Since the world is ending anyway according to Funcom, why not drop the subscription fee on TSW then? The developer followed this train of thought, and decided to join Guild Wars 2 in their buy-to-play business model.
Granted, TSW still offers different levels of subscription. Players can decide to fork over about €15 a month, or to buy a lifetime subscription, to receive additional extras in the form of the Time Accelerator (boosting your XP gain by 100% for 1 hour every 16 hours) and discounts in the Item Shop. However, free players can enjoy the entire game, without ever paying a dime. That is, until new DLC arrives.
The move to a buy-to-play model has been received with both love and hate. Entering the official forums shows how emotional the player base has reacted to the changes, but Joel Bylos explained himself in an interview with IGN. When asked why Funcom did not go the same road as many other developers and go entirely F2P, Bylos raises a few good points. First of all, the financial barrier created by a box price keeps out at least a part of the scammers and gold farmers. Furthermore, Bylos shuns the “second-class citizens” created by the business model apparent in most F2P titles. Last, but clearly not least, an initial financial investment creates an initial emotional investment. Bylos is convinced that if you are willing to pay for a product, you are also more willing to join the community that is a part of it.
So far, I am more than pleased with this choice. Unlike other developers, Funcom has decided to not limit the content for free players, but to give subscribers a few little extras. The optional subscription fee also gives me the possibility to play other MMO’s, without worrying too much about my budget. I tip my hat to Oslo, and will slay some Draugr in their honour!