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 Star Wars: The Old Republic  goes free-to-play on November 15
Star Wars: The Old Republic goes free-to-play on November 15
November 8, 2012 | By Mike Rose

Newsbrief: Star Wars: The Old Republic will go free-to-play next week, less than a year after the game originally launched as a paid subscription title for PC.

The MMORPG will go free-to-play on November 15, after its subscriber numbers began to dwindle. Players will be able to play through the entirety of the game, albeit with a few restrictions on accessing new content and other game features. Those players who are currently paying a subscription to the game will be granted a package of complimentary Cartel Coins.

Previously, game monetization expert Ramin Shokrizade examined exactly what happened to the subscription model's great hope, and why the game has been forced to go free-to-play.

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Maria Jayne
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It's strange how I feel about some of the restrictions I've read about with this design. I can level, albeit slowly, all the way to the end of the characters story, which is quite a lot of free content.

But the fact I was a subscriber before, and know that you really do need all four hot bars, the fact they are locking two of them away makes me resentful and uninterested in going back.

I'm not sure exactly why I feel this way, I don't mind the concept of limited inventory space for free players, limited ui hot bar functionality though, that just feels wrong. Maybe it's a really clever way of getting money, it appears to me, to be more about frustrating the players though. I'm not sure that's the right feeling you want to instill in potential customers.

Simon Ludgate
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Blocking UI bars for F2P? What next, making the game monochrome and you pay per colour channel? Making the audio mono and you pay for stereo and pay again for surround? Giving players only vowels in chat and they pay per consonant they unlock?

The content locks are also quite rediculous. Three group activities per week, then pay for more. If Riot did this with League of Legends, by letting people play 3 matches a week and paying to unlock more, they'd NEVER have gotten to where they are now. Bioware has completely misunderstood how F2P works. They're making the cardinal mistake of trying to make the game suck for free players and coerce them into paying, rather than making the game fun for free players and, through their participation, encouraging paying players to pay more.

Gregory Booth
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"Giving players only vowels in chat and they pay per consonant they unlock?"


I so wanted to try it in Nov but not so sure now. They could have at least examined other successful titles. Gimping the UI?

It's not perfect but LOTRO, for me, has achieved a nice balance between in-game tp and cash shop.

Though it's b2p GW2 is at least starting off well with respect to the cash shop, not much there I want right now but at least it's not p2w, I'm actually hoping they add some stuff I want to buy.

Ben Rice
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It seems odd people here are groaning about getting to play what amounts to mostly the entire game for free; but without some silly things like x number of hotbars. Oh, god forbid.
The most important thing is that they maintain full features for paid subscribers, and keep adding value to maintaining a subscription. It really feels like they F2P people will be there to support the subscribers.

Simon Ludgate
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That amounts to saying "Yeah come on, you can play League of Legends mostly entirely for free. Why are you complaining about only being able to use 2 of the 4 skills?" Hotbars aren't just a fun feature, they ultimately control how many of your abilities you can use at a time.

Ben Rice
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I would agree that it's a somewhat utilitarian and mundane feature to restrict, however it doesn't hinder your ability to play the game significantly.
During my time in the game, I used about 15 or 16 hotkeys. Considering you get two bars of 12, I hardly think it's game breaking, especially considering the couple hundred hours of content you can plow through for nothing.
But again, if BioWare starts making all or most content moving forward available only via these 'cartel coins', that's quite slap to paying subscribers. They have quite a balance to strike here.