CEO of Flying Lab Software Russel Williams announces that Pirates of the Burning Seas will soon be free to play, those of you that can't wait can find a key to give a 30-day trial here that you should enter into a new SOE station account before logging in.
This has had a mixed reception from the remaining community that play Potbs with Pay to Play however the way it is being implemented means that they can still P2P monthly subscriptions as they did before & it will be known as the "Captains Club" giving players many benefits & economy slots.
Potbs is designed to work with important balancing mechanisms that only function with much higher populations; for various reasons & many changes have meant that Potbs has not been able to retain them or bring in enough new players for it to work.
Also the end game has lacked depth & PVE or trading has been restricted by PVP red zones. The recently released Power & Prestige expansion goes some way to address this with more polish, port governors & more missions.
So why will F2P work?
Many players need high populations to enjoy any mmorpg, no matter how good it is players generally only stay long if that is the case, so when populations grow it keeps the players content & guarantees the mmo's future success.
In my opinion F2P with limited 2 eco slots should easily double the populations; many of those that quit because they were falling or low will come back with a lot of extra new players simply because it's free.
The cash shop is being implemented in a way that does not unbalance the game or give PvP "combat" advantages, however it does allow players to speed up leveling with bonus exp items & PVE npc hire ships for much less grind or to obtain more eco-slots.
As most of the RVR fun in Potbs starts at lvl 50 these will help those that only have limited time to play.
Some outdated views are that when a mmorpg goes free to play it has failed or attracts the wrong type of players, in my opinion that is not the case as the majority of players play for fun without the intention to ruin others game, however by opening the doors to everybody you are sometimes inviting a different type of player.
In the case of Potbs where PVP players like lots of enemy targets, F2P should make it work the way it was always intended & generate a more healthy market for the currently subdued player driven economy.
Without a major re-design & re-launch Free to Play is probably the only way to achieve it in Potbs so I wish them well. :)
If you want to know more about "Age of Sail" Potbs, FLS now host their own wiki or Encyclopaedia Piratica with video trailer here. on their official website.