Power To The (Solo) Players: SWTOR’s F2P Restrictions

By Nathan Grayson on October 18th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

Note: 'Limited' customization options mean you probably won't actually be able to look like this. Yeah.

Hmmm. Mmmmm. Ehhhhh. Errrrrr. Also harumph. Oh, hello, didn’t see you there. When I enter my Contemplate-O-Sphere, I tend to just lose track of the world around me and emit a series of guttural droning sounds – eyes wide yet unseeing, as though I’m possessed by some kind of brain ghost. I believe many of you call it “having an idea.” Only I’m having many ideas – mostly prompted by Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s fairly alarming approach to free-to-play. In short, if you’re only playing for solo story, you’re in luck. But, if not, well…

First, the good news: all story missions for every class will be completely free. If you’re joining the fray for all the BioWare tales your bio-brain can bio-handle, you’re in luck. Levels 1-50 will be yours, completely unfettered. Unfortunately, nearly everything else has some kind of arbitrary restriction attached, and you can only bypass with a new currency called “Cartel Coins” or a good old-fashioned subscription.

So, what kind of limits are we talking? Well, you can only enter three PVP warzones per week, flashpoints similarly stop giving you rewards after three visits, weekly passes are required to unlock operations and space missions, you can’t equip most purple items, and you can’t revive in the field more than five times – among other things, all of which you can see here. Meanwhile, you’ll need to make at least one purchase to unlock “preferred” status, which gets you sprint (yes, sprint), more bank slots, and expanded access to chat channels.

There will also be a new Cartel Market that offers the usual suite of gear and “convenience features” – although BioWare’s not discussing precisely what that’ll entail just yet. Same goes for the Cartel Coin exchange rate, which remains similarly shrouded in mystery/mystical Force energies.

So then, thoughts: It’s pretty neat that anyone will be able to experience SWTOR’s main claim to fame from front to back, but all the other restrictions make about as much sense for an MMO as an insta-self-destruct exhaust port on a Death Star. I mean, this is pretty much Fragmenting Your Community 101. For instance, as a free player, why should I even give PVP a second thought when it’s so locked down? Same with operations and flashpoints. Before this transition, it seemed like BioWare was really dedicated to giving SWTOR some long-term MMO appeal. Now I’m not even sure if it remembers it’s working on a multiplayer game.

As a general rule, I’m actually pretty OK with F2P. But if you have to compromise many of the core pillars of your own game to make it work, you’re clearly doing something wrong.

__________________

« | »

, , .

106 Comments »

  1. Raitanator says:

    “And it wasn’t until we quitted the subscription and were looking for other MMORPG, it wasn’t until then I realized that TOR’s going to sink. It hits me there.” – Eva Hart, TORtanic survivor

    • x1501 says:

      “Deeply regret advise you TORtanic sank this morning after collision with EA, resulting in serious loss of subscriptions. Full particulars later.” – J. Bruce Ismay, TORtanic survivor

  2. Simon Hawthorne says:

    If this had been in place when the game launched I would’ve been overjoyed – KOTOR and KOTOR II are two of my favourite games.

    Having played the free trial for a few hours, however, I’m surprised at how little I’m excited by this. I don’t play MMOs but enjoy RPGs and found this incredibly grindy and empty. I mean, there were a lot of other players around, but I felt more like I was at an adventure playground with no friends; everyone has their own thing going on and it sort of ruined my game seeing everyone else visit the same quest-givers. It was both over-crowded and empty, somehow.

    Is this how MMOs work? Or is TOR particularly guilty here?

    • atticus says:

      Yes, and yes.

    • noodlecake says:

      Yep. MMOs are always about substituting quality for quantity from my experience.

    • The Tupper says:

      That’s been my experience in the three MMOs I’ve tried (WoW, LoTR and whatsitsname…City of Heroes?). City of Heroes was a pisser because I spent ages crafting my character in the setup and then deposited in the game to precisely the same old grind I’ve experienced in the other two.

      Oh – I tried Star Trek as well for about half an hour. It didn’t seem different from the rest: It seems to be a fundamental aspect of the genre.

      • RavenGlenn says:

        I think you missed the point on City of Heroes. There is no grind. It’s just gameplay. Period. If you don’t enjoy the combat, then it wasn’t the game for you. Hitting max level was pretty much pointless. It was an altoholic’s wet dream because you could enjoy the game from beginning to end rather than having to hit max level to start playing.

