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I run a large guild devoted to new players and those leveling. We teach them to game, level them to 50, gear them up, and then place them with a raiding guild.
In view of the kind of guild we are we see a lot of new players, and have seen a lot of f2p characters. We have observed that a significant numer of these are opting for subscription status after a short experience with f2p. The servers are now often full, and I suspect more servers will be coming out soon. The early signs are that the game is on its way up.
Hokey religions are no replacement for a good blaster at your side.