BioWare and Electronic Arts announced on Thursday the launch of a free-to-play option for the nearly year-old MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Now skittish PC gamers can get a taste of BioWare's Star Wars-based universe without having to shell out money for a monthly fee. However the studio isn't handing over its Lucas-sanctioned creation without expecting something in return, so free gamers will see limitations until they become more lucrative.
"Now players can experience the complete storylines of all eight iconic Star Wars classes, all the way to level 50 for free," EA said. "This new option complements the existing subscription offering, providing players with maximum flexibility in how they choose to experience Star Wars: The Old Republic."
Star Wars: TOR now offers three content models: Subscription-based, Preferred Status, and Free-To-Play. According to this comparison chart, F2P gamers will see a ton of restrictions including the inability to send in-game mail, the inability to sprint until the character reaches Level 15, a credit cap of 200,000, a limit of two character slots and three species options, and more.
Naturally gamers who shell out a one-time fee of $4.99 for the Preferred Status get a little more including a higher credit cap, the ability to sprint at Level 1, the ability to send and receive in-game mail, and more. Getting everything the MMORPG has to offer means handing over $14.99 per month for full access. There are also options to pay $41.97 every three months or $77.94 every six months if you'd rather pay in bulk.
"We want to give our players the freedom to enjoy Star Wars: The Old Republic when and how they want," said Matthew Bromberg, General Manager of BioWare Austin. "There has never been a better time to start playing with us."
In addition to launching the free-to-play mode, EA has also unleashed Game Update 1.5: HK-51 Activated, which adds new areas to explore, a new Companion character and more. Here's a list of highlights:
HK-51, the Assassin
Submerged beneath the icy surface of Belsavis lies a derelict ship and if you are brave enough to venture through the wreckage, you will embark on a mission that ultimately rewards you with a powerful new, yet familiar, ally – the ruthless Assassin Droid, HK-51.
Explore Section X
This is a previously untouched area of the prison world of Belsavis. The Dread Masters’ servants are searching for a powerful and ancient weapon. Fly to Section X and secure the target of their search to be richly rewarded.
Travel to Denova to take on Operation
Explosive Conflict – now with a Nightmare Mode! Teams who complete in this new mode can earn the final pieces of the Dread Guard gear set and a brand new mount that will be sure to cause tank envy!
For more information about the free-to-play mode of Star Wars: The Old Republic, head here.