This year’s free-to-level-15 announcement was a precursor to the main event. SWTOR will go free-to-play soon
Star Wars: The Old Republic has been a catastrophic failure, and a designer now says it’s going F2P
Ever since day one, Star Wars: The Old Republic was never assured of success because it relied on the Star Wars brand while following the World of Warcraft formula. A designer on the game, speaking to gamesTM, said the company is looking at going free-to-play.
Alarm bells rang earlier this year when 400,000 subscribers dropped out, and before that players were saying there’s no incentive to rejoin after BioWare sent out e-mails informing them a companion was feeling lonely. Garbage, basically, and stuff most gamers will turn a blind eye to.
The designer, Emmanuel Luschini, said there is competition available and coming up – Guild Wars 2 is probably the most hyped free-to-play game coming this year – which is forcing BioWare to look at its strategy. Speaking to players during the latest Guild Wars 2 beta weekend, which ran last Friday-Sunday, I was told they saw the game as more fun than World of Warcraft and definitely more fun than The Old Republic. Part of that’s probably down to free-to-play, while ArenaNet are trying to do things differently such as removing dedicated class roles.
When Luschini was asked specifically about The Old Republic going free-to-play, the MMO market was described as dynamic and said BioWare needs to reflect the market. He added customers will demand updates, expansions and new modes.
The Old Republic reportedly cost BioWare and EA $300,000,000 (that’s $300 million) to develop, which is a colossal waste of money when the company could have developed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3 for a fraction of the cost. And it would have been more anticipated, and probably a much better game.
I think the news reflects the changing market, though. We’re seeing World of Warcraft losing around 2-3 million subscribers, and then The Old Republic. Additionally, I don’t think players want to pay monthly subscriptions where they feel obliged to play while grinding to the next level over a long period of time. Guild Wars 2’s levelling system is the same for every level, with a very slightly curve at the beginning.