    • MrLebanon says:

      GW2 is the same. All fancy shmansy things you wanna say about “dynamic quests”
      The only difference in GW2 is you don’t need to talk to a quest giver to get in the action.

      But yeah, players everywhere, none of which you ever really interact wit

      • aliksy says:

        Ugh. The automatic grouping, level scaling, and shared events in GW2 are pretty fundamental differences. In traditional MMOs like TOR other players are in your way. In GW2 seeing other players is a good thing (unless they’re botters or if you hate people.)

      • cyrenic says:

        “But yeah, players everywhere, none of which you ever really interact wit”

        Except that’s the major difference in GW2, you interact with people way more than other traditional MMO’s. The dynamic quests mean that if someone is in the same area as you, you’re generally working towards the same objective. And suddenly you’re working together towards the same goal.

        I also can’t count how many times people have told me how to get to a nearby viewpoint when it was obvious I was looking for it. I’ve even had mesmers drop me a portal several times to help me get to them. And I find myself doing the same things for other players.

        • Ragnar says:

          Sounds like the main difference is that the player base is actually nice to each other, rather than being complete dicks.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think GW2 changes many things for the better, but it still strikes me as the same soulless grind as other MMOS.

    • Jenks says:

      This is the direction MMOs have gone in, yes.

      10-15 years ago, this was not at all the case. To accomplish anything you needed to interact with people, group with them for hours, and make friends by doing things that often didn’t benefit you in any way so that they would do the same for you later. Failure had huge consequences so your actions and relationships with other people were of the highest importance.

      Now it’s just a retarded exercise in running to npcs with question marks over their heads in a world where it is impossible to fail.

      • Kenny007 says:

        Oh how I miss those days. Seems consequence in a MMO is simply too much to ask for these days.

        • Ragnar says:

          Yes, how I miss the days of MMOs that required a group to do anything. Remember the excitement of spending half an hour forming a group, only to have the first guy drop out? Ah, the good old days where everyone who wasn’t playing a healer, or had sufficient in-game friends, would wait in line for their turn to play the game.

      • Underwhelmed says:

        Those are some mighty fine rose-colored glasses you have there. Where might I get myself a pair?

        • Jenks says:

          You can pick up a pair on the Everquest Al’kabor server. It’s the official Mac server but it is time locked in the Planes of Power (2002) era because Sony stopped updating it. There are workarounds to play on it from a PC. I play a druid on it 10-15 hours a week, and IMO it’s by far the best MMO experience available right now. Then again, I haven’t played on it for *over 3 days,* so maybe it’s nostalgia talking.

          Sorry for completely shitting on your snarky point.

          • qrter says:

            I’m not sure you did, really.

          • Jenks says:

            I’m positive I did, really.

          • chris1479 says:

            I play Project 1999 and it’s better than any other MMO experience out there for grouping, teamwork, player interaction, and the quality and maturity of the players in question.

            I’ve tried to get away from it and play some newer MMOs but when it quickly becomes apparent, as it did in TORs case, that I’m playing with 10-16 year olds then the experience is quickly and totally crappified. The player base is immature and it shows it.

      • Montavious says:

        Totally agree with you here. Everquest 1, IMHO, covers what you are talking about. Was one the the best MMOs Ive ever played until they dumbed it down. Now its just a shell of its former self. I wonder how its even lasted so long. Needed good grouping, made a lot of friends while you were playing, and anyone who played it in the old days can tell you the earth shattering consequences of death, lol. Same with Star Wars Galaxies, was an awesome game, then they dumbed that down too. Ill never fully understand how these companies killed such great games.

        • Jenks says:

          Hey Montavious

          Totally agree with you. If you are interested in playing EQ, there happens to be a classic server that isn’t an emulator. I play on it quite often. It takes a little work to play on from a pc because it’s actually the official mac server, but it’s so worth it. It’s free to play but there’s no cash shop or anything, it’s basically 2002 era EQ with no sub. Instructions here:
          http://www.guardianhq.com/othergames/everquest-al'kabor-server-eqmac-for-pc/

          5 minutes on it and you realize what we lost as an MMO community. People ask each other if they want items they no longer need, they buff each other, they help each other with quests, and they talk to each other to form groups. You learn who other people are, you build friends lists, it’s a blast. It’s uplifting to play, but depressing when you try to play a “current” MMO.

          • RavenGlenn says:

            When I played EQ, that wasn’t at all the experience I had(keep in mind this was way back during the PoP days before WoW/EQ2/SWG/etc.

