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Posted by Alex
EA has officially set The Old Republic on a course toward free to play.

While this year's E3 wasn't necessarily the most memorable of shows, a few moments still stand out in my mind. One such image is that of BioWare's Dr. Ray Muzyka solemnly walking out onto EA's press conference stage to, as I put it then, "plead for the life of Star Wars: The Old Republic." He looked almost as tired as EA CEO John Riccitiello (who looked as if he'd aged a decade since E3 2011), and less than thrilled with what he was there to say. The Old Republic would be going free to play for the first 15 levels, we learned from Dr. Ray. I said at the time that when next year's E3 rolled around, EA would bring him back out to finish the job, making the game free-to-play outright. I was only half joking.

Thankfully, EA spared Dr. Ray the trip this time, and opted to simply send out a press release. Yes, it's true. The Old Republic is headed toward an outright free to play model, starting this fall. Yup, this fall.

The free to play model for The Old Republic does include a few restrictions. Technically, the game is free-to-play up to level 50, with real money costs applied to new content and advanced player features. A subscription option will remain for those who want to play free of any restrictions on content.

In addition to the new financial model, EA also announced that the game's initial price would be dropped to $14.99 starting this August.

With subscribers dropping out, it only made sense for EA to go this way. Free to play is obviously no death knell, as many different games have employed the model with success. It's more that many had wondered aloud during The Old Republic's development if it might be the last gasp of the subscription-model MMO. Obviously World of Warcraft won't be changing its business model any time soon, but can you honestly imagine anyone developing a new MMO with a subscription model in this climate? I can't foresee it. Then again, I also thought EA would wait until 2013 to make this move, so perhaps my predicting skills aren't so hot.

Posted by Crunchman

WoW...

Posted by Jeffsekai

hmm

Posted by Rapid

With this and the lay offs wonder what this means for new content for old republic in the future.

Posted by Animasta

great, I can finally finish those last 10 levels! wooo

Posted by Drazat

I could not be more shocked and surprised.

Posted by iAmJohn

How unexpected.

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Posted by TaliciaDragonsong

Needs more details!
Can I truly just play up to level 50 for free? I wouldn't mind finishing my Imperial Agent (started as a Consular, lost interest at lvl 50) storyline and enjoy some more Star Wars.

Posted by phrosnite

That's why no company other than Arenanet should be allowed to make an MMO. Guild Wars was awesome and the sequel looks fantastic.

Bioware should stick to singleplayer games only. Damn you EA!

Posted by cbarnes86

It is definitely a shame that it is going to be free so soon, but honestly, I dropped ship a few months after launch simply because of the money issue. 14.99 may not seem like a lot per month, but I really needed it. Thankfully, now it is free and if I have some money to spare, I can pour it into this game. I just hate the monthly fee model simply for the fact that you are obligated to play almost. In the two years I played WoW, there were a few months I only had a couple of hours a month to log in and play and I feel like my money was wasted. Now, if MMOs went with a pay time (as in pay for 24 hours of in game play time), I would be much more down with that. I could assure myself 24 hours of actual playing without the worry of my sub running out before I could get a chance to play.

Posted by GERALTITUDE

Cool, I will try this now.

Posted by PeasantAbuse

WoW killer

Posted by Sackmanjones

What!! No fuckin way!

Posted by Draxyle

Jeez, the situation was a lot worse than I imagined.

I'd like to believe that this is finally some backlash against EA in general that's dropping those numbers, but it really stinks for the developers involved.

Posted by TheHT

Cool! Unfortunately, I'll be playing Guild Wars 2, but I'll probably make some time to get through my Inquisitor story.

Posted by Rhaknar

wait, isnt lvl 50 the cap?

Posted by Grissefar

It's one of the most desperate E3 speeches I have heard. Just listen to this line: "That's insanely awesome." C'mon buddy, at least try to make it sound like you believe it.

Posted by mdimmett

Is level 50 the same as level 50 in Skyrim? If so I'll play, I'm 100 hours in at level 47 in Skyrim.

Posted by FilipHolm

What...

Posted by YOUNGLINK

Maybe I'll drop back in just to finish the Imperial Agent I rolled.

Posted by flasaltine

TORtanic...

Posted by stinky

next stop, giant bomb end of the world quick look.

Posted by Bats

hahahahaha, that's awesome news, but I think everyone and their mom called that the moment this game got launched, I know I did. It's what I was waiting for to mess about with the story mode, which is all I'm after anyway.

