Star Wars: The Old Republic to add full free-to-play

BioWare MMORPG will let free players advance through all classes this fall, will restrict some content and functionality with microtransactions.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic will shed its required subscription fee when it becomes the next in the line of massively multiplayer online role-playing games to implement a full free-to-play feature this fall. BioWare announced the change today, opening the game past its current level 15 limit for free players, in advance of parent company Electronic Arts' first quarter earnings call.

See the marvels of a galaxy, far, far away for less than 30 credits a day.

After free players log into the Star Wars: The Old Republic, they will be able to play as any of the game's eight classes, though some races will be limited. They will be able to advance to the game's current level cap of 50, but some of the content along the way will either be restricted, such as some travel options or the number of player-versus-player warzones they can join in a given time, or outright closed off, such as the game's raid-like Operations. These restrictions can be lifted either with microtransactions or subscriptions--for more information check the official website's feature comparison list.

Star Wars: The Old Republic will also be made available for $15 with a one-month subscription August 6 in advance of the transition. Matthew Bromberg, BioWare Austin studio general manager, said in an interview with GameSpot that the changes were made directly in response to player feedback. He said the game's subscriber base had declined slightly (EA's first quarter financial call revealed the numbers dipped below 1 million) but the changes were more in response to broader trends in the industry.

"The reality of the marketplace today … is that the subscription model is a barrier for consumers," Bromberg said. He said the modifications to the game will let free players experience the majority of its content while giving them incentives to pay for unfettered access. Jeff Hickman, Star Wars: The Old Republic's executive producer, said players will be able to purchase means to advance more quickly and conveniently through the game. Subscribers will also receive a stipend of the game's microtransaction currency to spend on vanity items or other bonuses in the in-game store.

Discussion

556 comments
boomer0901
boomer0901

Here's a kicker on how EA/Bioware now think, F2P is going active TODAY, so instead of drawing a possible new influx of ppl, they go for maintaince for 12 hours, LOL, you telling me you couldn't have done it yesterday or the day before or skipped it, so ppl could go live right away on the 15th???  WoW so sad I was possibly come back and maybe subscribe again, but now I think I'll just play for free when I'm so bored mast-rbating alone won't suffice. 

 

Nothing says F U more than we're down for maintaince to someone just starting the game,  WELCOME TO EA/BIOWARE world, enjoy.

Meteor7
Meteor7

leveling was fun, but every class followed the same path as the other... End game was ok until we completed the raids first shot. No challenge at all. PvP was awful not only was the Republic under played because everyone goes to the evil faction like a bunch of derps it was just huttball constantly. I gave SWTOR its chance, but it didn't deliver and I unsubed from WoW because its boring as hell now anyways. Hopefully  GW2 will deliver >_<

Dfelices
Dfelices

you are soo funny defent wow know wow need releas new content every year and cheap price gift pet  and dstroy the teward for the content  remeber a lot of people have one year of sub only for the diablo 3 a blizzard trip

NoDzombie
NoDzombie

well i guess i will give it a go now if its free, never have been a fan of subscriptions

deathblow3
deathblow3

funny i thought ms was crazy to drop them but i guess they had a point now. lol way to shave the fat for a profit ms lol.

Sky_Stifler
Sky_Stifler

haha this is awesome, they wanna "correct" the epic fail with f2p (probably p2w) :D

mredbolt
mredbolt

I've played this game since the very start mostly because of friends on it and I also opted for the the 6 month subscription plan like an idiot. I've finally cancelled it a few weeks ago. FTP will not save this game! It has been a joke for awhile now, they put out these useless updates with pointless crap like the legacy system, all the while not fixing the technical problems that have plagued the game since beta. Missing textures everywhere, incredibly long login/zoning times, etc... And after this whole server merger catastrophe, it was not even worth trying to play anymore. It makes me sick that they took an idea for a game with an awesome potential and turned into a steaming pile of crap! The only joy I get from this game now is seeing how many people drop their subscriptions every quarter and when it finally fails. (although EA will never tell us the truth). At least GW2 will be out soon to make playing an mmo fun again. :)

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

TOR would have been better as a single-player game, or perhaps a series of single-player games, and would have made more in sales that way.  I haven't bought it, and I'm not playing it even though it's free.  I will not play an internet-based game, because I have a crappy connection, and it's not worth my time.Other people, though, once you make it free, will simply take advantage, play it, and not buy anything more.  Why would they?  They get 60+ hours for free?  That's like pirating a game - you're not paying for it at all.  All I can say for EA/Bioware is EPIC FAIL.  Enjoy your lack of profits, closely followed by the shutdown of the ST:TOR servers.  It was a nice rent for everyone while it lasted...now you will have nothing to show for it except memories (and you can't play it later without the servers).And Blizzard, watch this one carefully before copycatting it.  You've already earned enough hatred with Diablo 3.

m_dorian
m_dorian

It is a great "achievement" for a game developer to have a great 200 m $ budget (without any promotional expenses) and a well established IP and after 7-8 months they admit that their product was a dissapointment.

