Have you considered opening your wallet, maybe once again to become a subscriber. The Old Republic has a lot to offer as a free player, unlike a large number of other MMO's SWTOR's limitations are minimal. They often start and stop at the end of the scale, restrictions on expanded content mainly.
To look deeper into this we need to consider two types of players, differing by the amount of time they an spend on the game. SWTOR isn't like other games, it requires a great deal of time. If you wish to experience all content. If you're a player with limited time and looking for an immersive experience without the many qualities of MMO's then a free to play model could be best. Allowing you to experience the vanilla Star Wars experience, across 8 class stories and a huge amount of planets. The limitations exist on group content, experience reductions, money cap and more. You are able to experience the true magic of The Old Republic, offering a similar experience to that of a single player game. With fully voiced characters and incredibly well written story content, an amazing soundtrack of new and old scores from the Star Wars Franchise. Even as a free player you have over a thousand hours worth of content to explore.
On the other side of the spectrum we can look towards players who have a higher quantity of available time. For this a subscriber model could be recommended. Allowing you to expand outside of the story content and experience the true magic of an MMO experience, also recommended for hardcore MMO players. Giving you unlimited access to group content and expanded content beyond the initial 8 class stories. As a subscriber your base experience is boosted, your credit cap raised to the whopping 4.3 Billion and you're offered new content. Once again, unlike a large majority of other MMO's if you subscribe once you are given access to all current and future expansion content, for a lifetime. If your subscription ends you will still have access to this content and any future content. BioWare offers other incentives to players who wish to subscribe, such as exclusive timed rewards. These are things such as the upcoming companion/mission Paxton Rall, available only to subscribers on the 14th of December 2018.
Over the years, since 2011 we have received a range of different expansions with mixed to negative reviews. Warning off potential subscribers from opening their wallets. This has caused many players to unsubscribe whilst also pushing away potential new players. It sounds strange that I have provided two conflicting viewpoints on whether or not to subscribe, yet hear me out. Despite the mixed reviews, the sheer amount of content provided by BioWare is well worth the price tag associated with a subscription, either once off or recurring. When we come to question the quality of the expansions they hold high, it isn't so much the production quality that has resulted in negative responses. As such as it is a severe deviation from the Traditional Star Wars tropes. Keep with me though, this is a Star Wars game and despite everything that has occurred over the questionable reign of ex Lead Developer Ben Irving things are getting better. Mid 2017 control was handed over to Keith Kanneg who has been slowly turning the game around, and so forth the quantity and quality provided when you subscribe.
In my experience as having spent lots of time on the SWTOR Public Test Server. I come with the highest recommendation that now is the best time to subscribe. The direction and quality of the game has returned to the values and quality of the 2011 launch. We all know the one, much anticipated and loved, hosting a player base unseen since. In early December we will be hit with update 5.10, Jedi Under Siege. Offering us a greatly improved experience, even so far as to say better than launch. With a planet that is unlike any other, highly detailed and complex. Full of unique new assets, enemies and story. A problem presented by previous expansions is the lack of providing endgame content and substance to hardcore MMO players. This is all about to change, 5.10 offers this experience again, providing rich side quests, items to collect, areas to explore and group content to complete. Such as new world bosses, a mysterious puzzle that will send you all over the planet, leaving you stumped with a mystery and a clue to later content.
This isn't the end however, 5.10 is an interlude to an upcoming expansion, and if looking at the most recent history and evidence provided in 5.10 this is the best time to subscribe. You will have access to potentially the greatest expansion this game has seen, for the mere price of a once off subscription, returning to traditional Star Wars values.
Below is a detailed list of the difference between Preferred Status players and Subscriber Status Players.
Preferred Status / Free-to-play vs Subscriber
- Limitations placed on experience gain, this is however still significantly higher than the gain at launch.
- Credit Cap of 350k, compared to unlimited as subscriber
- 12 Character slots only when preferred status
- The ability to chat is limited until you reach level 25, chat is unlocked from the start as a subscriber
- 1 Crew Skill slot, access to all 3 crew skill slots as a Subscriber
- Access to guild banks restricted, ability to access guild banks unrestricted as a subscriber
- Limited number of quick-bars, 2 more quick-bars become available when subscribed
- Inability to unify armour/gear colours as preferred status, unlocked as a subscriber
- Access to all expansion content forever, limited to 8 class stories as preferred status
- Unlimited access to group content, limited to a number of times per day as preferred
- Preferred status limitations on gear, artifact level gear unlocked as subscriber
- Ability to hide the head slot on character gear customisation if on the subscription model, disabled if preferred status
- PvP lockouts for preferred status, limited to 5 warzones per week, for each character. Unlimited access as a subscriber
- Inability to upgrade your gear to endgame standards as preferred, unlocked gear at level 70 as a subscriber
- Complete lockout to all operations, only available for subscribers
A wide range of extra benefits are available to subscription model players, despite these the preferred status still offers a great experience. These are but a few of the most significant changes between f2p and Subscription