The standard subscription model for massively multiplayer online games is going the way of the dinosaur. Over the past year, nearly every such videogame in the genre has dropped their monthly fees in favor of the new free-to-play, or "freemium" model. Maybe it's because of the rough economy, maybe it's because of the staggering success of casual behemoths like "Farmville," but whatever the reason, there's a whole lot of free online gaming waiting out there for you.
While Sony Online Entertainment had previously mentioned that their DC Comics-inspired online role-playing game, "DC Universe Online," was also removing a required monthly fee, it wasn't immediately clear when that would start. Apparently, it's really soon. Like next week soon.
The developers held a webcast last night to make some announcements about the online title that allows you to play as your own character in DC's world. Primarily, the video focused on dating and detailing the game's free-to-play transition. "DC Universe Online" will officially become free to everyone on November 1, with three tiers of membership tailored to your desired level of interaction.
First, there's the straight-up free account. You don't have to pay anything, but your account has limited character slots and inventory slots. You'll also lack other features such as voice chat, so this account is really for those looking to check out the game or play casually.
If you're looking for a step-up from the free account, spending $5 in the game unlocks the "premium" account. Once you've spent the five bucks, the premium content – including additional slots and voice chat – is yours forever.
If you're planning to spend considerably more time with "DCUO," you might be interested in the standard "legendary" account, which provides all the normal content for $15 a month. Players with lower-level accounts also have the ability to purchase additional inventory slots, etc.
What's really interesting about "DCUO" is its apparent immunity to the DC Comics reboot. All of the iconic characters still look the same, and Jim Lee has previously mentioned that the game would not be affected in any major way by the comic series' overhaul. So, if you're really excited about Superman wearing a pair of Wranglers, you'll only find tights in "DCUO." Sorry (I think).
Tell us what you think in the comments section and on Twitter!