Star Wars: The Old Republic is going free to play this fall with unlimited access up to level 50. Full story coming...
Also, The Old Republic will drop to $15 in August. This includes a one-month subscription. More details to follow!
Rob found this too: http://www.vg247.com...up-to-level-50/
Then later confirmation came on the official forums...
Announcing a Free-to-Play Option
I want to reach out today to share my thoughts on our recent announcement to expand our game to offer a Free-To-Play option this fall. I’d like to give you some insights into why we made this decision, how it benefits you and how enthusiastic our team is about this new direction.
Since launch, our team has spent a lot of time trying to find new ways to be able to bring the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ experience to as many potential players as possible. We quickly became aware that our subscription only model was a major barrier for a lot people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe. In fact, many players who have left the game said they would happily come back if they could play without the commitment of a monthly fee.
We feel that flexibility and choice in playing our game is important for all current and future players. For that reason, we began the exploration of expanding the game to include a Free-to-Play option.
Starting this Fall, there will be two ways to enjoy the game. First, you can continue as a subscriber, which gives you unlimited access to all game features and future Game Updates at no additional charge. Second, you have the option to play free to Level 50, with game play restrictions that limit game options and access to certain game content. Our goal is to ensure that our current players continue to receive the AAA content they are used to and enjoy the new rewards. To that end, 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!
Starting today, you’ll be earning rewards as part of our new rewards program, making your current subscription more valuable than ever. Current and lapsed subscribers will earn 200 Cartel Coins for every paid month prior to today (July 31, 2012) and until the Free-to-Play option launches. For those who purchased the Collector’s Edition, we have an additional bonus reward of 1000 Cartel Coins for you. With Cartel Coins you can purchase convenience items, boosts, visually unique gear, collectibles, and more. The new Cartel Market gives you the option to add to your game play experience with items that fit your play style and allow you to customize your character.
Our team is extremely excited about this new plan. We are working hard and having a lot of fun preparing new content and items for the game. We believe that this is the right direction for our game – more choices, more options and more ways to customize your play experience to suit your play-style. We want to be able to keep our fans excited, engaged and having fun every time you login. We look forward to hearing your thoughts, suggestions and feedback.
Thanks for your support over the last seven months. We have the best fans in the business!
May the Force be With You.
Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer – Star Wars™: The Old Republic™
SWTOR Expansion to Free-to-Play Option - Frequently Asked Questions
What is Free-to-Play?
With the Free-to-Play option, no subscription will be required! You will be able to download and play Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ all the way up to level 50 for free, with gameplay restrictions that limit access to advanced features and group content. However, we will be offering the option to purchase services, items, and content to customize the gameplay experience. These purchases will be made available via the new Cartel Market and will allow you to choose the way that you want to enjoy the game.
Will I need a credit card to play?
You won’t need a credit card to play. However, should you wish to purchase Cartel Coins from the Cartel Market, you will need a valid credit card or PayPal account.
What is the Cartel Market?
The Cartel Market is a brand new feature that will be introduced with our Free-to-Play option. The Cartel Market will offer valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.
What are Cartel Coins?
Cartel Coins will be the new in-game virtual currency used for the Cartel Market. Cartel Coins may be used to purchase specialty items that allow you to customize and equip your character cosmetically. With Cartel Coins you will be able to purchase in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience. Cartel Coins will also be available for purchase from our website in various price packs.
If I’m a current subscriber, what will happen to me?
The addition of a Free-to-Play option will not change your current subscription unless you choose to change your account. Subscribers will continue to have unlimited access to The Old Republic, including new, more frequent content updates that Free-to-Play members will have to buy. Subscribers also receive rewards in the form of monthly Cartel Coin grants, which can be spent at the Cartel Market on new gear styles, consumables, and specialty items.
The Free-to-Play option is designed with restrictions that will limit content for free players. For more information on these limitations please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com /FREE/features. If you are a player that wants unrestricted access, it is unlikely the Free-to-Play option will be appealing.
What are the benefits of a subscription account?
In addition to unrestricted access to the full game and features there will be several benefits to the transitioning from a subscription to a Premium Level account, including:
- Unlimited access to regular Game Updates such as new Nightmare Mode content, a brand new Operation on the planet of Asation, a new Heroic mission series on the prison planet of Belsavis, and a brand new Warzone for our PvP lovers.Automatic monthly grant of Cartel Coins for use in our new Cartel Market.
- The Cartel Market will offer a variety of in-game items including cosmetically customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience. Subscribers will receive Cartel Coin rewards for every past and ongoing month of subscription.
