Breaking: The Secret World drops subscription fee, moves to paid DLC model

The Secret World

By on December 12, 2012 at 9:55 pm

As of only minutes ago, occult horror MMO The Secret World has gone free-to-play. The change was hinted at in an “end of the world” video starring Game Director Joel Bylos yesterday, but now has been officially confirmed.

Explained in this forum thread, the F2P transition places no restrictions on free players, but you are still required to purchase the game (Guild Wars 2-style). Those who do purchase ‘Membership’ can accelerate their experience gain for 1 hour every 16 hours, get discounts in the Item Store, and occasional free stuff.

Check out all the details below, or click here for our huge review of The Secret World.

What is now required to be able to play The Secret World?

Everyone who has purchased (or will purchase) the game can now enjoy the full game without being required to sign-up for a monthly fee. This means that all of the heralded story-line and all of the game content available right now can be played as you please without requiring any additional payment.

Are there any restrictions to what a free player has access to?

No. You have access to all the content available right now, including all playfields, all missions; you may enter all lairs, participate in raids, learn all abilities, use all equipment and so on.

What is a ‘Membership’?

For those dedicated to the game there is an optional Membership available which also includes some great items and services:

  • ‘The Time Accelerator’. This clickable item increases experience gain for defeating monsters by 100% for 1 hour and has a 16 hour cool-down. This item can only be used by Members and Grand Masters.
  • $10 worth of Bonus Points given out every month which can be used towards any product in the Item Store of The Secret World (bonus points are valid for 6 months).
  • Membership Item-of-the-month gift (given out every month).
  • 10% discount to everything in the Item Store except Content Packs or other Packs (discounts to the Item Store do not stack with other offers).

How much does a Membership cost?

There are several offers for different durations of a Membership. The current prices are as follows:

  • 1 month 14.99 USD/EUR
  • 3 month 38.97 USD/EUR (12.99 USD/EUR per month)
  • 6 month 71.94 USD/EUR (11.99 USD/EUR per month)
  • 12 month 119.88 USD/EUR (9.99 USD/EUR per month)

The EUR price includes VAT where applicable.

What about Grand Masters?

The Grand Master Lifetime Option continues to yield all the benefits given to Members and more! As a Grand Master customer you receive everything that Membership customers get, every month, lifelong. In addition to that we have increased the Item Store discount to 20% for everything in the Item Store except Content Packs or other Packs.

I already bought an Initiate Pack in December 2012. Why was that not free?

Anyone who has purchased the Initate Pack in December 2012 before the offer was launched, will be reimbursed with 1800 bonus points to their game accounts.

What will this discount in the Item Store be valid for?

What used to be a discount of 10% discount to only social items in the Item Store has now been extended to be a discount on everything in the store. As Members are getting a 10% discount to everything in the store, Grand Masters will receive 20% discount to everything in the store!

When are items-of-the-month given out to Members and Grand Masters?

If you are a Member or a Grand Master you will receive the items on the first patch day of every month (currently the first Tuesday of every month). If you are playing the game without a Membership, the item will be given to you immediately when you sign up for Membership or become a Grand Master. The first gift is available now and can be claimed through the Item Store.

Are the free Bonus Points for members included with the first 30 days of the game?

No, the monthly Bonus Points are only given out when additional Membership and/or Grand Master is purchased. However, by completing 30 missions you unlock the similar level of Bonus Points – so there’s a motivator to play. The client fee includes the full game (including issue 1 through 4) as well as 30 days of Membership. Until the end of December issue 5 will also be included for anyone with a registered full account.

Are there other motivators for new players?

Yes, in addition to the 30-mission reward, there is also the challenge of taking down the Ur-draug. He is the final boss of the first dungeon in the game, and being able to complete this challenge yields a special reward called “The Whispering Demon Ring”. This powerful ring gives a fixed XP gain increase for new players and is a great way for new players to get a feel for what is in store deeper into the storyline.

What happens with my remaining Subscription time?

Your current subscription will be automatically transferred to the new Membership program. As such your account will be credited with 1200 bonus points, you can immediately claim the Time Accelerator item and your Membership gift of the month. The 1200 bonus points will be credited to your account on Dec. 12th, 2012. After that you will get 1200 points every 30 days from your renewal of the Membership.

What about future content updates?

Periodically we will release packs of DLC (Downloadable Content). The main content in these packs will be a story leading to unique rewards/items through missions. These packs are fully optional and can be purchased for the Bonus Points that are included in the optional Membership, as well as with the points offered with Grand Master Lifetime service. Players without a Membership or a Grand Master Service can of course as well purchase new DLC content in the Item Store.

When can the first DLC content be expected?

The first DLC will start selling in January 2013, and is the main storyline of Issue #5. However, this content will already be fully unlocked for anyone who has a full game account registered before the end of December 2012.

Besides DLCs, will there also still be regular content updates to The Secret World?

Definitely! Regular patches with free content and updates and enhancements to the core game will continue.

Source: Thanks, Patrick!

13 comments (Leave your own)

Sounds much better than SWTOR’s F2P Model.


Some additional comments from the game director…

“I think I need to define DLC a little bit here to try and give people a little more understanding of what it means.

DLC might be a “Mission pack” with 5 new missions. Pricing has not been set on anything but it might be $5, for example.
So a Lifetimer gets that plus $5 to spend in the shop on whatever they like (at a 20% discount).

I would encourage people to think of it as more like Borderlands 2 in execution, than Guild Wars 2. We will probably never offer some massive expansion, but we will add regular updates over a year of which some additional pieces might have a cost. “


I still definitely want to give Secret world a run. I was involved in the closed beta for a short period and loved it, but i’ve just got too many games and can’t really afford a subscription at the moment. So this is good news!


Regretting buying lifetime!


I love trying new MMOS that are f2p.


I bought the lifetime sub, and at first was a little regretful when I saw the news.

I’m pretty happy with what they are offering to Grand Masters though so hopefully this brings in some new players and gives this game the success it deserves.


Been interested in this game for a long time but couldnt justify the sub (I play WoW too). Now that’s been dropped I might finally pick it up!

James Pinnell

Not a surprising move by any means, but the more people that get to try this game out, the better.


This game is awesome and I really hope that the move to f2p makes it as popular as it should be. I do regret buying a lifetime sub though.. lol.


I enjoyed my time with the secret world, just wasn’t willing to continue paying the subscription with all the decent stuff locked away in their store. I’ll be going back to it now.


Well it’s in the Steam top sellers list now. :)


So essentially they’re doing the Guild Wars model now? Sounds cool.


It’s closer to borderlands in that they’re relying more on DLC mission pack purchases. Speaking of which, Joel clarified again:

“There is a relatively important point that I think we really failed to communicate yesterday.

DLC will have a price. Then DLCs (plural) will start to be bundled together for a price that is less than the sum of their original values. And eventually, DLCs will be rolled into the client price to keep it from depreciating.

So the scenario which people keep describing, where they leave the game for 2 years and come back and have an overwhelming amount of DLC to purchase and only 6 months worth of points to spend, will never occur.

I am still discussing points expiry with relevant parties, but this is one point that I think needs to made more clear to the general populace.”

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