Champions announced their take on "free to play", complete with a benefit matrix similar to what we've seen for other games that made this jump.
Much of the table is pretty standard. Non-subscribers face limits on character slots, bags, auctions, and costume slots, and will have to pay extra for access to "adventure packs". The latter are the patches that Cryptic previously threatened to charge subscribers for. Presumably that threat is now off the table now that it's an explicit benefit of the subscription, which is theoretically a win for subscribers (especially life-timers, as freedom from the sub is worth a lot less if they start charging by the month for content).
The big and somewhat unique change is that non-subscribers will be forced to use a pre-generated "archetype" build instead of being allowed to customize their powersets as they see fit.
For a very new player, having the option to go with a pre-made build is probably a welcome option. In the long run, though, being able to pick your own powerset is one of the game's major features. More concerning, these pre-generated archetypes will have to be optimized for something. Presumably, that something will be leveling (possibly solo leveling) to ensure that new players stick around long enough to pay, which could leave players regretting their decision when they reach endgame.
Also, lapsed subscribers will need to somehow revert their existing customized characters (from before or after F2P) into archetype templates to continue playing them, which sort of defeats the purpose of not charging for server access - you can't sell microtransactions to people who aren't playing because they would have to permanently gimp their character in order to do so. Perhaps Cryptic will implement a system where characters will be allowed to swap between two builds as their subscription status permits, but that does not sound like the current plan.
In the end, as readers of my EQ2X commentary are well aware, I'm not fond of so-called "free to play" models which come with major restrictions that can only be lifted by subscribing. Time will tell, but this sounds suspiciously like the same situation. I suppose that the shift to free to play makes it slightly more likely that I will someday try the game. Unfortunately for Cryptic, the archetype restrictions probably mean that I will do so as a mostly non-paying tourist.
P.S. Star Trek Online, by comparison, will almost certainly make its way onto my playlist when it eventually follows in CO's F2P footsteps. If Cryptic has a sense of humor, they set it so that STO's free player archetypes are red-shirted ensigns. :)