            Back then what I found was that if you didn’t know someone, you were going to have to spam that you were looking for a group until you got lucky and teamed up with a couple people in the zone. Most everyone else in the low-mid range had friends placing massive buffs on them so that they could rip through enemies solo. When you went into PoP, you found a bunch of people selling their strong buffs to people. If you didn’t have the cash, then it sucked to be you.

            If you did happen to get a group together, you had a ton of downtime to recover your mana pools and could frequently be wiped out by one of those soloer’s getting in too deep and training the mobs right through where you were. If you didn’t get out of there quickly, those mobs would slay you on the return trip.

            Is it possible that you can find a good group of friends to play with and have a good time? Sure. But there is a reason MMOs haven’t followed suit here. Vanguard tried it and bombed. EQ2 tried it and had to switch over to a mostly solo-friendly game style in order to stay alive. While there is a TON of fun to be had in EQ when you know the right people, being on the outside is a terrible experience. And if you are on the inside track with the right connections, you need to spend ludicrous amounts of time to achieve most anything.

          • Ragnar says:

            I remember hearing my friend complaining about that with FF11. He played a warrior or something, and his play-sessions were usually repeating cycles of:

            30 minutes spent finding a group
            30 minutes playing until someone left and the group fell apart

      • hitnrun says:

        Agreed very much. It’s fair to say that any positive description of olden tyme MMOs that isn’t heavily qualified involves rose colored glasses, but there’s no real argument that the qualities that originally made MMOs so captivating are long gone and that is a shame.

        It’s hard for a player who started after the early days of WoW to understand, but the early genre revolved around socialization and exploration. Here I mean real exploration born of genuine curiosity, not the whip-crack of your experience bar moving you to the next, adjacent region. It was very much like being a child. You learned about your chosen world and the people in it for its own sake, developing mastery and (very) slowly making it your own.

        In short, the genre used to be an expression of the larger obsession with “virtual worlds.” It no longer is that any more than any other genre of game (and a good deal less than some). Instead, the genre is closer to a series of traditional Diablo-style studies in click-acquire-progress_bar psychology, except with combat mechanics unchanged for 8 years.

        I can’t deny that talking about old EQ for a length of time will induce spittle-flecked rage, but I *played* EQ and M59 and DAOC and even iRO, voluntarily, for hundreds of hours, which is more than I can say for any of the highly polished MMO products I’ve sampled since WoW.

    • belgand says:

      Allow me to perhaps suggest looking at the indie MMO A Tale in the Desert. It’s quite different from the others and doesn’t really revolve around quests or levels. It also doesn’t have any combat. Sure it can be grindy, but since it’s all about crafting and living in the world it feels less empty and I don’t feel like I’m solving the same quests. It’s not an issue of everyone waiting in a queue to kill the boss so much as walking over to the neighbors to see if they have some spare leather thongs I can trade for.

      Even when you are (there is a sort of quest model in place) it’s because that “quest” was a challenge issued to everyone so when you try to complete it it’s more in the context of competing with others or proving yourself.

    • chris1479 says:

      “I felt more like I was at an adventure playground with no friends”

      TOR is the poster child for utterly soulless, lonely, pretend MMOs. Pretend in the sense that it’s an MMO in name alone. You really don’t need to interact with anyone at all for 99.9%+ of the game. It takes no risks in design anywhere, it doesn’t do anything new, these restrictions are suicidal. The game is dead anyway but these restrictions are just overkill.

      And i’m glad.

  3. Asuron says:

    This may quite possibly be the worst F2P model I have ever heard of. Like what is even the point when everything is so restricted.

    Did EA/ Bioware even look at the F2P market and how it evolved from this sort of nonsense to be the juggernaut it is now? I mean this is a model that had to go through stuff like this to find out it didn’t work and companies adjusted to that, yet EA apparently hasn’t even observed the growth of F2P at all to understand this.

    This game was on it’s last legs and F2P offered hope of revitalisation and well now there is no hope at all for this game. Good job EA, you just crashed another MMO you spent huge amounts of money on because you are idiots who apparently have no business sense whatsoever.

    • frightlever says:

      The story missions are the best part. The rest of the game is pretty dull. This is actually the best F2P model I’ve seen because they’re handing over the cake and charging you for the optional napkins. They should have given away the first 20-30 levels of story missions and charged for the rest. And I expect they will eventually, so get in quick.

