D&D Online goes free-to-play

But not in Europe, for now.

Turbine has announced that it is making its fantasy MMO Dungeons & Dragons Online available as a free-to-play game this summer, renaming it Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, or DDO Unlimited for short.

However, DDO's European operator Codemasters is currently unable to confirm plans to follow suit, and says DDO will remain a subscription-only game in Europe "for the time being".

"This is a very exciting time for DDO and in the coming months, Turbine will unveil their plans to roll out DDO Unlimited to players around the world," said Codemasters in a statement on the game's European forum.

"To clarify, for the time being, DDO Europe will not be assuming this new business model and the European DDO game service will remain a monthly subscription-based game with all new content created available to all subscribers, as has been the model up until now. As the beta progresses we will release more information regarding the future plans for EU players."

That's hardly slamming the door, so expect DDO Unlimited to cross the Atlantic some time after the American launch if it's successful.

DDO Unlimited goes into beta testing in North America immediately, with Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine expecting to launch the free-to-play service with the "Module 9" update to the game in summer.

Players will have the option of playing the game for free - without time or level restrictions - and using micro-transactions at the new DDO Store to buy items and content, including dungeons, zone access, character classes, races and customisations, and character slots. Free content will be widely available at low levels and become sparser as you approach the increased level cap of 20.

Alternatively, the current subscription model will continue to be available as a "VIP program", allowing players unlimited access to all content, priority server access, and a monthly allowance of credits ("Turbine Points") for the DDO Store for the standard cost of USD 14.99 a month.

Free players will have limited access to chat, mail, auctions and storage, and will have to make do with self-service customer support. All this will be unlimited for for VIP players, who will also receive full customer service from Turbine.

The update will also introduce a brand new character class and more than a dozen new dungeons to the game, as well as increasing the level cap to 20.

You can find more information in IGN's preview and on the Turbine forums, FAQ, and VIP page.

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