Tera will go free-to-play in February, nine months after its North American release. The revamped payment scheme and content featured in Tera: Rising will confer special perks to current owners while offering largely unrestricted access to current content for new freeloaders--er--players.
The action-combat driven MMORPG's cash shop will grow significantly with extra customization options, unlocks, and progress boosts for players, and "Elite" subscribers who continue to pony up $15 a month will receive a healthy pension of extra items and discounts. Current owners will be given founder status and continue to enjoy more or less the same experience they have now, with all eight character slots per server unlocked, whether they continue to pay or not.
Hopefully this will alleviate some of the population woes which drove En Masse Entertainment to consolidate Tera's 11 starting servers to three "super servers."
You can read up on all the details of the transition on Tera: Rising's FAQ page, or watch the preview above. Said video takes a few not-so-subtle potshots at Star Wars: The Old Republic's free-to-play restrictions, but c'mon--both games significantly altered their primary business models less than a year after release (as did The Secret World).
Those in glass houses, and all that.