Initial Thoughts on SWTOR’s F2P Model – TaugVlog Ep. 4


I share my initial feedback on the planned F2P model for SWTOR, based on the FAQs and the subscription-vs-free comparison chart provided by BioWare:
http://www.swtor.com/free/features
http://www.swtor.com/support/helpcenter/6449

This is a huge transition for SWTOR, BioWare, and EA, so hopefully they get it right.

As I discuss in the video, there is a significant hurdle for implementing F2P the way they are thinking, based on the structural design of the game content and experience: 1-49 is a significantly different experience from endgame @ 50.

Let me know what you think.

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Posted in Business Analysis, Game Design, PVE, SWTOR, Video, Vlog
48 comments on “Initial Thoughts on SWTOR’s F2P Model – TaugVlog Ep. 4
  1. Serialnerd says:

    Excellent cast as always. I like the idea of going back to your “Top 5” and adding gear and why fanboys don’t “get it”.

  2. Hiwashi says:

    Meh, I was looking forward to trying SWTOR again, but not even with the F2P model I feel like doing it.

    The personal story was ok, but everything else got repetitive and annoying really fast. I dont mind doing “get 10 items” or “kill 50 enemies” quests, but it gets annoying when you have to spend 10-20 seconds on the cut-scenes .This is not a problem on the first character, but it really hurt the gamewhen leveling alts, since the unique-class-specific-story quests are only 10%-15% of the map that you are on, everything else is the same.

    Flashpoints/Operations never showed anything new/impressive to me, so if I wanted to do end game PvE, I would just activate my World of Warcraft account and play that.

    I liked the the Warzones when leveling up, but once I got to max level it changes to a really annoying gear grind, I had spent so much time doing it on other MMOs that I didnt feel like doing it again.

    Today, I get my “PvP” fix from games like DotA 2 and Starcraft 2, since your win/lose score is based on your personal skill and/or teamwork. Not because you unlocked a piece of gear/hero before everyone else ( coff, LoL, coff coff ).

    I think Arenanet handled those issues very well in GW2. They have a very rich World and Story for those who are interested in that, and those elements do not get in the way of the players who just want to rush and get to max level asap.

    They also created really good environment for people like me, that one day just want to chill out and enjoy the view, but in others want to go full out on some PvP action and on the next day back to walking around, checking the world.

    • Edon/Jedon says:

      The gear grind in endgame PvP is so brutal after your first character. I wish they would normalize the stats and maybe offer increasingly better set bonuses for the people who need to perceive a better reason than vanity for them to grind gear.

      • taugrim says:

        Edon/Jedon :

        The gear grind in endgame PvP is so brutal after your first character. I wish they would normalize the stats and maybe offer increasingly better set bonuses for the people who need to perceive a better reason than vanity for them to grind gear.

        I would suggest increasingly *different* set bonuses as a reward. Keep stats even in terms of item budget, but let people have the power of choice.

  3. Edon/Jedon says:

    You really got to my core with the mexican food analogy. I can’t believe bioware would make me eat so many tortillas just to get some steak.

    On a more serious note, why do you think EA decided against an upfront purchase for the free-to-play experience? I think there are a lot of people who would pay $20 or so to be able to play through the stories; I’ve believed that the concept of a subscription is what prevents many of those consumers from buying the game. And on top of that, they could offer vanity items – similar to how DLC works nowadays on console titles.

    The problem I see, and one you explored in the vlog, is that there isn’t enough varied content to really excite people enough to subscribe. More warzones, a new world to explore – those are nice and all, but they should really expand the gameplay experiences if they want people to buy into pay monthly.

    I really do hope that Bioware and EA are able to succeed here though.

    • taugrim says:

      Edon/Jedon :

      On a more serious note, why do you think EA decided against an upfront purchase for the free-to-play experience? I think there are a lot of people who would pay $20 or so to be able to play through the stories; I’ve believed that the concept of a subscription is what prevents many of those consumers from buying the game. And on top of that, they could offer vanity items – similar to how DLC works nowadays on console titles.

      Two words: customer acquisition.

      You effectively remove cost as a barrier to purchase with no upfront purchase price. Then it just becomes a matter of a player downloading, installing, and registering for your game.

  4. Gray Baker says:

    I wish you would have played DAOC… it was an amazing PvP masterpiece and I would have loved to hear you speak on it.

