Author Topic: Star Wars - Free to Play?  (Read 4399 times)

Offline Taith

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Star Wars - Free to Play?
« on: June 15, 2012, 12:31:53 PM »
Cross-posted on the Synch and HoJ forums.

There's a fragment of an interview with the SWTOR lead designer hinting that the game may go full free-to-play in the not-so-distant future. I know it's going free up to level 15, but I'm a bit non-plussed by that. Level 15 is about where I started disliking it.

For whatever reason, I've been thinking back on the game of late. I was openly telling people last year that I wanted to substitute SWTOR for WoW, but the game just didn't work out for me. The option of free-to-play lets me reconsider. If I don't have to pay a subscription, can I enjoy the game at a casual pace past its flaws?

I really don't have a clear picture in my head of what went wrong and what it might take to get me interested again, so I figured I'd open the matter for discussion. My thoughts are below.


The Good:

- Its Star Wars. I may not read the novels any more and the prequels were rubbish, but I'm still on good terms with the franchise itself. I've enjoyed the first two seasons of the Clone Wars CGI series and I plan to watch the third season soon.

- Tython and Korriban are both excellent zones. I played through both several times and enjoyed them. The way my Consular came by her lightsaber was completely epic.

- The storylines: good, if a little too unstructured. (See also below.)

- I really enjoyed the space combat missions. I'm sorry I didn't get a ship for my consular.


The Not So Good:

- Elite quests. I forget what they're called in SWTOR. I think Blizzard have it right here. They're aware people just skip them and are building something to compensate for that. They're a legacy of the pre-WoW MMO market and the audience has moved on from them.

- Coruscant and Nar Shadaa. Note that both are city planets. The design of both of these zones completely ticked me off and I didn't get past either. The Cataclysm underwater zone Vashj'ir is a bit of a trial too, but I've actually played it through several times and will probably do so again. Something is really wrong with SWTOR's city zone design for me.

- Chatty quest-givers. I never imagined this would be a bad thing, but it was surprisingly antisocial. Since the social aspect is a big reason that I play MMOs at all, let alone the ones I choose, chatty quest-givers and their funny gestures proved to be a negative.

- The storylines: a little too unstructured. WoW Cataclysm goes too far the other way, but it nevertheless provides some strong contrast. What do I think should have happened? My Sith inquisitor should have arrived on that third planet (whatever it was called), reported to the local Imperial commander and been routed back and forth to junior officer quest-givers. Pretend my inquisitor is attached to that officer's command on temporary assignment while working on the sneaky overall objective. Instead, as I recall, I didn't meet the local commander until about three quarters of the way through the zone. Narrative cohesion doesn't mean a linear quest structure.

- Stupid evil. On more than one occasion I found myself wondering how the hell the Empire functions at all if everyone sits around indulging their sadism. Quite screwing around folks and get on with conquering the galaxy. I know Star Wars is a straight-out good vs evil universe, but when I mass-murder rebels quickly for the sake of efficiency instead of slowly for chuckles I really don't think I should be earning light-side points.



Any feedback on my points? What did and didn't work for you? If you're still playing, how's it going? If you gave up on it, what would it take to entice you back?
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Offline Kurtt

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 01:28:50 PM »
Be honest, you knew I'd pop up in this thread, didn't you? ;D

Firstly, I'll say that I don't think there ae definite plans for SWTOR to go F2P. I think they have F2P scenarios in place, in case they need to push the button. I'd b suprised if it did so soon, but I guess stranger things have happened (The NGE springs to mind...).

As for your bad points below, I'll try and give you my feedback for each point. Be warned though, I'm a big fanboy of this game, and it can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned. I've enjoyed every aspect of the game thus far.

The Not So Good:

- Elite quests. I forget what they're called in SWTOR. I think Blizzard have it right here. They're aware people just skip them and are building something to compensate for that. They're a legacy of the pre-WoW MMO market and the audience has moved on from them.

The Heroic quests are a really fun part of the game for me. Sure, if you can't get groups for them, they become a royal pain in the ass, especially if your a completionist, like me. I've levelled my Sage to 46 so far without doing a Flashpoint or Heroic really, and that saddens me. It's not through choice, but through lack of server popuation to do it with. That said, you don't need to do a single FP, heroic or WZ to level up to cap. I know, I've done it.

1.3 is currently on the test server right now, and that brings the group finder, which includes options for finding groups for planetary content. This, combined with server transfers, will make finding groups so much easier. I've tried it, it works, its cool. Plus, no cross-server idiots to worry about.

