What is to stop people from leaving after level 50?
This addage applies here: "If you are giving the milk away for free, why would they buy the cow?"
So basically everyone that ever had an account will be Preffered Status and anyone who ONLY pays the minimum of ~$5 US. FOREVER? It is not stipulated. If one only has to pay for a slightly degraded subscription for a one time fee of ~$5 US. Why would they ever subscribe?
Anyone else see the flaws in this plan?
I must say... you are getting more and more cynical here recently Urael.
Basically, I disagree with your assessment. Making the game actually playable to level 50 is a good move. It draws players in well beyond any "trial" feel (which is what sub-only MMOs are locked into)... and yet they have sufficient attractive perks for sub-50 to draw players in early. And let's face it... if if you see nothing to do once you get to 50... then why did you play to begin with. Sure some freebs will do exactly that.. but many will move beyond that. But they will also get conversions to subs and plenty of business through the coin shop.. all of which are healthy for the game and in turn for the plyaer base as a whole.
TL;DR they don't need every player who plays to stay.. they only need a solid core of the player base to stay, and to be able to attract players into the game that would otherwise pass it by because they are averse to subscriptions.
Just because you are jaded about the game right now does not invalidate the flexibility (and draw/attraction) of play they are offering with the dual access sub/freemium approach.