Shadowrun OnlineÂs business models of free-to-play or campaign have led to a bit of confusion for some fans. In an effort to clear the air, Cliffhanger recently posted a new update to clarify the differences of the two options. In short, players that purchase a campaign mode box will be able to purchase all items within the game for the in-game Nuyen currency while still having the option to play with their free-to-play friends as all players will play on the same server. Campaign players also get a boost to their in-game earnings of cash, karma, an increased chance for better loot drops, and their actions could count a bit more towards the gameÂs plot development.
On the other side of the coin, free players will have two currencies to use with the in-game Nuyen and the alternative Premium, which can be purchase for real world cash. Premium currency will be needed to purchase certain items for free players in Shadowrun Online that campaign players can otherwise purchase with Nuyen. Free players can also opt for a subscription to temporarily earn the same karma, cash, and increased chances of better loot boost as campaign players. This can be extended through a lifetime premium subscription or by purchasing a campaign box.
To prevent campaign players from trading off premium items and cash to free accounts, the two models will not be able to exchange items or currency. While this is a bit of a severe restriction, the devs believe that it will help curb professional gold farming and aid in keeping the game balanced.
Source: Shadowrun Online Update