- Coruscant and Nar Shadaa. Note that both are city planets. The design of both of these zones completely ticked me off and I didn't get past either. The Cataclysm underwater zone Vashj'ir is a bit of a trial too, but I've actually played it through several times and will probably do so again. Something is really wrong with SWTOR's city zone design for me.

Not really sure what your gripe is with Coruscant, as I've levelled through it at least 6 times so far, and have enjoyed it each time. Maybe it's not as 'open' as you anticipated, and this is what is putting you off? Dromund Kaas does my head in however, and it was a real chore pushing two imps through that.

- Chatty quest-givers. I never imagined this would be a bad thing, but it was surprisingly antisocial. Since the social aspect is a big reason that I play MMOs at all, let alone the ones I choose, chatty quest-givers and their funny gestures proved to be a negative.

Again, not something I've really noticed. After the first play through of most none class content stuff, I just hit spacebar anyway. Legacy perks in 1.3 might help you here. You can tailor a toon to get more XP from Class quests, Flashpoints and Warzones, as wel as Exploration, so it's entirey possible to skip most world conten.

- The storylines: a little too unstructured. WoW Cataclysm goes too far the other way, but it nevertheless provides some strong contrast. What do I think should have happened? My Sith inquisitor should have arrived on that third planet (whatever it was called), reported to the local Imperial commander and been routed back and forth to junior officer quest-givers. Pretend my inquisitor is attached to that officer's command on temporary assignment while working on the sneaky overall objective. Instead, as I recall, I didn't meet the local commander until about three quarters of the way through the zone. Narrative cohesion doesn't mean a linear quest structure.

Not an issue for me, but then I'm not a writer ;)

- Stupid evil. On more than one occasion I found myself wondering how the hell the Empire functions at all if everyone sits around indulging their sadism. Quite screwing around folks and get on with conquering the galaxy. I know Star Wars is a straight-out good vs evil universe, but when I mass-murder rebels quickly for the sake of efficiency instead of slowly for chuckles I really don't think I should be earning light-side points.

I agree here, and get round it by playing Lightside. So far, I've had no urge whatsoever to play a Dark side character, with the only exception being when I get DS points for making a decision that I would in RL, and me thinking that theres no way I should have got DS points for it! I also play my Sith and BH as LS too.

Any feedback on my points? What did and didn't work for you? If you're still playing, how's it going? If you gave up on it, what would it take to entice you back?

As I said previously, I'm still playing it and loving it. We're doing Ops (when it ain't GW2 beta weekend) and PvP when we can, I'm sitting on two 50's with a third well on the way, and a plethora of alts in their mid-20's.

SWTOR for life babeh. Or something...

Offline Taith

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 02:43:16 PM »
Be honest, you knew I'd pop up in this thread, didn't you? ;D

I had forseen it.


Firstly, I'll say that I don't think there ae definite plans for SWTOR to go F2P. I think they have F2P scenarios in place, in case they need to push the button. I'd b suprised if it did so soon, but I guess stranger things have happened (The NGE springs to mind...).

Depends how fast the MMO lifecycle is these days. I'm on my second free MMO in six months and if I could ever find an anime art-style one that didn't look like a hideous Korean grinder I might be on my third.

And depends on how well they've placated their shareholders, I suppose.


The Heroic quests are a really fun part of the game for me. Sure, if you can't get groups for them, they become a royal pain in the ass, especially if your a completionist, like me. I've levelled my Sage to 46 so far without doing a Flashpoint or Heroic really, and that saddens me. It's not through choice, but through lack of server popuation to do it with. That said, you don't need to do a single FP, heroic or WZ to level up to cap. I know, I've done it.

1.3 is currently on the test server right now, and that brings the group finder, which includes options for finding groups for planetary content. This, combined with server transfers, will make finding groups so much easier. I've tried it, it works, its cool. Plus, no cross-server idiots to worry about.

Questing is the part of the game that tends to matter the most to me, so I'm particularly conscious of quest content that's difficult to complete for these kinds of reasons. A group finder sounds promising. If it works, it would knock this item off my list.


Not really sure what your gripe is with Coruscant, as I've levelled through it at least 6 times so far, and have enjoyed it each time. Maybe it's not as 'open' as you anticipated, and this is what is putting you off? Dromund Kaas does my head in however, and it was a real chore pushing two imps through that.

I find them obscenely disorienting.