  5. Jeff says:

    Interesting idea. I think Bioware knows they have two discrete audiences…the rpg audience that loves swtor for being like kotor3+ and the the other audience that like the WoW-ish endgame of gear grinds, raids and pvp (and well really three, the ones that like both–like me). They know their stories are golden and the voiced cutscense truly make the levelling the most fun levelling I’ve ever experienced in an MMO. A limit on how many slots they can access is a good idea.

    They do state the other benefits to FTP will be cosmetic and other quality-of-life enhancements that would entice free players to buy in which seems to make sense to me.

    Seeing how EA/Bioware works…they operate conservatively and take incremental steps when making big changes. This is one of them. Over time, I’m sure they’ll evaluate the success of FTP and see if tinkering the payment model is necessary.

    • taugrim says:

      Jeff :

      They do state the other benefits to FTP will be cosmetic and other quality-of-life enhancements that would entice free players to buy in which seems to make sense to me.

      They do, I’m just concerned that they’re missing out on a huge opportunity during the leveling experience, which IMO is the best part of the game.

      Jeff :

      Seeing how EA/Bioware works…they operate conservatively and take incremental steps when making big changes. This is one of them. Over time, I’m sure they’ll evaluate the success of FTP and see if tinkering the payment model is necessary.

      Well, moving to F2P is a huge shift – financially, technologically, experientially, and from a support / servicing perspective.

      They have to get it right – when you’re dealing with people’s money, the transactions have to work and the player is expecting instant gratification. I just hope BioWare considers the typical strong e-commerce shopping and buying experience when they design their Cash Shop. Functionality like preview, cross-sell, and up-sell should be there, positioned as a benefit to the customer.

      CS’s tend to be awkward and clunky and don’t provide a compelling purchase experience.

  6. Osion says:

    Couple quick points:
    1. Were you hungry when you made this Taugvlog?
    2. I would love to hear you speak on more issues with pvp in games. While I think the list for complaints about what games get wrong in pvp is rather long, I appreciated your first Top 5. Your first Top 5 issues with pvp felt like you had taken the time to consider what -most- games get wrong rather than picking on specific games and their specific pvp issues.
    3. On the point of this vlog though: as you mentioned some in the past and I think should be reiterated, the problem with TOR going free to play is that they cannot turn out content fast enough. They had literally hundreds of thousands of players willing to pay a subscription with the hope that new content would be forth coming. TOR does not appear to have the player base left who are willing to pay $15 a month for extra pets and customization. I would be optimistic for the new content they have coming such as the new warzone and operation. However these have been promised for months and individually I could not see a significant player population paying money for both of those long term. Summarizing: not enough player investment to make the free-to-play model viable for customization options alone.
    4. I played DAoC at launch and through the first expansion. It was my first MMO and I was very young. Even with that said, far from a perfect pvp experience.

    • taugrim says:

      Osion :

      2. I would love to hear you speak on more issues with pvp in games. While I think the list for complaints about what games get wrong in pvp is rather long, I appreciated your first Top 5. Your first Top 5 issues with pvp felt like you had taken the time to consider what -most- games get wrong rather than picking on specific games and their specific pvp issues.

      I’m not sure if it makes sense for me to be “picking on specific games” – those types of discussions tend to create flamefests.

      Osion :

      3. On the point of this vlog though: as you mentioned some in the past and I think should be reiterated, the problem with TOR going free to play is that they cannot turn out content fast enough. They had literally hundreds of thousands of players willing to pay a subscription with the hope that new content would be forth coming. TOR does not appear to have the player base left who are willing to pay $15 a month for extra pets and customization. I would be optimistic for the new content they have coming such as the new warzone and operation. However these have been promised for months and individually I could not see a significant player population paying money for both of those long term. Summarizing: not enough player investment to make the free-to-play model viable for customization options alone.

      Well, BioWare in their most recent blog post that they are going to “have plans to increase the cadence that [they] deliver new content”.
      http://www.swtor.com/blog/community-qa-free-play-edition

      IMO it’s a big dangerous to set expectations like that – better to deliver on that cadence first for some period of time, and gauge the reaction from the community.

      Osion :

      4. I played DAoC at launch and through the first expansion. It was my first MMO and I was very young. Even with that said, far from a perfect pvp experience.

