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TERA going free-to-play in February in North America, Europe as TERA: Rising

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TERA, the fantasy MMO from Bluehole Studio, will become a free-to-play game known as TERA: Rising next month in North America and Europe.

Bluehole will mark the launch of TERA: Rising with a delivery of new content, including the wave-based Crucible of Flame dungeon (first three screenshots above) and a PvP arena called the Champions' Skyring (last three screenshots above).

According to Brian Knox, executive producer at En Masse Entertainment, the game's North American publisher, the company decided to make TERA free-to-play in order to widen the game's potential audience and because "the MMO market has changed, and for the better." Gameforge publishes TERA in Europe. TERA originally launched in North America and Europe on Windows PC in May 2012.

Free players won't run into any level cap, and there won't be any restrictions on the content they can access or the amount of time they can spend playing. They will be limited to two characters per server, and their transactions will be subject to a few taxes. "You're getting the real TERA, not some watered-down trial version," said Knox. The developers are adding an in-game store where players can purchase items such as costumes, mounts, consumables and extra character slots.

"You're getting the real TERA, not some watered-down trial version"

Anybody who has ever purchased a copy of TERA or does so in the future will receive "founder" status, which grants the user perks such as an in-game title to tout that status, six additional character slots and the exclusive Terminus mount. Players can also continue to pay $14.99 a month for TERA, which will grant them "elite" status. "This elite status will benefit you beyond what your subscription gets you today," Knox said. Elite players get extra dungeon rewards, an "epic mount," a 50 percent reduction in the cooldown time between dungeon entries, 10 bonus quests per day and discounts in the store that En Masse says will make Elite status pay for itself.

More details, including a breakdown of the three tiers, are available in an FAQ on TERA's website. You can also watch a video narrated by Knox that explains the changes below.