This is a huge failure for EA, Bioware (Mythic) but no one has to blame the subscription model. Their excuses are pathetic. SWTOR as a title had countless posibilities to be a good and immersive game and a profitable title but it was Warhammer Online Mythic that blew it one more time.

 

Ringx55
Ringx55

Time to give it a shot I suppose.

Ripley
Ripley

sh!t is sh!t.  free or otherwise.no thanks

JESSITO
JESSITO

blocking out fucking warzones are you kidding me? i was gonna come back but you guys can fuck off, get real, stupid freemium bullshit, i guess you guys will wait till your player base is under 100 000 before you actually make it free to play, maybe do the same with the secret world, which is currently bombing for the same reason you money grubbing fucks

zhivago
zhivago

the reality of that major game publishers believe.. is that shit games can still make a profit and they do not care about making good games anymore

Dragdar
Dragdar

the mentality of the publisher:

 

"ok , we know it's not gonna be good enough to surpass WoW in staying power, but we dont' wanna change or challenge the safe WoW formula either so just put a SW paint job on it

 

and then when everyone's nice and hyped we're gonna milk that subscription until dry...

 

then simply move to F2P model, problem solved"

...

 

no passion for changing the paradigm.... just make it safe.

 

we'll the game sucks, there's nothing gameplay wise it tried to innovate or improve. A huge chunk of the money just went to marketing the shit out of it.

terminus
terminus

I for one will be re-installing this game come fall, so I can finish playing wtih all classes, and maybe with the wife too. It will be nice to have an alternate game in the line up to choose from now and again.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

Sub based games don't survive long these days. WoW survives because of the amount of time players have invested. Perfect World Ent. has more income than Blizzard and all their MMO's are F2P. Goes to show that a game doesn't need a sub to make money, it just needs to be more accessible for casual players.

Dfelices
Dfelices

this is great news the truth so people can explore the rich content that is to say leviar then expand more into the game with micro purchases is something that relieves quite

LordDeArnise
LordDeArnise

I hope this serves as an example to all other MMO developers that, right now, they just can't make a "WoW-Killer".  If they at least take some examples from ArenaNet and the prospects that will come w/ GW2 on August 28, and just do their own thing w/ their MMO's--F2P, P2P, or Hybrid--then they will have their own success.

alpha_unit97
alpha_unit97

I'm just going to say it, the main reason i hate MMO's so damn much is because of the f***ing turn based-skill bar- mouse clicking combat systems! Not to mention the endless grinding and farming, its just mind numbing, how can so many people play MMO's? I mean sure, I would love to play an excellent open-world rpg with my friends but every single MMO has to be the same old boring crappy WoW-clone. Why are all MMO devs so stupid? Can't they see we hate this formula? This game did it, LOTRO did it, The Elder Scrolls online is going to do it and so is Guild Wars 2. They say they're making it different but in the end it just boils down to the same old formula Blizzard used on WoW 10 years ago! 

blackace
blackace

They should make the whole game free and then have gamers played for the large DLC updates. Every 2-4 months pay $15-$20 for the extra content, plus bonus items like armor, weapons, etc... I would rather do that then pay $15 every month for a subscription. To me, those days are over. The economy is poor and people can't afford to do that anymore. I might get the game and give it a try now though. I'm still waiting for Planetside 2 however. That's priority one for me.

ajfrankj11
ajfrankj11

what dose this mean for the paying blokes like me and the other thousands playing on there? Is it the shaft? Oh I expect they will give us some tokens. well that's nice!!!!

sithalo
sithalo

i dotn get it they say fall..but i read on nothing site that its november...thats a little deep into fall thats almost winter thats bs...

aps6686
aps6686

Might actually play this game now that it's free. I don't like the idea of a monthly subscription. I just want to buy a game and then be able to play it forever. It's going to put me off The Elder Scrolls Online if it's like that as well. I suppose Bethesda will notice this and not make the same mistake. Hopefully. I would have paid the £34.99 or whatever it was for this if it didn't only last 1 month and then you'd have to pay monthly afterwards!! Waste of money and a surprise that it took 8 months for them to notice.

strahd01
strahd01

So in other words. TOR is failing.

kurtven
kurtven

Yeah I reached Level 8 Now I have to pay, oh wait I'll just play another game

torres_unix
torres_unix

I'm a big fan of KOTOR, but for Bioware to just turn one of the biggest franchises they had into a WOW clone, that was a bad idea.  I hope they grace us with KOTOR 3 because this one may end up like another Matrix Online.