      I don’t know anyone who has ever claimed that DAoC was a perfect pvp experience. That said, the 3-faction system makes a lot of sense.

  7. theunwarshed says:

    excellent analysis as always Taugrim. i believe TOR’s f2p is going to fall flat on its face because the game isn’t really all that compelling in the first place. if you think about it, even its strongest area (class stories) is just a watered-down version of their single player rpg (i.e. KotOR, Mass Effect, Dragon Age).

    they’ll never be able to do anything open world with their pvp due to that “dog with fleas” engine of theirs. this severely limits their options when it comes to adding more social content to the game, unless it’s on a small scale.

    in closing, paying $15 per month wasn’t the barrier that EA makes it out to be. 40% said they would play for free if they added a f2p option in their canned exit survey. what they didn’t choose to take away from that was that 60% wouldn’t play it even if it were free, lol.

    • Edon/Jedon says:

      The continued lack of world PvP has been so disappointing, especially after seeing the elaborate maps in Guild Wars 2. It really makes you wish they had held back the release about six more months.

  8. Wild says:

    Well i can tell you having players start a character in swtor without getting access to the storyline would be a disaster, like in uninstall.
    And what they do with charging for endgame content is not a bad thing because swtor have a pretty big raiding community.3 raids with 1 more on the way thats going to be hard.Will work far better then GW2 that have no endgame unless one think doing the same world events and dungeons one have done over and over is endgame.
    And i also think they will charge for new WZ and flashpoints etc.

    But the things that can really bring them money in the ingame store is real star wars outfits and things like animal mounts etc.And with them giving players the option with F2P at this time is a really good thing.

    Even minor MMOs like STO they dont charge for griup content and missions but only items, ships etc.And for the most parts players are happy.A game like swtor just like rift unlike solo GW2 is more of a teamplayer game were taking on big challenges like raids is s omething that alot of people will pay for in the long run.If giving players only 1 char on each faction is wise i dont know, there will be the option of more character slots of course, maybe give F2P players 4 slots and having to pay to unlock more.I think making the first 2 flashpoints on each side free and having players pay to unlock the rest of them could be smart.

    But what ever they do i hope they do it the right way without beeing to greedy because of EA.But i really think this will get alot people to swtor and like proven in other MMOs that went F2P.And if those damd developers at Austing could give us minigames and real fast responsive space combat etc the game will grow even more !

    In the end most players want a challenge and they cant get that anymore in wow that is gone to the crappers a longg time ago and games hyped games like gw2 will only be a big thing for 6 weeks until players get bored of the easy pvp and no real endgame content.And even thou warhero is a grind it’s still better then GW2 were there are no pvp or dualing while lvl up and everyone looks the same in the WvW shard you have to travel to.So for them charging for new WX could be a smart thing but i think for F2P players 3 of them should be open default.

    • Wild says:

      No edit button to fix my typos…

    • taugrim says:

      Wild :

      Well i can tell you having players start a character in swtor without getting access to the storyline would be a disaster, like in uninstall.

      No one has suggested that.

      Wild :

      And what they do with charging for endgame content is not a bad thing because swtor have a pretty big raiding community.

      You believe SWTOR has a “big raiding community”? First time I’ve heard someone say that.

      You also have to realize that most people still playing SWTOR do not do so for the raiding content. If they want to charge for access to raiding content, it has to be clearly worth paying for.

      Wild :

      But the things that can really bring them money in the ingame store is real star wars outfits and things like animal mounts etc.And with them giving players the option with F2P at this time is a really good thing.

      Yes, cosmetic customizations and mounts are great monetization opportunities.

      I’ve said for months that SWTOR needs to go F2P for sustained customer acquisition, but the F2P model needs to be financially viable for BioWare while still providing a desireable customer experience for gamers.

      Wild :

      In the end most players want a challenge and they cant get that anymore in wow that is gone to the crappers a longg time ago and games hyped games like gw2 will only be a big thing for 6 weeks until players get bored of the easy pvp and no real endgame content.And even thou warhero is a grind it’s still better then GW2 were there are no pvp or dualing while lvl up and everyone looks the same in the WvW shard you have to travel to.So for them charging for new WX could be a smart thing but i think for F2P players 3 of them should be open default.

      It’s clear reading your post that you have a bias towards SWTOR and bias against GW2 and WoW.

