Everybody kept saying this would happen, and it did. Today EA has revealed that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be implementing a Free To Play option up to level 50 sometime in November. They are not scrapping the subscriber option completely though. Being one still gives you full access, but Just like any MMO going Free To Play, free players get limited access to certain content. interested in the game yet?
The transition to Free-To-Play was mentioned during EA's investor call that also mentioned that subscribers are now at the 500,000 range. The game started with1.7M subscribers. Earlier this year the numbers dropped to 1.3M, now at 500k? Ouch.
Also, in preparation of this change, Star Wars: The Old Republic will be going on sale for $15 around August with a one month free if you wish to get a head start before Free To Play kicks in.
If you're currently a SWTOR subscriber, you get something out of this change. EA explains that they will be implementing a new currency called Cartel Coins that can be used to buy special in-game items at the Cartel Market. Current and past subscribers will be earning Cartel Coins as a rewards for maintaining your subscription. You can find the list of rewards here.
You can also find a FAQ for the Free To Play model here.
I enjoyed my time with SWTOR, and going Free-To-Play has saved countless MMO's slowly losing their player base, so it might work out well for them. With Guild Wars 2 around the corner and World of Wacraft's Mist of Pandaria expansion rolling out on September 25, the changes sounds about right since player drop will keep happening in the coming months.
This is really not a surprise. Free To Play is really the way to go if you wish to stay above water. Regardless of game quality, it's harder now to make players commit to paying $15 every month to keep playing. It might have been a great idea years ago, but times have changed. I don't think Pay-To-Play is death though, I just don't think it's viable for starting MMO's anymore. leave the subscription-based model to the vets. With that said - I wonder if Secret World will hit Free To Play this year?