Funnily enough, Champions Online announces it is going fully free-to-play (F2P) just days after I post a comment that it probably isn’t going to see any growth under a subscription model. Such is my power.
I’ve had a quick scan around and not seen anyone else connect up that ChampO is going F2P the week before DC Universe Online’s original launch date, so I’ll make that link. It’s a good way to undercut the competition and lower barriers to entry / returning – you might try DCUO, but ChampO is free and waiting for you to return. Free means a lot. Of course DCUO won’t launch November 2, but that doesn’t mean ChampO can just stop its plans.
The difference between the paid and F2P accounts also seems relatively fair to me – players have been asking for pre-made classes so that they didn’t gimp themselves and bringing in new players to pre-set classes seems reasonable. Although there have been complaints from some corners that not being able to fully customise a character’s powers is unfair, Cryptic still wants to keep something behind the paywall for ChampO and that flexibility seems like a reasonable compromise. It does depend on how functional the Archetypes are though – I doubt that Cryptic will make weak Archetypes if they want players to actually start paying, but the pre-made types will probably lack the flashier powers.
The F2P announcement seems to have buried the State Of The Game announcement that is full of “we’ve revamped the early game” goodness and powers simplification. We’ll see how it all plays out, but these all seem steps in the right direction of making ChampO more able to keep competitive in the MMO market.