The cutest MMO in town is going free-to-play, sort of.
NetDevil's Lego Universe is a surprisingly fun title for a licensed game, taking the essence of Lego and merging it with many aspects of your typical MMO. You can even build your own Lego castle (or whatever else you want) with pieces you collect as you play. For those interested, but unwilling to pay to give the game a shot, NetDevil has announced a new free-to-play option.
Starting in August, NetDevil will make Lego Universe available via free digital download, so you won't even have to buy the box anymore. Players will then be able to access designated free-to-play areas for an unlimited amount of time. Unlike many of the other titles that have gone free-to-play, Lego Universe won't have its own microtransaction store. The goal is to allow players to try the game and hopefully convert them into $10 monthly subscribers.
The free-to-play areas will consist of two adventure zones and one player property world. The adventure zones are where players complete quests and finish achievements, each with their own storyline. The player property world is a personal zone that allows players to build their own virtual Lego creations. Paying members will get access to 15+ adventure zones, 5+ property worlds, and all upcoming expansions based on new Lego properties.
I like the model and think that other MMOs should follow suit. It's hard to dive in to a new MMO without actually having played it first, so a small free-to-play area is a perfect way to give players an idea of whether or not they like a game. It'd even work for me if it made you go out and buy the box afterward. Hardcore World of Warcraft players might not pick up a title like Lego Universe based on name, but could find that they enjoy themselves after they get one of those little Lego space helmets on their avatar.