It was in the air, and the confirmation came today as BioWare and Electronic Arts announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic will go free-to-play this fall.
To be more precise, the Star Wars-themed MMORPG will adopt the popular hybrid business model, with a premium monthly subscription that will grant the same level of access to the full game that current subscribers have and a bonus in the form of a monthly grant of Cartel Coins, the new form of currency that will be used to purchase premium content in the game.
Those that will opt to play for free will be able to enjoy the first 50 levels but will be restricted in their access to new content and advanced player features. Some of those restrictions will be unlockable by purchasing the aforementioned Cartel Coins. To complete the scenario, a cash shop named “Cartel Market” will be opened.
To ease the transition towards the new business model, the game will go on sale in August for $14.99, including one month of subscription. Players that already purchased the game or will purchase it before the introduction of the free to play option will receive a bunch of rewards that are listed here.
While critically acclaimed pretty much across the board, SWTOR didn’t manage to hold the expected playerbase with the pay to play business model. Hopefully the move to a more accessible hybrid model will grant the game and its still very sizable community a breath of fresh air.