- Subscribers will receive a special bonus “Fan Favorite” reward item, based on a Facebook poll. Vote now at www.facebook.com/starwarstheoldrepublic (voting ends August 15, 2012). You could receive one of these three great rewards:
- Rancor Holoreplica.
- Carbonite Hibernation Capsule
- Party Jawa
How do I become a Free-to-Play member?
Anyone can download and play the game for free when the Free-to-Play option goes live. Or download the Free Trial and play to level 15 for free now. To check out the benefits of becoming a Free player, please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/FREE
What are the restrictions to the Free-to-Play option?
The Free-to-Play option is designed with many restrictions that will limit content for free players. For more information on these limitations please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/FREE/features.
Will updates to the game be affected by the addition of a Free-to-Play option?
We are planning to deliver more frequent Game Updates. We remain committed to providing a high quality, dynamic, live service. Our team is completing exciting new Game Updates including new Nightmare Mode content, a brand new Operation on the planet of Asation, a new heroic mission series on the prison planet of Belsavis, and a brand new Warzone for our PvP lovers, with more on the way.
You will also automatically earn rewards as you continue to play. We’re introducing a new virtual currency, Cartel Coins, which can be used in our Cartel Market. The Cartel Market will offer valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience. For more information visit: www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic/FREE.
I bought the game, but have let my subscription lapse. What happens if I want to come back now?
Coming back now is a great idea, because we’ve created special rewards just for lapsed subscribers who have decided to return now, rather than waiting until fall. As a former player, you will earn rewards as soon as you reactivate your account both for the current and prior paid months of your subscription. Rewards will be paid to you in Cartel Coins, which you will be able to use in our Cartel Market to purchase new gear, consumables, and specialty items that allow you to customize your gameplay experience. For more information on the rewards program visit: www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/FREE.
If the Free-to-Play option is not available until the fall, what are the benefits to buying the game now?
If you join The Old Republic now, you will start earning Cartel Coins for every month you are subscriber. In addition, in August we will be launching new content and plan to provide more frequent Game Updates going forward.
For more information on Cartel Coins and the rewards program visit: www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/FREE.
Can I buy the game online? How much will it cost?
The game continues to be available online via digital download. For $14.99 (available on August 7, 2012) you can purchase the Standard Edition, which includes the game download and 30 days of unrestricted game time. Purchasing the game now means you may earn monthly rewards in the form of Cartel Coins. Cartel Coins are a new virtual currency that may be used to buy gear, boosts, and specialty items from our Cartel Market.
Visit www.buy.swtor.com to purchase the game. For more information on the rewards program visit: www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/FREE.
Is the game really “free”?
The game will have the option to play free all the way to Level 50. There will be some gameplay restrictions that limit access to advanced features and new content. For more information on these limitations please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/FREE/features.
I’m confused, how many Cartel Coins will I receive when the free-to-play option is offered?
Current/Former Subscribers: Receive 150 Cartel Coins for each paid month prior to July 31, 2012. For example: If you played 3 months, you receive 450 Cartel Coins.
Collector’s Edition Pack = 500 Cartel Coins Special Appreciation Reward (Launch in Fall 2012)
Announcement Months = 200 Cartel Coins per Month (August – Launch in Fall 2012)
Launch of New Free-to-Play Option = 250 Cartel Coins Bonus (Launch 2012)
For more information visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/FREE.
Will Subscription players and players on Free Accounts be playing together on the same servers?
Yes, both subscription and Free-to-Play members will play together on the same servers.
If I redeem a Game Time Code or subscribe to a recurring Game Time Plan, what will happen to my account when the game transitions to the Free-to-Play option?
If you redeem a Game Time Code or subscribe to a recurring Game Time Plan, then you will be entitled to the subscription account until your game time expires.
I had a Free Trial account but never purchased the game. Will I be able to use my account when the Free-to-Play option goes live?
Yes, you will absolutely be able to use your previous account. All Free Trial accounts will automatically convert to Free-to-Play accounts. Restrictions will be different, so be sure to check out www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/FREE/features.
What happens if I decide to change from being a subscription player to a Free-to-Play member? What will happen to my credits, inventory, bank items, and characters?
Your account will automatically be downgraded and it will operate under the Free player restrictions. You will need to choose what items to keep with you within the restriction levels of the free access. Furthermore, you will be able to see, but not use, your excess credits, inventory slots, bank tabs, and extra characters.