      • Snschl says:

        But that’s not the point of F2P! If they give away the cake now, everyone will just eat it and leave again. If they were trying to revitalize the game, they should have looked to other F2P games, where the game gives you loads of content to get you involved and invested (not playing by yourself in the corner) and then offers you cosmetic customization for cheap, so it’s not a big leap for you to go from F2P to microtransaction-customer. And more importantly, games where the main content is unlimited for everyone attract a thriving userbase which in turn attracts rich “whales” that spend orders of magnitude more on microtransactions than other players. EA has done nothing like that.

        • frightlever says:

          I’m sorry. I meant the best F2P model for the PLAYER. EA can go screw themselves and SWTOR can crash and burn for all I care. They don’t deserve to succeed the way people were being treated at launch.

          And if you’d read what I wrote, you’d see I agree with your analysis. They’ve screwed this up and they will correct it. In the meantime people who wanted to play the story missions now have the perfect opportunity.

      • malkav11 says:

        Well, except that things like sprinting and being able to revive in the field will be kind of important to actually enjoying one’s time with the game playing those solo missions. Trust me on this one.

    • f1x says:

      The point is if you dont pay at least once, you’ll be playing the story without sprint,

      and playing this game without that sprint… is hell

    • Jandau says:

      In all honesty, LotRO and DDO both have much more restrictive models, denying you even the basic solo leveling content (LotRO especially) unless you grind a LOT. In fact, TOR seems to be giving casual players what they want for free (solo leveling, the occasional dungeon) and I’ll likely be giving it a try if only to play through the stories…

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Both LoTRO and DDO were like that before they went F2P. Mandatory early-game grind is not a new thing for either of them.

    • chris1479 says:

      “This may quite possibly be the worst F2P model I have ever heard of. Like what is even the point when everything is so restricted.”

      Hey, when you’ve invested a billion dollars in a game that is haemoraging subs faster than you can update the game it’s tough to let it go for free.

  4. tomek says:

    SWTOR is the new SWG imho. Sink tons of money and talent into a game and than make every misstake you possibly can come up with on the operating/business lvl. Massive fail.

  5. Crimsoneer says:

    I’m actually pretty excited for this. If I can just play through the character storylines, while using XP boosts to skip the filler content, I’ll be a happy bunny.

    EDIT: Hold on, looking at these bonuses – do we guys who shelled out the £50 for the actual box get NO BONUSES over F2P plebs? Or am I missing something? Because that’s pretty damn offensive.

    EDIT 2: No, you get some stuff. Detailed here: http://www.swtor.com/free

    • Ian says:

      That’d suit me, to just play the story missions. Is such a thing possible?

      • Jumwa says:

        On the last character I played before having to let my subscription drop (due to being busy in real life) I got a character to the mid-30′s simply by doing story quests and space missions.

        Now, that was a lot of space missions, I’ll warn. But I dragged it out over the course of a month, popping in each day to take to the stars, trick out my ship and so on.

        It’d probably be no more enjoyable (probably less) for most people than doing all the BS filler quests, but for me, being a huge rail-shooter fan and all (and lover of the old Rogue Squadron games) it worked. I got my daily dose of rail-shooting and experience.

        However, free to play accounts are apparently limited to three space missions a week That’s not enough to get you anywhere, sadly.

        • StranaMente says:

          In the articles it reads “weekly passes are required to unlock operations and space missions” so I guess that route isn’t viable.

          • Jumwa says:

            Yeah, I mentioned that.

            It’s a shame for me personally, as I was planning to return when it went F2P, but if one of my favourite things is so limited, I don’t know how I’ll feel about it. If I have to buy weekly passes, it’ll probably end up being just as cost effective to buy a subscription, and if I have a subscription I get to re-experience feelings of guilt for not playing quite enough, as per usual.

    • malkav11 says:

      No, actually you don’t get some stuff, unless you have an active subscription at the time that they transition to free to play, as far as I can tell. Which is pretty seriously bullshit. I was an active subscriber from launch for something like six or seven months, so I would be up for a fair bit of Cartel Coins, but I left some time ago and I am not interested in paying any more just to get some benefit out of having been a former subscriber.

      • Crimsoneer says:

        Wow. That’s such utter bullshit. So I shelled out 40 quid on the game and 30 or so in subs, and get nothing for it. Classy.

        • Ragnar says:

          You got to play the game, without restrictions, while you were subscribed. And if you renew your subscription, then you get a whole bunch of coins.

  6. oddshrub says:

    The only reason I’d play swtor is if they paid me to do it.

  7. Oryon says:

    Looks like this is free to play, but pay to run.

