Star Wars: The Old Republic will take a major step towards a free-to-play existence this autumn when BioWare unlocks the first 50 levels of the game up for free play.
The subscription model will remain, but a 'free-to-play option" will let players take control of any of the eight classes up to level 50.
There will be "certain restrictions" to free-to-play gamers however. "Unlimited game access, including new higher-level game content and new features, will be made available through individual purchases or through a subscription option," explains EA.
In preparation for the move, the game will go on sale in August for $14.99 with a month's free subscription. EA also promises it will be "increasing the frequency of game content updates, with the first of many new releases coming in August."
It also hopes to keep paying customers happy by offering current subscribers "Cartel Coin grants and access to special in-game items". Cartel Coins will be a new currency related to a rewards program that'll grant paying customers access to more stuff the longer they play. A full chart of rewards can be seen here.
Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare Austin said, ""Players want flexibility and choice. The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe."
The game's exec producer Jeff Hickman chimed in, "Since launch, we've been listening to feedback from our fans and adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace. We believe we are in a position to help improve the service even more, not only by continuing to add new content, but also by expanding the game to many more Star Wars fans, increasing the populations on worlds and the vibrancy of the community."