Star Wars: The Old Republic Goes Free-to-Play

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Goes Free-to-Play

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TOR will offer both subscription and free-to-play models this fall.

Last September, one of EA's competitors predicted that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be the last major subscription-based MMO. As it turns out, he may have been only half-right. While the game performed well right out of the gate, a changing marketplace has had EA considering a transition to free-to-play for a while now. This fall, TOR's mandatory subscription fees will vanish like a StealthX and allow players to either maintain their subscriptions for full access or purchase piecemeal customizations instead.

A handy chart outlines exactly how TOR will change come autumn. While free players will have access to each class's full storyline all the way up to Level 50, options such as race, warzones (PVP arenas), flashpoints (group dungeons), and space missions will be restricted - although not unavailable - for them. Additionally, a new feature called "The Cartel Market" will allow players to purchase vanity and convenience items through "Cartel Coins," which will be available in exchange for real money. According to Matthew Bromberg, BioWare Austin's general manager, "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."

Even though the game is going free-to-play sooner rather than later, EA is still offering players some incentives to get on the subscription bandwagon before that happens. Current subscribers have the opportunity to earn an embarrassment of riches in Cartel Coins, plus a few other in-game goodies.

When the freemium transition takes place, subscribers will still have considerable benefits over their non-paying brethren. On the other hand, playing through a complete TOR storyline without having to drop $15 a month on it could be the perfect way to hook players who balk at subscription fees but don't mind microtransactions. Whether this move will bring back some of TOR's lost subscribers or consign it to the abyssal maw of the Sarlacc, though, only the Force can tell.

Source: Star Wars: The Old Republic Official Site

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Well, at least those who wanted Kotor III can try the singplayer for free now

Funny how this happens on the day EA has to announce its earnings for this quarter.

As I said in the other thread on this subject, the model they are going for seems astoundingly similar to the one Turbine uses in LOTRO. See this chart as a comparison(although it is rather out of date at this point).

Most people probably saw this transition coming, subscription models just don't seem to be cutting it anymore.

I for one will not be going back to SWTOR, free or not.

Money was never the issue, it's just a sub-par game compared to.... that other MMO.

SNCommand:
Well, at least those who wanted Kotor III can try the singplayer for free now

Yes, absolutely. =D During the free weekend trial I have dabbled in the Agent storyline and loved it. Looking forward to actually finishing it.

This is a good thing from where I'm standing. the sooner MMOs move away from the bullshit monthly subscription model the better.

...and now I will finally actually get this game.

major_chaos:
This is a good thing from where I'm standing. the sooner MMOs move away from the bullshit monthly subscription model the better.

You do know that Freemium or "F2P"are usually more expensive than the Sub based MMOs? But the costs in these models are kind of hidden for the uneducated kind of people.

Probably the smartest thing EA has done this year. I'll probably try it out just to see how it plays but I still fork over cast for WoW every couple of months, and TOR didn't perk my interest enough to pay for it.

Bull-fucking-shit. I get locked out of Operations for going free? That's all I play the game for now. I was hoping to keep playing the game while saving myself some money with the free model. Assholes.

Why are subscriptions dead?
Why is Free 2 Play the shining knight on his white steed?

Everyone that isn't Blizzard is heralding F2P as the only course of action. Interestingly, everyone who isn't Blizzard, heralding F2P, are also the same people churning out reskinned WoW clones.

My mind just seems to stick to the point that subs aren't dead, just the minor detail that nothing worth paying for has been released.

Active WOW sub 2005-2010 (Lost interest eventually)
Active Eve sub 2004-Current (Still worth paying for)

F2P games with cash shops maintain interest for.. a month tops I guess. Perhaps if they stopped A) Applying traditional game retail values to MMOs and B)Actually produced games worth paying monthly for, this wouldn't keep happening?

While I am not a big fan of TOR, simply because I wanted KOTOR 3 instead of this, I will be playing it now. Can't say I would ever do a microtransaction at all, but going F2P is a good thing, IMO.

nodlimax:

major_chaos:
This is a good thing from where I'm standing. the sooner MMOs move away from the bullshit monthly subscription model the better.

