Star Wars: The Old Republic implementing a Free-To-Play model

Star Wars: The Old Republic 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.

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?

[Source: Kotaku, VG247]

Review: Star Wars: The Old Republic

SWTOR To be honest, I never thought I’d be heading back to an MMORPG. But Star Wars: The Old Republic had the potential to bring something different to a world now filled with copies and generic MMOs. I had to give it a shot. With The Old Republic having a monthly subscription, I played the game for one month to see if it could hook me into paying for a second month.

The Old Republic’s focus - Story

The game is set 300 years after Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic; the galaxy is divided between The Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire, and war has erupted everywhere. There are four classes on each side, and each one has their own story to tell. I went with the Republic and chose the path of the Force. I mean, this is Star Wars - I just had to pick the Jedi Knight. While each class gets the same side quests, the main story is what sets them apart, and you can slowly see yourself becoming an important figure in your class’ story. It makes you feel epic progressing through the levels and actively deciding how the narrative unfolds. In any other MMORPG out now, the main story is never the focus. Some have tried, but dropped the ball midway. For The Old Republic, however, the devs nailed it. When they said that the whole game was fully voice acted, they weren’t kidding. Every single NPC in the game has a voice, giving each character more personality and making this game the most expensive MMO to date.

The careful attention paid to presentation is the MMO’s biggest selling point, too. It’s refreshing to play an MMO that made me care about the story, going so far as to give you the option to decide the conclusion of each quest you partake in. Instead of the NPC just bluntly telling you who needs to die or what needs to be collected, you engage in a conversation as if you’re playing one of Bioware’s single player RPGs. In every conversation, you are given a set of choices regarding what to say, and each one can give different results. Conversations are not only for shaping the story, but also granting your character access to certain gear in the game, not to mention improving relations between your companions. It’s a good incentive to get involved in each quest. Be good or bad: it’s all up to you.

It felt like I was playing Knights of the Old Republic all over again. Since I played the game with a friend, each conversation was a treat because both of our characters were included in the conversation. In group sessions, individual players pick what to say and the game makes each player involved do a roll from 1- 150. The winner of the roll gets to say what they picked in the conversation wheel. It leaves a bit of suspense, since your friend can pick something vastly different to say to the NPC. In one quest, I had decided to save the remaining refugees left in a building, but since I lost my roll, we went with my friend’s choice, which was to leave them and take the prize money. Yes, my friend is a douche.



The quest mechanics are still not perfect; repetitive questing is still a problem. Having each quest fully-voiced does provide a different experience, but after the talking is over, you are given the same old tasks seen in most MMOs out there now. No matter the depth of the story, the missions themselves felt like chores in the end. Some quests are simply boring, and the fact that they are fully voice acted increases the time commitment factor, further discouraging me from wanting to accomplish that NPC’s particular side-quest. With all that said, the main story itself is well worth sinking some time into, and it comprises the bulk of The Old Republic’s narrative.

Gameplay is nothing new

This was my biggest worry when I first saw The Old Republic – the generic MMO gameplay. Sadly, there’s nothing new at all with regards to the game’s mechanics. There are a few minor changes, but the feeling is still similar to that other MMO people love playing so much. Since there’s not much of a difference, a direct comparison is inevitable. On the other hand, it’s been proven that this type of gameplay definitely works, so veteran MMORPG players will feel right at home. As for the game’s class stories, you have a total of eight to experience, but in terms of variations in gameplay, you really only have four types of classes.

Each class has a direct opposite in the other faction. While their skills and class names are different, they play exactly the same. For example, the Republic’s Smuggler class is identical to the Sith Empire’s Imperial Agent class gameplay-wise, although they have different story lines.

During your travels, you meet up with certain characters that eventually become your companions. These companions fight alongside you as if they are another player. You can gear your companions up, and they have a set of skills that can aid the player. You get different kinds of companions who learn different roles and skills as they progress. A companion can either be a tank type, healer, or a pure damage dealer; it’s all up to you who you’ll need in your travels to better compliment your class. They also have their own hidden agendas, and sometime in the game your companions will request to speak to you, hoping you can help with whatever’s troubling them. Yes, this MMO is such a Bioware game. They are a good addition to the game though, and you really can’t live without them. A companion is treated as one member of the party, so if you join up with one player and both of you have your companions out, you’ll have a party of four. Adding another player will automatically remove one player’s companion allowing a third person to join, and so on.


