Age of Empires Online is now entirely free-to-play, developer Gas Powered Games has announced.
Previously the game was only "free to try." The base game didn't cost anything to sample, but most of the higher tier content couldn't be attained purely through play.
"We probably turned off a lot of players who would've kept playing had they been given the option to earn a Premium Civilization," explained systems design lead Eric Williamson in an interview with PC Gamer.
Now all content is available either through in-game purchases or Steam micro-transactions.
"With Empire Points and this true free-to-play business model, we are giving players what they have repeatedly asked for... fewer pay walls and more ways for players to experience this legendary franchise," explained founder and CEO of Gas Powered Games, Chris Taylor.
In addition to the more inviting payment model, Gas Powered Games has released a new team-based multiplayer mode for level 40 players called Alliance Wars.
As an added bonus, current players have been given 500 Empire Points - the game's currency - as a gift, while new accounts are allotted 100.
Eurogamer's Rich Stanton gave Age of Empires Online a 7/10 in his review stating, "although its new structure spreads it a little thin, there's still a fine strategy game underneath it all."