In the near future, Eternal Crusade is offering a free option for players to jump in and start playing without any need for purchase, although there will be limitations on the speed of advancement for free players. A new state of the game letter explains the limitations and why they allow free players access to a fair portion of the game. In short, restricting free players to a single class and faction wouldn’t give free players any reason to come back, and it wouldn’t actually lead to a population surge for paying players; more relaxed restrictions works out better for everyone.
Current players will be receiving the benefits of the full version right away, of course, and the letter stresses that the team is still focused on the same overall priorities of balance, bug fixes, and content improvements. Testing keys will be going out within the next few weeks thanks to a partnership with Alienware, so you can look forward to seeing the new wave coming in sooner rather than later.