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You could do a limited-time free play game. That's what Order and Chaos did long time ago, but since then they switched to in-game store. Maybe it's not that profitable... I don't know. But I can definitely say it was free for (IIRC) a month and was fun enough that I paid the monthly to continue playing.

I came back to it after ~a year and it seems like you can buy lots of items, but they're not really required. The economy is completely messed up on all servers, but that was the case when I started already.

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