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Free-To-Play Coming To Star Wars: The Old Republic

Carl Phillips
BioWare, EA, Free to play, Microtransactions, MMORPGs, PC games, Star Wars The Old Republic

Free-To-Play Coming To Star Wars: The Old Republic

Previous & Current Subscribers To Get Bonuses

It is the news that many were expecting to hear for some time now, but it has finally happened. EA and BioWare announced last night that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be going Free-To-Play later this year. A microtransaction store will be implemented into the game, with bonus “Cartel Coins” being handed out to all current and former subscribers. We have all of the details after the jump.

Coming “this fall”, SWTOR players will be given two ways to play; Subscription and Free. Subscribed players will have unrestricted access to the game, along with priority game login. Meanwhile, free players will find they are limited in a number of areas, including how many times they can access Flashpoints, Space Missions, and PvP Warzones. Character creation choices will also be restricted, with subscribers the only players who will have access to all race options. The level cap will not be affected though, with all players free to experience the full story for their class and reach level 50. You can read a list of the restrictions announced so far by heading to the link here.

In the meantime, current and previous subscribers will be rewarded with “Cartel Coins” which will be the currency for the microtransaction store. If you have subscribed any time before 31st July, you will receive a sum of coins for each paid month, with subscribers beyond that point gaining slightly more per month until the release of Free-To-Play. Purchasers of the Collector’s Edition will receive an additional1000 coins. Expect levelling boosts, special cosmetic items, and collectables to be available on the microtransaction store.

In a statement on the official blog, Executive Producer Jeff Hickman explained the reasoning behind the decision to the current player-base.

Since launch, our team has spent a lot of time trying to find new ways to be able to bring the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ experience to as many potential players as possible. We quickly became aware that our subscription only model was a major barrier for a lot people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe. In fact, many players who have left the game said they would happily come back if they could play without the commitment of a monthly fee.

We feel that flexibility and choice in playing our game is important for all current and future players. For that reason, we began the exploration of expanding the game to include a Free-to-Play option.

Along with the Free-To-Play news, it was also announced that a new Operation called Terror From Beyond, a new Warzone called Anchient Hypergate, and several new Space Combat Missions for high level characters would be coming soon. Along with the recently unveiled HK-51 companion, BioWare are aiming to continue to provide content for the fanbase well into the future. You can find out more about the announcement by heading over to the official website.

As we’ve already stated, this is a move that has long been expected by the industry, especially considering how the positive reception died off steadily, but will it be enough? Looking the relative success that the F2P switch has had for Lord Of The Rings Online, Champions Online, and Star Trek Online, it’s not impossible to believe that the Star Wars brand power will help keep this afloat with the word “free” beside it.

We know a number of you gave it a go in the past, but will you be willing to head back without a need to commit to any monetary cost? Let us know in the comments!

Add a comment5 comments
hurrakan  Aug. 1, 2012 at 10:53

Most likely not.

The monthly subscription cost is NOT the reason that I left ... I still have an unused 60-day time card.

The core gameplay was NOT what I wanted/expected - not even close!

I guess I wanted something like an online version of Jedi Knight with plenty of TIE Fighter and/or X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter stuff seamlessly mixed in. Finally a sprinkling of EVE-Online sandbox and single-server architecture.

Last edited by hurrakan, Aug. 1, 2012 at 12:30
MattGardner  Aug. 1, 2012 at 15:48

I guess I wanted something like an online version of Jedi Knight with plenty of TIE Fighter and/or X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter stuff seamlessly mixed in. Finally a sprinkling of EVE-Online sandbox and single-server architecture.

That would be incredibly ambitious. It would cost astronomical amounts. It would be an enormous risk after decades of distrust, false dawns and missed opportunities.

It would also be the best thing ever.

hurrakan  Aug. 1, 2012 at 16:11

It's basically the Star Wars game the world has been waiting and hoping for since we first saw the movies.

If only a resourceful developer + publisher could spend hundreds of millions of cash and several years designing and creating such a Star Wars game... Oh. They did - they just made the WRONG game.

Since the "next-gen" consoles became mainstream, games have become shallow and "watered-down" compared to how they used to be. That much has been evident to me since I got the original Xbox. Games on consoles tend to be simplified - I guess because they are aimed at a wider and younger audience. I think that is the main cause of why games generally aren't as good as they used to be.

I didn't like Old Republic because I felt like I was only PRETENDING to be in Star Wars. All contrived and fake - nowhere near as good as KOTOR 1 :(

Anyway, now is the time to play KOTOR 2 properly, which I didn't do yet (was kind of waiting for this):

CarlPhillips  Aug. 1, 2012 at 16:29

An MMO with twitch-based combat mechanics on a single persistent server with sandbox elements? Forget development costs, what you want to worry about is having servers powerful enough to process the actions of all your players. You'll have latency issues on top of that as well (at least here in the UK) and all of that before working out a subscription fee that offsets the expenditure all of that would bring. It's a problem I've unfortunately seen before.

Don't get me wrong hurrakan, everything you mentioned falls under my dream MMO scenario (which I will no doubt bore you all with in the future) but I can't see it happening any time soon. There have been attempts at make such a game a reality, Mortal Online being the most recent that I can think of, but that had its fair share of issues as a result of its ambitious nature. EVE is the one exception of a single server (cluster) MMO surviving, but it isn't a perfect execution by any means (something I talked about in one of the recent PWNCASTs.)

hurrakan  Aug. 1, 2012 at 16:43

EVE is the one exception of a single server (cluster) MMO surviving, but it isn't a perfect execution by any means.

I know. I've had an Eve account since 2007 but I hardly played it - it sucks!

The best things about Eve are the lack of instancing and the voice of Aura. I found the actual game obtuse and inaccessible after trying to play it on and off for 5 years. It seems to take a herculean effort to have FUN. And I hate piloting ships by clicking arbitrary points in space, like some kind of mindless point-and-click adventure.

Why don't CCP license/lease their server architecture tech. so that there can be other, better single-instance MMOs? Everyone's a winner.

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