Looks like free-to-play day for Star Wars: The Old Republic isn’t off to a glowing start for Bioware. At the tail end of a 12-hour scheduled maintenance to make the transition and apply Update 1.5, they announced they were extending maintenance hours until further notice.
“Hitting a few snafus, so maintenance will be extended. No ETA as of yet,” Community Manager Joveth Gonzalez tweeted. “I take personal responsibility for everything and will be showing up at every SWTOR fans’ house with yoda cookies.”
While you wait for your Force-infused snickerdoodles, you could read up on the free-to-play changes or the new content coming in Update 1.5… except SWTOR.com is also down at this time. Oh well; there’s always Darth Hater.
While a longer-than-expected maintenance period isn’t surprising considering the amount of changes being made, it’s definitely not the best foot Bioware wants to put forward as they hope to turn The Old Republic‘s fortunes. After snagging more than a million subscribers three days after their launch on Dec. 20, they saw that number quickly decline as players left for various reasons. The free-to-play switch will let people download the game and play each class storyline up to level 50, with some restrictions on things like character customization, the amount of quickbars and storage space you have access to, and the number of times you can run content like Operations or Warzones each week.
Players can unlock those by purchasing Cartel Coins, which start in $5 bundles and go up to $50 packs; purchasing even the smallest pack will give brand-new players “Preferred” status, with some additional content unlocked. Subscribers who still want to pay $15 a month will get a monthly bundle of coins, as well as complete access to all the content they had before. Bioware also said this morning they were also investigating an issue where players received emails with incorrect information about the amount of Cartel Coins they would receive after the transition; those who purchased physical copies of the game and subscribed before the transition are due a bonus bundle of coins for each month they were subscribed, and the emails were showing much lower totals than people expected.
We plan on taking the game for a spin, both as a subscriber and as a free-to-play user, and posting our impressions later. For now, follow @SWTOR on Twitter for the latest on today’s maintenance.