Even though Star Wars: The Old Republic started out with a very successful launch, it has reportedly been losing subscriptions at a very rapid rate. As such, it has been speculated by many that BioWare would convert the troubled MMO over to a free-to-play model, and now the company has revealed that such speculation was indeed true.
BioWare has announced a new free-to-play option for The Old Republic that will exist alongside its original subscription service. This option will, obviously enough, cost players nothing, but has many drawbacks compared to the subscription service. Players using the free-to-play service will have limitations placed on certain character creation options, will have only limited access to Warzones, Flashpoints, Space Missions, and fast travel features, and will be unable to access Operations. They will also be capped at level 50, and will have lower priority in login queues. The free-to-play option will be made available to players in the fall.
Many of the drawbacks of the free-to-play option can be removed via purchases from the new Cartel Market that will be added to the game alongside the free-to-play option. This will be a real money store that will let players purchase items and account enhancements, and will be open to both subscribers and non-subscribers. As part of this, BioWare will be giving out 150 to 250 Cartel Coins, the currency of the Cartel Market, to existing and new subscribers for each of their paid months as an incentive to keep them playing.