Massively multi-player online role playing game (MMORPG) giant NCsoft has confirmed rumours that Aion: The Tower of Eternity is to switch from a subscription-based title to a free-to-play game later this month.
The move follows a beta of a modified version of the game which replaces the monthly subscription fee with a microtransaction stroke 'freemium' model, allowing gamers to get into the MMO for free while still providing income for the developers.
In Aion's case, free players will be able to access most functions of the game but will find themselves at a distinct disadvantage compared to those who have shelled out real-world cash. Trading and chatting with both be limited, NCsoft has confirmed, while quest rewards will be lower and the cool-down period for instances will be increased.
Those who have held a paid subscription to the game in the past will be offered 'Veteran Status,' NCsoft has confirmed. This rewards loyalty by removing free play restrictions, boosting the character slots from two to eight and allowing unlimited chatting and trading.
For those looking to get the most out of the game, there's still a subscription option available. Dubbed 'Gold Status,' the monthly fee grants players a drastic reduction on cooldown periods, increased medals and Courage Insignias and other premium features.
If you've still got some pre-paid time left on your subscription come the changeover on the 28th of February, don't worry: NCsoft is converting remaining subscription days into six Aion Coins per day, which can be used in-game to purchase the new premium features.
The switchover will happen on the 28th of February for the European servers, with no announcement yet on when - or even if - the US servers are due to follow.
More information is available on the official Aion Free to Play website