Tera going free-to-play in February

As will happen with almost any subscription-based MMO that's not World of Warcraft or EVE Online, Bluehole Studio's Tera is switching to a free-to-play model, barely 10 months after launch. Come February, anyone who fancies will be able to download and play the fantasy MMORPG for free, though optional subscriptions will live on in a $15 monthly 'Elite' membership.

The Tera: Rising launch, which publisher En Masse hasn't pegged for a specific day yet, will also bring new content include a wave-based dungeon and a new PvP battleground map.

An item store is coming to fund the new model, selling microtransactional doodads like mounts, costumes and consumables for cash money. En Masse also hopes you'll choose to pony up $15 a month for Elite status, which gets you an exclusive mount, boosters for XP, gold and reputation, a higher daily quest limit, and other jazz. People who bought Tera before the switch will become 'Founder' members, dodging new restrictions like fewer character slots.

A F2P switch has looked likely not only because, as previously stated, it happens to almost every MMO that's not WoW or EVE, but because its 11 North American servers were merged into only three a mere four months after launch. Clearly things were not going nearly as well as hoped, but at least it earned ten months of subscription fees and retail purchases to help recoup costs, and the F2P switch should give a jolt of new life and money.

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