July 31, 2012
SWTOR to be Free to Play
Bioware just reported that they intend to make Star Wars: The Old Republic ‘free’ to play. I have been hearing whispers about this for months, ever since a big patch issue and a few other dramas made them lose a huge player base. The game started out strong, pulling players from the behemoth World of Warcraft (including myself) but lost steam after a few months. The developers have decided that the monthly subscription is a restrictive format for some players. The game will be free to play up to level 50, and then to access end content there will be some sort of subscription or unlocking fees. They are also adding in something called Cartel Coins that will be currency in game that you purchase with real money. I absolutely hate this idea. I feel like every time a player has an opportunity to make gold/currency in a game with real money it cheapens the experience a little bit. I don’t want to feel like I have to compete with people who are throwing money at the game when I am not.
Making this game free to play could either bring back a player base, or completely destroy the game in my opinion. The success on this move completely relies on how they decide to play their cards with where players do have to spend money. I have been playing SWTOR since it was first released, and I do enjoy the game. However, the more and more I play the more I think it is just World of Warcraft in the Star Wars universe. Bioware simply fixed some things Blizzard did wrong, but I don’t see enough innovation. I barely even have to pay attention to any controls or figure out how anything works in the game, just because it is exactly like World of Warcraft. Is that a bad thing? Now that is another question.