Since earlier this month gamers have had a very limited free-to-play trial version of the Bioware MMO Star Wars the Old Republic. As of now you could play any class up to level 15 and taste what the game has to offer. Well that is changing as SWTOR will go fully free-to-play in the fall. Gamers will now have access to play all character classes up to level 50 with certain restrictions. Those who opt to continue their subscription will have unlimited access to the game and also continue to receive regular content updates free of charge.
Starting this fall, there will be two different ways to play Star Wars: The Old Republic:
- Subscription – A service designed for players who want unrestricted access to all the game features via ongoing subscription or by redeeming a Game Time Card. In addition to gaining access to all game content as our current subscribers do now, subscribers will receive ongoing monthly grants of Cartel Coins, the new virtual currency that will be introduced later this fall. Cartel Coins can be used to purchase valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.
- Free-To-Play – The first 50 levels will be Free-to-Play, with restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be “unlocked” with Cartel Coins.
Here is a breakdown of what access you’ll get with each subscription level:
A big change that the new subscription model brings is the addition of Cartel Coins. This currency will be used to purchase various in-game items, both vanity and usable items. And to thank current and past subscribers, and those like myself with the Collectors Edition Bioware is giving out a slew of Cartel Coins, the break down of these coins and other rewards are below, and you can also see them on the SWTOR website.
I think this is a great direction for the game and gamers. Firstly every MMO these days is using a Free-to-play model, so it isn’t much of a surprise that Bioware is heading that route. As far as a SWTOR player goes I think the influx of new and returning players will be greatly welcomed to further build the in-game community. However I hope there are careful considerations made on many parts of the game.
Firstly subscribers should continue to get every and all game update and expansion for free. Obviously over time this higher content should then trickle down to the free-to-play level, but I have no issue continuing my subscription as long as I get new content in return.
The next issue is the in-game economy, SWTOR is still young and the economy is anything but stable. Adding this free-to-play option I see a number of players leaving their subscriptions behind. This could cause major issues within the games Trade Network(Auction House). I hope that the EXTREMELY LIMITED GTN access to f2p users doesn’t mean they can’t buy items. Obviously they should be limited in a big way when selling items to prevent gold farmers from invading, but the f2p players would be a key market for crafters making high end gear.
So how many of you will continue your subscription, sign-up for paid or free, or are coming back to SWTOR? Let us know in the comments below.
Oh and Bioware can we get a MAC version already!