An early Christmas gift that you don’t have to pay for, The Old Republic will be switching to its F2P model next Thursday November 15th. When this happens, players can enjoy the SWTOR experience free of charge right up to level 50. Of course there will be some limitations for those who choose the purely F2P route, all of which can be unlocked via the in game Cartel Market. Below we’ll go over the details of the F2P model that were revealed in our recent Q & A with the folks from Bioware.
The new currency driving the F2P system are Cartel coins which can be acquired three ways; being a subscriber where you will receive a monthly allowance, purchasing them off of the SWTOR website, or buy purchasing a Cartel Coin card from your local games retailer.
Subscribers will not only receive bonus coins for previous months played, once the system goes live they will also receive a monthly payment of coins of at least 500CC. The 500CC a month minimum is received if you are on a month to month payment plan, if you choose to sub for longer periods i.e. 1 year or more that payment will increase.
Coins can also be purchased directly from the SWTOR website or from a games retailer in gamecard form. The full pricing scheme has not yet been unveiled but the minimum and maximum Coin Packs have been confirmed as $4.99 for 450CC and $39.99 for 5500CC. Of course there will be packs in between those two come launch.
For subscribers there will not be a lot changing besides the monthly payment of Cartel Credits and the inclusion of the Cartel Market. They will still have access to all content, unlocks and future game content free of charge.
If you’ve subscribed at one point or another or purchase something from the SWTOR website (i.e. coins) you will receive preferred player status. The difference between a straight F2P player and a preferred player is largely a lot of convenience features such as access to your cargo hold and global chat. The full list of preferred status bonuses can be found in this thread.
Completely new players to the game who haven’t made a purchase yet will have the same content limitations as the preferred players but without all of those convenience items listed above. Check out the Free to Play Option Chart for the full comparison.
Past subscribers that are returning to the game will also be happy to know that any artifact armor they acquired during their previously play period will be available to equip. However, any new artifact quality armor or items will not be available to equip unless the Artifact Item Unlock is purchased form the cartel market. The same goes for any cargo/inventory unlocks, legacy species unlocks, or perks. All will be available upon return.
Your in game interface with the Cartel Market can be found at the top of the screen, and is the portal with which you can make all of your purchases using Cartel Coins. For a full list of what will be available come next Thursday, we have put together an overview of the shops items.
There are a few important notes that one should take into account when purchasing items from the market. The first is that most, if not all, items can be traded or sold on the galactic trade network. Even unlocks such as a weeks’ worth of warzone time can be given to a friend, or sold for in game credits. For current subscribers this provides an alternative source of income if there is nothing you wish to buy with Cartel Credits or if you have a friend who is not subscribed and you want to earn some brownie points.
Certain items in the shop can be applied to all characters in an account. An additional inventory slot for example can be purchased so that all characters in your account receive one additional row of inventory. Legacy unlocks including classes will also function the same way and apply to any future character you create.
Like it or not the F2P change will be making its way to the live servers next week with an all-new way to play the game. Hopefully the new system will prove effective in providing a fun and affordable means of entertainment for current, new and returning subscribers alike.