While the game is free to play, the launch means that they are now taking money for their in-game premium currency. You can earn it slowly, or you can buy it directly.
The pre-order plans, which got you a special tank along with your gold, are now off the table. I decided at the last minute to opt-in for the smallest pre-order, which got me the A-32 light tank and 12,500 gold. We’ll see how well it does, and how long that gold lasts.
Detail of the launch and the rates for the in-game currency are on the World of Tanks site, but for the moment the pricing breaks down like this on the North American server:
1,250 in-game gold for $6.95
3,000 in-game gold for $14.95
6,500 in-game gold for $29.95
12,000 in-game gold for $49.95
25,000 in-game gold for $99.95
Will the game have long-term sticking power? We shall see. But for the moment it is exciting and the graphics are worth the download.