BioWare Breaks Down Differences in SWTOR Free, Paid Versions

We’ve finally got a comprehensive look at what will and won’t be included in the free-to-play version of Star Wars: The Old Republic, even though BioWare and Electronic Arts still haven’t let on exactly when they’ll be transitioning the game to the new model.

A newly updated page on explains exactly what about the free version will be limited in comparison to the subscription version of the game. Namely, the only thing that will be unlimited is story content: You’ll be able to start a character and run that character from level 1 to level 50, and see all the bits of story in between.

But everything else is fair game for limitations. Character creation, PvP, Operations, fast travel, space battles — all of which will be limited or restricted if you take the free option, usually to a weekly quota. You’ll also won’t be able to equip rare purple items without purchasing a license, and your companion characters will be limited to one skill capability rather than three.

The good news is that you’ll be able to buy the things you want piecemeal, without committing to the full-on monthly subscription, if that’s more your speed. SWTOR includes a new kind of in-game currency called Cartel Coins: you get some for free if you subscribe, but if you don’t, you can purchase them to buy stuff. You’ll also get some permanent benefits, like the ability to sprint when moving starting at level 1, once you’ve made your first purchase.

You can find the full run-down of the differences between the free-to-play and subscription versions of The Old Republic here. Just mouse over the items you want to read about in each column.

What do you guys think of the restrictions? It’s hard to judge without knowing the prices, but are you interested in revisiting a scaled-back version of SWTOR?

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6 Comments on BioWare Breaks Down Differences in SWTOR Free, Paid Versions


On October 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

The only thing I have a problem with is the restriction on what type of gear you can equip. Thats dangerously close to the “pay to win” section in the article.


On October 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Actually, I find nearly all those restrictions pretty reasonable – I haven’t played it yet, but I’m definitely trying out the free version when it comes out. My one problem is the same as Axetwin’s, the gear restriction sounds like it could be bad…..Though we can’t really know for sure at this point :/

Phil Hornshaw

On October 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I through the same thing as you guys, which prompted me to fire up my SWTOR character and give a look at my character — who, i discovered, was currently using zero purple items. A friend pointed out that a lot of purple items pop up in crafting, which might be a problem, but the more we thought about it, the more we figured the purple loot would be coming from places like Operations (inaccessible without paying) and PvP (limited without paying). So if you’re already not playing those things very much, purple gear may really be a factor.

But like you guys said, I think it’ll come down to price.

Phil Hornshaw

On October 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Derr, I meant “thought the same thing” not “through the same thing.”


On October 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm

The one that I see that kind of seems incredibly arbitrary : Death. That seems like they’re purposefully trying to inconvenience free-to-play player for no point whatsoever, other than shaking money from their pockets. Considering my current contempt for EA, things like that are likely to keep me from SWTOR, no matter the model.

I dunno…overall, while it’s undoubtedly a story based game, meaning I wouldn’t have too much interest in it beyond the story…some of these restrictions just turn me off.

I think the way they’re doing the crew skills, inventory, and cargo holds are absolutely the right way to design a free-to-play system.

But limiting the number of times I can revive (and not, that it does NOT say 5 times WEEKLY, leading me to believe that you get 5 revives, then have to purchase more)…that seems cheesy.


On October 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Also, the removal of the Emergency Fleet Pass from the free-to-play model…again, that just seems incredibly arbitrary, and designed as nothing more than inconveniencing customers into paying for it. Another large turn off for me.

At this time, it’s dicey, at best, that I would return. It will largely depend on the price of the cartel coins, and even then…they should revisit a couple of these restrictions.