Star Wars: The Old Republic has not had the best of years, as subscribers have been leaving the game in droves. However, EA hopes to bring in a new group of fans with the announcement that the game will be going free to play later this year. Players will have access to “all the story content for all eight classes, and will be able to level a character all the way up to the current cap of 50.”
Some content will still only be accessible through a $14.99 monthly fee or a new monetary system called “Cartel Coins” that can be used to make purchases. Players who pay a monthly fee will still have a certain allotment of ”Cartel Coins” to be used at their discretion. People who do decide to continue to pay for a subscription will have access to new content such as “new high level content, new features and unlimited access”. While players who are playing for free will not have access to new content.
In addition, players who opt for the free option will only be allowed to jump warzones a few times a few before being shut out. Subscribers will have unlimited access to all aspects of the game.
EA has denied the lost subscribers as a reason for turning Star Wars: The Old Republic into free to play, instead they cite “choice” as the main reason for the move. Here is their official statement on the issue:
“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.”
According to EA, this free to play model will allow them to provide more content faster, including new updates that are due out in August. Then supposedly every six weeks new content should be available with a focus on “group content”. As of right now there is no official release date for the move to free to play.
I honestly don’t know if this will help save the game, as the most common complaint about the game I have heard is once you finish the main story line there is no reason to go back and replay it. So unless there is some major new content that will encourage people to rejoin, I don’t see how this will help increase subscribers, because I think most people played the game for the story and not the PvP.
But I could be wrong, how many of you out there will play Star Wars: The Old Republic for free? And will this entice any of you people who dropped your subscriptions to renew them again?