The new CEO of Funcom, Ole Schreine, spoke recently to GamesIndustry.biz about development in the world of MMOs and the future of The Secret World. Schriene stated, “That said we definitely have the tools to turn The Secret World into a free-to-play game – or even hybrid – should we decide to do that somewhere down the line.” Something Funcom did with Age of Conan that resulted in significant success, gaining over 600,000 new players in a span of only 4 months.

Speculating on the future of The Secret World, all signs point to the MMO going F2P. The MMO has already had issues delivering it’s promised content updates on time, a usual sign of internal trouble for an MMO. We have seen countless times in the past a sort of “structure” used when pursuing the F2P route with a previously P2P title.

It all starts with less then expected results from sales and subscription numbers reported, it then moves on to reports and talks of F2P being an “option” for the developers to consider, from here it moves on to free trials, and lastly we get the full conversion to a Free to Play model. On top of this, Funcom already has experience with converting Age of Conan to the F2P model, making this familiar territory for the developers, and perhaps speeding up the decision process as to whether or not the model will change.

What is your thoughts on the matter? Do you think we will see The Secret World go F2P by the end of the year? Would you play it? Let us know.

58 Readers Commented

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  1. taliss on January 10, 2013

    ok so is it a purchase to play or complete Free To Play

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  2. MaxHavok on October 8, 2012

    ive wanted to play this game since it was first announced…just couldnt afford it…if it goes f2p i may not leave my house for awhile,lol

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  3. Jamie on October 2, 2012

    No MMO is worth a subscription fee. Even if it cost them 1 mil a month to support their servers (which it absolutely doesn’t), think of how many million people pay $12 or whatever a month. That’s millions, MILLIONS, of dollars a month with some going towards servers and content releases. Simple math.

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    • Jamie on October 2, 2012

      On top of that, consider how often these companies release new content. Every 2-3 months maybe? Possibly when they start off but after a couple years, how often? And I’m talking MAJOR content updates, the ones that would actually be a little expensive. There is absolutely no way any major content update, especially for a game where tons of models are re-used to create said content updates, costs millions of dollars – if they do, I’d say upwards of 1-3 million MAX for a major content release. That’s every 2-3 months (which is considered frequent).

      Now, consider again, a sub fee of even $10/month + lets just say only 1 million play (which is about, oh I don’t know, 10 or so million less than reality and even that’s probably a VERY low estimate) – that’s 10 million a month (reality is probably some 50 mil).

      So again – justification? Server costs + content + investing in future content + maintenance does not = anywhere near 10 million a month.

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      • Inflictious on October 2, 2012

        I gotta disagree.

        There are basicly only 2 real sub game’s left , and a third possibly going F2P – ( Rift )

        The other 2 i am talking about is , WoW , and my second …..

        Runescape 2001 release – Shocked?
        Runescape just recently bumped their membership fee up to 8$ a month from 5$
        And people still pay.. WoW , You will not see go F2P for a long long time,

        Both of these game’s offer you something that No F2p Game has been able to touch,
        CONTENT, and lots of it.

        I am not saying you ” Jamie ” so don’t take this as a poke at you… OK !

        But, I really am sick of 90% of the gaming world Crying or Complaining about Sub game’s.

        Everything should be FREE.

        It is because of this why subs are dieing.

        Even when free to play , 70 % of these players now , Bitch,Cry or Complain that the game is now P2W. Hell if i pay and alot i do , I better be like a Damn God over the Free players , Which by Now is atleast 50% of the players in the game’s.

        The Few remaining game’s that are Subbed truely deserve to be sub game’s and nothing less.

        Old saying…

        You get what you pay for !

        Want truely free gaming, I think all Pc,s have Solitaire

        I do like your post Jamie , I just disagree for this reason.

        Peace

        Inflictious

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        • Jamie on October 3, 2012

          No worries, I only take “pokes” a bit harshly if the individual is being unreasonable.

          I don’t disagree with you – but to be clear, I’m not necessarily referring to the P2W formula either. I’m referring more or less to a Buy to Play game, with a marketplace to purchase things that are merely for aesthetics, collectibles, etc. – things that may spoof up a guild to disassociate it from other guilds and make it stand out – purchasing things like bank slots, and various other things that help without breaking balance – people will, and undoubtedly DO pay for these things. I think GW 2 is a pretty perfect example of how it can be done reasonably without it becoming a huge pay-to-win style game.

