EA has announced
a July 20 date for the official launch of Need For Speed World
, its racing MMO developed by EA Black Box. The game has been in closed beta for quite some time, with Joystiq getting a look at it
back in March.
will be released as a free game client which will let players advance their driver up to level 10 before being asked to purchase a "starter pack." The game can continue to be played without it, but players won't be able to level up to earn new vehicles and power-ups.
EA is accepting pre-orders
for a $19.99 starter pack, which allows for progression up to level 50 and includes an exclusive car, beta access, the ability to play NFSW
a week before release and a selection of power-ups. Unfortunately, our suggestion for a "back-seat driver" power-up -- which would play the game for you to grind levels -- doesn't appear to have made the cut.