Interesting, though hardly a surprise as Bioware people have been talking frankly about this being under consideration.
My sub will end within a few weeks, as I’m cancelling it before I go away on a research trip. In reality it means I could go back to SWTOR in the future. Whether I want to will highly depend on how long Guild Wars 2 keeps me engaged. In the short-term it won’t make any difference, I won’t have any real interest in playing SWTOR while I’m leveling my first character in GW2.
It sounds very much like they’re going with the Turbine version of the hybrid F2P/subscription model. I generally have no big issues with Turbine’s take on Free-2-Play. The only problem is where the bulk of new content is driven by what ‘sells the most’ in the store as this can skew the game away from it’s core vision. In SWTOR’s case I would be worried, just as a hypothetical example, if unlocking new flashpoints and operations was the main seller – this could lead Bioware to concentrate on that and not add as much story content to a game heavily focused on storytelling.
I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on what the balance of content releases are like as we move 3 months, 6 months and beyond past this transition. I think the most important thing I would want is to see more breadth of content added, something else to do other than fight things. Give me ways to customise my starship (without spending a ton of real cash!) and I’ll consider coming back.
I’ve found this rather interesting post by PB on the DocHoliday blog, written in May. It addresses the main concern I express above, an interesting read!