Star Wars: The Old Republic, EA's big-budget and high profile MMORPG, is to add a free-to-play option the publisher announced this morning. Developed by BioWare, the game - which currently requires a US$15/month subscription - launched strongly but has since suffered a significant reduction in player numbers.
The new option, launching later this year, will allow players to try out numerous aspects of the game, including leveling all the way to the level cap of 50 with all of the classes, but will place restrictions on some of the game systems.
The breakdown of free vs. paid content is displayed on the game's website:
In addition to the free-to-play option, BioWare have announced that the game will also add an in-game shop from which various items will be able to be purchased. Subscribers will be granted currency to use in the store as a part of their ongoing subscription.
As a "first step" towards this new subscription model, Star Wars: The Old Republic will go on sale during August for US$14.99, which will include a month's subscription. BioWare also plan to increase the frequency of updates, and existing subscribers will be granted currency for use in the new in-game market in recognition of their previous support of the title (details here).