If youÂve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR), you may have noticed that the player population while still decent on some servers, would give the appearance to have taken quite a hit on some others, especially given the upcoming forced character migrations. And it looks as though EA and BioWare are making a play to liven things up in that galaxy so far, far away by taking the game free-to-play.
SWTOR Force Chokes its subscription model.
In a recent press release, BioWare and EA announced that SWTOR will be jumping on the free-to-play bandwagon this fall, allowing players to experience the iconic storylines all the way up to level 50 with certain restrictions. Players will be able to maintain a subscription to access all of the gameÂs premium content and free players can purchase it using a new ÂCartel CoinsÂ currency, which will be provided to subscribers via a monthly stipend or purchased by for real world greenbacks.
According to the press release, BioWare will also be stepping up its content production for subscribers with the first of several new planned updates arriving in August. A preview of whatÂs coming over the next few months has been posted to the SWTOR website along some perks players can get for subscribing, including retroactively. Some of the new content in the works includes the Ancient Hypergate PvP warzone, a new operation raid, new space combat missions and more.
As part of the upcoming free-to-play launch, SWTOR will be going on sale in August for $14.99 complete with a free month. Check out the official press release after the break for more details.
EA Expands Award-Winning MMO Star WarsÂ: The Old RepublicÂ With Free-To-Play Option This Fall
New Free-to-Play Model Opens Up the Critically-Acclaimed MMO from BioWare and LucasArts to Millions of Additional Star Wars Fans and Gamers Worldwide
Austin, Texas Â July 31, 2012 Â BioWareÂ, a Label of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA), announced today that it will be expanding the story-driven, massively multiplayer online game Star WarsÂ: The Old RepublicÂ 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.
ÂPlayers 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 RepublicÂ universe,Â said Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare Austin.
Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer of Star Wars: The Old Republic added, ÂSince launch we have been adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace based on the feedback from our fans. 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.Â
Starting this fall, there will be two different ways to play Star Wars: The Old Republic:
- Subscription Â A premium level 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, Premium Players 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 ÂThe first 50 levels will be free-to-play, with some restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be ÂunlockedÂ 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.
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 MSNBCÂs ÂGame of the YearÂ award in 2011, ÂEditorÂs ChoiceÂ awards from IGN, PC Gamer and ÂBest MMO of 2011Â 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, follow the game on Twitter at http://twitter.com/swtor or ÂLikeÂ Star Wars: The Old Republic on Facebook at http://facebook.com/starwarstheoldrepublic.