      I’m not here to convince anyone the merits of a particular game. Play the game that you want to play.

  9. I was hoping that SWTOR going F2P would have a similar model as that of LOTRO. Hopefully they’ll have a way for players to earn Cartel Coins as I would like this because I tend to do most of that stuff anyways.

    What irritated me the most about the details thus far is that I would have to choose what items and such I would want to keep when I no longer subscribe. I would prefer a model like LOTRO where when you’re account downgrades from VIP to Premium, you keep whatever perks you unlocked.

    • taugrim says:

      Fernando (@mexitechie) :

      I was hoping that SWTOR going F2P would have a similar model as that of LOTRO. Hopefully they’ll have a way for players to earn Cartel Coins as I would like this because I tend to do most of that stuff anyways.

      What irritated me the most about the details thus far is that I would have to choose what items and such I would want to keep when I no longer subscribe. I would prefer a model like LOTRO where when you’re account downgrades from VIP to Premium, you keep whatever perks you unlocked.

      I believe that players who were part of the P2P experience should be “grandfathered” to not lose items / character slots that they had from their time being paying customers.

      If BioWare doesn’t grandfather pre-existing customers gracefully, they’ll risk alienating the people who still support their game financially.

      Keep in mind that SWTOR sold 2MM copies, but their current subscriber base is < 1MM:
      http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/02/01/ea-reveals-swtor-subscription-and-sales-numbers-beats-financial/

      My guess is that SWTOR was at ~700k subscribers before the F2P announcement, and if I'm correct that means that approximately two-thirds (65%) of players are ex-customers. They should be careful to preserve that 35%, because those are their loyal customers.

      • Shadowmouse says:

        Hi Taug

        You make awesome videos and TaugVlogs. I have become a better pvper because of them.

        Reading the Q&A linked down below, it sounds like you will not be grandfathered in for character slots.

  10. The ftp model you describe (viewable (greyed out)/purchasable skins, etc…is exactly how Champions online does it. Works pretty good for them. Makes me want to buy extra toon slots and costume packs :D

    • taugrim says:

      Melanie Dawn McGreevey :

      The ftp model you describe (viewable (greyed out)/purchasable skins, etc…is exactly how Champions online does it. Works pretty good for them. Makes me want to buy extra toon slots and costume packs :D

      I haven’t played CO, but these type of concepts are exactly what online retailers and brands have been doing for years. Entice with up-sell or cross-sell. Customers will pay more if they see the value.

  11. Ald says:

    What BW needs to do is just drop the terrible endgame raiding they have and just focus on more story and exploration. For that to happen, they’d have to redesign half of the game so I’m not holding my breath. It would give them a niche and a reason to play besides “it’s Star Wars”.

    If it was me in charge, I’d get rid of raids and story and just focus on exploration but that would mean a complete redesign.

    • taugrim says:

      Ald :

      What BW needs to do is just drop the terrible endgame raiding they have and just focus on more story and exploration. For that to happen, they’d have to redesign half of the game so I’m not holding my breath. It would give them a niche and a reason to play besides “it’s Star Wars”.

      If it was me in charge, I’d get rid of raids and story and just focus on exploration but that would mean a complete redesign.

      Well it’s hard to make a game that appeals to all players, because different player enjoy different content.

      That said, I do think it’s a mistake to have a model where endgame raiding content is not playable unless you pay. This is going to create challenges for raiding guilds that are trying to continue to sustain their raiding capability despite normal player attrition in a game.

  12. Crular says:

    I’m willing to bet my left nut (and the right one too), that they will sell legacy perks in the shop, as that is why the credit prices were that high to begin with.

    And about the guys remembering DAoC as the best thing since sliced bread. It had its flaws too. Casts interrupted completely by sneezing firbolgs and farting lurikeens, crowd control lasting long enough to go and cook a new pot of coffee etc. And at the beginning the RvR was horrible. Remember when there were no realm abilities at all and skalds were ruling the battlefield due to no diminishing returns on cc abilities?

    Remember, the grass is always greener over there.

    • EucridEucrow says:

      Crular said:

      “And about the guys remembering DAoC as the best thing since sliced bread. It had its flaws too. Casts interrupted completely by sneezing firbolgs and farting lurikeens, crowd control lasting long enough to go and cook a new pot of coffee etc. And at the beginning the RvR was horrible. Remember when there were no realm abilities at all and skalds were ruling the battlefield due to no diminishing returns on cc abilities?”

