Superhero MMO City of Heroes is jumping on the free-to-play bandwagon later this year, publisher NCSoft has announced.

A standard monthly subscription system now called VIP Status will remain for those who want it, with a few added extras such as free Signature Story Arcs and 400 complimentary Paragon Points per month to be spent in the new Paragon Market.

Those opting to go down the freemium route will still be able to max out their character at level 50, though there are a few restrictions.

They'll be restricted from certain systems, such as alignment change, Day Jobs and Mission Architect, and won't receive any live support unless they upgrade to VIP player status.

Unlike VIPs, free players can only have two characters per account.

"Freedom is about getting more content into the hands of our players, whether they are subscribing or playing for free," explained executive producer Brian Clayton.

"To do this, we've looked at City of Heroes from the ground up and focused on three ways to enhance the experience by giving our players more choices, greater rewards and the best content we've ever produced. And for the first time ever, players can choose to enjoy more than seven years of content for free."

To mark the occasion, the game is also getting a new name City of Heroes Freedom and a new update.

Issue 21: Convergence adds in a new Power Set, two costume sets, the Underground Incarnate Trial, and the new First Ward co-op zone.

Head over to the game's official site for an FAQ on exactly how the change-over will work.

The Paragon-developed MMO first launched back in 2004. Eurogamer's City of Heroes review saw the game securing a 7/10.

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Fred Dutton

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