The Secret World seemed like a promising evolution of the MMO formula when it came out this summer. But publisher Funcom has hit a series of stumbles that have left many wondering how they were going to move forward. One crucial step was revealed today with the announcement that subscriptions are no longer required.

New players will still need to pay $30 / €30 / £24.99 for the base game but will be able to access all of the content released thus far for the conspiracy-laden online title. You can still shell out monthly fee if you choose. Doing so gets you the following perks:

For those who want to get the most out of their Secret World experience we have an optional Membership available. Being a monthly subscriber, for the same cost as before, now gives great benefits. For being a member you get the following:

• Time Accelerator (Clickable item which increases experience gain for defeating monsters by 100% for 1 hour, 16 hour cool-down – only usable by Members and Grand Masters)
• $10 worth of Bonus Points (given out every month)
• Item-of-the-month gift (given out every month)
• 10% discount to everything in the in-game store

The Grandmaster pack includes all these benefits and gets an additional 10% discount to everything in the in-game store, for a total bonus of 20%. So being a Grandmaster is better than ever!

Through the month of December we have a special offer where we give 30% off on the first purchase on the 3, 6 and 12 month Membership plans.

Funcom's running a special end-of-the-world ARG right now. Maybe this new change in payment model will extend the life of The Secret World's virtual reality, too.