Players will be able to progress up to level 50 with any character class without paying a penny.
EA has confirmed in their latest investors call that Star Wars: The Old Republic will transition fully to a free-to-play model this autumn.
Unfortunately a firmer date for the game’s free-to-play subscription relaunch hasn’t been detailed, but it has been announced that player’s will be able to play each of the SWTOR’s eight different character classes up to the level cap of 50 without paying anything.
Obviously certain account elements will be needed to be paid for, and we suspect that they will be along the lines of visual customisations, extra character slots, advanced powers etc. Currently players can create characters and progress them for free up to level 15.
“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,” stated BioWare GM Matthew Bromberg.
That “major barrier” has caused the subscription numbers for SWTOR to fall to under 1 million, so it’s no wonder that EA are looking to adopt a much more aggressive business strategy.
This transition doesn’t mark the end of the line for Star Wars: The Old Republic though – far from it. Here’s a taste of what’s to come according to the game’s executive producer Jeff Hickman, in a special letter to the community:
“I am proud to say that we have a lot of great new content coming your way, and that it will be coming more frequently. We have a great lineup in development including: a new Operation, Terror From Beyond, a new heroic mission series on the planet of Belsavis; a set of level 50 space combat missions for those looking for the ultimate challenge mode; introduction of a dangerous new Companion to accompany you; and for our PvP fans, a new warzone, Ancient Hypergate!”
It’s obvious that Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t been the runaway success that EA was perhaps hoping for, however there’s still masses of potential for this triple-A game to make a big splash in the free-to-play market as long as BioWare don’t go crazy with the implementation of microtransactions.
Whatever happens it’ll be very interesting to see how this ambitious project evolves in the next few months.
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