Still, the advantages of free-to-play haven’t gone unnoticed by the developer. Asked whether it would be feasible to adapt The Old Republic to a free-to-play model, Lusinchi coyly suggests that the wheels may be in motion for a drastic change.
“The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well,” he says. “Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations. So we are looking at free-to-play but I can’t tell you in much detail. We have to be flexible and adapt to what is going on.” – Source
I’m both confused and happy with this statement. A lot of the complaints when TOR launched were that it was essentially a F2P game with a subscription, so this mentality isn’t too far off. I mentioned in a previous post that the game is already heavily instanced, which is a great advantage to any F2P game. It’s also rather focused on the alt/casual playerbase, which again is the F2P market.
Population seems to be down to about 20% of launch, so I guess around 350k players based on their server counts. It wasn’t like in the beta the red flags weren’t there, though like Diablo 3, they did next to no testing for high level content. TOR did launch with completely broken level 50 content after all. They have some good ideas, certainly, but how they actually implement them is still up in the air.
Now as to what you’d sell in a F2P game outside of planets/content, I say costumes. The game is so focused on costumes, you could easily put some interesting stuff on there for people to buy. Pets come next along with housing options. There are quite a few places they can make some cash and still keep very good production values.
On the flipside, this would be the final failure of a subscription MMO and likely spell the doom of any new blood in the market, leaving just UO, Asheron’s Call, WoW and Rift as the players in the fantasy field. 2 of them are over 10 years old, WoW is nearly 8 so that makes Rift the last successful launch in the past 5 years.