When a MMOG like Star Wars: The Old Republic, with million of dollars of investment, loses subscribes and some its devs there’s only a matter of time before costs have to be cut. That’s usually in the form of free-to-play – no subscription – and microtransactions, both of which have been announced by BioWare for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
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Fancy playing another game that’s like World of Warcraft but quite isn’t? There’s Star Wars: The Old Republic
BioWare has announced the inevitable: Star Wars: The Old Republic, its MMORPG, is going free-to-play this fall. In short it means there will be no subscription for the failing MMOG; or, you’re completely limited content.
BioWare announced in the press release free-to-play users will have access to all eight storylines in the games, and all the content (more on that in a bit). There’s going to be new high-level content, and features, for subscription players.
Matthew Bloomberg, general manager at BioWare Austin, the developers of The Old Republic, claimed players wanted flexibility and choice and the sans subscription model offers players the opportunity to play. Dress the news up however you want BioWare, but we all know this is preceding the full switch to free-to-play.
Delaying The Inevitable, BioWare
Therefore, two models will run together from fall 2012. Monthly subscribers continue to get the content pre-announcement, while free-to-play users get the limited content – or no access to select content – but can buy Cartel Coins to access content. There is also the option to buy in-game gear and features to improve the gameplay experience.
Some features limited to free-to-play players include not being able to choose all of the races in the character creator, and limited travel across the world. It’s lame on BioWare’s part, because there’s nothing to be gained from limiting races I can choose from. Likewise with map travel: it’s going to lead to frustration.
Given the short time period between announced free-to-play to level 15 (June 2012) and the latest announcement (July 31), history suggests we’ll see the subscription model removes. Obviously BioWare is trying to make all the money from subscriptions it can before going fully free-to-play. Worryingly, the much hyped release of Guild Wars 2 happens in 27 days (or 24 if you’ve pre-purchased). Expect drops-offs.
Approx. Fall 2012