Funcom have abandoned mandatory subscription fees for The Secret World, allowing players to buy the game in its entirety for a one-off fee (£24.99 RRP, less if you find a deal). Money will be recouped from DLC, micro-transactions and an optional premium subscription that includes bonuses and accelerators.
If you buy the game before the end of December, you'll receive the first few DLC packs for free.
"As of right now subscription is optional for The Secret World," reads the surprise update on Funcom's site. "This means that after buying the game you can play all of the heralded story-line and all content available right now without a paying a monthly fee."
"For those who want to get the most out of their Secret World experience we have an optional Membership available. Being a monthly subscriber, for the same cost as before, now gives great benefits."
So what are these benefits? Basically: less grinding.
- Time Accelerator (Clickable item which increases experience gain for defeating monsters by 100% for 1 hour, 16 hour cool-down – only usable by Members and Grand Masters)
- $10 worth of Bonus Points (given out every month)
- Item-of-the-month gift (given out every month)
- 10% discount to everything in the in-game storeThe Grandmaster pack includes all these benefits and gets an additional 10% discount to everything in the in-game store, for a total bonus of 20%. So being a Grandmaster is better than ever!
We're tremendously excited about this turn of events. As Carl explained in our 8/10 The Secret World review, an incredibly strong storyline and fascinating Augmented Reality puzzles make Funcom's MMO an exciting proposition, but one that arguably would have been more fun as a one-off purchase with a singleplayer focus and multiplayer for a few mates. With luck, this new pricing model will see an upswing for Funcom, who saw their project get completely overshadowed by Guild Wars II and Mists Of Pandaria when it released back in Summer.