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City of Heroes Going Free to Play

By - Source: NCSoft PR | B 14 comments

Later this year, City of Heroes will be re-named as City of Heroes Freedom and offer both subscription-based and free-to-play models. LEGO Universe is also going "hybrid" this August.

Tuesday NCSoft and Paragon Studios announced that the popular superhero-based MMORPG City of Heroes will be moving to a hybrid model that supports both subscription-based and free-to-play. Renamed as City of Heroes Freedom, the transition is expected to take place later on this year.

"Freedom is about getting more content into the hands of our players, whether they are subscribing or playing for free," said Brian Clayton, Executive Producer at Paragon Studios. "To do this, we’ve looked at City of Heroes from the ground up and focused on three ways to enhance the experience by giving our players more choices, greater rewards and the best content we've ever produced. And for the first time ever, players can choose to enjoy more than seven years of content for free."

As with other MMOGs going "hybrid," there will be additional perks for subscribers and limitations for those who's rather not shell out a monthly fee. Free-to-play gamers will have a level cap of 50, full access to the Hero and Villain zones, and the option to choose specific pieces of content they actually want. Players that decide to subscribe will get all current subscriber benefits as well as new VIP exclusive benefits, content and services.

As an added perk, NCSoft said that it will be giving all current City of Heroes subscribers 400 Paragon Points every month starting July 1, and will keep doing so up until the MMOG's re-launch. These points can be used to purchase costumes, items, services and consumables available via the in-game Paragon Market and will be available to use on the first day of launch.

So why is City of Heroes going free-to-play? "Simply stated, it's the right time," NCSoft answers in a FAQ. "We've been planning this transition to Freedom for well over a year now. We believe this opportunity is the best way for us to provide more value to our devoted player base than ever before, as well as grow our leadership position in the super-powered hero online gaming space. Over the past few years, MMO players have been enthusiastically embracing "choice". By making the transition now, we're putting our stake in the ground as a leader in the industry, helping to define the future of the MMO gaming space."

NCSoft also said that Issue 21: Convergence will launch alongside City of Heroes Freedom and contain a new co-op zone, a new giant monster, a new Power Set, two full costume sets and the Underground Incarnate Trial.

In other MMOG news, the LEGO Group announced that its own LEGO Universe will be going hybrid too this August. The free-to-play portion will offer a limited selection of game content, including two adventure zones and one player property area for building their own virtual LEGO models. Paying members will have access to all areas in the full game, along with membership benefits such as competitions and community events.

"The LEGO Group remains committed to success in the digital space and to LEGO Universe," said Jesper Vilstrup, Vice President, the LEGO Group. "We see LEGO Universe as a key element for our digital play division, and are adjusting the business model to make the game more accessible to players, without the immediate obligation to purchase or subscribe."

LEGO my EGGO. Sorry, couldn't help it.

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  • 2 Hide
    jamesedgeuk2000 , June 22, 2011 7:58 AM
    When does it go fun to play?
  • 0 Hide
    koldkore , June 22, 2011 8:05 AM
    haha owned
  • 3 Hide
    back_by_demand , June 22, 2011 10:40 AM
    I will defo be sorting out a City Of Heroes account soon, I always wanted to play it but won't pay a monthly fee on general principle.
  • 2 Hide
    nukemaster , June 22, 2011 11:10 AM
  • 3 Hide
    fir_ser , June 22, 2011 11:55 AM
    Another game goes F2P.
  • 2 Hide
    artax33 , June 22, 2011 12:23 PM
    Turbine is making a ton of money off of Lord of the Rings Online since going hybrid f2p. Everyone else took notice and are doing a hybrid f2p model now.
  • 2 Hide
    eklipz330 , June 22, 2011 1:27 PM
    jamesedgeuk2000When does it go fun to play?

    it is fun...
  • 2 Hide
    bryguy894 , June 22, 2011 2:53 PM
    I enjoyed Champions Online for about a month....maybe less. It will be interesting, if I play this when it goes f2p, to compare the two.
  • 2 Hide
    gm0n3y , June 22, 2011 5:35 PM
    I'd honestly rather pay and get a better gaming experience, but having the option to choose is good. If the game makes more money overall because of it then hopefully that will translate into more/better content.
  • 1 Hide
    maestintaolius , June 22, 2011 5:42 PM
    eklipz330it is fun...

    Agreed, it's the only MMO I've ever enjoyed enough to play for more than a year or 2 (I've actually played it for 7 - nearly as long as it's been around).
  • 0 Hide
    roleki , June 22, 2011 6:54 PM
    jamesedgeuk2000When does it go fun to play?

    Heh. It once was amazingly fun to play, but as everyday normal people wandered off, it quickly became City of Furries - complete with pandering by the devs and special rules of interaction that favored abnormals.

    Hopefully the F2P version brings back more regular people who aren't there solely because they can stick a tail on themselves.
  • 0 Hide
    cobra5000 , June 22, 2011 8:45 PM
    COH has a great community, tons of content and more traffic then Champions Online or DC Universe Online. The only problem, just like in WoW, the graphics are very dated because the games have been around awhile. All in all though, great fun and soon you can enjoy for no monthly fee.
  • 0 Hide
    alextheblue , June 22, 2011 9:22 PM
    That's not the ONLY problem Cobra. After playing Champions Online for a while, and then trying to go back to CoX, I just can't do it. The graphics aren't what kills me. The combat is just too boring (though some ATs are better than others), and the some of the instances get mega repetitive - caves and office buildings in particular. I think CO has a better balance of instanced missions to open world ones.

    Also the player created content (mission architect) hurt availability of teams outside of AE facilities. The worst part is that for every awesome player-made series of missions (like Footsteps Initiative), there was about 50 others that were terribad - not even counting supermegaleveling farming missions.

    Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about CoX, and it was a great game back in the day. I still miss masterminds, they were by far my favorite, even more than scrappers. But I just can't go back to it. I can tolerate a little Champions now and then, especially after all the improvements they have made. I'd like a superhero MMO that leverages the best of both of those games, really.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 4, 2011 1:43 AM
    I liked CoH but it was just way too boring combat wise. The missions tend to be the same old, same old and I just couldn't get myself to continue playing it. I played it for the community but a lot of old community is turning into douchebags. I won't be returning when it goes F2P, I'll just wait for TOR.