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It’s hard to overstate what a full-blown disaster Star Wars: The Old Republic has been for developers BioWare and publisher EA. Although critical reception for the game was favorable, players have dedicated an untold number of hours cursing many of the game’s faults that include a huge abundance of technical issues, underwhelming PvP options, derivative content and simple features, like the ability to fully customize your interface and UI, being completely absent.
In face of an ever dwindling subscriber base, BioWare has made the decision to make the game go entirely free-to-play as of November 15, which is actually today. It’s definitely a smart move, given how many multiplayer giants such as Guild Wars 2 and League of Legends thrive on their popularity due to their complete lack of a monthly fee. It remains to be seen if this shift from a subscription fee to a free-to-play model will entice players who have long put off playing The Old Republic to come back, seeing how paying 15 dollars a month to play the game wasn’t the primary reason for the many outbursts from fans on the internet.
However, The Old Republic now let’s you level from 1-50 without having to pay a dime, though you can through the use of the brand new “cartel market” purchase cosmetic armor pieces, experience boosters, companion gifts and little else for a small fee. Moreover, F2P users will not have access to a cargo bay. To what degree these changes and additions will affect balancing and the overall experience is still a mystery at this stage, but expect a slew of opinions from both long-time subscribers and new F2P users to pour in all over the place later this week.
To date, The Old Republic remains one of the most expensive games ever developed and also remains a gargantuan flop for both EA and Bioware. What was originally supposed to be a legitimate contender to Blizzard’s insanely popular MMO World of Warcraft has since become the victim of several internet memes poking fun at the many issues that caused the decline of The Old Republic’s popularity; referred to as “the TORtanic”. Do you think that making the game go free-to-play can avert the damages? Tell us your thoughts.