Funcom's solid MMORPG The Secret World is officially subscription-free, starting today. It's not quite free-to-play, since you'll still have to buy the actual game if you want to play it, but your ability to play no longer hinges on paying a monthly fee as well.
Those who purchase the game by December 31, 2012 will have full access to the game as it originally shipped over the summer as well as four major post-release update plus a fifth, that will be released "shortly." Those who buy the game in 2012 will also receive the "Initiate pack," offering stronger starter weapons, a Blood Raven pet, and extra social clothing.
Subscription is still an option as well for those who are really into The Secret World. Continuing to pay your $14.99 per month subscription includes a number of advantages, such as a Time Accelerator that boosts your XP gains, $10 worth of Bonus Points each month, an Item-of-the-Month gift, and a 10 percent discount at the in-game store.
Those who ponied up for a Grandmaster lifetime subscription will receive all subscription benefits described above, along with an additional 10 percent off in the in-game store. Future content releases, including the upcoming fifth pack for those who don't purchase by 12/31, will be sold a la carte to non-subscribers. That first pack will sell for $5.
I hope this helps Funcom out. Having put a good amount of time into the game, I'll definitely give it a big thumbs up. Cool, very different ideas for an MMO, particularly in the way that leveling works.