It is been announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic is switching over to a free-to-play model. While Bioware/EA did release a Free-to-Play FAQ and a Subscription vs Free comparison chart, they did not go into details on what exactly will be available to free players. A few weeks later they did a Q&A with a few more answers — free players will be able to unlock some things by buying Cartel Coins with real money — but they still have not given pricing or exact free to play limitations. I might be interested in seeing the story for free, so I started thinking about what these details could be.
|Story Content||All 1-50 Content||All Current & Most Future Content|
|Base Classes||Smuggler, Trooper, Imperial Agent, Bounty Hunter||All 8 Classes|
|Advanced Classes||All 8 corresponding to the 4 base classes available||All 16 Advanced Classes|
|Reskill/Respec||Once per character||Unlimited|
|Species||Human or Zabrak Only||All 9 Races|
|Character Slots||2 total||8 per server|
|Legacy||No Access||Full Access|
|Warzone||3 per week||Unlimited|
|Flashpoints||3 per week||Unlimited|
|Space Missions||7 per week||Regular Daily Limit|
|Daily Missions||5 per day||Regular Daily Limit|
|Operations||No Access||Full Access|
|Rated Warzones||No Access||Full Access|
|Quick Travel||2 hour cooldown||30 minute cooldown|
|Fleet Pass||72 hour cooldown||18 hour cooldown|
|Speeders||No Access||Full Access|
|Galactic Trade Network||No Sell Access, Full Buy Access||50 listings per day|
|Credits Cap||100,000 per character||No limit (realistically)|
|Crew Skills||Max 300, only 2 Companions can work at once||Max 400, all 5 Companions can work|
We do not know how much Cartel Coins will cost in dollars, but we can look at Bioware Points. They are much the same as Xbox Live Points. Both of these are $1 for 80 points. I think Cartel Coins will probably follow the same model, so 80 Cartel Coins will cost $1. This may seem like too much considering subscribers only get 150 points per month, but almost all of this is included with the subscription fee.
Subscribers can save up their 150 points over several months to get new expansions for free or at a heavily reduced price. Alternatively, they could spend their points to get new pets, speeders, and other vanity items. In terms of dollars, 150 Cartel Coins would be worth close to $2 per month. The 150 coins is for retroactive months paid for, so I think they will increase that to 200 Cartel Coins once free-to-play has started. That would put it at $2.50 per month.
|Additional Base Class||800||$10|
|Additional Species (Non-Legacy)||800||$10|
|Unlimited Space Missions||1200||$15|
|Unlimited Daily Missions||1200||$15|
|Minor Content Patch (One Flashpoint)||800||$10|
|Major Content Patch (Warzone, Flashpoint, Zone)||1600||$20|
|Full Size Expansion (Several new planets)||3200||$40|
|Speeder Pilot Training 1||400||$5|
|Speeder Pilot Training 2||800||$10|
|Speeder Pilot Training 3||1600||$20|
|Vanity Item Set||1600||$20|
|Unlock Credits Cap||1200||$15|
|Reduced Travel Cooldowns||400||$5|
|Unlock Crew Skills||800||$10|
Again, subscribers will get everything here already with their subscription except Full Size Expansions and the Vanity stuff, though they will be able to purchase some of these like Speeder Training if they do not want to spend in-game Credits on them.
At launch they have said Cartel Coins will not be possible to earn anywhere in the game. They can only be obtained with the subscription or buy paying money (or both). I think they will add some way to get them in-game eventually, but at a very slow rate. Most likely it would be tied to daily quests. It could be a simple formula such as every 1000 credits rewarded gives 1 Cartel Coin, so a typical level 50 daily mission that gives 5000 credits would also give 5 Cartel Coins. Free players would be able to get some Cartel Coins, but the rate would be slow enough that few things would be bought this way.