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Star Wars: The Old Republic going free-to-play (F2P)


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#1 Wodawick

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:16 PM

Came across this first...

Star Wars: The Old Republic is going free to play this fall with unlimited access up to level 50. Full story coming...

Source: https://twitter.com/...382086958231552


Also, The Old Republic will drop to $15 in August. This includes a one-month subscription. More details to follow!

Source: https://twitter.com/...383775798935552



Rob found this too: http://www.vg247.com...up-to-level-50/


Then later confirmation came on the official forums...

http://www.swtor.com/free

http://www.swtor.com...helpcenter/6449

http://www.swtor.com...s/blog/20120731


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
For more information visit: www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/FREE.

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.

f2p-features.jpg


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.

f2p-cartel-coins.jpg

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.
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I actually laughed out loud.

#2 Hai'li

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 12:10 AM

Sounds good, as you all know, I'm a huge League of Legends player, and thats F2P, so i guess I'm not approaching this with my crucifix!!!
Ultimately, I dont see this having any real impact on most of us, because we will still be subscribing so we can raid, so all it means is MORE content and MORE customisable options through the cartel coins.
Good stuff!

#3 Jasko

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:38 AM

I agree, Ste.
I think this will have zero impact on us...it's just a fancy demo and the real meat of the game is still subscription only.

#4 Ninrilith

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:07 AM

I have terrible experience from LotrO, where at first it might not be as bad, but the longer it stays the worse it gets. Will watch it closely, but I'm highly sceptical and not sure if I can be bothered with another pay to win game

#5 Hai'li

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 12:26 PM

Saying that though, there isnt any "pay to win" options available, its more "pay to raid", which is what we all do anyway, LotrO may be an example of it done badly, but look at DDO for example, their playerbase and profits skyrocketed after they brough in their F2P model, and as Pete already said, its gonna have zero negative impact on us, because we will continue to subscrive and raid anyway, but if they make good on their promise of extra content and more customisable options through the coins (which we get as part of our sub now) surely thats just better for long-term subs like us?
Also, if I read that right, does this mean there is a new Op coming this month? XD
Peace

#6 Ninrilith

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 02:31 PM

No doubt they'll get extra cash in, which will perhaps give us more content, however WoW got 10 million subscribers and give out patches very rarely, RIFT on the other hand got 500k(or around that, haven't followed it to closely) and delivers tons of patches. Thing is, raiding wise yes, not much will change, but every feature they will add, will somehow require you to buy with cartel coins. Legacy perks is assumed to be priced so high, so when F2P launches, you can buy them from the store.
They're currently copying alot of how LotrO F2P is, combine that with EA and it could actually be worse than Turbine did it

#7 Drusala

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 04:27 PM

I'll see how it pans out over time. I'm ok with the general plan to go F2P and I don't think it will make a huge difference to us but we will see. At the end of the day, EA (like any business) are about making money and if they're introducing F2P then they've already planned how to squeeze every buck they can from gamers.

#8 Wodawick

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 05:01 PM

I can see their plan.

F2P = Hugely extended trial edition.

General opinion seems to be that they'll increase the level cap at the same time and so the F2P crowd will be stuck in "old" content - while those paying subscription get to see the new stuff.

What confuses me is that throughout, the very strongest part of SWTOR has been the levelling/story - and THAT's the bit they're giving away free ?

Added to that, there's the realisation that 1-50 = free. Limited FPs = free. Limited WZs = Free. So with 2/3rds of my content now free to everyone else, why hasn't my subscription been reduced accordingly ? Are operations worth $15** per month? Because at the moment, it looks like my $15 is mostly subsidizing those players who are playing for free. Does that directly benefit me to the point I'm willing to pay for them ?

What I haven't seen so far is evidence of the F2P system being viable between friends who are a mix of F2P and subscribers. It might come when the details are available - but without that, I cant' see why someone wouldn't treat the game like a free version of KoToR 3 - play through each of the single player stories that interest them and then stop.

Finally, before launch, they were talking about frequent (hinted at monthly) content updates. They'd said that they'd already recorded or otherwise secured the voice acting portions of the content for a long time into the future. It's clear they had a lot of content, if not finished, at least ready to roll.

Then they launch and suddenly are caught in the backlash and are playing catchup. Developing more content is thrown out of the window in favour of finishing the game, adding a LFG tool and writing a server transfer facility. All those things meant limited new content.

Now we're told they're diverting resources to implement a F2P system (both frontend and backend). So more delays for actual content. Content is clearly coming. Another Rakghoul type event is already coded into the client and just needs switching on. They've got HK-51 and Makeb ready to roll - and maybe, just maybe that backlog of content and voice acting will actually start to be used. At which point they'll hail F2P a huge success, because "look at all this new content". Except, without LFG, F2P and server transfers - we might have already been playing that content for months by now.

F2P is a distraction and a pointless one at that.

The real deal is once they've used up their backlog of content ideas and voice acted dialog ... what can a team that's been gutted not once, but twice actually deliver? They planned to deliver content with a team reportedly of over 450 people, I believe they've lost about 120 ish people per round of layoffs. So can <200 people deliver what over 450 people failed to already? The frequent high quality content was the reason I originally decided a subscription was worth it. I've been patient of all the bugs and delays and distractions. But if my $15 doesn't actually buy me very much, then why should I continue to subsidise a F2P model I distrust.

As a last thought, on the day I as subscriber get a message telling me I don't have enough cartel coins for something I want to do and that I should log into the store and buy some more... I'm done. If my $15 per month doesn't buy me full and complete access to the game, they can go screw themselves and their monetisation schemes.

** : I'm in Europe, I don't actually pay $15 per month. But for the sake of breaking it down into nice easily manageable bites, let's stick with dollars.
Darth Baras: I do not appreciate your doubt. I expect unwavering respect at all times.
I actually laughed out loud.