Despite having a huge fanbase to draw upon, Star Wars: The Old Republic has been struggling recently just like many other MMOs. And like those other MMOs, SWTOR has tried a variety of things to woo players back. Typically, if such attempts don’t work, MMOs are forced to go free-to-play in order to sustain themselves.
Well, now EA has decided to go the free-to-play route with SWTOR. Calling it an “expansion,” EA’s free-to-play option will allow players limited access to the game, including “eight iconic Star Wars character class storylines, all the way up to level 50.” Unlimited access, higher level content, and some other features will be purchasable through individual payments or a subscription option. As part of the transition process from subscription to free-to-play, SWTOR will go on sale for $14.99 + a one month free subscription this August.
Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer of SWTOR, had this to say:
“Since launch, we’ve been listening to feedback from our fans and adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace. 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.”
Additionally, SWTOR will have a currency system implemented. A certain amount of Cartel Coins, as the money will be called, will be added automatically every month to subscribers’ accounts. Those without subscriptions will have to purchase these Cartel Coins, which will be used to purchase in-game goods, such as customizable gear. The Coins can also be used to unlock restrictions for free-to-play users.
So what is EA offering players who have been loyal over the months or who played before but have since quit? EA promises an increase in the “frequency of game content updates, with the first of many new releases coming in August.” Furthermore, current players will receive access to in-game items and Cartel Coin grants. Former players will receive the same benefits if they re-activate now. For more details, go here or check our copy of the press release right here.
EA Expands Award-Winning MMO Star Wars(TM): The Old Republic(TM) with Free-to-Play Option This Fall
New Free-to-Play Option Will Open Up the Critically-Acclaimed MMO from BioWare and LucasArts to Millions of Additional Star Wars™ Fans and Gamers Worldwide
AUSTIN, Texas –(BUSINESS WIRE)– BioWare™, a Label of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA), announced today that it will be expanding the story-driven, massively multiplayer online game Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ by adding a new Free-to-Play option this fall. This option will give players access to each of the eight iconic Star Wars character class storylines, all the way up to level 50, with certain restrictions*. Unlimited game access, including new higher-level game content and new features, will be made available through individual purchases or through a subscription option.
“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,” said Matthew Bromberg , GM of BioWare Austin.
Jeff Hickman , Executive Producer of Star Wars: The Old Republic added, “Since launch, we’ve been listening to feedback from our fans and adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace. 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.”
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 in-game 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 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, Star Wars: The Old Republic will go on sale in August for $14.99 USD , including one-month of free subscription.
Current and former players will also find additional benefits as part of this program. BioWare will be increasing the frequency of game content updates, with the first of many new releases coming in August. In addition, current subscribers will receive Cartel Coin grants and qualify for access to special in-game items. Even former players who re-activate now will qualify for special benefits. To learn more about these rewards, please visit www.StarWarstheOldRepublic.com/FREE.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the most critically acclaimed MMOs of all time, having won MSNBC’s “Game of the Year” award in 2011, “Editor’s Choice” awards from IGN, PC Gamer and “Best MMO of 2011″ awards from Game Informer, GameSpy, AOL Massively, Ten Ton Hammer and more. The game is set thousands of years before the classic Star Wars movies, with the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire locked in the middle of an epic, galactic war. Players choose one of eight iconic Star Wars character classes, including the Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler, Trooper, Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent, becoming the hero or villain of their own personal Star Wars saga.
For more information on Star Wars: The Old Republic , please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/FREE, follow the game on Twitter at http://twitter.com/swtor or “Like” Star Wars: The Old Republic on Facebook at http://facebook.com/starwarstheoldrepublic. For additional press assets, please visit http://info.ea.com.