Not only do you get companions, you even get your own ship! This is pretty much your base of operations and where all your companions stay. You have your very own storage onboard your ship, and with your ship’s world map, you can travel to any planet available. You get your own ship at the end of the introduction planet for your class, and honestly, it’s pretty epic to see your intergalactic cruiser for the first time. The game also has spaceship battles, which are a decent distraction from doing the game’s countless quests. The gameplay in these battles is pretty much taken right out of Star Fox 64. The game even lets you barrel roll by pressing spacebar! Left click to fire your lasers and right click to fire your homing rockets. You have certain objectives to complete each mission, and they were a lot of fun at the start. But as you progress, the missions end up becoming the same thing over and over again. You can also gear up your ship, but the only real benefit to that lies in making your ship stronger in order to sign up for tougher missions, and each mission gives a good amount of experience for some reason. The space battles are completely optional, so you can skip them entirely if you want.

Class customization is a bit deep in The Old Republic. When any class hits level 10, they are given a choice to specialize in a specific advanced class. Each advanced class shifts your character’s focus to a specific role or a specific play style. For my Jedi Knight, I was given the choice of either becoming a Jedi Guardian, which provides you with skills to take hits, or a Jedi Sentinel, who focuses on dishing out a lot of damage and can wield two lightsabers. Once you make the choice, it’s permanent. Once I picked the Jedi Guardian, I had no choice but to wield a single light saber for the rest of that character’s career. The regret came after a few hours when I started seeing other Jedi dual-wielding lightsabers.

Talent trees are present in this game and will only unlock at level 10. From level 10 to level 60, you will be earning talent points that can be spent on the three class trees given in order to further customize your character’s play style. Again, it’s all very familiar, but it works well nonetheless.

The Old Republic is just like any other MMO – group dungeons called flashpoints, PVP warzones, World PVP, and raids called Operations are all present. Flashpoints in the early levels really give you a feel for your role and your class. Some require a bit of teamwork to complete and can be challenging, but what’s lacking in these so-called dungeons are the heavy story elements Bioware keeps shoving down our throats as we head towards the max level. All we get is a small briefing of what needs to be done and that’s about it. While some do have interesting stories, most of them are just a dull ride, seeing you fighting boss after boss.


Warzones (PVP) are accessible anywhere in the game. They unlock at level 10, and you are given the ability to join a Warzone match anytime. I had a blast with the PVP, but the experience can get old real fast. With just four Warzone maps, it gets repetitive about midway through your career. Each Warzone has a specific objective to win the match, but for the lower levels, most players (me included) don’t really give a damn and just end up fighting each other. When you hit 60, it doesn’t get any better since you will be getting your ass handed to you by the decked level 60’s over and over again. And of course, the best way to get gear is to keep doing Warzones. It becomes an endless grind just to be on equal ground with the top PVP players.

Raiding is considered the meat of all MMOs. Of course, raiding is present, but with a different name: Operations. Operations need a group of either eight or sixteen players in order to complete.

The game is new, and the content isn’t as plentiful as other MMO that have been running for years. It’s hard to tell at this point if it’s worth the investment to get the best gear possible, but from where the game stands now, it has a reasonable amount of content for a starting MMO. You will spend the majority of your endgame career grinding for those tokens and dailies in order to get money and better gear. If you’re into that sort of thing, then you might like what Bioware has to offer in the end. For me, the endgame needs a bit more meat in order to justify a real commitment. It’s a good start though.


Star Wars: The Old Republic sounds epic and looks massive… too massive.

Star Wars: The Old Republic’s scale is huge. Like, I’m shocked on how much work and detail they weaved into this galaxy far, far away. The visuals are great, and each location or planet has its own identity. It felt like the devs really took their time in creating each planet, one by one. They created a massive game to explore; in fact, it may actually be too massive. Everything looks amazing, but sadly, it also looks dead. There are NPCs and players roaming around, but not enough to make the universe feel alive. It’s as if Bioware expected millions of people to play their game. This isn’t the case at the moment. A planet can usually have more than a hundred players at a time. But each map is so big that you are lucky to see ten players in one place. Everybody is doing their own thing. The scale of the world is important, but it’s obvious almost instantly that the world is too big even for the NPCs. Some roads are so wide they make me feel like I’m an ant on an endless journey.


