Hey, here’s a date: Champions Online will go free-to-play officially on Jan. 25, 2011, according to Cryptic. Previously, the game’s F2P switch was scheduled for a Q1 2011 release after a wave or two of beta testing.
After the switch, we’ll have to start calling Champions Online by its new name: Champions Online: Free For All. Also, we'll have to get used to its new format that'll allow free participation in the MMO without the fees.
As you’d expect, Champions Online: Free For All will feature a robust in-game store where F2P players can purchases in-game content like Adventure Packs, items, and abilities a la carte. But Cryptic is also keeping its membership options. If you sign up for $15 a month, most of the store stuff unlocks for you to use at will. This here handy features matrix does a great job at breaking down what you'll actually get if you do decide to pay the monthly fee after testing out the F2P waters.
"It's a genuine pleasure to be able to announce our release date for Champions Online: Free for All," John Needham CEO of Cryptic Studios said in a statement. "On January 25, 2011, any gamer or would-be superhero can play within the ever-improving world of Champions Online for no cost."
It’ll be interesting to see how Champions performs without the monthly fee. It’s not the most thrilling, deep, or revolutionary MMO out there, but it’s fun to play in bursts. And that character creator? Man, that thing is almost a game in and of itself.