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.

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.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

555 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?

mechmaster525
mechmaster525

"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."

 

Now if that isn't EA/Bioware exemplifying pay to win I don't know what is.

IcyRush
IcyRush

What a shame i was really excited when i first bought it but i quit it fast enough though,still it was a good period of my life

 

Z3R0B4NG
Z3R0B4NG

and 3 Months after F2P -> LOCKBOXES (google it if you don't know what it means) we Star TREK Online players are way ahead of you guys... in terms of being getting ripped of and seeing our beloved IP getting milked to death... YOU ARE NEXT!

J4m3sR4n0r72
J4m3sR4n0r72

I don't know where all these people are getting this misinformation that you need Origin to play ToR, but it needs to stop.

Dsolow5
Dsolow5

I decided not to try AoC, Warhammer Online, SWTOR, and TERA -- and all of those games have failed or are going to fail. But I'm going to try GW2. It's legit.

Mega_Loser
Mega_Loser

the fact is that this TOR received the right ammount of mixed press reviews and negative user opinions that even now that it's free, i can't be bothered.

to that, i add the huge repulsion of having to use origin to play, and it's gone.

ghstbstr
ghstbstr

Sounds like good news atleast to me. This way I can go back to SWTOR and play it again without having to pay for it. I can't wait.

davor_25
davor_25

Oh look another MMO got shit on by WoW, next up - Guild Wars 2!

SirChuckalot
SirChuckalot

Gosh....didn't see that coming :-P And that subscription model wouldn't have been a problem with me if they had released a real MMO instead of an online KOTOR 3. Even free won't get it done, sorry.

 

I've been having a blast playing SWGemu. I do love a good sandbox to play in. =)

xMoonDevilx
xMoonDevilx

What I think is really funny....is that everyone was saying the same things, or similar, things about LOTRO...how it was lacking in so many ways, boring, a failure...yet in F2P, it is doing quite well. Better content, more engaging, etc etc. DCUO....had both console and PC, and lacked any interest. Went F2P...and is now very successful. SWTOR going F2P is more of an example of the changing face of gaming in the MMO market. There are literally just way too many MMOs to play....one cannot afford to subscribe to all of them. F2P opens that up now. And games like SWTOR can then start instituting more engaging content simply by providing access, allowing for longevity. LOTRO was sure to die completely by the sounds of remarks made early into it....just like SWTOR is getting now.

sknight175216
sknight175216

I just wanted Kotor 3 and I was disappointed when they announced an MMORPG (the worst genre of games in my opinion) but I ended up getting into the closed-beta and actually enjoyed playing it, but by myself. So really they should have just made Kotor 3 instead greedy EA trying to make Bioware make a genre of games that they don't make. Anyway I don't understand why people say the game sucks, because I actually found it to be pretty good. Then again I don't care about playing pvp and grouping up and all that crap. I just want to play the story.

Black_Tribi
Black_Tribi

Fail game. Sadly I fell for this flop at the launch. SO much frickin hype .... that's never good.

RiceBoX360
RiceBoX360

And soon TERA will go from P2P to F2P. ^_^x just sayin.

crazyintheface
crazyintheface

I don't understand paying a monthly fee to play a game especially when you have to buy the game itself.

Arsyad00
Arsyad00

Mabinogi Heroes much more FUN!!