Star Wars Wednesday - The Free Republic?

With The Old Republic MMO reportedly losing subscribers, rumors have surfaced about the game going to a free to play model.

Well, Forbes has some quotes from EA that appear to show every option is on the table. Nothing has been announced yet, and it may be awhile before it is, but stay tuned.

I've been a TOR subscriber since the game came out. Unfortunately, it would be a stretch to say I've been an active player for much of that time. I started out fairly strong, then got derailed by day job work, freelance assignments* and the D&D Next playtest (early beta & public beta). One of my key problems with MMOs is the time element. They often just take up too much time to move the story along. Anyway, I drop in from time to time, but not for long.

My two characters are a Jedi and a Smuggler. I haven't had time to check out the Sith side yet. Anyway, Jedi first, smuggler second. Of the two, I actually enjoy the smuggler a bit more....until (small spoiler) I discovered it parallels the Jedi missions pretty early in the game. Since I'm not interested in ever replaying content (see time limitations, above), that has derailed the character for the time being, which is disappointing. I never though I'd say this, but I do wish the game had more sandbox elements (or more obvious sandbox elements), similar to (but better than) Star Wars Galaxies. I probably wouldn't have that complaint if the storylines didn't overlap. I may be overlooking another path, but if so, it wasn't obvious during play.

I will say that at least I feel more like a Star Wars style hero in TOR over Galaxies. My long running complaint there was the fact that my "Master Marksman" had trouble taking on lowly stormtroopers.  No issue with that here. I mean, they don't have stormtroopers, after all. Problem solved, right?

So, should TOR switch to a free model, I'll defiantly look into the option. It may not work long term, though. City of Heroes switched to free after I left, and I haven't been interested in returning. It was a fun game for awhile, but got very grindy very quickly. I played for a couple of years, I think, while at a least a few friends were still playing. I tried this with the free to play Lord of the Rings Online, but again, found it didn't hold my interest for as much as I anticipated. It also felt too much like generic fantasy at the beginning, and didn't play up the setting enough.

I'm not done with TOR, but I won't be setting any speed records for character advancement, either.

* You can see one of those freelance projects later this month in Dungeon magazine / D&D Insider, once it goes live. Hunt for the Heretic.

PS - for RPG players, there's an interesting look at in-game maps and cartography over at the Wizards site this week.