, but after that all current content will be free forever. The cash shop will expand with additional items and discounts for paid subscribers and lifetime members, who will receive points every month to offset the cost of DLC packs or any other items they wish to buy. You can get additional info from the transitional FAQ.
"We tried to be a responsible subscription company and release something every month to give value for that money," game director Joel Bylos told Rock, Paper, Shotgun. "But it really hasn’t paid off in the end, so we have to make some changes to bring more people in. But in terms of the subscription dying, I think Blizzard are laughing at us all from atop their thrones. Whenever I hear people say that subs are dead, I point to the biggest money-makers in the industry."
Despite a 50 percent reduction of staff and a shifting climate, Bylos said he doesn't expect the quality of content to change. He plans for paid story-based content packs to arrive frequently, as well as free updates and additions.
"While I’m game director I don’t want the bar to drop at all. As lead content designer I was responsible for setting that quality level in all cases, so I don’t expect the quality to change. As for updates, I don’t really want to say monthly, because then people want to hold us to a 30 day plan, but the aim is to carry on with regular updates."