Again, not something I've really noticed. After the first play through of most none class content stuff, I just hit spacebar anyway. Legacy perks in 1.3 might help you here. You can tailor a toon to get more XP from Class quests, Flashpoints and Warzones, as wel as Exploration, so it's entirey possible to skip most world conten.

It's not quests I want to skip and in fact I found levelling a bit fast. It's just that the briefings demand all my attention, which makes chatting on TS or whatever harder. I never thought I'd say it but I prefer a text window.


Not an issue for me, but then I'm not a writer ;)

Yeah I'm picky. You should see my book reviews. I've turned into some kind of hideous book snob. It's awful.


I agree here, and get round it by playing Lightside. So far, I've had no urge whatsoever to play a Dark side character, with the only exception being when I get DS points for making a decision that I would in RL, and me thinking that theres no way I should have got DS points for it! I also play my Sith and BH as LS too.

By the time I thought to give that a try, I just couldn't bear the thought of zones past Korriban and Synch's Imperial guild was a ghost town. And I really did want to play as evil, just not stupid evil.

I liked playing Republic, somewhat unexpectedly. If I ever returned to SWTOR it would be to the Republic.


SWTOR for life babeh. Or something...

I envy you your enthusiasm for the game, I really do.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I was interested to see what you had to say. How are things going with the Farstar Alliance? How are they finding the game?
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Offline Goatboy

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 03:10:12 PM »
My primary reason to stop playing was that I needed to quit using excessive gaming in swtor as a way to avoid real life issues.

From what I can recall, my secondary reasons were roughly the following.

I enjoyed chapter 1 of the Trooper storyline. I felt betrayed. I wanted revenge. On every last one of those fuckers.
After that the storyline took a tumble and turned into random silly grind shit. I made it to 50 which was nice. I discovered that I could enjoy pvp and get shoulder rockets. FPs and Ops can be fun with the right people, but all in all it's just the same thing over and over and over again.

I know that last gripe is a bit bollocks as that goes for many things in life, but when I looked at the hours I spent on that character and in other games I was like: what the fuck.

I rolled a consular and I got really bored really fast with Jedi masters falling ill everywhere and me being the only one able to help them.
I rolled some darkside dudes and never really got into playing them much as not a lot of people were playing on that side pre-Farstar.

I think it's just overall MMO fatigue on my part. If every class had a storyline up to max level as engaging as Chapter 1 was for me on the Trooper, I'd happily play.
Overall I felt it was a great single player experience.

Chat windows constantly resetting and disappearing did my head in. And I'm sure space combat and voiced conversations didn't help the social aspect of the game.

There's a chance I'll give it a go again soon or at some point. Would love to tbh. But I still have shit to sort out irl and trying to keep the biggest time wasters out of my life atm. And I just fucking hate doing the same zones twice.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 03:28:06 PM by Goatboy »

Offline Taith

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 03:45:25 PM »
I enjoyed chapter 1 of the Trooper storyline. I felt betrayed. I wanted revenge. On every last one of those fuckers.
After that the storyline took a tumble and turned into random silly grind shit. I made it to 50 which was nice. I discovered that I could enjoy pvp and get shoulder rockets. FPs and Ops can be fun with the right people, but all in all it's just the same thing over and over and over again.

I never tried trooper. That does actually sound like an engaging story.

"I hear you know a guy named Tony."

"Never heard of him."

"My shoulder rockets think you have."



I rolled a consular and I got really bored really fast with Jedi masters falling ill everywhere and me being the only one able to help them.

I did wonder where that one was going. I can picture the design meeting:

"So we need a story-arc enemy for our Jedi healer class."

"How about an evil disease?"

"Dude, awesome."


I rolled some darkside dudes and never really got into playing them much as not a lot of people were playing on that side pre-Farstar.

I know what you mean. I like my silly chatter in gchat too much. It's one of the reasons why I didn't stick with DCUO and will probably be what ends Star Trek Online for me.


There's a chance I'll give it a go again soon or at some point. Would love to tbh. But I still have shit to sort out irl and trying to keep the biggest time wasters out of my life atm. And I just fucking hate doing the same zones twice.

Hope the sorting goes well, GB.
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Offline Goatboy

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 04:10:13 PM »
Already downloading the damn client. =P
Bah, I'm weak. Haven't resubbed yet though as I've already snuck stuff onto the gf's cc this month. :P
And I actually want to test myself in the upcoming week to see if I can generate some income on my own or if I need to resort to a job.

Offline Kurtt

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 08:43:30 PM »
Already downloading the damn client. =P
Bah, I'm weak. Haven't resubbed yet though as I've already snuck stuff onto the gf's cc this month. :P
And I actually want to test myself in the upcoming week to see if I can generate some income on my own or if I need to resort to a job.

