I mainly mean that what appears to be free won't be very soon (and there will be an online store which was already confirmed by devs; you cannot have a balanced strategy with virtual goods that can be purchased with real life money). You wouldn't have Reverie giving away 1000 free game keys to begin with (it maybe a sign of generosity to you but game designers don't make games out of love for players, or a guy they know from the Internet calling himself andreicde or Magicus).
This is how the game was financed:
"...following generous finances provided by the Canadian Government's Telefilm Grant..."
"...In its search for a publisher, Dawn of Fantasy was signed by Lighthouse Interactive, which filed bankruptcy shortly after the deal was made..."
West Coast CA can be very expensive and Canada too (or United Kingdom) - look up developers on LinkedIn. That's why companies like NCSoft relocated to China and managed to survive without ripping customers off - others didn't and won't. Do you seriously think most of the Hollywood productions are actually made in Hollywood? (even over 50% of top scientists in Silicon Valley are foreign born, either Chinese or Indian). Half of it is outsourced to Hong-Kong or other places and god bless Chinese people since they're smart, well educated and not greedy. Greed wasn't the foundation of their heritage for that matter.
If game doesn't return profit producers shut you down (and you don't go to Canada to be poor) no matter your opinions and designs and whether you want the game to not to have an online store (you'd want it if you're a shortsighted designer).
So you'll either have
1. This game becomes big enough to finance development through core game purchases (like Guild Wars. (balance and profitability) - the winning kind but rare
2. It will be financed through virtual goods / marketing or any other spin (profitability and balance for the wealthy only) - core mmorpg / mmorts market
3. Abandon-ware (little profitability, mediocre balance: little or no development) - core game market, most games end-up this way