In a turn of events that surprised absolutely no one, EA has finally announced the fate of Star Wars: The Old Republic. EA’s most expensive disaster in history is going Free-To-Play this fall. This news comes after the subscriber total dropped drastically earlier this year. When contacted for the official number of current subscribers, EA were hesitant to give it, but assured us that the subscriber count is currently “well over” 500,000. That’s a number no MMO wants to be remotely close to.
“Players want flexibility and choice. The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe,” said Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare Austin. The barrier he’s referring to, of course, is paying a monthly subscription for a single player game.
Starting sometime this fall, Bioware will offer both Free-To-Play and Subscription-based options for players of the Star Wars MMO that should have been the chosen one, but fell flat of everyone’s expectations.
The differences between the two play options are what you would expect from a MMO going the Free-To-Play route. Bioware will be adding special currency to the game, which may be acquired with real world money, and it is required to unlock new content and special features. More on the two options can be read below.
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.
I think the change from subscription to Free-To-Play was the smartest thing EA could do to this game. Believe it or not I loved playing it when it first came out, but the numerous faults quickly surfaced during my time in the lifeless world Bioware had created. If going Free-To-Play will breathe new life into the Star Wars universe I desperately want to inhabit, I’ll be willing to give Star Wars: The Old Republic another chance.
Source – EA