MilkyChocolate
MilkyChocolate

Wow! It took them this long to realise that they'll just end up making more money this way. Congratulations!

Kayweg
Kayweg

There must be a lot of people out there right now thinking "told you so".

I can't blame them.

 

"The reality of the marketplace today … is that the subscription model is a barrier for consumers," Bromberg said.

1.) Oh, and that marketplace is so much different from what it was just a few month ago when the game was released ? Me laughs.

2.) Not enough value for money is a barrier for consumers, not the subscription model.

 

Ninjatrek
Ninjatrek

I love this game, and pulling this move right as the new WoW expansion launches isa really smart move on Bio-wares part. They should really see a bump up in players after this.

jrgoalie33
jrgoalie33

Will i be able to play for free with my current subscription based account?  Or will i have to create a new account to play for free?

luketheduke324
luketheduke324

 @Dragdar sigh, like i said to the person before me: gee really dude? a starwars paint job on WoW, with space battles, conversations and dialog options right? such a copy cat. i guess guild wars 2 will be the same huh? just because a game is an MMO dosnt mean its a WoW rip off. 

jesus everybodys just playing it as a bad game, its bioware dude the game that come out them have been awesome, and they really changed up a lot with the MMO genre, like i stated, free to play is not a bad thing, its great for newcomers, unlike Blizzard that suck every cent out of you, i mean 15 dollars for a name change? if thats not milking i dont know what is.....

nechiken
nechiken

 @Snaptrap Source on that? I'm genuinely interested, not trying to argue.

Dfelices
Dfelices

 @LordDeArnise wow is death rigth now swtor is exelent game but the end game is very small that is the problem but the start and mid game is the most complete mmorpg i play wow from vinilla and cataclism is the death point

Dragdar
Dragdar

 @alpha_unit97 I was with you until you mentioned GW 2, sure it might not revolutionize the combat completely but i can respect their "no-grind" "no subsciption" policy

Dfelices
Dfelices

 @blackace is nop the economy i see more people spent 200$ in a wisky they drink in less of 10 mins...the sub base have the problem is you no make new cont every week the player beat the game and wait for the new that is in that time you stop playing losing money you stop the sub fro that

 

decoy1978
decoy1978

 @jrgoalie33 Your current subscription will allow you to access everything. If you choose to cancel that you can still play your account however you will lose access to some zones or however they do it when Fall rolls around.

nord1c
nord1c

The name Bioware means nothing anymore. EA dissolved any association that customers tend to have between them and the quality of what they produce (e.g. Dragon Age2, SWTOR, MassEffect3).SWTOR was and will be the last EA product that I paid for. I am off to greener pastures at Paradox and Kickstarter.

terminus
terminus

 @Snaptrap  @alpha_unit97

GW2 also uses the click your action style bars he speaks of, although I don't mind that, how else would it be done? You only have so many mouse buttons or gamepad buttons lol. Can you imagine trying to cram all the wow abilities to a control or mouse?

 

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

Yeah , Bioware's name carries weight...dead weight, that they need to jettison, specifically, EA.  But also, they need to jettison the MMO people completely and go back to single-player gaming that they became famous for.

hydn631
hydn631

 @nord1c  You cant say it means nothing unless you have no devotion. Biowares name still carries a lot of weight, but now as smart consumers we have to be cautious to see if its Bioware at the front or EA taking charge. EA has the meaningless name.

nechiken
nechiken

 @alpha_unit97 I happen to like hotkey MMOs, especially seeing as most action games tend to run poorly online with all the body blocking, rubber banding after hitting mobs, etc.

alpha_unit97
alpha_unit97

 @terminus Actually I have played Guild Wars 2 and I will agree it does stand out from the crowd of WoW clones, regardless, there's still a mouse on the screen and an action bar, thus the combat still feels the same. Also, there's plenty of ways to put all those abilities somewhere other than the screen, where you have to physically go and click on them with the mouse. They did it on Fable 1, Kingdoms of Amalur and The Witcher 2? There you'd just hold down a button like shift or ctrl, scroll though your abilities and left or right click on the one you want to cast, and you'd have your primary attack and block on the mouse instead of being cool-down abilities- nothing too complicated, nor would it not work in pvp..

terminus
terminus

Also, you can map the abilities to any keys you want, a lot of people dont click, or you can use macro's etc etc.