          If it has to be a subscription game, $5 is more than enough for any of them to be supported unless their player base is too low, and if that’s the case it’s pretty much doomed to fail anyway. Runescape is a rip – sorry to say, $8 for that game is utter nonsense. If people still pay to play it, that’s fine, as long as they’re ok with it and are having fun – but the fact is it is taking advantage of the fact that a lot of those players have invested hundreds of hours into their characters and most likely won’t quit because of that, making such a move fall under the category of “forcing”, so to speak. Though it’s possible the creators want to expand it into something MUCH bigger than it is, and since it never really had any good marketing/graphics/etc. then doing these things may be about as costly as making a new game entirely. I haven’t played RS in years so admittedly I’m fairly ignorant on the front of what they plan to do – but my prior statement(s) doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. Only thing I can say is that I hope for the sake of the players that the increase is only temporary, especially if nothing is changed about the game.

          My main point was that it doesn’t cost as much as they are charging to upkeep their games. I understand the desire for profit (I mean, obviously) but these companies are BANKING on taking advantage of players with high sub fees like $14/mo and so forth – as I said, these companies have millions of players – server upkeep and adding new content will cost no more than 1-3 million (I’ll even be generous and say 5 million). Lets use WoW as an example – their current playerbase is upwards of 12 million players, and their subscription fee is, I believe, $14.99 ($12.99 for the 6 month option) – this means they are raking in $180,000,000 A MONTH (156,000,000 if everyone used the 6 month option). There is utterly NO WAY it costs even 10% of that to upkeep their servers or add new content – and how often do they add new content in terms of months? In the beginning it was every 2-3 or so – I mean come on. Expansions don’t even cost that much.

          That was my point.

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          • Inflictious on October 3, 2012

            Yeah 5$ subs are fair enough to me also, if it was down to that price all of my old and new sub games would always have time.
            For even if i only played that game maybe 2 days out of the month i would still feel i got my money out of it

            But to be fair with Blizzard, I really don’t know how many staff they have , But unlike free 2 play game’s a phone call and 2 minnutes later someone is already working on my problem.

            Before IjjI shut down i had so many problems and i spent well over 200$ on thier site and NEVER ever got a responce. No Phone call , Not even an email.

            Aeria Game’s, Gpatato, Beanfun, pwi , to name a few , No calling , send an email , Maybe get a resonce in 24 hours.

            I know your talking millions, But for that 15$ , If or When i need and want help at the moment i do get it.
            I really don’t look at what they make as a whole i look at it at the end of the day, Did they give me what i want in my time of need. This is what lacks in (most) free to play site’s.

            For Secret World’s sake , Yeah, I love it.. but don’t want to see it free to play, Like you stated , A B2p , guild wars style, cosmetic, and slots, char and bank , would be the perfect way to go,

            And GW2 has been patching almost every second day, Fixing bug’s , Which is really nice to see..

            GW2 , why have you not joined Magicman , Brim, Selphius, Most of the Hosts , in thier guild?

            If you do I will see you there.

            Peace

            Inflictious

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  4. kalashnikov on October 1, 2012

    if its going to be f2p me and my friends will play it for sure!

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  5. RonanX524 on September 23, 2012

    I agree in the fact that this will go F2P, the game is by far the first of its kind to be classless and having the opportunities it has. I myself have participated in the Beta and each day I would go on the game and play for hours on end. Its awesome how you can use the internet to solve mysteries adding to the excietment. The game is going to be big if it does, I saw Age of Conan and played it and I did have fun playing. If The Secret World goes it most likley to be the game with over hundreds of thousands of players in just a few short months.

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  6. SimonF on September 23, 2012

    I think its time we start defirentiating between F2P and F2Try. Calling EQ2, AoC or Swtor F2P is the same as calling WoW f2p the only difference is up to what level you can play the game. Examples of real F2P is LOL, DDO and LoTRO. This game is managed by Funcom, if it goes “F2P” it will be some sort of F2Try yet again. Major point i am making here is MMOBOMB needs to get get ahead of the competition and call these companies on their BS instead of steering their readers into the wrong direction by calling these Free to Try games F2P which is just false.

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  7. erterte on September 23, 2012

    I don’t even know why these noobs make games for P2P, since they all go for F2P after a few months.

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    • Inflictious on September 23, 2012

      You call them noob’s !

