Having to take a title designed as a subscription game from the start and morph it into a free-to-play game cannot be easy. Nothing can be shoehorned or half-assed. You don’t want to alienate customers – new, old or current – yet you can’t have the game be too open or two velvet roped. BioWare is juggling this exact problem with Star Wars: The Old Republic right now. Lead Designer Damion Schubert has just announced some changes ahead of the November (re)launch.
- Free players receive two quickbars, up from one.
- Free players can participate in five PvP Warzones a week, up from three.
- All players will see reduced Cartel Coin item locks (cash shop cooldown timers). Free players have been reduced to three days while subscribers are down to two days.
The changes have been made after analysis of the action on the test server.
Schubert spends a substantial amount of the post explaining the delicate balancing act of the subscriber vs. free-to-play experience. In fact, he believes that the PvP Warzone queue should increase despite the restriction, since many titles have seen subscriber numbers increase after converting business models. The past doesn’t guarantee future results, so Schubert was quick to state that if Warzone queues do go the other way, the restriction will be modified to correct it.
Still have questions? Check out the extensive “expansion to F2P” FAQ.