Long rumored and finally announced back in July, the decision to let players join the game sans subscription was enacted with today’s big update of the game that saw a host of new features added alongside the free-to-play option. Players who join the game without a subscription can train their characters up to Level 50 before being capped, and are able to play as any of the eight character classes.
“We want to give our players the freedom to enjoy Star Wars: The Old Republic when and how they want,” said Matthew Bromberg, General Manager of BioWare Austin, in a press release announcing the free-to-play launch. “There has never been a better time to start playing with us.”
The restrictions imposed on free-to-play characters were originally outlined last month, and include a limit on the number of PvP encounters a player can initiate, as well as many of the opportunities for speedy advancement through the character ranks.
Beyond the free-to-play option’s launch, the game also received a major update today that added some new missions and areas to explore. Bioware’s official announcement of the upgrade and free-to-play launch described the new content as follows:
Get ready for an action-packed adventure to earn control of one of the galaxy’s most deadly Assassins, HK-51. Submerged beneath the icy surface of Belsavis lies a derelict ship and if you are brave enough to venture through the wreckage, you will embark on a mission that ultimately rewards you with a powerful new, yet familiar, ally: the ruthless Assassin Droid, HK-51.
Explore Section X, a previously untouched area of the prison world of Belsavis. The Dread Masters’ servants are searching for a powerful and ancient weapon. Fly to Section X and secure the target of their search to be richly rewarded.
Travel to Denova to take on Operation: Explosive Conflict — now with a Nightmare Mode! Teams who complete in this new mode can earn the final pieces of the Dread Guard gear set and a brand new mount that will be sure to cause tank envy!
You can get more info about the free-to-play option via the game’s official FAQ.