  8. buffme says:

    It looks like most of you havent played any F2P MMO’s; I have and I can tell you this, Bio/EA is being generous, you can do almost everything a subscribing player can, you can finnish the ENTIRE storyline for EVERY class, that’s 90% of the game right there for most people, and if you’re into pvp or pve you’ll get a feel for the game and actually subscribe if you like it.

  9. almostNormal says:

    “Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ is not available in your region”

    well, it’s not like i’m sad about it :)
    P.S. “region” == eastern europe

    • Flea says:

      The collectors edition is available. I had the same message and the collector’s edition (costs a couple euros more than the basic version) was available for me to buy.

  10. sdancer says:

    Wow. RPS is really late to that particular party. Those are the revised and vastly improved restrictions that actually allow players to buy access to stuff. Previously, operations and other content were a complete no-go for non-subscribers.

    EA are trying to move a game which cost a fortune to make and which was never designed for being free to play to that business model, and they seem to be flexible enough to change things as they go. So while parts of the transition still look fairly ugly in some areas (3 warzones per week are too few, and limiting access to space missions is just plain useless), there appears to be an upwards trend. They were also always pretty clear about using the f2p model more as a huge demo for the subscription model, and with the current restrictions that might just work out.

    • malkav11 says:

      Using F2P as a demo for subscribing is pretty much the definition of doing F2P wrong.

      • sdancer says:

        Even with all the restrictions, you still get to play a lot of content for free, so… meh. Even if you “only” look at the unrestricted “single-player” content, you’re still whining about getting to play one of the better “RPG”s for the price of the internet connectivity.

  11. drewski says:

    I don’t have any particular plans to play it, but if I did, it’d only be for the stories.

    Can you finish the story missions without any grinding at all? Or is there a certain amount of levelling needed to be strong enough to take on final bosses etc.

    • buffme says:

      You would have to do alot of sidequests.

    • sdancer says:

      You can do the character storylines pretty comfortably. They guide you through the different planets very well, and they also coordinate well with the major side quests. Backtracking is relatively rare if you keep with that flow, and IME you don’t need to grind levels if you just do the convenient sidequests.

      Some parts of the story, like the intermediate missions that take you to random locations in space, are best enjoyed with another player complementing your character (so if you’re playing a tank or damage dealer, bring a healer), but in the end you can do everything by yourself thanks to the NPC companions.

      • Dolphan says:

        Yep, I just solo-quested through, with a small handful of flashpoints and very occasional group quests where convenient. You do wind up a tad underleveled (I finished the JK story at 47 I think), and the worrying thing there is the restrictions on purple items and crafting (crew skills) – I might have struggled a lot more if I didn’t always have fancy purple lightsabers I’d built. Although I guess you’d build up a lot more cash to buy blues without spending it on crew skills.

        • Dolphan says:

          Actually the limited field revives when you die might be pretty annoying as well.

        • sdancer says:

          I resorted to going for “custom” (moddable) equipment as soon as possible and stuff them with the (blue) mods as high as I could afford from commendations. No idea how restrictions work for those. For the story missions, that together with blues and greens in the “off slots” like wrists or belt is usually sufficient, and you can always pair up with someone else if things really do get too hard for soloing.

          The field revives are a bit of a bummer, but there are a lot of medical outposts all over the place, and they are pretty screwed anyhow… after three or four you have the countdown up to well over a minute so you might as well walk anyway ;-) It also looks like they are a one-time unlock (“authorization”) for cartel coins.

  12. Screwie says:

    The one-time payment for “preferred” status is nothing new (DDO has this too), but the restrictions are so extensive and so punitive I can’t believe this will do much to draw players and turn the game’s fortunes around. Withholding sprinting until a customer pays up is almost laughably brazen of them.

    The only bright spark here is free access to the storyline. That is smart. Unfortunately everything else completely undermines it.

  13. tkioz says:

    Woah… I’ve seen some shitty as hell F2P models out there… but damn this takes the cake… what meth head cooked that one up?

  14. arioch says:

    I’m… actually pretty OK with this.

    The game should have been single player anyway – Being able to go back in and play through the story quests again for free is pretty much all I care about as I never finished them originally. I got too annoyed by the epic storyline, (and it was pretty epic) being broken up by hours of forced and mundane MMO questing.

    If theres some way to XP boost in between story segments so I can quickly whip through the shit bits I would be more than happy to donate them a few more dollars.

