The Secret World embraces the modern MMO business and drops subscription fees

 the secret world free to play

The Secret World came out half way through 2012 five years after it first went into full development. It was supposed to be the MMO that finally, after nearly a decade of World of Warcraft, changed what MMOs are popularly understood to be. This would not be a Star Wars: The Old Republic that simply added a patina of competent storytelling to the same old fetch quest and combat tree rigormoral. This would be a smart, challenging, and literary fantasy from the mind of Ragnar Tørnquist, writer and designer of The Longest Journey.

In many ways it was just that, but both developer Funcom and the game are struggling in the wake of its troubled release. It may have been better at realizing its lofty goals than Star Wars: The Old Republic, but like BioWare and EA decided to do, Funcom is dropping the monthly subscription fee from The Secret World. It is not going full free-to-play, though.

Funcom announced via The Secret World’s homepage that subscriptions to the MMO are now “optional.”

“That means that after buying the game you can play all of the heralded storyline and all content available right now without paying a monthly fee,” reads the update. This includes all four of the expansion updates released for The Secret World. A fifth update due in early 2013 will be made available for anyone that pays the full $30 for the game before Dec. 31.

People who keep their subscriptions to the game naturally get a number of perks, including an item that can be used once every sixteen hours that briefly increases doubles the experience you gain in fights as well as a discount on everything sold in game. Members will also get a free monthly gift, but Funcom didn’t elaborate on what that might be. Subscribers to the “Grandmaster” package get even more discounts.

Funcom’s solution is certainly more inviting than the non-subscription options and subscription-based premiums offered by BioWare in Star Wars: The Old Republic. That game’s switch to free-to-play proved so noisome to players that BioWare had to announce major changes to the new system within days of its release. Funcom may also be able to avoid some of the criticisms leveled at other games that have dropped subscriptions by not calling The Secret World “free-to-play.” 


Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for January 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for January 2019.
Movies & TV

Epic sci-fi novels you should read before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.

Latest ‘Fortnite’ update channels Halo with a scoped revolver

The latest update for Fortnite, update 7.20, is now available, and it brings a new Scoped Revolver weapon to the game alongside the returning Glider item and a limited-time Snipers-only mode.

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ will make Blackout mode free to play this week

Treyarch and Activision are offering Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode as a free trial download for a limited time. The mode will be available from January 17 through January 24.

Break out the Wii: ‘Just Dance’ movie reportedly in the works

Sony's Screen Gems has reportedly acquired the film rights to the Just Dance video game series from Ubisoft, which previously helped bring the game Assassin's Creed to the big screen in 2016.