With free-to-play models all the rage for aging and/or struggling PC MMOs, it's with little surprise we learn today that NCSoft and Paragon Studios have opted to go that route for one of the more popular MMOs of the last several years, City of Heroes. Though the game has maintained subscribers in the low hundreds of thousands over the last few years (around 125,000 as recently as earlier this year), the title, which originally launched all the way back in April of 2004, was probably due for a bit of a shake-up, and this new F2P model looks designed to do precisely that.
With the new model, any player can create a hero or villain and play all the way up to level 50 for free. That said, there are also Premium and VIP subscriptions that offer a bit more in the way of content for more dedicated players. Anyone who has previously paid for a City of Heroes account is automatically labeled a Premium member, and by jumping back in with the new game client, you'll retain all of the veteran rewards, super boosters, and other various things you've acquired over the course of your play time. New players can also become Premium members by purchasing any amount of Paragon Points, AKA the in-game microtransaction currency.
VIP players will still pay a monthly subscription fee, but will get free access to the Going Rogue expansion content, specific VIP servers, and also a monthly allocation of free Paragon Points to spend on whatever superheroic bric-a-brac their heart demands.
You can find a full breakdown of the different subscription models at the official City of Heroes website, if you're thinking about jumping back into the battle of good spandex versus bad spandex. Maybe now might be a good time to bust out my old villain, Captain MonkeyPants. He was quite the scourge, that one.