      What game have you made?

      To me TSW could have been a sub game, And i will say it again , ” If They Made Time Card’s”
      It’s better than 90% of the free to play game’s that are out !

      Don’t expect this to go as free to play as you are hoping either, You most likely will be paying for content, Which in the end most players will be paying more than that 15$ a month sub.
      ( Game’s just to Good ) ( To Original )

      Peace

      Inflictious

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  8. Andy2761 on September 22, 2012

    Hm seems fun

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  9. Takerukun on September 21, 2012

    Yep, they already have a trial out. got emailed about it since i was in closed beta months ago. You get 3 free days of play, do 30 missions and get an extra 2 days plus 10 bucks for the cash shop. Defeat the first boss and you will get a skull ring with xp boost. lol.

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  10. Okoice on September 21, 2012

    EvE Rule this :D

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  11. luh on September 21, 2012

    soon if you have a lot of restriction can u call it F2P ?
    And om not interessed in this game some friends talk bad 99% im gona no try

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  12. lilfighter on September 20, 2012

    This game wasn`t even a success for a second while it was pay2play, why would free2play be anything else than fail?

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    • Fat Panda on September 20, 2012

      Because AOC, Lord of the Rings, DDO etc all pretty much tripled revenue after going free to play
      due to lackluster sales and subs…and The Secret World is better than all them it’s just more niche
      with the ability wheel, modern setting etc.

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  13. PsyMike3d on September 20, 2012

    Failcom

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  14. blackjoker86 on September 20, 2012

    companies might as well stop the p2p stuff cause some of them never work out as plan b2p and f2p is whats up

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  15. rockmeo on September 20, 2012

    LOL!! i just lol!! because if this game goes pay to play , its going to be a comunity as world of warcraft was or is , i find it stupid to make this game pay to play , i saw the oficial trailer and stuff and how the creators of the game explain the game , i dont think is going to be pay to play … anyways … even if the story line and the gameplay looks good if it goes pay to play wont be worth to even try it .

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    • lolol on September 20, 2012

      Facefalm to that entire comment.

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    • Fat Panda on September 20, 2012

      It’s been out for awhile now….it is pay to play. Read the article before commmeted maybe?

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  16. IHateMMOs on September 20, 2012

    Wow, what surprise (sarcasm).

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  17. Decassa on September 20, 2012

    Yes should go to ftp especially if there a cash shop in game already, that is just plain greedy imo! I understand that there are cost to be made i.e servers e.t.c but i play a few mmorpg that are free and running successfully and get their support from item mall e.t.c.

    I personally would not ptp as to me its just a game, but using item mall/cashshop i fully support

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  18. Kocain on September 20, 2012

    they better do it
    if they want more player to know about this game

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  19. Casualslacks on September 20, 2012

    I bought The Secret World during an Amazon sale for $25 and now I plan on paying the sub for at least a couple of months. Nevertheless, it’s really difficult to encourage other people to buy the game at $60 because I wouldn’t. Also, I’m skeptical that a 3-day trial can even display exactly how TSW is not just another cookie-cutter, theme-park, western MMORPG and does not want to be. The developers had a ton of ambition and it is doubtful that the game will pan out exactly as they planned with a couple million of player and monthly updates. Additionally, TSW beta had a high number of players and Funcom used that number to pin their sales expectations on. It’s now clear post-launch that those millions would only play TSW for free. All signs point to F2P. Now they need to get on the ball with their cash shop and make it happen.

    Unlike so much else in the game, the cash shop feels tacked on. It feels like one camp at Funcom really wanted the subscription model and despised F2P cash shops and another camp insisted that not including a cash shop was leaving money on the table. The second camp won, but couldn’t get first camp to help them build assets to sell. Which is unfortunate because I totally agree with the second camp (assuming it isn’t fictitious). I think that they need sell more sexy, more thematic clothes and costume pieces and weapons that are no better than those currently available in-game, but look super f*** awesome. If Champions Online has taught me nothing else, I will buy cosmetic crap if it makes my characters look cool.

    I think the changeover needs to be slow. The minute they announce that TSW is going F2P all sales of the game will stop and boxes will sit uselessly on the shelves. I think if that they move too fast, they will lose more money than they will make. I’m still not clear how profitable DDO, LOTRO, and even AoC are today despite the boost they all received at their respective F2P transitions. Therefore, in the long haul, it may be best to hang on to subs for as long as possible or at least until the cash shop is improved. TSW devs want to add content to the game frequently and I can’t help but think that they will be severely limited under the F2P model. Although, I’d definitely keep subbing as long as they keep the content coming.

