Age of Conan, the fantasy MMO in which players take on the role of an Austrian bodybuilder hacking and slashing his way through the Californian political milieu, is now free to play.
That's a joke, of course. Age of Conan is not about Germanic muscleheads or politics in the Golden State. But it is free to play - I wasn't joking about that! Much like World of Warcraft's toe-dipping into the F2P waters, however, there will be a few strings attached.
The game will be open to all players at no charge and no obligation, with various optional items like weapons, armor, access passes and "Premium services" available to purchase individually through the in-game store. AoC fans will also have the option of keeping up their subscription, which will grant unfettered access to the game's full range of content and features.
Free accounts will have other limitations imposed upon them. Only two character slots and four character classes will be available and while all players will have full access to the original Hyborian Adventures content, free players will be limited to the "Gateway to Khitai" zone in the Rise of the Godslayer expansion. Sieges, alternative advancement, offline levels and veteran points will not be available and the personal bank space will only be half the size of subscribers; subscribers will also get a ten percent discount at the in-game store.
There are clearly a few drawbacks but it's still a ton of gameplay for zero dollars, which is a pretty tough deal to beat. Casual MMOGers can bang around the Hyborian badlands on their own terms, die-hard fans can still roll around in it to their heart's content and the curious but commitment-phobic no longer have any excuse not to sample the game's delights. Free-to-play is the future, kids! Get all the details at ageofconan.com.