Age of Conan relaunching free and unrated this summer
Funcom's fantasy MMORPG dropping subscription fee and adding "barbaric and sexy" content, in-game store; sales top 1.4 million; movie tie-in pack in development.
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Funcom's massively multiplayer online role-playing game Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures was well-reviewed when it debuted in 2008. It welcomed a major expansion pack--Rise of the Godslayer--in May 2010, and now its developer has announced the next major new change for the game.
Age of Conan will relaunch sometime this summer under a new name: Age of Conan: Unrated. In addition to the new title, the game will go free-to-play, joining big-name MMORPG Lord of the Rings: Online in adopting the business model.
Gamers will be able to choose if they wish to play for free or pay for a premium subscription. The differences between free and premium include character slot allotment (two for the free model and eight for premium), raid offerings (two for the free model and full access for premium), and others. For the full breakdown, check out the FAQ page on Age of Conan's website.
Funcom is also adding an in-game store with the relaunch of Age of Conan. The virtual marketplace will be available to both free players and premium status subscribers and will sell "exclusive" content like weapons and mounts.
Age of Conan was rated M for Mature when it launched, but according to Funcom, when it's rereleased as Unrated, the development team will be able to "stay even more true to the original works of Conan author Robert E. Howard," using "more of the barbaric, brutal, and sexy setting that is Howard's Hyboria."
Funcom says it is developing new locations, monsters, equipment, and storylines for the Unrated version of the game. The developer did not elaborate further on this point but did note that some of the new content will be a movie tie-in adventure pack, which will bring characters and content from the upcoming Conan the Barbarian film into the game.
For more on the title, check out GameSpot's review of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, as well as GameSpot's review of the Rise of the Godslayer add-on.