|A trap indeed...|
I always planned to go back to the game when it went free-to-play, in order to play through the Sith Empire storyline which I hadn't done the first time around. However, in light of the recent free-to-play model that has been unveiled now that the ftp version is on the test server I'm afraid to say I won't be heading back there.
The problem isn't the fact the game is going free-to-play in itself, but rather in the manner in which Bioware and EA seem determined to wring every last cent out of even the most casual player, in as mercenary a way as possible.
Dulfy has a nice list of the free-to-play restrictions, and some of the items really made me sit up and take notice. The following items in particular make me wonder what the hell the developers are thinking.
- general chat is restricted to one message per minute (shared timer for general, pvp, and trade channels)
- no /who useage
- no access to emergency fleet pass
- 2 hour cooldown on quick travel
- no access to cargo hold
- cannot equip event items
- only 1 hotbar
- no unify colour or hide head slot for equipment
- only 1 crew skill
- only 3 loot rolls per week in flashpoints
Not only do some of these restrictions seem very petty, they will actually make the game horrible to play. The limit to hotbars and chat seems ridiculous. How are they going to make want people to play their game if they will just get frustrated by the UI and the obvious money-grabbing mentality? The game needs to be fun to play if people will want to spend money on it.
Now, I know that Bioware have "listened to feedback" and recently stated that free-to-play players will now be able to access two (yes, a whole TWO) hotbars, and some of the restrictions are eased for preferred players (those that make at least one cash-shop purchase), but none of this leaves a very pleasant taste in the mouth.
I just cannot understand their mentality. I really want TOR to succeed. I like the game. If it goes forwards with this kind of system however I can only see it failing even harder than it is right now. It's so frustrating!
Those apologists on the forums should think twice. If the free-to-play move fails then the game will not live very long. The servers will be dead. Existing subscribers should be fighting these restrictions as much as those who want a free ride.
If you are going to make the move to free-to-play it has to be done carefully. Turbine have done a really good job with Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. You can play all the content with virtually no restriction, and the cash shops sell things players want to buy (like cosmetics) and things that ease the grindier parts of the game (like travel, deed grinding etc).
|Let's hope Bioware can clean up the mess too...|
I'm hoping they change these restrictions, but I fear they won't. I've always defended SWTOR against the ridiculous bile and venom spewed by some commentators who have expressed their wish for it to fail. It's never a good thing when an MMO goes under. For the first time however I now fear that is what might happen.