The High Tech Society

Star Wars The Old Republic Going From Pay-to-Play to Free-to-Play!

Gaming

Star Wars The Old Republic going free

Star Wars The Old Republic Going Free to Play

After losing subscribers for six months straight, Star Wars The Old Republic’s player base has dropped below one million. Unfortunately for BioWare and EA, they bet the farm on an MMO that didn’t quite reach the expected stature of World of Warcraft. It seems that Star Wars fans haven’t been as interested in a massive online game as they expected. Now BioWare is trying to  make up for their subscriber shortfall by going free to play.

Star Wars The Old Republic: Why the Switch From Pay-to-Play to Free-to-Play?

The MMO market has been progressively moving towards free-to-play for the last year or so, and BioWare’s move to make Star Wars The Old Republic free-to-play is really no surprise. The entire market is on an inexorable path to free-to-play with limited content unlockable by subscription or in-game purchases. The fact is, most gamers don’t want to pay $60 for a game, and then have to continue paying $15-$20 per month to continue playing it, especially when they’re not sure whether the game will be for them. The current economic situation isn’t helping players feel more inclined to keep subscriptions going as well.

While games requiring a monthly fee might appeal to younger players, adults with jobs and limited free time to spend online may not feel like a monthly fee is worth the money. BioWare hopes that by opening Star Wars The Old Republic up as free-to-play they will reverse the downward spiral in their subscriber numbers.

What This Means for Players:

New players joining after Star Wars The Old Republic goes free to play will have access to each of the eight character classes and story lines. They will be able to play until hitting the free to play level cap character level cap of 50. Certain items, higher-level content, and specific areas will be locked without an individual purchase or a subscription. EA and BioWare will be introducing a new currency in addition to the current in-game credits called Cartel Coins. This virtual money will be what is used to purchase in-game items such as extra features and customizable gear.

Subscribers (both old and new) will also get some new features to be happy about. For one thing the Star Wars The Old Republic will be going on sale for $14.99 with one month’s subscription included. You can get it at Amazon here. Secondly, BioWare will be increasing the frequency of game updates, beginning in August. Finally, subscribers will receive monthly grants of Cartel Coins. BioWare hopes that adding these perks in addition to the unlimited access to the games areas and features.

Star Wars The Old Republic Game Details:

For those unfamiliar with Star Wars The Old Republic, the game takes place before the events of Star Wars Episode IV. The game allows players to play as members of either the Republic or the Sith. Throughout Star Wars The Old Republic you may acquire companions, obtain your own spacecraft, and join up with your friends.  Players fight in a war where the Sith have amassed in great numbers and declared war on the Galactic Republic. While caught up in this battle of epic proportions players choose between one of eight character classes.

On the side of the Republic are the Trooper, Smuggler, Jedi Knight, and Jedi Consular. Fighting for the Sith are Bounty Hunter, Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent, and Sith Inquisitor. While there are only eight classes in the game, each of those classes has different sets of specialties, making each character fully customizable. There are also a number of guilds in the game.

Final Thoughts

This is a good move for BioWare and Electronic Arts.. The move to free-to-play is likely to bring plenty of players into Star Wars The Old Republic, at least in the short term. Whether those new players will decide to make in-game purchases or switch to a subscription in order to gain access to restricted areas and equipment remains unseen. For now, this switch seems to be part of the inevitable movement towards free-to-play that the entire MMO genre is gradually making a move toward. If you’re curious about Star Wars The Old Republic, I recommend checking it out once the free-to-play option rolls out this fall.