• Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Old Republic - "Free-to-Play" or "Free-to-Not-Play"?

3 comments
I like Star Wars the Old Republic. A lot. I think it's a great MMO that didn't live up to the unbelievable hype that was generated for the game. Hell, I even started this blog primarily to write about my adventures in the game. I played it happily for 8 months, had a great time, then unexpectedly fell in love with The Secret World and had to leave TOR as I can't justify two subscriptions.

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...
The ftp restrictions currently proposed by EA Bioware are by far the harshest in any AAA MMO. When you are competing in the free-to-play market against games like LoTRO and Guild Wars 2 (which is effectively free to play) you have to be clever about where you draw the line. Bioware have not just stepped over it but pissed all over the line.

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.

3 comments:

  1. I'm pretty dismayed about this. I was waiting for the FTP so I could finish my story lines. I was looking forward to it. If I have to fork out another monthly sub to do so in comfort, I'm not sure I'll be doing that. Like you say, so frustrating! A real shame.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Actually, LOTRO does have similar issues. A F2P person only gets three bags for items, not 5 like a VIP or ex-vip member does (you get to keep them if you cancel your sub and downgrade to premium- similar to preffered).

    I think you are bang on the money though, the quickslot bar and the hides headslot are the ones that grate with me... really? Can we buy additional quickslots or headslot removal in teh shop, or is it just buy subbing? I won't sub again, but I will lay down smaller sums for removal or addition of things, I just don't want a recurring payment. I was quite looking forward to firing up SWTOR again, but not so sure.

    Why could they have not created quest packs like LOTRO? So you can travel to coruscant, bu tif you want to quest and level there, £4-5 unlocks the planets quests for you. Surely thats the way to monetise and non sub game, that way I can unlock aplanet and take my sweet time, then when I am done, I'll buy the next planet. I want pay-as-you-go tarrif, not not pay-for-the-buttons-on-my-phone tarrif!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unlocking quest packs would be a great way to do it. They need to monetise content, not functionality!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...