Traveling in The Old Republic got painful fast. Just in the first few levels, going from area to area took too much of my time. I quickly became accustomed to the sight of my character running through wide, empty roads. Early on in the game, for instance, there’s an area where once you get to the end of a needlessly long road, you still have to cross a huge forest on foot. There are taxis that bring you from one area to another, but you still need to explore them the first time in order to use that service. You do get a speeder sooner or later to shorten travel time, but even then the traveling takes too long. I don’t even feel the added movement speed when on a ride. You will spend a ridiculous amount of your time just traveling: it’s no stretch to say that the big world they created pretty much backfired.

I’m not sure about you guys, but the iconic soundtrack and sound effects for any Star Wars product is very important. How a blaster fires, how the droids talk, the alien languages, lightsaber sounds, and of course the background music to keep your blood boiling during a fight are all essential towards setting the mood for a successful Star Wars game. I’m happy to report that in Star Wars: The Old Republic, everything in the sound department seems to be in order. It really sounds like you stepped into the Star Wars universe, and that’s how it should be. It’s funny how every time you fight a boss or activate a specific skill, you trigger John Williams’ epic score. I sat up straight and put on my game face every time that awesome music kicked in.


Where Star Wars: The Old Republic stands right now, it’s a great game. It’s the Star Wars MMO we’ve all been waiting for. Class stories can keep you hooked, and the gameplay can satisfy any MMO player. But the fully-voiced world wasn’t enough to make the experience ground-breaking. It’s a neat addition, but once you take that and the Star Wars license out of the picture, there’s simply nothing unique about the game anymore. Since this is a game that requires a monthly subscription, the biggest question is, is it worth the investment? To the players that are looking for a substitute for better endgame content that is available on competing MMOs, I say no. I actually appreciated the journey to level 60 more than the endgame content. When I hit 60, I had no urge whatsoever to gear up my character. I do think that experiencing the PVE content to level 60 is worth trying, however, so a one-month subscription should be enough to get what you need out of The Old Republic.

Score: 75/100


-          Great main class stories

-          Fully-voiced world

-          The game looks and sounds amazing


-          Nothing innovative with regards to gameplay

-          The maps are too big, making it look like a dead galaxy

-          You spend a ton of time traveling

-          Not much incentive to keep playing in the endgame

Star Wars: The Old Republic weekend pass starts now

Star Wars The Old Republic Bioware is giving curious gamers a treat this weekend. From Thursday, March 15th, 12:01AM CT / 5:01AM GMT to Monday, March 19th at 2:00AM CT / 7:00AM GMT, you get a free pass to Star Wars of The Old Republic.

It's not a full access to the game, but it sure gives enough meat to see if it's a game worth investing in. You get full access to all eight of the classes origin worlds and their faction worlds. You can also try out the pvp aspect of the game by joining the warzones provided. If your curious of pve play,  you will have access to two flashpoints(The dungeons in the game), The Esseles and The Black Talon. Sadly, your weekend can only make you reach up to level 15.

If you have anymore questions about this free weekend pass, check out the FAQ for more information and any restrictions. You can also head to the official site for more information about the game and the Weekend Pass.

I've tried the game in one of its beta testing weekends for a day, so wasn't able to experience much. Going to give it another shot this weekend to see how the game feels after it's release.  The weekend trial has started and the client is around 26GB so I suggest you start downloading.

Star Wars: The Old Republic was released last December and received a good reception to critics and has a steady population so far.


Impressions - Star Wars: The Old Republic weekend beta test

Star Wars: The Old RepublicI was given a chance to try out Star Wars: The Old Republic last weekend during their weekend server stress test. Problem is, I found out I was invited the weekend it was happening which resulted in around just about a day of testing out the game.  Lesson learned though: Emails must be checked religiously when applying for beta testing. Regardless, I did get enough game time to get a feel of how EA's new MMO plays.

I just had to realize the invite late...

It sucks, I know. Found out last friday that I was accepted and received the link to download the client, but with how big the client is,  it took me two days to download it. 20gb was it? I do have decent connection but I occasionally turned off the PC to de-stress it since it's usually oven hot in the afternoon, which resulted in me having the client all patched up and ready for use by Sunday afternoon. Then when I saw the login screen all ready for me to add my info, I had to go out for the night. Before leaving though, I quickly created my character so it's all ready when I get back. I knew server's were going down after the weekend and that I had a very small window to try out Star Wars: The Old Republic. So I decided that when I get the chance, regardless of how late it already is, I'll try the game. 1AM in the morning, I started my Human Smuggler class.

