Finally, after all the rumors and vague hints, on July 31 2012, Bioware announced Star Wars: The Old Republic would be transitioning to a free to play model.  On the same day, the subscriber numbers were announced to be under one million.  That means Star Wars lost over 300,000 subscribers in 3 months.  Kind of a good news, bad news day for Star Wars fans.  I’m sure both announcements were related.

I have long thought that Star Wars was focusing on development in the wrong areas.  There has been an enormous focus on legacy which, while pretty cool, is a gigantic waste for current subscribers.  People playing since launch already have their level 50 character(s).  This means that the legacy system offers them almost nothing.  I have bought absolutely nothing in the legacy system.  I have 3 level 50 characters across both factions, and have just shy of 10 million credits.  Legacy is only useful to new subscribers, so current subscribers are left with almost nothing new at end game since launch.

Free to play will undoubtedly bring in those new subscribers.  The promised increased pace of content should help stem the loss of current subscribers.  Previously content was promised every 2-3 months.  I can’t imagine a game that updates faster.  It will be interesting to see how meaningful the new content will be.

The game definitely seems to have been released ahead of schedule.  The last update to 1.4 seems to have been where they should have started.  Overall, I’m glad it’s going F2P.  Now that they should be focusing on end game, we’ll be able to see what this game can really do.

I was hoping to be able to say something about the promised F2P FAQ, but they haven’t delivered it yet.  Meanwhile, what patch do you think they should have launched at?  Are you happy about the Free to Play announcement?

Update: The FAQ is allegedly due out today.  Guess i’ll save my thoughts on Free versus Paid for another post.
Update: Check out my Free to Play Player’s Guide


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