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Star Wars: The Old Republic is Free to Play! SWTOR F2P Win!

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm by Randy

SWTOR is F2P

BioWare™ has done it at last, they’ve gone the free-to-play(F2P) route with SWTOR.  We reported on the current state of the MMO earlier this month, and mentioned some underground rumblings about a possible F2P model, but we had no idea it would hit so soon.  And by soon, I mean August.  Here’s a blurb from the Official Site:

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 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 some restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be “unlocked” with Cartel Coins.

As the first step towards adding the new Free-to-Play option this fall, in August at retail Star Wars: The Old Republic will go on sale for $14.99 USD, including one-month of free subscription.

Check out the perks of Subscription vs Free-to-Play taken from the official website below:

Subscription vs F2P

Personally, the F2P option seems perfect for me. As I never had time to be a hardcore raider, I always favored the leveling process.  With so many character options between the Republic and the Empire there’s always fresh content to explore.  The main things free players will be missing out on are Operations(Raids), certain Warzones(PvP battlegrounds) and GTN(Auction House) acessibility.  No one really likes space combat, so that’s no big loss.  Flashpoints(Instances) are not a big deal either.  Most players “grew up” like myself, on a sparsely populated server where no one was ever running flashpoints in the first place.  They’re not necessary for leveling, but once you reach level cap, they are the best way to go to get geared for Operations.  Limited Character Creation Choices is primarily aesthetic, and if you really want a specific class/race combination, you could always subscribe for a month, create the character and then go back to F2P to continue playing.

I’m particularly curious to see how the “limited” travel options are going to be implemented.  As far as I’m concerned I always thought the traveling from world-to world, though somewhat realistic, was painfully time consuming, especially when coupled with the several-minute-long loading screen players see every time they arrive on a different planet.  Maybe free players will use the current transport system, while subscribers will now be able to access planets and flightpaths quicker via some sort of “portal” system, similar to the Flashpoint entrances on each faction’s home fleet.  Right now it’s just speculation.

And now introducing CARTEL COINS: (from the official SWTOR website)

Starting today, you’ll be earning rewards as part of our new rewards program, making your current subscription more valuable than ever. Current and lapsed subscribers will earn 200 Cartel Coins for every paid month prior to today (July 31, 2012) and until the Free-to-Play option launches. For those who purchased the Collector’s Edition, we have an additional bonus reward of 1000 Cartel Coins for you. With Cartel Coins you can purchase convenience items, boosts, visually unique gear, collectibles, and more. The new Cartel Market gives you the option to add to your game play experience with items that fit your play style and allow you to customize your character.

We’ve seen a few other games go Free-to-Play with some amount of success.  One example would be Lord of the Rings Online, or LOTRO.  Subscribers would earn 500 Turbine Points (TP) per month to use in the LOTRO Store to purchase expansion packs, quest packs, cosmetic armor, miscellaneous conveniences (Speed or XP boosts, Inventory space etc), and exclusive items like mounts.  Free players could also earn these points for achievements in-game, but at 5-to-10 Turbine Points per achievement it takes a long time to save up for anything significant, like a mount(1995 points). That leads us to the real-life money situation.  Players have the option to buy TP for real-world money.  Sometimes it’s actually better/cheaper to buy these points and use them to purchase game content rather than subscribe month-t0-moth, especially if you are a casual player.

SWTOR’s Cartel Coins appear to be the Bioware version of Turbine Points, so it’s only a matter of time before they start nickel-and-diming the players.  How do you feel about this?  Are you going to go for it?  If you haven’t played SWTOR, now is the time to give it a try!  Who knows, maybe it’ll be a success story, rather than the last act of a desperate company.

    • Tommy

      Can't wait. I am so in for free.

    • JediJay

      Count me in! Even if it sucks, at least it's free… unless I have to buy a new video card. :/

    • Steve the Sith

      As a player from Beta I look forward to continuing without being charged. I had been playing infrequent enough that I was starting to feel like I wasn't getting my money's worth. Now I can play when I want and not feel obligated.

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