There where 2 region's to choose from: North America or Europe. With me living in Asia, lag was inevitable with those choices, but Europe felt like the best choice to have less lag, well that's what  I thought. I had a latency of 600-800(1-2 bars) which was close to annoying at certain points during play. I bet there will be asian servers but during my time with the game, I had to live with it.

Jedi Knight class Fully voiced NPC's makes a HUGE difference

While I did start having my first character as the Han Solo class of the game, the lag avoided me from enjoying the unique cover system for the class, so I quickly switched to something easier, the Jedi Knight class. What came out awesome when I started with both characters was that each class has it's very own prologue. With the jedi Knight class, the prologue has you coming out of a transport ship, with a training lightsaber stick equipped ready to be assigned as the new Padawan of a Jedi Master. The back story given gives you a sense of how important you are to the story it tries to tell, and with the whole game fully voiced, it's the best introduction you will experience in any MMO.

The conversations you have is as if your playing a Dragon Age/Mass Effect game which is the games strong suit because it actually works well. Choices at times also matter since there is light and dark alignment. If you choose a more jedi-like approach(Which is always the top choice), you earn light reputation; If you pick the dark choice(always the bottom choice), it will earn you dark reputation. They say raising this will give you access to certain items depending how high you are in that alignment, so there's a bit of an incentive to choose what path you'd like to take for your character. It's literally Bioware's conversation wheel in their past RPGs but now placed in an MMO.  You will see a conversation bubble above a player's head to indicate that he is engaged in a conversation with an  NPC.

Gameplay is nothing much to mention since its very similar to World of Warcraft but with a slower pace. Which is proven by WoW to be a very effective format, so why change it? Quests still require to kill this much, or activate certain devices but again what makes it unique is that you can engage in conversations that make you care about the quest a bit more.  Even with a mini boss that die in like 2 minutes, you first talk to him and have the option to find out his intentions(If you really want to care). Thanks to this sto-driven element they focused so much on, this MMO will definitely stand out and make players look the other way, question is for how long.

I sadly only was able to produce a level 8 Jedi Knight and was so close to finishing the prologue to see the game outside the introduction. Was close to collapsing so had to call it quits. They say around level 10 is where you get out of the prologue and at the same time pick your specialization(two for each class) - For my Jedi Knight, I had the choice to be either more damage focused or more designed for the tanking role.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Opening Cinematic

Am I Interested?

No. While I enjoyed how this MMO is very story-driven , the gameplay has too much similarities to a game that I've spent 2 years of my life on. While it's a formula that just works in the MMO world, I personally don't plan to go through it again. Thanks to this beta opportunity, I get a chance to get rid of my curiosity in Star Wars: The Old Republic. For avid MMO gamers though - It's worth exploring and is definitely THE Star Wars online that fans have been waiting for. Its sound score gives me goose bumps as I charge through a group of droids and the quality of the voice acting is one of the best, just as expected from Bioware. How I wished I had more time to explore more of what the game has to offer but If I was still into MMO's, I'd definitely pick this game up, even pre-order it since you get to start playing the game 5 days earlier.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is out this December 20 for PC only. It will have a monthly fee of $14.99 with other payment plans like a 3 month plan or a 6 month plan. If you want to gather more info, head over the official site or check out the game's FAQ.

Star Wars: The Old Republic gets a release date

Star Wars: The Old Republic smuggler and trooper One of the most anticipated MMO's has finally received a release date. Was expecting a longer wait sometime next year, but looks like there will be a new big MMO to try out before the end of the year.  Bioware has been patient with the development of their first MMORPG, which is great, so I'm really hoping that this triple A MMO will be as ground breaking as they say. 

Update your calendars, Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out on December 20 and December 22 for Europe. They also announced the payment fees:

  • 1 Month Subscription: $14.99 (£8.99/€12.99)
  • 3 Month Subscription: $13.99 per month (one-time charge of $41.97/£25.17/€35.97)
  • 6 Month Subscription: $12.99 per month (one-time charge of $77.94/£46.14/€65.94

Each copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic will have a 30 day free subscription, just like any other MMO. After that, you'll have to go with either one of the 3 options after the free month.

The game looks pretty sweet, but the fact that the gameplay feels a bit similar to other big MMO out now leaves me worried. Is the solid story telling enough to give Bioware a successful MMO title? well, we got only months left to find out.

[Source: Gameinformer]