FYI, server is super quiet atm, as we're al holding our breath waiting to hear whether we transfer or not.

Should find out on Monday, as it looks like they've ceased server transfers for the weekend (slackers).

Offline Warcold

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2012, 06:52:17 AM »
When I'll feel the urge to play a F2P MMO, I'll pick up LOTRO over SWTOR. Every time.

But then I'm not a fanboiiii...
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Offline Mangala

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2012, 08:31:43 AM »
If this was F2P I just couldnt see myself playing it beyond maybe trying one of the Sith stories - assuming I did not have to pony up mad dollah to do so.

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Offline Kurtt

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2012, 07:51:52 AM »
You're a prophet Taith!

I'm actually pretty excited about this change. As someone who is still paying a sub, I get everything I get now, plus Cartel Coins (AKA Turbine Points...) to spend in the item shop. Now, it depends on how pushy BW are with it, and if they start introducing Pay 2 Win stuff, but it seems ok to me.

Plus, being able to level 1-50 for free through all 8 class stories is pretty cool.

Offline Goatboy

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2012, 08:40:13 AM »
Plus, being able to level 1-50 for free through all 8 class stories is pretty cool.

This. Will be nice for every now and then.

Offline Caradir

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2012, 10:55:36 AM »
Oh dear

Every other MMO that has gone F2P has turned to shit, i see no glimmerings in the force that this will be any different. My sub lapses on 17th August i dont plan on logging in again
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Offline Taith

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2012, 02:21:05 PM »

I expect I'll patch Star Wars up and play occasionally. I still have my gripes with zone design, but a session now and then sounds reasonable. I'll just avoid the group quests, unless they've fixed that problem with a group finder. Plus I'd like to get my consular her starship. I liked the ships.

I've played two other F2P MMOs and those are doing well enough.

DCUO's problem is simply lack of minigames. Admittedly there are still the lockboxes, the loot of which I doubt is worth buying keys for, and it reminds you of the existence of the store every time you pull items out of your mailbox, but I just about stopped seeing that after a while. I enjoyed the game itself and it even convinced me that some variations of F2P are fine by me. I'd have spent a bit more money on it if I'd ever found a league.

Star Trek Online wasn't bothering me at all before I bought a lifetime subscription. The currency cap might have been an issue, but since I'm only now knocking around the cap after a couple of months of play I think it's a generous cap.

I don't know what DCUO's content updates are like because they're mostly endgame or new power sets (Green Lantern was frickin awesome), but STO's have been good. The last major release rolled out fleet-owned starbases. We're a short way into that system and of course it'll have its bugs, but it looks to be working out pretty well.

I can guess how the zerg rush of free players might upset an MMO. I think joining a solid, existing community within the game cancels out much of that. The ability to run alerts without pugging, and to hit raids for the Kryptonian battle suits, would have held me to DCUO. The fleet I've joined in STO seems pretty supportive, though I haven't quite got into the swing of things yet. Seems to mostly be a case of logging onto Mumble and asking if anyone wants to do an STF.

I'm curious to know in what way others found MMOs that went F2P suffered. Was it the quality of new players? The quality or speed of release of new content?
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Offline Kurtt

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2012, 02:51:21 PM »

I expect I'll patch Star Wars up and play occasionally. I still have my gripes with zone design, but a session now and then sounds reasonable. I'll just avoid the group quests, unless they've fixed that problem with a group finder. Plus I'd like to get my consular her starship. I liked the ships.

Group finder is in. It addresses a lot of the issues in finding groups for low level content. Server merges have helped drastically too.

Offline Taith

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Re: Star Wars - Free to Play?
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2012, 10:16:25 PM »
Free-to-play restrictions

Quote
Death: A total of five field resurrections can be used on a free-to-play account - with unlimited return to med center options - and future field resurrections will require a purchase from the Cartel Shop.

What is this I don't even

Quote
Galactic Trade Network: Unable to list items for sale without purchasing an authorization from the Cartel Shop.

Oh that smarts. And it's stupid. F2P players won't contribute to the economy.

Quote
Character Customization: No access to title display, legacy name display, hiding head slot and unifying armor color to chest piece.

No! The headgear was awful! Awful! Well, the hoods were okay, but those cap things were awful! Awful!

Quote
Past subscribers will also have continued access to existing toons that are in the restricted races.

Which is lucky, because all my Imperial characters belong to the restricted races.
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