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  20. TheGodReaper on September 19, 2012

    and now what shall i do with my lifetime sub?

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  21. Arcuz123 on September 19, 2012

    If this agme goes f2p it will be probably best MMo in country

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  22. Psycho07 on September 19, 2012

    This a joke? really a joke?

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  23. TheGamer on September 19, 2012

    Dammit, what’s next?Guild Wars F2P?Let me see my list:

    LOTRO:Check;
    Age of Conan:Check;
    City of Heroes:Check;
    Lineage 2:Check;
    Aion:Check;
    Champions Online:Check;
    Star Trek Online:Check;
    SWTOR:Check;
    Blade and Soul:…Maybe…
    DDO:Check;
    Global Agenda:Check;
    Team Fortress 2:Check;

    And other games…So i think its official, F2P is the future, and when i saw The Secret World trailer i was like “Hmm, ok i will wait a little bit, it will be f2p in the end…”, looks like a good game, the problem is that people try to compare new MMO’s content, to, well, another MMO (*cough*WoW*cough*) that have a 10 years of content advantage…So screw this, who knows?Maybe now with GW2, NCSoft releases GW1 F2P, since they closed CoH, just in the moment i was going to try it out…And remember, GW2 already have a cash shop…Maybe in a year or less…Maybe not…

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    • Mystika on September 20, 2012

      GW2 will never go f2p; you don’t see ArenaNet ever having issues with sales (matter of fact, they closed sales for awhile because the rate was too damn high). GW1 will also not go f2p, since it’s now linked to GW2 through the Hall of Monuments, as well as the fact that both were developed with the aim of being b2p, not f2p. Nearly all those games you listed that went f2p were previously p2p games, not b2p (the exception being TF2).

      You’d get a large backlash from players if either of the games went f2p, simply from the sheer size of the fanbase.

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      • cacalips on September 20, 2012

        Yeah you think fan backlash does something? NOPE! Backlash, QQ, Post, and do what you want. A decision is a decision, and if they went F2P you woold suck it up and play it. And youd have a big crowd go “yay”. Fans cant do anything but pout and type. MEans nothing.
        Look at City of Heros. Fans went as far as raising over 1K to take the staff to lunch. Game shutting down still.
        ALL decisions are not to please you but to market. MArket has a few parallels to pleasing people like, “Studies show more subscribes if we use a red border. Bitches love red borders”. And that is it. Everything else is contractual and you cant touch that. You cna only support it with likes, subscribes and cash. GW was smart as they essentially have a game full of “silver tier” players. Eliminating F2P. Some games combined Silver and F2P models, and if that goes on to LOTOR, etc.. GW would be forced to open up F2P. Assuming the others start pulling players with this change.

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        • Mystika on September 20, 2012

          True, although fan support can still have some what of an impact (Operation Rainfall for bringing 3 JRPGs for the Wii to North America was somewhat successful, with 2 of 3 being delivered).

          Nevertheless, I still don’t believe the GW series (namely GW1) will go f2p, at least not in the near future. Like I said before, considering that ArenaNet has yet to encounter issues with low sales with any of their GW games, I would think that NCsoft would largely leave them alone and not force a decision upon them like they did with shutting down Paragon Studios and CoH.

          I may be wrong, but that’s just my take.

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      • TheGamer on September 20, 2012

        Hey, i dint said that GW2 will go F2P, not in the near future, but GW1…Hell, we will never know, but looks like every P2P game is turning F2P…I even heard that TERA will be f2p, since they started some layoffs…And like cacalips said, fan backlash does nothing, like he said, look at CoH!But whatever, its a great game, i just cant figure out how they will survive along the years, maybe they release a bunch of expansions like they did in the first GW, but you know, i said that people compare new MMO’s to WoW, and with a 20 million player base.Lets say that one of those players decides to try GW2, they buy the game and start playing, but, none of his friends like GW2 or want to buy the game and lose the subscription time in WoW, or maybe another reason, so he will be playing alone, and in some time he will quit and turn back into WoW.And this happens a lot, believe me…

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        • Mystika on September 21, 2012

          I think you’re giving a little too much credit to WoW. As of the latest figures, WoW’s population stands at only 9.1million players. Of course, say that more will turn up for Mists of Pandaria, I still wouldn’t say 20million…just saying though, there’s little reason for GW games to go f2p, because b2p ensures players that if they buy it, as long as the servers are up, they can play anytime whenever they feel like it and not worry about wasting subscriptions. In essence, b2p is like f2p in a way, just that there’s a box fee.

