Seems that the troubled times for The Old Republic are continuing. With losses of over 400,000 subscribers and a free play option to level 15 recently introduced, the game is still hemorrhaging users. While exact numbers aren't clear, EA have stated that they have over 500,000 subscribers, but rumours are that the number is definitely under the one million mark now.
So it felt inevitable that the entire game would go F2P at some point, and that point is coming in Autumn.
This option will give players access to each of the eight iconic Star Wars character class storylines, all the way up to level 50, with certain restrictions*. Unlimited game access, including new higher-level game content and new features, will be made available through individual purchases or through a subscription option.
Starting this fall, there will be two different ways to play Star Wars: The Old Republic:
Subscription – A service designed for players who want unrestricted access to all the game features via ongoing subscription or by redeeming a Game Time Card. In addition to gaining access to all game content as our current subscribers do now, subscribers will receive ongoing monthly grants of Cartel Coins, the new virtual currency that will be introduced later this fall. Cartel Coins can be used to purchase valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.
Free-To-Play – The first 50 levels will be Free-to-Play, with restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be “unlocked” with Cartel Coins.
While the main game is open to everyone, the requirement for Cartel Coins in order to access features may still be a hinderance for players wishing to adopt the game once it goes F2P. Though the game will be re-released at a new lower price point which includes one month subscription in hopes of tempting users, additionally Bioware have pledged even more frequent updates to the game in the hopes of keeping the game afloat in the sea of MMORPG's.