This article from Time examines an event I’ve eagerly awaited since…February. Not long, still exciting.
Star Wars: The Old Republic can’t keep up with its subscription model and is going free-to-play this fall. The game has fallen under 1 million subscribers, but bad news for Bioware is great news for me.
Matt Peckham examines the free-to-play model as the new MMO-standard, even citing World of Warcraft as joining the bandwagon. What Peckham doesn’t realize is that the WoW free-to-play model is a joke compared to others, with a level limit of 20, despite the fact that DCUO, Champions Online and a host of lesser-known MMOs offer free-to-play with no level cap, and even limited economy participation. WoW’s “free” model is more of a trial account, not a truly free model.
But Bioware has announced that Star Wars will be free until level 50, though other restrictions haven’t been decided.
It’s no surprise that a company so experienced in single-player roleplaying experiences created an MMO full of them, but had less success building an endgame for hardcore raiders and PvPers who are quite demanding.
But since I value story over raiding anyway, this is great news. SWTOR was easily worth what I spent on it, but didn’t offer enough for a monthly subscription.
This raises a question: If a game as good as SWTOR (steller graphics, voice acting for every quest) can be played for free, what excuse does Blizzard have to charge for WoW?
I think I know the answer: Invested players so tunnel-visioned that they won’t even try other games. These are the sheep from which Blizzard profits.
The irony? The one I know personally tends to complain about money.
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