Following the ongoing trend of MMOs going free-to-play, NCSoft announced via press release that their superhero MMO City of Heroes will transition to that model later this year.
City of Heroes Freedom is the Future World's most popular super heroic MMO to deliver more content and better gameplay for free Gamasutra follows up the news with an interview with executive producer Brian Clayton.
NCsoft® and Paragon Studios® are excited to announce that the world's top comic book inspired Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game is putting the power of choice into players' hands by making the City of Heroes® franchise available to everyone. Arriving later this year, City of Heroes Freedomâ„¢ is a compelling new way for Paragon Studios to deliver more content to more players than ever before.
( 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.)
Freedom means that everyone can customise their experience those who wish to play an unparalleled amount of content for free can do so, while those who wish to enjoy a premium experience can do so as well. Players who want to enjoy the unrivalled free experience will be able to fight and fly their way to level 50 with full access to Hero and Villain zones, choosing the specific pieces of content they want. Players that decide to subscribe will enjoy all current subscriber benefits as well as new VIP exclusive benefits, content and services.
City of Heroes Freedom will reward its loyal players through a value-packed Paragon Rewards program that provides bonus content tailored to each player's preferences. Ranging from powers and costume sets, to unique visual effects and consumables, these all-new items are rewarded monthly and chosen by the player.
Additionally, starting July 1st, current subscribers will begin accumulating 400 Paragon Points every month up until launch, giving loyal customers unprecedented rewards and options when City of Heroes Freedom arrives. These points can be used to purchase hundreds of costumes, items, services and consumables available via the in-game Paragon Market (co-developed by online transaction leaders, PlaySpan) and will be available to use on the first day of launch.
The City of Heroes franchise is already packed with unequalled content and features, with 20 free expansions, more than 1,600 missions and 375,000 user-generated missions. Now with Freedom, Paragon is delivering more content, more often and spearheading this charge is Issue 21: Convergence. Issue 21, which launches alongside Freedom, is packed with some of the highest-quality content yet including First Ward a dynamic new co-op zone that is gripped in conflict as well as a new Power Set, the highly-anticipated Underground Incarnate Trial and two full costume sets. Along with a completely new starting experience and a greatly enhanced character creator, Issue 21 offers content for new, returning and veteran players.
In addition to more Issues delivered more frequently, players can look forward to unique content such as monthly Signature Story Arcs (free for VIP Players) that will empower players to make a difference in the City of Heroes universe by fighting alongside iconic heroes and villains as the story unfolds.
Freedom is the Future
(After an unforgettable seven years, the City of Heroes franchise remains the world's most popular super-powered MMO, and we're excited to continue that momentum with Freedom,) said Clayton. (Through City of Heroes Freedom, we will be delivering more content to players than ever before, while continuing to expand the ever-evolving City of Heroes storyline and legacy.)
City of Heroes Freedom and Issue 21: Convergence will be launching simultaneously later this year and players can get their first experience with the game at San Diego Comic Con. New and existing fans are encouraged to stay tuned to the City of Heroes website for more information about Paragon Rewards, Issue 21, and more.
For more information on today's announcement, an FAQ and a summary of benefits for VIP Members and Free Players, please visit www.coh.com/freedom.
"It's easy for us to make a majority of [our existing] content freely available to free players and reserve a large percentage for for our VIP customers and have both be compelling in their own way," Clayton said. "For some of these other MMOs that are only 2 to 3 years in, I feel like a number of them may be just they might just be flipping a switch to change up the business model."
While free players will be able to purchase some specialty items a la carte, Paragon hopes to eventually entice them to purchase an optional monthly VIP subscription. which will earn them a monthly stipend of in-game currency, as well as access to exclusive rewards such as powers, costumes, and in-game features unavailable to the free players.
VIP players will also be the only ones that can access difficult late-game Incarnate trials and signature story arcs -- monthly sets of missions that let you team up with signature characters in "epic story moments" that have "major repercussions" for the game universe, Clayton said.