    • PopeJamal says:

      Agreed. While everyone else is moaning and gnashing their teeth about the MMO bits, I’m just excited about being able to play what’s essentially KOTOR parts 3-6 for less than $20.

      Any of the additional MMO features are just icing on the cake.

  15. Stellar Duck says:

    I’m on a break from the game that’s been going a few months. I think, that if and when I return I’ll just resub. I can’t be assed to deal with all those arbitrary restrictions and nickle and dime schemes. Rather to just pay a lump sum and play the game as I please.

  16. Flesaur says:

    As someone who has been subscribed since day one, I can recommend this to any KotOR fan, purely based on the plot and storylines.

    The one concern for me as a paying customer, is that the F2P option doesn’t seem the add anything to my experience. Restricting PvP and PvE doesn’t speed up my queues, make it easier to find groups or ranked warzone matches. I’d like people to be able to take part more and contribute to the community and server.

    It also doesn’t help address some of the issues with end game content, as it seems a little bare at the moment. This probably wasn’t helped by laying off staff and downsizing. Hopefully F2P will bring in some more players and the game won’t feel like it’s stagnating as much.

    As someone who’s played pretty much most of the MMO games available at some point, SWTOR is not bad at all. It’s not ground breaking at all, the gameplay is pretty much what you’d expect from a western MMO in the vein of WoW.

    However, the setting is cool and it is without a doubt the top MMO for actually engaging you in the backstory and quests.

    • TormDK says:

      Agreed, I’m looking forward to seeing what my estimated 2500 Cartel Coins can buy me. The single player aspect is pretty good and the stories are very varied I’ve found.

      • malkav11 says:

        Are you currently subscribed? Because if not, you won’t have any Cartel coins.

        • TormDK says:

          I am, have been since release.

          I don’t play it though, other than logging in to sell an advanced critical augment 22 a day, and to keep the alts’s mission skills used :)

          I’m going to unsub once the cartel coin Exchange has taken place, but will likely keep the game installed and update, just like I do with GW2 which I stopped playing as well. (But still keep updated)

    • Narzhul says:

      I’m guessing it’s only because you played a lot of other MMOs that you can recommend this to other KOTOR fans.

      I tried the free trial thing, and it was godawful to say the least. It’s like a half-assed attempt at being both a single player and an MMO. Compared to KOTOR, the controls were awkward, the voice acting(of anyone other than Jennifer Hale’s character) was horrible, the dialogue was poorly written, and the transition from main quest to sidegrinding was hardly seamless. I expected the graphics to at least be good and updated, but the textures looked so.. pasty and weird. I’d take KOTOR 1′s graphics/art direction any day over SWTOR’s.

      I’m probably going to just keep pretending the game doesn’t exist, if anything.

  17. Frosty840 says:

    You know what I’d pay for? Really fast ingame transport, to get around the god-fuck-awful trudging movement speeds you get in every MMO; not having to deal with any other players; and to make all my loot awesome, thus removing the grind from the game.

    i.e. the singleplayer game this should have been in the first place.

    I’ll pay thirty quid for a singleplayer version of this game, EA. You don’t even need to keep the damn servers running.

    • c-Row says:

      I am pretty sure slow travel is just another way to keep your players in the game without rushing through the content, therefore prolonging their subscription time. So yeah, with the solo campaigns being F2P soon, it would make perfect sense.

  18. omNOMinator says:

    The FTP is designed so that players will play the game and enjoy it but will want to become subscribers. The FTP move it to get more subs I’m pretty sure. This makes is different to any other FTP model that we’ve seen previously.

  19. Kinch says:

    I paid through the nose for the collector’s because I thought the game would actually be good. Played for a month, canceled, never looked back.

    My cyborg-ish Imperial Agent is level 42 and obviously I haven’t even finished the personal storyline (come on, it wasn’t that great – mostly because of the stale combat).
    Now if I’d want to return, I’d meet all these *ridiculous* restrictions. What about the money I initially paid for the boxed game? What about them, EA? AAAAARGH

    • sdancer says:

      You get a bunch of in-game currency (1000 coins) for having bought the CE. Actually, you might have more coin from that than me (only have the “normal” game, but I’ve been subscribed from the beginning)…

      (edit) You’d have to have an active subscription on the date of the F2P launch to get those coins though, which reduces the enthusiasm again.

      Of course, right now there’s no telling to how much real-world currency units that’d translate.

      • TormDK says:

        Yup, we are able to log into swtor.com with our account and see how many cartel coins we will be getting.

        My overview said 2500 currently, which I’m guessing will be like 20-25 euro’s worth.

