Star Wars MMO Pricing Plan May Have "Some Twists"

For about 15 US bucks a month, you can play World of Warcraft or most other massively multiplayer online games. That's the genre standard. Could the next big MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic shake that up?

In an interview with Kotaku at Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco last week, Ray Muzyka, general manager of BioWare, the studio creating The Old Republic, said that the game's not-yet-publicised pricing plan will "be more of the traditional business model with maybe some twists as well".

While the publicity machine for The Old Republic has churned out trailers, screenshots and even hands-on opportunities with the game, the people behind the forthcoming online epic have kept quiet about two essential details: When the game will be out and what it will cost.

That release date remains a mystery, but at least one sign popped up last year, with the apparent sighting of support for micro-transactions, that The Old Republic would not stick to a conventional pricing plan to hook gamers on what every MMO maker and gamer ideally wants - a game that a player can play forever. Micro-transactions, flat fees for items in games, are often used to finance free MMOs. Those free games let anyone play for no cost but tend to coax some players into paying a little extra - and then a lot extra - to make their character more powerful or interesting to look at.

Muzyka made no mention of micro-transactions and declined to specify which "twists" he was referring to. But he did elaborate on the general plan for how BioWare and parent company EA hope to charge consumers for The Old Republic:

"With Star Wars: The Old Republic, we haven't announced anything yet. But what we're striving to do, to clarify what I said earlier, is to make sure the fans and the audience that we're trying to reach feel they are getting something they understand and feel that it is a good value for their money - and feel that there is a way they actually want to engage in the experience, both in how they play it and how they pay for it. That's our high-level goal."

Many contenders have failed to knock World of Warcraft from its spot atop the MMO genre. Could a change in how gamers pay for an MMO do the thing?

Until BioWare, EA and Star Wars licence holder LucasArts divulges the money details, we can only speculate on which twists could compel consumers hooked on $US15/month online games to switch over to Star Wars: The Old Republic.


    There are only a few ways I would not get this game - and this is totally one of them. Why should I have to compete with someone who paid more money than me?

      haha yes, its a little too 'real world' for me now.

    agreed. the games becomes less about competing based on skill and more about 'who has the deepest pocket'

    players should be rewarded for the time they put in more so then the cash they put in.

      Or maybe they'd go the route of D&D Online. They have a micro-transaction-based plan that lets you buy new quests, additional character classes, and normal items without the need to grind up money. You don't get anything special. It just cuts down on grinding time, that's all.
      League of Legends has similar plans. They're not giving you any extra power for money--they just make it so you don't have to grind for 2 weeks to get it.


      I'm cash rich but time poor. Why should I be put at a disadvantage in a game just because some kid (or adult) has no life?

      It would be different if this was really a skill based game - but it's an MMO where the only skill involved is how you spend your time setting up your UI and clicking on icons.

      It's Star Wars and it's BioWare. I'm looking forward to playing it no matter what kind of pricing system they have.

        Wow, that is actually extremely well put.

    I would rather pay a monthly fee than have to deal with micro-transactions. Any day. Even on Bill Day.

      You're making a massive assumption: that The Old Republic isn't skill-based at all. Certainly WoW has moved in that direction pretty heavily, but to judge whether a game is skill-based or not, well before the release of it, is just plain ignorant.

      The assumption that those who have time to invest in a game have no life is also quite ignorant. Just because you don't have a lot of time on your hands doesn't mean that you should be given special treatment for throwing money at the solution over those who are actually willing to play through the game Bioware created to unlock the content.

      The reason most MMOs don't charge for superior gear is that it splinters the player base in an extremely negative way. Why would you invest time in playing the game when those with tons of money can buy better gear than you could ever hope to gain through actually playing the game?

      If you can just buy the best gear without actually playing the game, and those who play it can't get gear that is as good as the purchasable option, what is the point of playing it at all? You make the actual game redundant.

    i'm not exactly time rich either, however your still going to get enjoyment from the game regardless of the amount of time you put in. depends how you want to play i suppose.

    and anyone who has played an MMO for longer then 2 hours knows there more skill involved then simply tinkering with your UI and clicking on icons.

    I reckon they should have a strategy like my favorite (and so far, only regularly played), MMO, EVE Online. It allows for a subscription, but it also allows players to purchase another month with their "in-game money". Granted it's at 200,000,000+ to buy, but it's really easy to earn that money back.

    One idea, instead of $15/mth, make it $15/qtr or $5/mth

    I'm still hoping for a fairer system where say, you pay for 30 days but if you only log on for 20 out of the following 30 days, you have 10 days left over still.
    ..if that makes sense >.>

      Exactly. Exactly.

      And it should be based on what timezone you are in, not server time.

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