      Omg thank you! I get the feeling a lot of this gushing about DAoC is far too awash in nostalgia, hyperbole, and rose-colored hindsight. Not say DAoC sucked, not by a long shot. It is just nice to hear about people’s experience with the game that isn’t practically deifying it.

    • taugrim says:

      Crular :

      I’m willing to bet my left nut (and the right one too), that they will sell legacy perks in the shop, as that is why the credit prices were that high to begin with.

      Your probably right, and you won’t have to lose your manberries.

      Crular :

      And about the guys remembering DAoC as the best thing since sliced bread. It had its flaws too. Casts interrupted completely by sneezing firbolgs and farting lurikeens, crowd control lasting long enough to go and cook a new pot of coffee etc. And at the beginning the RvR was horrible. Remember when there were no realm abilities at all and skalds were ruling the battlefield due to no diminishing returns on cc abilities?

      Remember, the grass is always greener over there.

      My point was not that DAoC was perfect. It’s just that 2-faction PVP does not work on the majority of servers for the majority of games.

      This was especially true in SWTOR where as I posted back in mid-Dec, from the Pre-Launch Guild Program, it was already clear from the 200k players who were rolling on PVP servers that Empire was going to enjoy a greater than 2-to-1 advantage in numbers.
      http://taugrim.com/2011/12/14/population-skewing-heavily-towards-empire-on-pvp-servers

      • Edon/Jedon says:

        I like being optimistic, so I wouldn’t throw out the potential for 2-faction PvP altogether. I think the real issue is that most of the designs for it have been rehashes (from what I can tell).

  13. Crular says:

    And back on topic. What should change by SWTOR going f2p? Sure, lots of new people will try out the game and most of them will see, after a while, that there is no end game at all and will stop playing, just as the subscribers did before them. And of course no one of the old players will return? Why should they? It is the same boring game as it was before, no fancy outfit you can buy in a shop will change that. As long as this doesn’t change, the game won’t recover from this abysmal financial performance.

    • taugrim says:

      Crular :

      As long as this doesn’t change, the game won’t recover from this abysmal financial performance.

      My inclination is to believe that BioWare has recovered most of their sunk costs for developing, launching, and marketing the game. So at some point the game will break even.

      Part of the issue I think is that BioWare may have cut their staff in the two layoffs so deeply that their ability to crank out content will be impacted. That said, BioWare in their most recent blog post that they are going to “have plans to increase the cadence that [they] deliver new content”.
      http://www.swtor.com/blog/community-qa-free-play-edition

  14. Cbell says:

    Excellent Post. I myself am very interested In the SWTOR free to play model. I just hope they take their time an get it right. This should be able to bring back alot of ther old player base as long as they keep new content flowing. Also I believe this is a new start for all MMO’s as the industry starts to push towards all free-to-play games.

    • taugrim says:

      Cbell :

      Excellent Post. I myself am very interested In the SWTOR free to play model. I just hope they take their time an get it right. This should be able to bring back alot of ther old player base as long as they keep new content flowing. Also I believe this is a new start for all MMO’s as the industry starts to push towards all free-to-play games.

      Yes I hope for the sake of both BioWare and SWTOR that they are able to deliver a F2P model that provides a positive, sustainable experience for gamers who don’t play, while also appealing to the “whales” who spend significant sums of money to increase their enjoyment of the game.

  15. EucridEucrow says:

    They load you up with chips and salsa while frying some steak on the grill, filling the restaurant with the sound and smell. Then they give you an empty tortilla and say enjoy while the steak keeps cooking in the background and your mouth waters. All sizzle, no steak. They need to give you steak and make you pay for how you want to dress it up and what sides you want.

  16. EucridEucrow says:

    This would be an excellent time to offer a lifetime sub I think. You can still be hit with vanity purchases and possibly paying for expansions but you would get a 20% or so discount on all in game store stuff and otherwise have full access to the game you bought in on. My account, currently unsubscribed, has all 8 slots filled with 35+ character with all crafts covered so it would be too discouraging for me to come back to this game without full access and I don’t have enough motivation to continue paying a sub fee for the privilege. I might consider a reasonably priced lifetime sub just so I could feel freer to dip in and out of the game when I get the itch to play and not feel pressure to play past my fun level just so I can get my monthly fees worth.

