Star Wars: The Old Republic Going Free-to-Play

BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO will be getting a free-to-play option for its first 50 levels as early as this fall, according to an announcement from Electronic Arts.

According to a press release found here, players will have both free-to-play and subscription options for SWTOR starting this fall. The free option lets you play the game through to level 50, but bars players from additional content to be released and “advanced player options; some of that content can be purchased with in-game “Cartel Coins.” You’ll also be limited on how many Operations, PvP warzones and Flashpoints you can run in a given week.

The release also says that, starting in August, SWTOR will drop to $14.99 and include a free month subscription for new purchasers. Existing players will get some benefits for their loyalty, however:

Current and former players will also find additional benefits as part of this program. BioWare will be increasing the frequency of game content updates, with the first of many new releases coming in August. In addition, current subscribers will receive Cartel Coin grants and qualify for access to special in-game items. Even former players who re-activate now will qualify for special benefits.

Sticking with the subscription service also gets players “unrestricted access” to the game, new content, and a constant flow of the new in-game currency, Cartel Coins. Those can be used “to purchase valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.”

More details about the free-to-play model are available at the official SWTOR website (see image below). We’ve reached out to EA and BioWare for further comment on the development.

Now to you guys: Is this the beginning of the end for SWTOR? Will you start playing or return to the game now that it’s free?

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

6 Comments on Star Wars: The Old Republic Going Free-to-Play

Zach

On July 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Since I was in the Beta for this last year I held onto the mantra of “I’ll wait till it goes free-to-play”.
People called me an idiot and fool because EA couldn’t afford to ever go with the free-to-play model.

Looks like I get to spend my time from now till my free account is created demanding apologies and handing out I-told-you-so’s to my friends.

Kevin

On July 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm

If you like the game as is, then you should be really happy. And it has some things going for it, especially now that it will be f2p. A 15 buck single player campaign for 30-40 hours is actually a pretty phenomonal deal.

Yet are you looking for an MMO, or wanting to see more content from TOR? Don’t bother coming back. Bioware’s main selling point was the story-centric voice acting. Think that can be afforded with a F2P model?

michael

On July 31, 2012 at 5:58 pm

They are doing this because Guild Wars 2 is coming out at the end of August and its free to play.

Dantes

On July 31, 2012 at 8:09 pm

@Kevin

Yes, actually. Many MMO’s that have gone free-to-play have become *more* profitable, resulting in more content, not to mention their continued existence. While we can only speculate on the success (or lack thereof) of TOR, it should be safe to assume that the dev’s feel that the game can no longer be sustained by a subscription-based payment model. Obviously, something isn’t working, hence the change.

I feel that the subscription model for MMO’s is becoming increasingly outdated. Just look at Guild Wars. They regularly brought out big content updates at triple-A style production value and never once charged a subscription fee. The major content only stopped coming once the developers decided to shift focus to Guild Wars 2, which will follow the same payment model as the original. Guild Wars was the best proof for something that I’ve long believed: subscription fees for MMO’s are very unnecessary. Perhaps they were necessary once, but no longer.

Hopefully, more and more gaming companies will realize that subscriptions are outdated and unnecessary and build their games with alternative payment plans in mind from the outset. Personally, I hope The Secret World is next on the chopping block so I can actually give that a chance too.

Axetwin

On July 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm

HA! I freaking called it. Back when they announced the “first 10 levels are free” I said “Im calling this now, this game is going F2P before the end of the year” and there it is.

It was actually quite funny to see just how much people were in denial about this inevitability. All the warning signs were there and when you tried to point them out to certain people they would just shrug it off by saying “Well WoW does all those things and its not going F2P anytime soon”, to which you would counter with “Well yeah, but WoW didnt start doing those things 3 months after its launch”.

Kevin

On August 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm

@Dantes:

Again, TOR main selling point is stroylines and voiceovers. That stuff isn’t cheap. Given the horrid state of their “end-game” content, you honestly think people are just going to roll a thousand alts and keep contributing via fremium service to a 1-50 grind? I don’t have a problem with F2P/fremium style games. I just question the way TOR is structured. Even now they are giving away the one selling point: storyline.

I have no problem paying a subscription, provided I get actual value. Everyone looks at these horrid games that had subs going f2p and says “proof subscription services don’t work!”

Except that isn’t it at all. It’s more proof that the game you made sucks, and people won’t pay for trash.

There are other advantages of the B2P model that Arenanet and others use, but TOR isn’t going that route.