City of Heroes goes free-to-play later this year

Yet another long running MMO PC game is switching over from a monthly subscription model to a free-to-play business model. This time the game is City of Heroes, the super hero themed game published by NCsoft. Today the publisher announced that the game, developed by Paragon Studios, will change to a free-to-play model with an subscription option later this year. It will also get a new name; City of Heroes Freedom.

The new version of the game, which launched in the spring of 2004, will allow players to play up to level 50 for free and get access to eight of of the game's playable classes. People who choose to continue to pay a monthly subscription will get access to additional content and features, including access to a VIP only player server. Paragon Studios still plans to add new content to the game including a major update, Issue 21: Convergence, which will go live when the free-to-play model launches. So far there is no specific launch date for City of Heroes Freedom.

This is just the latest MMO game that has moved from a monthly subscription model to a free-to-play version with a subscription option. Turbine launched this trend with Dungeons and Dragons Online and continued it with Lord of the Rings Online. Cryptic Studios, the original creators of City of Heroes, also made the switch with their next super hero MMO Champions Online. Most recently Funcom announced that its fantasy MMO Age of Conan would also go the free-to-play route later this year.

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