Star Wars: The Old Republicis going free to play. That doesn't mean BioWare andElectronic Artswon't nudge you to open your wallet in a myriad of ways. Now we know what those methods will be. The developer and publisher have revealed SWTOR's subscription versus free-to-play features.
The good news for gamers wary of the free-to-play label: SWTOR will offer all free players full access to class story content from level one through 50. Everything else will be limited in one way or another. Here's the breakdown:
- Character Creation Choices:lmited
- Operations: a paid weekly pass is required
- Warzones: three per week or the purchase of a paid pass required
- Flashpoints: open, butopen, but with limited rewards after three full reward Flashpoints per week
- Space Missions: three per week or open with a paid weekly pass
- Cargo Hold: gain and expand with Cartel Coins (which cost real money)
- Inventory: limited, can be expanded with Cartel Coins
- Crew Skills: one for free, additional available for purchase
- Quick Travel: longer cooldown period, can be removed with paid purchase
- Emergency Fleet Pass: no free access, must be purchased
- Death: revives at the nearest med center are unlimited, but free players can only revive in the field five times. Additional field revives must be purchased with Cartel Coins
- Item Equipping: most purple items locked to free players unless a license is purchased
Hmm. Curious to know how many Cartel Coins a revive will cost after those free five run out. Could definitely make death a real penalty in SWTOR -- which is actually both good and bad. BioWare says more details on free to play are coming soon.
Man, I remember when this game came out, and everyone was all, "Finally, the game that will kill WoW." And it came out, had a good launch, and then it started losing subscribers by the truckload.
Now look at it. It's not even a year later and it's already adopting a pathetic Free 2 Play model so EA can milk it as long as they can before they shut it down.
Poor BioWare. Seeing that name come up before you played a game used to mean you were in for a good time. Now it just a brand for EA to slap on everything they can before they shutter the studios, and signals disappointing games like Dragon Age II, Mass Effect 3, and The Old Republic.
Meanwhile, the subscription-based MMO is alive and well in Pandaland (which is a great game, by the way), as WoW's subscribers are sitting pretty at over 10 million and ArenaNet is making money hand over fist with Guild Wars, a game with no subscription cost and one that actually doesn't suck.
What say you, System Warriors? Can BioWare redeem themselves, or should we just remember them as they were before EA takes them out behind the shed and does what needs to be done?