The writing has been on the wall, but TERA is finally going free-to-play. Despite positive reviews and coverage going into the game's launch, TERA's questing and leveling style simply didn't set a hook in western audiences. As such, the subscription rate became too much of a burden and much of TERA's audience left quite quickly. Perhaps, as a free-to-play title, TERA will be more alluring. We'll find out some time in February.
In terms of quality TERA's free-to-play model is quite decent, too. First off, there are no limitations on race or class for character creation, but a free-to-play player will only have two character slots instead of the standard eight (per server). Afterward, all players will have access to all zones and characters. It's that simple. The limitations mostly revolve around convenience, as in limited bank space and auction taxes.
TERA: Rising, as En Masse is calling it, will go fully free-to-play in February. The exact date is unclear, which we'd expect is so some players don't cancel their last month's subscription immediately. If you'd like to get an early start, TERA offers an unlimited trial up to level 28, which would let a player try out the game and it's content before dedicating anything to the full free-to-play experience.
I was a big TERA fan, and only stopped playing because I ran out of people to play it with. The game's combat is seriously impressive, better than any other MMO out there, honestly. The graphics are high quality as well, if you can stand some fairly degrading armor styles and creepy child playable races. Check it out.