Star Wars: The Old Republic Going Free-To-Play

BioWare's massively multiplayer online RPG Star Wars: The Old Republic will go free-to-play later this year, publisher Electronic Arts said today.

Earlier this year, the game became free-to-play until level 15. In coming months, players will be able to play any storyline up to level 50 for free. To access higher-level game content and other new features that the company plans to implement, you'll have to either pay for a subscription or buy things individually.

"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," BioWare Austin GM Matthew Bromberg said in a press release.

Here are the two options BioWare has to offer, according to their press release:

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 customisable 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.

If you're already a subscriber or you've subscribed to the game in the past, you'll get a bunch of rewards for your money: 150 Cartel Coins per paid month; 1000 Cartel Coins and a "Heroes' Banner" for Collector's Edition buyers; and extra bonuses for people who sign up between August 1 and the eventual free-to-play launch.

BioWare also promises more regular content updates in the near future, starting this August.

This is a decision that has been hinted at for a while. Earlier this year, following news that The Old Republic had lost a significant chunk of subscribers, BioWare's Emmanuel Lusinchi said they were considering the free-to-play move.

"Since launch, we've been listening to feedback from our fans and adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace," executive producer Jeff Hickman said in today's press release. "We believe we are in a position to help improve the service even more, not only by continuing to add new content, but also by expanding the game to many more Star Wars fans, increasing the populations on worlds and the vibrancy of the community."


    So not exactly a "still birth", but... definitely a very sick
    little child of a game.

    Definitely going back into the game when F2P comes into effect.
    Loved the story, just didn't have the money to maintain 2 subs
    (this and WoW)

    A month ago, I wouldn't have liked this news very much, thinking of
    it as EA practically admitting the game was rubbish. But then my PC
    died and I missed out on a month I'd payed for. So, I'm all for
    this now. Plus, they're still keeping the subscription option, so I
    can go back to that when I get sick of all the cool stuff being
    behind micro-transactions. \o/

    And I'm back in... no doubt I'll now spend a bunch more money to
    avoid the grind. Cest le vie'.

    I came here looking for the Tortanic jokes. Where are all the
    Tortanic jokes?

      Because I think people still want a successful SWTOR MMO ?

      Even if I don't end up going back to it, I do want lots of successful games out there - I want these companies working hard and competing for my $$ by innovating, learning from mistakes and putting out better products.

      Also - this Kotaku AU rather than Kotaku US and we're (hopefully) a little more civilised/mature.... ?

        No most people would rather they just got KotoR 3.

        Difference is that at the moment there aren't many star wars games on the horizon so it seems worth keeping this until we get something new.

        But honestly i just feel sorry for the SWG players. SWTOR killed their game because the overlords didn't want competition. And the replacement could end up in just as bad a place.

        At what point did being civilized and more mature become equal with being optimistic and upbeat about anything and everything regardless of the situation while maintaining a strict no-humor-policy?

    Will get this and play story mode, and not spend a dime lol.

    Not surprised, but I'll check this out when it comes; the content
    isn't worth a sub, but it was worth the occasional cash shop drop.
    Just hope they don't go crazy with the exp grind.

    I stopped playing as I was promised story and I got grind with
    boring character dialogue.

    Yes! Missed one of the free weekends so had the game installed to
    take advantage of the free 15 level cap, so great news for me

    I'll definitly be heading back in!

    Damn still only 50 listings in the GTN for subscribers. Hopefully
    all these new FTP players coming in will bolster the market enough
    this restriction doesn't cause to much problems!

    Well, this guarantees I'll be jumping on it now.

    EA: This is not the subcription model you're looking for *waves hand*

    Shitty PvP is still shitty when its free.

    EA confrimed as very short sighted.

    What drove me away from SWTOR was its combat, character mobility, dozens of active skills to manage and heavily WoW influenced design (WoW has never appealed to me). I doubt a F2P conversion will be enough to bring me back permanently but I'll still drop back in as I did enjoy the story for the most part.

      I had the same issues. The story was good but not enough to make me slog through the grinding.

    What drove me away from SWTOR was its combat, character mobility, dozens of active skills to manage and heavily WoW influenced design (WoW has never appealed to me). I doubt a F2P conversion will be enough to bring me back permanently but I'll still drop back in as I did enjoy the story for the most part.

      Not sure why/how I double-posted - apologies!

    At least it should liven (spelling?) up general chat a bit. At the moment it pretty much dead no matter where you are

    When something goes free, doesn't it mean an invasion of douchebags being disruptive and using throwaway accounts?

    This is great news for me! I really enjoyed my time in the beta but I just couldn't afford a monthly subscription.

    Ah, the League of Legends model of gaming.

    Or as I like to call it, the "free game you'll spend $8000 on" model.

    sweet now i can actually try it and see if i like it XD No game is worth pay to play !

    just in time for buffer time from diablo3 to TL2

    not a good enough game to waste my bandwidth downloading it imo

    I'm still playing it, my issue is really the difficulty of adding compelling voice content for expansions and etc. I mean, they need to retain 16 main voice actors, a whole bunch of companions... This is the first time a MMO will have patches delayed by voice actor availabilities.

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