    I know there would be a big problem with some that have input enough money already that a lifetime sub would be like a slap in the face but I think the OPTION would be good. Also they NEED to establish a veterans reward system, similar to Star Trek Online, that is based on time played in the game and have an exclusive reward bracket for “veteran points:. It would give those have dedicated a lot of time on the game up till now an advantage right out of the gate.

    • taugrim says:

      EucridEucrow :

      This would be an excellent time to offer a lifetime sub I think.

      Do you believe that the game is in a state where they could offer lifetime subs and people would be motivated / incented to buy them?

      There is a fair amount of uncertainty around the game.

      EucridEucrow :

      I might consider a reasonably priced lifetime sub just so I could feel freer to dip in and out of the game when I get the itch to play and not feel pressure to play past my fun level just so I can get my monthly fees worth.

      How much would you be willing to pay for a lifetime sub?
      $50 USD?
      $100 USD?

      I’d be curious to hear.

      I’ve never bought a lifetime sub to *any* game, partly because I’ve never had enough confidence in a game to be willing to fork over a chunk of money at once. And it’s not because I can’t afford it – it’s because I’m not sure it’s worth it.

      SWTOR was the first game I’ve ever paid for a multiple-month (3 month) subscription option, which I did at launch.

  17. EucridEucrow says:

    @Wild

    Proof-reading is nature’s edit button! :) Just kidding!

  18. I love the term sparkle ponys lol

  19. Edon/Jedon says:

    http://www.swtor.com/blog/community-qa-free-play-edition

    Recently released Q&A that covers initial questions about the upcoming free-to-play service. Not a whole lot of new information, but a quick read nonetheless.

    • taugrim says:

      Edon/Jedon :

      http://www.swtor.com/blog/community-qa-free-play-edition

      Recently released Q&A that covers initial questions about the upcoming free-to-play service. Not a whole lot of new information, but a quick read nonetheless.

      What I find most interesting is that BioWare is setting the expectation that they will deliver more content faster.

    • Mike Black says:

      I ve got my part of info i think it is important, no Cartel Coins via in-game mechanics. This is not a good idea. Other F2P games reward you for playing their content and by achieving some goals with their shop currency. It motivates the player to continue play, hoping that the player will eventually spent some cash either by subscribing or buying some shop currency for his/her convenience and some do.

      The way it is going to be implemented in SWTOR is bad because it virtually punishes the F2player without rewards.

      Another bad idea is the limited number of WarZones for F2Ps. This could create a problem filling spots on WZs. PvP in SWTOR endgame suffers already and those restrictions will not help its growth, if this system stays as it is.
      Their first job for SWTOR endgame PvP is to rethink and re-implement the system, not only gear wise but going back to the working class balance pre patch 1.2, and then apply those new ideas to F2P. GW2 is coming and will attract many PvPers.

      SWTOR needs to be thoroughly reworked in many areas to be a viable F2P game. A new achievements system is badly needed a better crafting system and game economy is badly needed too. They really need to fix all those numerous bugs and known issues BEFORE releasing F2P and any new content, is their current staff adequate to do so?
      I do not think they will be able to produce new content every six weeks as they promised, it is just a PR stunt imo.

      I am certain that they will offer some planet quest packs with Cartel Coins along with the (mostly useless) legacy perks, customization options and convenience items and this is acceptable. But make the player (free or subber) feel they earn some stuff, make the player feel that is winning, and this player will keep playing and eventually subscribe.

      • taugrim says:

        Mike Black
        :

        I ve got my part of info i think it is important, no Cartel Coins via in-game mechanics. This is not a good idea. Other F2P games reward you for playing their content and by achieving some goals with their shop currency. It motivates the player to continue play, hoping that the player will eventually spent some cash either by subscribing or buying some shop currency for his/her convenience and some do.

        The way it is going to be implemented in SWTOR is bad because it virtually punishes the F2player without rewards.

        We talked about this on GAMEBREAKER’s The Republic show tonight.

        Many F2P games allow items that are purchased from the Cash Shop with real money to be sold to other players (e.g. Auction House) for virtual currency, so that players who want to access endgame content can do so without paying real money – i.e. they can farm to afford to buy the cash shop items.

        If Cartel Coins are not earnable via actions in-game or purchaseable from other players (e.g. Auction House), then players who do not pay are effectively locked out of content.