        The cartel coin system is to reward people that have an active subscription at the time of F2P movement, with CE owners getting a special 1000 coin bonus on top of that.

        • sdancer says:

          I’ve asked about the modalities for “unlocking” those accumulated coins on the official forums, since it is not entriely clear (to me) if those will only ever be available to people who really have an active subscription across the date of the F2P launch, of if that only affects some of the possibilities like having the CE or DD as described in the footnotes of the list.

          It’s IMO a bit of a muddy area in the FAQ, and I don’t see a reason beyond pure, offensive greed to not just give the accumulated coins, except of course for the 250 coins for having a subscription on that particular date, to anyone who ever subscribes even after F2P starts.

          • TormDK says:

            I can log in right now on on swtor.com (Or I could if I had my security thingy on me) and see my estimated coin Collection amount.

            I would assume this goes for all accounts.

        • Kinch says:

          Soooo… Assuming I’d want to play the F2P version… I’d first need to resub… in order to get the benefits for owning the boxed version. Sounds legit…

          Thanks for all the information though!

          • TormDK says:

            It’s a “Thank you for supporting us with your sub till we went F2P” – nothing less.

            I would not expect the coins to be given after the F2P date – so if you don’t sub prior to that you get nothing, but log into your swtor acccount on swtor.com and see what your overview looks like.

          • Kinch says:

            I can see the coins on my account, indeed. It’s their way of teasing people, can almost sense them reaching to my pocket. ;)

            The actual ToS are like this (they like to go all-caps):
            OFFER VALID FOR PURCHASERS OF STAR WARS™: THE OLD REPUBLIC™ (“SWTOR”) COLLECTORS EDITION WITH ACTIVE PAYING SUBSCRIPTION ON DATE OF FREE- TO- PLAY SERVICE LAUNCH.
            (taken from http://www.swtor.com/free).

  20. Metalhead9806 says:

    You never, ever restrict the type of gear a character can wear in a f2p game…
    plus not giving us sprint? limiting leveling flashpoints? only letting us have 1 crafting skill?

    And im sure there’s no way for us to play the game and earn these coins right? Has EA been paying attention to the F2p scene the last two to three years?

    This is even worse than the fail SoE F2p with its MMOs…

  21. Mac says:

    The only F2P model i have seen worse than this was Age of Conan where they charge you to access content you have already purchased as an expansion pack … fook that for a game !!!

    • TormDK says:

      Yeah, that was just poor choices.

      EQ2 did the same when they went free to play. I lost stuff I had paid for using the SOE Currency, and support was not able to refund me the amount so I could do the purchase Again.

  22. djbriandamage says:

    This F2P model really doesn’t sound so bad to me. Yes, I’m primarily interested in the solo single player content (if that) but I wouldn’t have a problem dropping $5 on something to unlock extra bag space and the other perks. This is very similar to the DC Universe Online model and of the 30+ F2P MMOs I’ve played that’s one of two I ever found sufficiently reasonable to spend money on.

    I haven’t played much of TOR but presumably the 1-50 zones offer a ton of content. Unless there’s something I’m missing I disagree wholeheartedly with the negative bias of this article.

  23. Duffin says:

    Pretty generous if you ask me because the class storylines are the ONLY reason you would want to play SWTOR. Everything else is just subpar. If you want pvp play GW2, if you want pve endgame play WoW, if you want a sandbox play EVE, if your a pervert play TERA.

  24. Aydrian says:

    Are you people kidding me? You’re complaining about the f2p model being too restrictive?

    Lets remember a few things. DDO has a pretty similar f2p model, but 70% of their content is locked away and you have to spend points to get access to most of the game. On top of the fact that you actually get diminishing returns each time you play a dungeon, and the item shops point rewards are already so low, it takes forever to buy new content packs. Same thing for LOTRO.

    How about Age of Conan, Champions Online, DCUO? You guys are acting like these restrictions are SO SEVERE while conveniently forgetting how severe they are in other MMIO’s. Compared to DDO, this f2p model is a gift!

    • Dark Nexus says:

      The existence of worse F2P models does not make this one good, it just makes it not the worst.

    • 2helix4u says:

      Those are ancient games in the scheme of F2P. In the mean time a F2P game has become the most widely played game in the world.

      They took the base game and playing it worse by removing sprint and lengthening the cooldown on their space-hearthstone, these are things you only remove to inconvenience people.

