As most of you will know, newcomers to Star Wars: The Old Republic will get thirty days of free gameplay time. A number of gamers are, however, unhappy to learn that they cannot access those thirty days without subscribing to a monthly plan or buying even more time.
"You have [X] days of play time remaining. You must sign up for a recurring subscription plan or redeem a Game Time Code before you can play," warns the game. "If you sign up for a recurring subscription, you will be billed automatically at the end of your current remaining play time."
Naturally, there are those who feel that Electronic Arts is being its sleazy self and holding free gameplay to ransom. We contacted EA, who informed us that such a "ransom" is basic MMO practice, and that users can cancel their subscription before the thirty days are up, without charge.
"Just like all other MMOs, you have to enter valid billing information for a recurring subscription in order to continue to play," said the publisher. "Players are free to end their subscription before their 30 days are up."
Annoying? Questionable? Maybe. But that seems to be more a symptom of the genre, rather than any one publisher being a dick. Just subscribe and cancel before your free time's up if you don't want to keep playing -- but keep your fingers crossed that the SWTOR site is actually up at the time you want to quit.
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[Clarification for those at the back of the class: Okay, people really seem to have missed the point of this article. Some players were pissed not because the game used subscriptions in the first place, but because they had to sign over the billing info before they could make use of the thirty days they already had on their account. Nobody was surprised that SWTOR required a subscription. Some were surprised that they need to subscribe just to access days they already qualified for. So, I emailed EA to make sure it was kosher, they said it was standard for MMOs, and I posted what they said for the benefit of those who were annoyed. Yes, it's standard to give your billing info from the outset. This post was confirming and clarifying that for those who did not know.
I thought it was pretty clear, but apparently not.
Hopefully this clears it up. Nobody was "whoring for hits" or trying to spin a thing. This was a PSA for those who were confused. Sorry that the MMO veterans felt so insulted by it.]