news\ Jan 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm

TERA is now a free-to-play MMO


It looks like it's becoming tougher and tougher for subscription-based MMOs to succeed. Outside of World of Warcraft, very few companies are having a tough time maintaining the pay-to-play model. The latest is Bluehole's Tera. The company has made subscriptions for its massively multiplayer online game optional.

The South Korean developer has dropped mandatory monthly payments in favor of the free-to-play business model, which continues to grow in popularity. We learned in December that TERA had made the switch in Japan and Korea.

TERA came to the U.S. last year under publisher En Masse Entertainment. The new free-to-play alternative is called TERA: Rising, which does not feature a level cap or content restrictions and will be available in February. Past and current subscribers will receive permanent founder status with exclusive privileges like additional character slots, four bank tabs, and the exclusive Terminus mount. Players who choose to pay $14.99 a month for the "elite status" will receive additional dungeon rewards and items, store discounts, 10 bonus quests per day, a daily delivery of items and boosts, an elite mount, in-game store discounts, waived brokerage registration taxes, and more.

Alternatively, non-elite players will still be able to experience the game's content and political system. Most of the items available to elite status players will also be available for purchase via an in-game store or trade broker.

“With TERA: Rising, we created a fresh, action-oriented play style that is centered around allowing players to take control of their actions on the battlefield,” said Chris Lee, CEO of En Masse Entertainment. “We feel the time has come to offer the same level of control in how they invest in the world of TERA, so we are offering a tiered approach that includes a compelling free option, to accessing the game.” 

To celebrate this new chapter, En Masse will launch new in-game content, including a wave-based dungeon and a PvP battleground map. A new multi-stage dungeon, Crucible of Flame, culminates with a new boss fight against the Cyclops. The dungeon offers varying rewards based on performance. For those who prefer competitive PvP, Champions' Skyring offers an all-new three-versus-three PvP battleground with some of the game's best PvP gear at stake.

Many MMOs are going free to play (Star Wars: The Old Republic), and some are offering optional monthly payments with bonuses (The Secret World).

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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