You do know that Freemium or "F2P"are usually more expensive than the Sub based MMOs? But the costs in these models are kind of hidden for the uneducated kind of people.

I have yet to find a F2P game that I cant fully enjoy for far less than 15$ a month and if I did I would say it was extremely poor execution of the concept, so the lesson here is shop smart, and not all games are good examples of the F2P/freemium model.

Well, how long before the ship finally sinks then? I'd say it's pretty flooded right now.

It was only a matter of time after EA laid of all those people at Bioware Austin.

(including Mr. Bannu himself Stanley Woo, who was in charge of quality assurance lol)

nodlimax:

major_chaos:
This is a good thing from where I'm standing. the sooner MMOs move away from the bullshit monthly subscription model the better.

You do know that Freemium or "F2P"are usually more expensive than the Sub based MMOs? But the costs in these models are kind of hidden for the uneducated kind of people.

I've never spent a cent on an F2P. You certainly *could* spend more an an F2P MMO, but you could also buy EVE monocles and diamond rings in TF2. For cheap players, the austere nature of the basic game is an acceptable tradeoff.

I mean, buying all the content that would be available in pay-to-play might end up costing more, but most people won't do that.

nodlimax:

major_chaos:
This is a good thing from where I'm standing. the sooner MMOs move away from the bullshit monthly subscription model the better.

You do know that Freemium or "F2P"are usually more expensive than the Sub based MMOs? But the costs in these models are kind of hidden for the uneducated kind of people.

Well that's the most pretentious thing I've heard.
"Mmm yes, microtransactions are for the SMALLER and STUPIDER people."

In all reality its easier and rarely more expensive. I think my time in a F2P game was most concentrated in STO, in which I spent maybe 10 bucks altogether and played the game for about 6 months and still occasionally play it. How is that more expensive? You do realize that 6 times 15 is 90 bucks right? That, the last time I checked, is more than 10.

Microtransactions are normally a tad cheaper, and if they are not in some cases its just easier to pay 2 bucks here or there instead of 15 a month.

But I guess I'm just uneducated for thinking that right?

OT: Oh cool, I've wanted to finish my story lines, glad to see its going F2P.

Ranorak:
I for one will not be going back to SWTOR, free or not.

Money was never the issue, it's just a sub-par game compared to.... that other MMO.

which other? i can think of at least 3 off hand that are better then ToR

While I don't mind limited access to PVP and group missions, I pretty much play TOR like a single player game, How will races be limited? I can only assume I can't play new races yet to be implemented or, and this would piss my twin off, because he's planned RP's for it, stopping the recent legacy feature that allows you to play classes without race or customisation restrictions (which already made you get to level 50 with a race to use it like that).

Woe is me who paid $60 for this eventual free to play title. I have learned my lesson

Capcha: Whole shebang
yup..

Took less than a year...

Is that some kind of record?

I don't think putting all operations as sub only is such a good idea, would be wiser to have one or two of them (depending on how much end game they actually have) as free so they have them as a way of seeing if they like the end game and then having the rest under sub.

This is not going to end well. Anyone remember that superhero MMORPG Champion Online? They did what Bioware are going to do and everyone had pretty much forgotten that game these days. George (well I don't think he cares) or Bioware themselves can't saved that game now.

Dendio:
Woe is me who paid $60 for this eventual free to play title. I have learned my lesson

Capcha: Whole shebang
yup..

Actually, woe is you for paying $60 to beta test their game for them, and possibly continue paying them for continued access to said beta.

Also, banning free players from the end game? I guess Bioware/EA still haven't learned their lessons about neglecting the end game huh? Except now, there is going to be even less people who are even capable of doing the stuff when they finally get around to releasing it.

SNCommand:
Well, at least those who wanted Kotor III can try the singplayer for free now

All I ever wanted. I knew the monthly subscription system wouldn't work for a full year.

EA is retarded. They actually thought that competing against Activision by copying them is how they would win over the market. That's retarded. Why would anyone play anything that EA releases if everything EA has to offer are pale copies of Activision games? The only way to win over the market is with originality. People already have Activision for their modern military FPS and MMO fix. This is not a difficult concept to grasp!

gibboss28:
I don't think putting all operations as sub only is such a good idea, would be wiser to have one or two of them (depending on how much end game they actually have) as free so they have them as a way of seeing if they like the end game and then having the rest under sub.

