They're doing it earlier and earlier now aren't they? An article over at gamestm has some news from the lead designer of Bioware's mmo Star Wars The Old Republic. If you completely missed the title, or tone of the article, well the news is that they're looking at giving the game a F2P model. Part of the reason is because of the stiff competition they have been getting from their free to play counterparts, which admittedly are getting better over the years, especially with a lot of the former P2P games making the conversion to attract more players.
How will they do this? This isn't in the article and the only thing I saw from a quick search in Google is the predictions of many that the game would go f2p (dating from around January). My hope is more of the micro transactions and less of the Freemium model. Well, I will admit that freemium is sometimes good, depending on how they do it, but not many companies have done it that well in my opinion. Most of those I have seen have utterly crippled the game for free players giving them nothing but basic classes to worth with and just local chat. Some even taking away basic features such as Guild play, auction house, and other features which are pretty much standard to have. For the micro transactions, if they go that route, I hope would be more of the buying of looks, and less of the buying of epics. Mind, I am a fan of Bioware, and have some hopes that they won't completely mess this up, but some of my hopes from other games have been shattered, so I guess we will see.
But the biggest concern for them will be how to make both the new users and old users want to stay with the game. Obviously they won't make everyone happy if they do eventually decide to make the move, but if they at least keep the majority, that will put them in the right direction. I think the toughest crowd to please will be the old players, there are just some people who hate F2P games with every fiber in their being, thinking they're the same as the old Chinese knockoffs from the 90s that had you grind, everyone looked the same, and all items were buy to win. Which still is the case to some extend, but is slowly being phased out by higher quality games coming out, plus some devs coming to their senses that doing that is just a plain crappy move.
All in all I never played The Old Republic, but I have some friends that sub to it, who I know have not heard the news or else they would have told me before I found out on some news site. But if it does convert to the free model, I would give it a shot, and if it is as good as it may seem to be, I may even throw some money into the cash shop to support it. What do you guys think of this news and how do you think they would/should implement the f2p model?