The beginning of the End
They released SWTOR with the 2011 hit, The Hutt Cartell and its successor of 2012, The Shadow of Revan , by making these titles a special Subscription only to the annoyance of many players. However, they also announced the game to be free-to-play a few months later.
They kept themselves to that bargain and the game was officially free in march 2011. The SWTOR expansion DLCs were not available until late 2013, what got many players waiting for them way too long. This, however did not last long and became the starting point of the worst outcome possible: Gamer Alienation.
SWTOR itself started improving in many different specs and in some subtle gaming aspects. The graphics quality were increased, making it better to play the game even if you had Ultra definition. And this set the bar for this game as one of the best of its time. Yet, this did not last long as the new story The Knights of the Fallen Empire was announced.
Your mission is be to save Zakuul from their impending downfall.
The beauty evolves into a monster.
The Installment The Knights of The Fallen Empire or KotFE for short, was released in 2014. SWTOR's Knights of The Fallen Empire was like the other DLCs Subscriber Only were before they were available.
The game The Old Republic itself was an achievement on its own, yet after episode 7 of KotFE, it started to show its age. It was at this point that players were wondering whether SWTOR would ever come out for free players too, but with the game's currency purchasable via real money transactions, known in the game as Cartel Coins or "CC" for short.
They expected the new DLC to come out as a purchasable addition to the ever growing community with more content available to continue playing as the story unraveled, without having to suffer on the monthly payments.
Turning SWTOR into a crowdfunding nightmare.
However this never happened and by following that path, BioWare has made the biggest mistake in their career. They started to offer tickets for reporting bugs restricted to Subscribers. You could also refer a friend to come and play SWTOR and earn free Cartel Coins, if you were already a subscriber.
Most players stayed on level 60, due to 2 DLC's that were available for public purchase, when very few advanced up to level 65 via KotFE. And since the new release of The Eternal Throne, the next installment of the Zakuul storylines, players even advanced to level 70.
Still, one thing is for sure. BioWare really messed things up. They were so busy rewarding Subscribers that they neglected the rest of the players. That, in result, put an end to a great gaming experience. Players who returned, did it out of loyalty to the game, not for witnessing it become an elitist thing only.
The nightmare is realized
The fun of the game is being restricted by the minute. Due to these restrictions, the game is still popular, but for how long? SWTOR brought a lot of content for exploring a new world, craft new items and gear. Many expected the game to have support for all players, yet the truth was far from it. As it was with the new story added through the DLC that came with it. If there was a problem you were sent to the game forums and here is why:
They did not. BioWare tests and maintains games. EA is a major gaming firm who distributes games from their creators.
Like it is with all their games, it is the hard cash that they understand. These changes have not gone unnoticed for many Subscribers do not want to lose such a great community and already requested to have their Subscriptions removed since this gives an unfair advantage to the game and is close to cheating.
This gives a good idea about the Subscriber on one side as an achievement, but on the other side also the cause of a conflict that went way past the game and its war between the Jedi Republic and Sith Empire, by turning the game chat into something close to a civil war.
But that is a question for BioWare and their mother company EA themselves, and not ours.
Let's hope the next update or installment brings better news. For as far as we know, this could be one the final years of a game that is almost as old as World of Warcraft. And that is the last thing their community wants to lose.