It's a terrible idea to completely block a part of the game to free players. How are free players supposed to know if what they're missing is worth paying for if they don't get a taste of what they're missing?

Saviordd1:

nodlimax:

major_chaos:
This is a good thing from where I'm standing. the sooner MMOs move away from the bullshit monthly subscription model the better.

You do know that Freemium or "F2P"are usually more expensive than the Sub based MMOs? But the costs in these models are kind of hidden for the uneducated kind of people.

Well that's the most pretentious thing I've heard.
"Mmm yes, microtransactions are for the SMALLER and STUPIDER people."

In all reality its easier and rarely more expensive. I think my time in a F2P game was most concentrated in STO, in which I spent maybe 10 bucks altogether and played the game for about 6 months and still occasionally play it. How is that more expensive? You do realize that 6 times 15 is 90 bucks right? That, the last time I checked, is more than 10.

Microtransactions are normally a tad cheaper, and if they are not in some cases its just easier to pay 2 bucks here or there instead of 15 a month.

But I guess I'm just uneducated for thinking that right?

actually,

he's right in that in can be more expensive, a lot more expensive, but then it for me (long time CoH player here) it's a matter of value.

the value of permanently unlocked content, for all characters, on all servers. and if i have the option of paying a little now to have a little unlocked for the rest of the life of the game. then yes, I'll drop that $5, even if it means what i spend in the shop exceeds the sub fee, cause its a one time purchase it ultimately pays for it self by just being available regardless of sub status

Scarim Coral:
This is not going to end well. Anyone remember that superhero MMORPG Champion Online? They did what Bioware are going to do and everyone had pretty much forgotten that game these days. George (well I don't think he cares) or Bioware themselves can't saved that game now.

On the other hand there are many stories about games that went this route and ended up being more profitable than before. Dungeons & Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, etc. If it is well done, the transition is probably for the better for Bioware.

mirage202:
-snip-

Worth noting that this is obviously not true, since some MMOs still survive and even thrive to this day on F2P models, whereas most "pay to play" models experience a spike and then a quick downward slide to significantly lower figures.

Also worth noting that while Guild Wars 1 isn't technically F2P (it's actually "buy to play" like any other non-MMO game) or even an MMO at all, its cash shop has not only sustained the game since it released back in 2005*, but it's also brought in enough revenue for them to afford a full-fledged MMO sequel under the same franchise name....an MMO that will use pretty much the exact same model.

People don't go F2P just to boost profits for "a month tops", they do it because it works in the long term. The market has changed significantly since the days of premium subscriptions. Free to play isn't synonymous with "piece of garbage" any more, and premium no longer necessarily means "top of the line" either. With the lines blurred, people are becoming less willing to fork over monthly payments for an experience they can essentially get for free. It's not as simple as "just make your game better".

* EDIT: Biiiiig typo there. '05, not '02. xD

Brace yourselves, a shitstorm is coming.

Put that lightsaber down.

Ops are for closers.

So I probably wont be able to play as a green human, a blue human, grey human, or a human with bits of metal taped to their face. I can live with that.

Can anyone tell me what the difference between an operation and a flashpoint is? There's so many silly names for everything, is any of it single player stuff?

It's strange that they are adding a 4th kind of currency. From what little I've seen in the free trial, there's regular money, social points, and commendations. Social points cover the Leia bikini and things like that as far as I know, so why don't they just sell those?

well I'll have a look when it's free, butI doubt it'll make me want to stick around free or not, I've still not got over what they did to Revan and the Exile!

F2P isn't always bad, providing it's coupled with a sub alternative (a la Turbine).

Try it for free, play it casually or during leaner months with a few microtransactions, and drop a month or two on a sub if you know you'll have an urge to play it a lot for a few months.

The one thing I dislike about World of Tanks (a perennial favourite of mine) is the lack of a sub option.

And another one gone, and another one gone, and another one gone, and another one gone....

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