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New Free-to-Play Model Coming for The Old Republic

Posted on July 31, 2012 AT 04:37pm

We all knew this was coming, the writing was on the walls for months now, Star Wars The Old Republic has announced it is adding a new Free-to-Play option this fall.  Gamers will be able to access each of the eight character class storylines all the way up to level 50 with certain restrictions.

I’m only slightly worried about what “certain restrictions” entail.

That doesn’t mean those who still choose to maintain their subscription are going to be completely shafted, players who maintain their subscription will get a few perks. 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’ve been listening to feedback from our fans and adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace. 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.”

So to sum things up, gamers will have two choices to continue playing:

  • 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 in-game 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 restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be “unlocked” with Cartel Coins.

As we get closer to The Old Republic going Free-to-Play this fall, Bioware will place the game on sale in August for $14.99 USD, including in one-month of subscription time. Those who stick around will find far more content appearing in a faster time-frame to enjoy. Do I believe this will save the game and keep its numbers up at a level where it is viable to continue funding development? Maybe, but I have to wonder what will be lost in the process.

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