Champions Online Going Free to Play in 2011

Following Turbine in many ways, Atari announced today that it’s Super Hero MMO, Champions Online will transition from a traditional subscription model to a free to play, microtransaction based aystem sometime in the first quarter of 2011. Cryptic, known as the team behind City of Heroes and now Champions and Star Trek Online for Atari revealed that there will be a beta test beginning November 9th for the new client.

There are a few FAQ’s posted over on Champions Online for the curious. This move really is not too surprising, and might in fact just be the predecessor to Star Trek Online following since both games launched with support for in-game transactions through Cryptic’s C-Store. Like Dungeons & Dragons Online there will still be a subscription option breaking users into Gold and Silver level play with exclusive features reserved for subscription players. Silver level players will gain the ability to buy adventure packs and are limited to 2 character slots on the game server.

Since relaunching both DDO and the Lord of the Rings Online, Turbine has seen great growth for both games. Maybe Atari and Cryptic are hoping for similar success. Also the studio is readying a new game based upon Dungeons & Dragons in the next year. It’ll be interesting to see if any more second and third-tier MMO makers make the leap to free to play.

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