Well It Was Going To Happen - The Old Republic Goes Free To Play

Bioware announced today what was really on the cards for some time.  The Old Republic is going free to play.  Now the masses who haven't played the game will be busy typing away telling you the reason is because of the game content or because subscribers find the game boring so are leaving the game.  Now this is not so.  I played the game and got quite a way in and can report  that the atmosphere is spot on and captures the Star Wars ambiance quite nicely.  "Okay so why did you stop if it's so good?" I hear you ask.  Well the same reason why the game is going free to play.  Cost!  MMORPG's are changing and the monthly payment structure is quickly becoming an out of date system.  I love playing MMORPG's but some months I don't seem to get my moneys worth so I stopped playing.  Going free to play will see me return even though I may not see all the content I had when I paid.  Bioware are doing something clever here.  You have the option to pay for the game or play for free to level 50 where some of the content may not be available.  This is clever because it opens up the game to the casual gamer but leaves the option to pay for all the content for the hard core fan.  Current and former subscribers will be given Cartel Coin credits and other perks, including special items.

Star Trek online went free to play and has just released their season 6 update and seems to be going from strength to strength.  I look forward to seeing positive things about The Old Republic because lets be honest its short life on the web has not been good so far.

The game isn’t free-to-play yet, however.

“As the first step towards adding the new Free-to-Play option this fall, in August at retail Star Wars: The Old Republic will go on sale for $14.99 USD, including one-month of free subscription,” according to the press release.

Also with the imminent World Of Warcraft expansion pack coming out at the same time as The Old Republic going free to play this makes even more of a good descision by Bioware.

Rob Wainfur
The Bearded Trio

Here's the press release

BioWare™, a Label of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA), announced today that it will be expanding the story-driven, massively multiplayer online game Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ by adding a new Free-to-Play option this fall. This option will give players access to each of the eight iconic Star Wars character class storylines, all the way up to level 50, with certain restrictions*. Unlimited game access, including new higher-level game content and new features will be made available through individual purchases or through a subscription option.

“Players want flexibility and choice. The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic™ universe,” said Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare Austin.

Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer of Star Wars: The Old Republic added, “Since launch we have been adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace based on the feedback from our fans. We believe we are in a position to help improve the service even more, not only by continuing to add new content, but also by expanding the game to many more Star Wars fans, increasing the populations on worlds and the vibrancy of the community.”

Starting this fall, there will be two different ways to play Star Wars: The Old Republic:

Subscription – A service designed for players who want unrestricted access to all the game features via ongoing subscription or by redeeming a Game Time Card. In addition to gaining access to all game content as our current subscribers do now, Subscribers will receive ongoing monthly grants of Cartel Coins*, the new virtual currency that will be introduced later this fall. Cartel Coins can be used to purchase valuable items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.
Free-to-Play –The first 50 levels will be free-to-play, with some restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be “unlocked” with Cartel Coins.
As the first step towards adding the new Free-to-Play option this fall, in August at retail Star Wars: The Old Republic will go on sale for $14.99 USD, including one-month of free subscription.

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. To learn more about these rewards, please visit www.StarWarstheOldRepublic.com/FREE.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the most critically acclaimed MMOs of all time, having won MSNBC’s “Game of the Year” award in 2011, “Editor’s Choice” awards from IGN, PC Gamer and “Best MMO of 2011” awards from Game Informer, GameSpy, AOL Massively, Ten Ton Hammer and more. The game is set thousands of years before the classic Star Wars movies, with the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire locked in the middle of an epic, galactic war. Players choose one of eight iconic Star Wars character classes, including the Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler, Trooper, Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent, becoming the hero or villain of their own personal Star Wars saga.