        Mike Black
        :

        Another bad idea is the limited number of WarZones for F2Ps. This could create a problem filling spots on WZs. PvP in SWTOR endgame suffers already and those restrictions will not help its growth, if this system stays as it is.

        I agree.

        I think limiting participation in WZs will not only hurt the experience of non-paying customers, but it will negatively impact the experience of paying customers.

        E.g. there will be longer queue times by the time the weekend rolls around, as the non-paying customers have already hit their quota for the week.

        Mike Black
        :

        Their first job for SWTOR endgame PvP is to rethink and re-implement the system, not only gear wise but going back to the working class balance pre patch 1.2, and then apply those new ideas to F2P. GW2 is coming and will attract many PvPers.

        I don’t expect BioWare will shift their approach for class balance.

        Honestly, the horribly disruptive class changes in Patch 1.2 was the most significant single change that I can point to that caused a lot of people in my guild to quit SWTOR.

        • Edon/Jedon says:

          With regard to Bioware’s class balance approach, they’ve hinted that they are again waiting for the next big patch to implement more changes, so it’s especially doubtful that they’ll be using their pre-1.2 method.

          And concerning the “more frequent updates” announcement, Bioware just announced at Gamescom that they will be releasing a new operation next month, with a new warzones coming shortly after, and something else coming after that I believe. So perhaps all they meant by that statement was that they’ll be releasing the same amount of content, just individually.

  20. “Emphasize the FUN factor”. Please say this 1,000 times with Taugrim. Fun trumps all.

  21. Tony Jones says:

    I’m an old FPS player from back in the Doom days. Never played a RPG until Dragon Age. SWTOR is my first MMO. I love PVP, but like you said the grind after 50 sucks. Since I went PVP gear, can’t play FPs and plus the fact you depend on other people for it ( I’m kind of a lone wolf ). Depending on other people means you have to listen to the whiners, and nobody wants to help you learn how to play’em. If you ain’t geared or ain’t good nobody wants you. In PVP you can play solo. I would like to see world events, but the pay off is a damn pet or some other obscure junk. Give me a pet that will tear the balls of a sith and I would defiantly join in. Just not into the social stuff that much.

    • taugrim says:

      Tony Jones :

      I love PVP, but like you said the grind after 50 sucks.

      I wish BioWare would adopt ArenaNet’s approach in GW2 for gear for battlegrounds, i.e. it’s cosmetic. The quality of play is so much better, and it emphasizes player skill and coordination between players.

      Tony Jones :

      Since I went PVP gear, can’t play FPs and plus the fact you depend on other people for it ( I’m kind of a lone wolf ).

      Yea this is an issue for any game with different stats for PVE and PVP.

      To reference GW2 again, for World PVP (WvW) and PVE they have the same gear sets – it works because you get to choose the stats mix that suits your playstyle, and in some cases the same gear works well in WvW and PVE.

      Tony Jones :

      I would like to see world events, but the pay off is a damn pet or some other obscure junk. Give me a pet that will tear the balls of a sith and I would defiantly join in. Just not into the social stuff that much.

      This is part of the problem with games that have gear that scales vertically.

      People aren’t as willing to participate in content that doesn’t provide rewards that scale, because the rest of the game is built around scaling.

  22. scott says:

    SWG was my first ever MMO and I enjoyed it so much, it spoiled me for most other MMO’s. When SW:ToR launched, I was excited, but after I hit 50, I quickly found myself in the same position as most everyone else, wondering what to do next. Eventually I let me account lapse and the thing that has brought me back from WoW (at least for now anyway), was the F2P addition. My tests on hit so far have proved that its’ basically now Pay-To-Level-Faster. Makes the cost of the subscription worth it. ATM I am leveling two sith characters on the F2P model, and will be ready for the Rise of the Hutts when it hits, and be ready with a new subscription then. Until then, Back to the wilds of Stormwind and my new Monk!

  23. Casey says:

    Any thoughts of checking out SWTOR once 2.0 hits tomorrow?

    • taugrim says:

      Any thoughts of checking out SWTOR once 2.0 hits tomorrow?

      I’m more into the action-combat model these days.

      I’ll probably try Age of Wushu this week. The learning curve is supposed to be pretty steep, but I want to see how well the combat works.

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