  25. Neurotic says:

    Turbine made LoTRO’s main PvP mode (MvP) ‘Gold Only’, and that worked about as well as razor-blade knickers. They ended up making all-access again after a while. Learn while you can, EAWare!

  26. ColonelClaw says:

    Does anybody know the name of the Art Director for SWTOR? For me he’s the secret villan of this game, and had as much to do with it’s downfall as anyone. Here’s hoping he never gets another job in the games industry.

  27. fish99 says:

    Couple of questions spring to mind – is the story good enough to make the game worth trying, and what’s the minimum purchase to have sprint and reviving? Cheers.

    • Solanaceae says:

      I think it definitely is, especially Imperial Agent and Sith Warrior (most consider those two the best, especially IA). IA is basically James Bond in space and is very well written IMO and Sith Warrior is one of the best power trips I’ve ever had in a game.

      Play it as a singleplayer RPG and it can be quite fun in my opinion as long as you can handle the MMO gameplay which is… bad. (then again most RPGs have pretty dull combat)

  28. porps says:

    bad game just got worse.
    This is the only mmo i ever played where i quit out of boredom before even reaching the level cap.

  29. pupsikaso says:

    Wow, what a textbook example of how NOT to do F2P.
    Let’s hope this fails so fantastically that nobody will ever try to do something like this again.

  30. KaelWolfcry says:

    Despite the article following every tenent of the Rupert Murdoch School of Writing, I’m pretty okay with this model. I bought the game to experience a storyline. Three flashpoints or operations is about the limit my brain can handle of PuG ‘intelligence’, and I could give a damn about PvP. Consider me unruffled.

  31. Shooop says:

    So it’s a single player RPG claiming to be a MMO? Hey just like GW2!

    I’m traveling around on a server listed as “full” and it’s more desolate than STALKER. It turned out to be anything but a MMO in my case.

  32. Dominic White says:

    Honestly, aside from the sprinting and high-level equipment being locked to paying players, this actually sounds pretty reasonable. It’s the core of the game all open, with limited access to the side-content and PvP, and for the price of $0. If you want more, there’s no box/expansion price to pay, and an optional subscription.

    • Arathain says:

      I agree with you. The sprint thing is a very transparent way to get players to pay at least a little, which I only mind a little. I don’t even mind the purple item restriction that much. By the time you’re getting purples you’ll have put a lot of time in, at which point it’s not unreasonable to put a little money back in.

      The only thing that remains to be seen is how the licenses to access various features actually work. Are they per account or per character? Do they expire? If the latter, then that’s a huge turn off. The whole reason I like F2P, whether or not paying becomes semi-compulsory, is that I no longer feel pressure to play regularly to get my money’s worth,as I do when I subscribe.

      You know, I quite enjoy a little MMO gaming once in a while. It’s relaxing. I play until I get bored, then I play something else, and maybe I come back later or maybe not. Because of this play style, I’m really looking forward to this going F2P.

      • Dolphan says:

        Actually if you’re crafting you get (level-appropriate) purples pretty early.

  33. aliksy says:

    If the actual combat was fun I’d be down for trying it again. When I tried the free demo it was very old timey.

  34. Dark Nexus says:

    Sounds like the endgame isn’t so much F2P as it is “trial version”.

  35. Solanaceae says:

    Great news for me, I was enjoying the Imperial Agent storyline quite a bit and it’s definitely enough to make me suffer through the MMO gameplay. On the other hand, I have no interest whatsoever in the parts that actually make this an MMO.

    I might shell out a bit for the sprint though.

    I look forward to the F2P release.

    Sith Warrior was good stuff to. I’ve played both to the end of the prologue so hopefully I can port both over when the time comes.

  36. SAM-site says:

    Maybe I’m in the minority here but my other half and I subscribed to TOR from launch and played through the story together having a blast the whole way, then when we got to the end of the story found there to be nothing to do. PVP on the way up to level 50 is fun, at 50 it’s ultra competitive and unfun to a casual player. Raiding for loot as the only purpose always leaves me cold, so we didn’t bother with that. The journey was fun, the destination was not.

    Suffice to say that after 3 months subscribed we both quit.

    If we’re not a minority scenario, isn’t the move to give the good stuff away for free a really bad idea?

  37. Olivaw says:

    The only thing that bothers me about this is the limited character creation options. What does that mean? Can I not customize my face anymore? Can I not pick the ‘cyborg’ race?

    Because if so I am PISSED.

    But other than that, I don’t care. I was always in it for the BioWare parts, not the MMO parts.