July 31, 2012 by Paul Curtin
BioWare and EA’s Star Wars: The Old Republic had a very strong launch back in December, unfortunately, due to everyone rushing to the level cap in a matter of weeks and its lack of late game content, TOR failed to live up to the “WoW Killer” moniker that many MMO players had given it before even playing. Now, with its player base dwindling compared to the MMO king World of Warcraft, BioWare has decided to switch the game’s subscription format up a bit to try and bring back some players.
Starting this fall, The Old Republic will allow players to grind through the first 50 levels with all eight of the character classes. There will still be some limitations as a subscription option will still be available for those who want access to higher end-game content after level 50. BioWare is also introducing a new form of currency called “Cartel Coins” which will allow players to purchase items they want through micro-transactions. Here’s what Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare Austin had to say today regarding the update:
“Players want flexibility and choice. The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic™ universe.”
EA has also revealed Star Wars: The Old Republic subscriptions have dropped below 1 million, losing around 700,000 since it’s peak. BioWare has said in the past that in order to break even, SWTOR needs 500,000 subscribers, so they’re still well above what they need to get by, but with the subscription numbers continually dropping, it’s not a shock that they’re trying to stop the hemorrhaging before it’s too late.
Free-to-play is a pretty amazing deal considering how many days worth of content each one of the unique eight classes offer in their storyline, but the offer might be too little too late as gamers have already moved on to other games and are ready for newer MMOs and expansions like Guild Wars 2, PlanetSide 2, and Mist of Pandaria. Will you check out The Old Republic or come back this Fall?