Star Wars: The Old republic goes Free-2-Play

Droid and Jedi in the desert

After launching to much fanfare and with a massive budget last year, Star Wars: The Old Republic has proven that it takes more than a load of cash and a Star Wars license to sell an MMO against World of WarCraft. After poor sales and few new subscriptions in the months that followed the launch, developers Bioware have made the tough decision to go Free 2 Play.

That means that they’ll be ditching the subscription fee requirement, allowing players to continue to pay for the full experience but also allowing others to experience a large chunk of the game for free, with the hope of converting them to paying subscribers or at least have them make in-game purchases.

I played The Old Republic on and off for a month, getting most of the way through the game, and I found that the single player content is really up to Bioware’s high standards. The game is much more fun to play singleplayer than any other MMO I’ve experienced, and it’s this part of the game that will be completely free to play – every story mission for every class you can play with a free account. You can also reach the highest level in the game – 50 – without paying a dime, if you choose.

Of course, there are restrictions elsewhere, primarily in the multiplayer and cooperative elements of the game. You can only play 3 PvP games and three flashpoints (cooperative dungeons) per week. Most purple items are unavailable. You need to buy a weekly pass to access space missions (one of my favourite parts of the game!). You also can’t access the cargo hold of your ship or use more than one crew skill. There are loads more restrictions here, on almost everything in the game.

All in all, it’s a fairly limited set of restrictions that will make even doing the singleplayer content a lot harder. You’ll be able to do it, but if you’re actually wanting to spend the hours required in the game, then buying full access will definitely be worth your while. This is a really intelligent way for Bioware to allow people to try the game without risk, then only commit to a subscription when they’re ready.

You can find more information on the game and the restrictions in the F2P version here. I’d say it’s worth a look, particularly given the much lower cost of the game and the high quality of the singleplayer content. It’s not a new Knights of the Old Republic, but it’s close.

This article was written by William Judd. William writes for Mobile Fun, the UK’s leading online retailer of iPhone 5 leather cases.

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