By now you have likely heard the news that BioWare’s MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic, has converted to a tiered free-to-play payment scheme. Most likely some of us who stayed away from its subscription-based system are now downloading it and giving the game a try. Naturally free-to-play comes with restrictions, the complete list detailed here, but here’s a quick rundown of all the big ones free-to-play players will have to worry about:
Character Creation Choices: limited to two character slots and three species options.
Credit Cap: Can only carry 200,000 credits at any given time.
Operations: a paid weekly pass is required.
Warzones: limited to five sessions per week, cannot access ranked Warzone matches. A paid weekly pass removes this restriction.
Flashpoints: open, but with limited rewards after three full reward Flahspoints per week. A paid weekly pass removes this restriction.
Space Missions: limited to three per week without the purchase of a weekly pass.
Cargo Hold: closed unless purchased with Cartel Coins, can be expanded by spending more Cartel Coins.
Inventory: limited, can only be expanded with Cartel Coins.
Crew Skills: limited to one, must purchase additional slots with Cartel Coins.
Quick Travel: longer cooldown.
Emergency Fleet Pass: No free access to the Emergency Fleet.
Death: Revive at the nearest Med Center or in the field five times for free. Additional field revives must be purchased with Cartel Coins.
Item Equipping: Cannot equip most purple-tier without purchasing a license.
There are other restrictions, but these stand out as the biggest limitations on free-to-play members playing The Old Republic. However the positive is that the game’s biggest selling points, each class’s unique and dynamic storyline, are completely free. Without paying a monthly subscription, players can take any two characters of their choice from level 1 all the way to level 50 and play to their story’s end.
I am admittedly mixed about this tiered interpretation of “free to play.” As an obsessive crafter I have to balk a bit at the restriction on crew skills but the character slot limit doesn’t bother me that much. Overall though, my misgivings are not so much directed towards the nature of the restrictions so much as the sheer number of them. That being said, casual gamers are now free to experience the game’s biggest draw all the way to max level, BioWare’s talent for epic storytelling.
Will this save The Old Republic or will it merely put the game on life support? If the game is still around this time next year, we’ll have our answer. Until then, be sure to try it out here while it’s still live.