Posted by andygazi

If that $14.99 charge for the game goes free I might give it a try.

Posted by RadixNegative2

Too bad this didn't happen during the summer when I actually had time to play and before Guild Wars 2 comes out.

Posted by Kaiserhawk

For a game of this size and budget...wow, thats pretty damn fast.

Posted by TrafalgarLaw

They'd have to pay ME to play that PoS BioWare game. And it's still not free, you still need to pay $15 upfront to even own the game. Bunch of liars, it's not F2P if you need to pay money to even start te game...

Posted by Simplexity

Thus the era of Subscription based MMOs came to an end.

Posted by WJist

Y'know, this news makes me thinking about jumping back into WoW for Mists of Pandaria. Making Old Republic free-to-play does not make me want to go back to that. At about level 20 (at least for the Jedi class I was playing), the game's pace is a mega-grind and not fun at all :(

Posted by ThatPrimeGuy

Time to check the betting pools and see who cashes out around the offices.

Edited by Marz

as someone who played that had almost 4 max level characters. It's not a shitty game by mmo standards, there's some quality class stories like Imperial Agent and Jedi Guardian. The side content is not so hot though, it gets very apparent as you level multiple characters through some of the same planet content again. It's definitely worth a playthrough once.

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Posted by Zuldim

Hey, I'll actually start playing again. Neat.

Posted by Duxa

I dont think anyone is surprised with all the server mergers and lay offs as of late... I put 3 months into TOR when it first came out... fun but not as grabbing as EverQuest was in 1999 or WOW in 2004, or even EQ2 in 2004...

Its hard to compete in the MMO arena, I just hope that there is competition left by the time Blizzard takes another crack at it... since competition = good for the consumer (better product).

RIP - TOR... sadly, you will not be missed.

Posted by Patman99

You know, it wasnt a bad game. In fact, the story threads were great but I guess it did not have enough staying power to warrant a recurring subscription. I played for 4 or 5 months and it was great but once I reached the end, there was not much else I could do worth the $15.

Edited by wolf_blitzer85

@TrafalgarLaw said:

They'd have to pay ME to play that PoS BioWare game. And it's still not free, you still need to pay $15 upfront to even own the game. Bunch of liars, it's not F2P if you need to pay money to even start te game...

I would imagine it's free to download and play just like how the current up to level 15 model works. After that you can buy the game to continue on, but they are still charging around 50 for it.

Posted by Hector

This is awesome but...I'm still waiting on MAC support.

Posted by Trojan

Wow, that is kinda shocking honestly. Not necessarily that they're going the F2P route, but that they're doing it so quickly into the game's lifespan. I figured this would happen in a year or two, but I didn't expect them to announce this ~8 months into the game's life. When it does go F2P I'll have to fire it up again and see how I like it. Generally I actually do prefer the subscription route for an MMO, because I hate feeling like my progression is being hampered because of some artificial "pay us or we're going to make this really damn annoying to accomplish" wall that F2P games tend to have. And when I did subscribe to SWTOR, I actually really enjoyed it. It's a very good MMO.

Edited by Phoenix87

well, that was fast

should have just done KOTOR 3, but oh well. Let em learn the hard way.

Posted by DaveC524

I'll play this and never spend a dime. I believe it's worth my time and $0.

Posted by CrossTheAtlantic

womp womp

Posted by smokyexe

Tortanic indeed. That was fast. Still won't play it, ill check it out if nothing is going on then.

Posted by budsaq

@Crunchman said:

WoW...

... no, SWTOR...

Posted by jakkblades

And...we're off!

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Posted by wewantsthering

Still don't want to play it.

Posted by TheHT
Posted by Gizmo
Edited by chilibean_3

Who could have possibly seen this coming???

All kidding aside they had to have a F2P plan ready before launch. It would have been down right negligent if they didn't.

Less than a year. Yep. The most obvious bet wins again.

Posted by Xymox

This seems like a bad move in light of GW2, but perhaps I'm biased.

Posted by RE_Player1

I'm so happy about this news. I will continue to pay for the game, because I truly do enjoy it, and more people will be playing. I hope the GB community jumps on this again and we can have guilds for both factions that are very populated.

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Posted by chilibean_3
but can you honestly imagine anyone developing a new MMO with a subscription model in this climate?

The Elder Scrolls?