Star Wars: The Old Republic adding free to play option, microtransactions this fall. Free-To-Play – The first 50 levels will be free to play, with restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features.
Players will be able to level a character all the way up to the current cap of 50. Some content will be restricted, though, and will only be attainable through paying a monthly subscription fee of $14.99 or using an upcoming in-game currency called “Cartel Coins” to make purchases (subscribers also get monthly allotments of Cartel Coins). Paid content is said to have new high level content, new features and unlimited acces. While free players will have acces to the complete story and classes, they will have to pay for new content and additional bank slots, and have unlimited plays in PvP warzone matches.
EA cites “choice” as the reason for the switch and declines it having anything to do with a drop in monthly subscribers. BioWare GM Matt Bromberg said the following in an interview with IGN:
“There has been some decline in our subscriber numbers, but I wouldn’t say that’s what’s driving the decision…what’s happened in the marketplace is that free-to-play has really become the market standard for MMOs and we felt like there were both potentially millions of new players who were Star Wars fans who never tasted the game because the subscription was a barrier. Our research also told us that a lot of the folks who we had earlier on who left the game would like to come back and try some of the new features and content that we’ve put into the game since they’ve left if the subscription wasn’t a barrier. So we feel like the market and our players are telling us that greater access is what they want and so we’re really responding to that.”
If you’re a previous subscriber and decide to come back, you’ll get benefits. Current or previous subscribers will earn 150 Cartel Coins for each paid main before July 31st, 2012, while anyone who bought the Special Edition will get an additional 1,000 Coins. To learn more about the other benefits you can read more on the game’s official website.
I’ve never been a big fan of monthly fee MMO’s, after playing WoW I swore that I would never play one again. But when this game popped up months ago, I gave things another shot. The question remains if this is the big save the MMO has been waiting for, or if this is just another shot in the dark. After players not being satisfied with the lack of high level content or end game, will this spark things up again and increase the player count? I know one thing, I loved the game until I hit lvl 50 and saw that there was nothing left to do except for grinding for commendations in PvP, and that also got boring real fast. I can’t wait to play on my Sith Inquisitor again, this time – free of charge