On November 2011, after a short 11 month stint of a strict subscription-based business model, Sony Online Entertainment has eagerly adopted a tiered free-to-play system for their fierce physics-based MMORPG, DC Universe Online. Executive Producer Lorin Jameson stated, on the SOE Gamer podcast, that this change "...will allow everyone an opportunity to figure out where they want to be, and how they want to pay for it." When asked why he thought the change was necessary, Lorin added that he wanted players to be able to get involved in the game without commitment, to test the waters.
Following a trend of subscription-based MMOs going F2P, including such ongoing games such as Lord of the Rings Online and Anarchy Online, DCUO joins the ranks of good games which simply cannot compete against Blizzard's beast, World of Warcraft. Subscription can still be bought in various packages, but SOE is also adding two new tiers of commitment for people who are not willing to put up the monthly fee. There is a limited free-to-play format which will give you 2 character slots, a limited inventory, and access to all of the core areas not included in the DLC packages. There is also a Premium tier, which sits comfortably between the subscription and F2P levels, and includes more inventory and character slots, as well as access to other varied in-game privileges. After spending $5 on the game, players are automatically upgraded from Free to Premium. This includes players who have once been subscribed and have let their subscription lapse into dormancy.
Microtransactions have arisen in the game. A player can access the in-game store and buy items, equipment, character slots, inventory slots, and even DLC with credit purchased with real-life currency. The online store is also available for this purpose, and can take various payment options which does not include turning your hard-earned cash into DC credits.
There is some contention around whether this trend of subscription-based MMORPGs going F2P is actually a good thing or not. Personally, I am glad of the conversion, because through it I have found a good game that I wouldn't have been likely to pay for. I'm not a DC fan, not a comic book fan, nor an action-MMO fan, but the experience flying high above Gotham City and having shootouts with goody-goody heroes is definitely worth my time.
Download this game on PC and PS3 for free. Large content download required.