Star Wars: The Old Republic Going Free-to-Play this Fall — The MMO Gamer

Star Wars: The Old Republic Going Free-to-Play this Fall


You knew it was coming…

BioWare™, a Label of Electronic Arts (EA), announced today that it will be expanding the story-driven, massively multiplayer online game Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ by adding a new Free-to-Play option this fall. This option will give players access to each of the eight iconic Star Wars character class storylines, all the way up to level 50, with certain restrictions*. Unlimited game access, including new higher-level game content and new features, will be made available through individual purchases or through a subscription option.

“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,” said Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare Austin.

I wanted to enjoy BioWare’s The Old Republic.  As a spiritual successor to one of my favorite single-player RPGs, how could I not?

I don’t want to dance on any graves, but the only thing we enjoy more than putting something up on a pedestal is to see it knocked off.

I mentioned in my least charitable article about Funcom’s The Secret World that when management becomes too focused on the parts of a videogame that are not the actual gameplay, things fall apart.

BioWare’s management believes in voice acting and NPC dialogue.  That’s their thing.  That’s what matters to them more than tight controls, viscerality, or replayability.   BioWare thinks that everyone will love Random_Hutta_NPC_4 and his sad story about his brother’s pants in a box the same way BioWare loves him.  They believe that everyone will be happy to listen to his sob story over and over for months, and all the Collect Twenty Severed Gangster Asses the player does in between is just invisible and unimportant.

Bad word of mouth about boring combat gameplay, broken PvP, an ugly and poorly performing graphics engine, and a lack of endgame content to do after you clear through that wordy single player story that was somehow important to an MMO have counteracted all the millions of dollars EA spent to market The Old Republic.   Was there any player who failed to see this coming?

I like to think that some time in BioWare’s development of TOR, one person realized that World of Warcraft barely marketed itself before release and once it was released it was the gameplay that had people buzzing.  I like to think that person didn’t speak up while The Doctors were talking about their fourth pillar because he was afraid of losing his job.  I like to think he’s somewhere drinking to forget and regret.

Look, I want The Old Republic to succeed and for those involved to keep food on the table.  The genre needs more blaster guns and fewer faeries.  Until BioWare remembers that videogames must stand on their gameplay, nothing they do will make The Old Republic anything more than a mediocre single player game that happens to be online. You can’t make a good multiplayer experience out of watching expensive fanfiction.

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