So, follow this link and check out the difference between Free to Play Champions Online (a Super Hero MMORPG) and their Paid service, which is available in Monthly ($14.99 USD per) and Lifetime ($299 USD) membership rates:
In my less than humble opinion, this is how all MMORPGS should do things. Let’s take World of Warcraft as an example, shall we?
Blizzard could allow the base game as Free to Play; in order to use any content from expansions (the recent Cataclysm, just as an example), you would need to buy a subscription service, in addition to the expansions themselves. All the limitations you see on a “Silver” account could be applied to a WoW account – except I would go a step further and require subscription for access to PVP servers.
(For some reason I cannot fathom, a lot of people seem to like non-voluntary PvP in their MMORPGs; personally, I can’t stand it. In addition to perfectly reasonable players, it seems to attract other players who could charitably be described as “Asshats“. These people like to wander open PvP zones, kill characters 30 levels beneath them, and then dance on their character’s corpses until they try to re-spawn and kill them again. I quit playing on a PvP server because of this behavior, but for some reason, folks seem to enjoy this sort of thing; as far as I can tell, it’s the whole point of Warhammer Online – which also has a free to play mode, in case you’re interested).
Now, WoW already has something like 11 million players, so there’s really no reason for them to change their business model. But still, I can’t help but think that they (and every other pay to play MMORPG out there) might not do better by offering the Free to Play option in a non-limited, non-completely-crippled way.
I mean, it’s done wonders for Dungeons & Dragons Online…