Age of Freemium: Hyborian Microtransactions

Funcom has announced that their boob-laden MMORPG, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, will soon join the growing legion of MMOs that exist in that awkward, but seemingly lucrative space between being free-to-play and subscription-driven. Age of Conan will be relaunched later this year using this hybrid business model, simultaneously rebranding itself as Age of Conan: Unrated.

The freemium model lets anyone looking to get in on a bit of gory, gritty, Robert E. Howard-inspired online adventuring do so for free, but limits their access to certain of the game’s features – unless they choose to spend a bit of real-world cash buying Funcom Points, which are in turn exchanged for access to those features. Still, there’s a decent chunk of free content available should you decide you’d rather not part with your cash. The original game’s three main outdoor play areas (Aquilonia, Stygia and Cimmeria) can all be accessed. You’ll get two character slots (premium subscribers get eight), the choice to select from four of the game’s character classes (there are twelve in total) and access to certain non-premium dungeons.

Premium subscribers naturally have access to a ton of exclusive stuff (like alternate advancement points, veteran points and offline levels, as well as the majority of the extra goodies found in the game’s Rise of the Godslayer expansion), but that obviously carries a monthly subscription fee. There’s more info about the differences between free and premium content here. There’s also this FAQ for you to read.