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  24. Inflictious on September 19, 2012

    No offence to anyone, But i Payed for this Game and bought time even though i Had to use a Credit Card !

    I fear free to play would just make it a P2W, I’d rather have it as a B2P, Unlike Conan this game Is a really well made AAA game.

    They also would have kept a decent Fan Base and Active community if they MADE TIME CARDS !
    I felt bad for anyone that bought it and never had access to a CC ( That was just money wasted for them)

    Peace

    Inflictious

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    • Inflictious on September 19, 2012

      BTW yeah i even used the cash shop already in my first week !

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  25. Snowwww on September 19, 2012

    oy, who didn’t foresee this?

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  26. Nexzu on September 19, 2012

    OOOOHHHH!!!! Now you want to be f2p! When I saw this game and played the beta… I knew it was going f2p anyway. But its to late for you, you should have originally came out as a f2p or at least b2p. But no I’m to deep into guild wars 2 to play it. It a great concept but… but… Im sorry its to late.

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  27. iggy pop on September 19, 2012

    this game made big mistakes
    if only the quest did not feel like resident evil online .it would have been a great game
    i mean perfect if only it had normal quest and did not expect u 2 check google every quest u do .
    also as magic man said the cash shop on p2p is not cool

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  28. Sunny on September 19, 2012

    I was very excited when this came out, but the price was to much for me (yeah, yeah but with a 3yo and hours being cut and one income its not easy sometimes). I loved the look of it, if its f2p I would love that. But as long as it doesn’t turn into a p2w type game.

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  29. Draugen on September 19, 2012

    if they make it free i hope it’s not gonna be the Age of Conan model

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  30. FeddeWilliams on September 19, 2012

    It SHOULD be free :P yaayyy!!!

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  31. ┼ Church ┼ on September 19, 2012

    YEA BABY!! This is how The Secret World was MEANT to be released!!

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  32. Bayhas on September 19, 2012

    I thought it was a F2P with a subscription for the exact reason Magicman posted. lol

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  33. Atengen on September 19, 2012

    There is no question that it will go f2p, but the better question is, will it survive as one. Like Magicman said, it already has a cash shop, i can only imagine how p2w the cash shop will get after converting to a “free” model

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  34. Rinor on September 19, 2012

    Man thats kinda nice but sad at the same time knowing that games no cannot for any reason go p2p meaning a lot less funding will be put into games i mean look at dark millenium (my most awaited game) but they have to turn it into a singleplayer / multiplayer game instead of the original MMO game play they wanted … but yea i guess more games for me 2 play.

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    • spunkify Author on September 19, 2012

      I too was looking forward to that game. But I feel it was more because of THQ being in utter chaos internally then the game being an MMO.

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      • Rinor on September 19, 2012

        I do agree with that also being a part of the problem but more and more people are becoming unwilling to invest into a Sub MMO because they are just bringing back the revenue the company and investors want so they are prefering a more standard game. Fingers Crossed that this is a good game i really wanna enjoy some W40K masacar Spacemarine was nice but i want more game play i guess :P maybe im 2 picky

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        • Rinor on September 19, 2012

          By more gameplay i mean IG or Tau or Eldar u know something different :D

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  35. Magicman on September 19, 2012

    Not to mention that the game already has a cash shop in it.
    -Magicman

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    • spunkify Author on September 19, 2012

      I could not understand why they made this game P2P when they already knew their history of P2P game success with Age of Conan. They probably knew it would head this way (or maybe they were just blissfully ignorant) and just tried to cash in on early fan support (pre-orders and early fan subs).

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    • TruRevelation on September 19, 2012

      if so im all over this game

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    • Second on September 19, 2012

      What? No FIRST?!

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      • alpha on September 20, 2012

        aye… ye fingers should be chopped off for the mere mentioning… nay… ye should walk the plan…k… oh… talk like a pirate day is over… damn…

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    • SnuSNu on September 20, 2012

      They should change the combat to that of a shooter, f2p or not.

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