I woke up this morning to all sorts of articles in my RSS reader and twitter pretty much blowing up with news of the new model Funcom has adopted for The Secret World.  However, I have a slightly different take on it.  And I personally think this is a great move by Funcom and one that I really didn’t see coming at all.  Not only did I not see it coming, but I don’t see it as invalidating their previous public comments on going F2P, which is always important.

There are still lots of questions out there, but here’s what we know so far about the model:

  • You still have to buy the box for ~$30
  • There still is a subscription option which includes the following:
    • Daily 10% experience booster
    • $10 monthly store credit
    • Cosmetic item of the month included with the current DLC
    • 10% store discount

In addition to these benefits, two others were announced for those who bought in to the game early on:

  • GrandMaster pack holders (ie Lifers) will get an additional 10% across the board store discount
  • Those who bought the Initiate pack will get a credit of 1800 points of store credit

The interesting part of this model, and why I’m not calling it F2P is that all future updates (TSW calls them Issues) will be purchasable DLC by everyone.  That’s an important statement there, the DLC will NOT be included in either the subscription or the GM Pack, however we are led to believe that the $10 monthly allotment will more then cover said DLC cost.  The CM (community management) posts have mentioned a $5 price point for the DLC, which would still leave half of your point allotment available for fluff.  Each of the previous Issues (1-4) have included not just quest content but also system changes, which will be included for free for those who have bought the game.

I personally LOVE this move for a couple of reasons:

  • it isn’t a F2P model
  • they benefit from all the haters claiming they’ve failed
  • assuming the DLC costs less then the monthly allotment, a subscription is MORE valuable
  • Lifers get tangible benefits
  • They know the pitfalls – aka power items and lootboxes which “won’t” be in the store
  • players still have the choice of what they want to play and pay for
  • what they’re including in that initial $30 is a HUGE amount of content including instances, raids, and role-play options

In addition to all of this, there are a couple other goodies out there:

  • If you purchased the Initiate pack you’ll be granted 1800 points
  • Issue 5 content will be included if you purchase in December
    • otherwise it will be the 1st DLC available starting in January

When comparing my lifetime subscriptions (I have 2 for MMOs), I will take TSWs anyday – assuming the DLC price will remain around that $5 price point.  I fully expect it to wiggle a bit based on what’s in the update but it should stay under that $10 allotment.  Compare this to LOTRO (my other lifer):

  • LOTRO requires me to buy expansions which TSW doesn’t have
  • both offer store point allotments
  • TSW offers a stackable store wide discount for both subscribers and lifetime members

The only potential downside I see to Funcom’s model is a hinted at 6-month lifetime for your accrued bonus points.  As long as the DLC is LESS then the monthly allotment, this really isn’t and issue and also prevents the problems LOTRO is running into right now with lifers sitting on more points then they can spend.

Why am I so excited for this change?  I now have the option to exercise one of the coolest part of TSW, the cosmetic system, to its fullest.  I will now have a monthly allotment of points to spend on not just those toys, but also things like the Albion Theatre.

If you’d like to rage or praise this change, there is an official thread posted but like all threads I’d suggest you think before posting as this isn’t a model we’ve seen before in an MMO.

All of this positivity is of course based on the fact that I honestly do trust the Funcom development team much more then the Turbine team, but I’m curious what pitfalls do ya’ll see?