Friday, April 13, 2012

[SWTOR] Free Time for Level 50s

Lots of buzz about Bioware giving current subscribers with Level 50s a month of free time. The long-time subscribers without level 50s are naturally unhappy, and so we'll see how that plays out. Personally, I thought SWTOR strongly encouraged someone to get to 50 before starting alts, so I'm not sure how common the above scenario really is.

But I'm not really interested in talking about that aspect. What's more interesting to me is the timing of this offer.

Bioware is giving end-game players a month of free time right when a major, heavily-advertised patch hits. Shouldn't the patch itself be a major attraction? Shouldn't people want to stay subscribed to explore the new patch and content?

To me this is like Blizzard giving every raider a month of free time right when Dragon Soul comes out. It's nice, but it's really unnecessary. Everyone would stay subscribed for a little while to poke around in Dragon Soul and LFR.

It seems like it would be much better to give out the free time a month or two after the patch has landed. To keep people from unsubscribing, to keep them playing a bit longer.

I don't know. Maybe Bioware needs to guarantee subscription numbers for a very specific date. Maybe there's something specific in their player habits that makes this idea useful. But I just don't understand the logic behind the timing of this offer.


  1. I think that it is aimed at the people who hit 50 and unsubscribed (like me). If you get them back and they like the changes enough, then maybe they will stick around.

  2. But my understanding is that the free time is only for current subscribers. I don't think you would qualify for the free month.

    They have a different 7-day free time offer for unsubscribed people, and that offer makes perfect sense to me.

  3. It wouldn't make sense for Blizzard to do that because with LFR, you could very easily blow through the new patch content in well under a month.

    Having said that, it probably WOULD make sense for Blizzard to give a couple of free days to past players when a cool new patch drops. That way, anyone who is vaguely curious can be encouraged to come check things out and the ones who like it will probably spring for at least a month.

    Just because MMOs haven't tended to be so aggressive with their offers doesn't mean this might not make sense. Perhaps they should be working harder to keep our custom (Blizzard definitely should!)

  4. This is, most likely, aimed at a specific earning target for a very specific event. Almost every company tries to massage things this way, it's expected so the relative honesty is never questioned.

    From the player perspective, I expect that I'm in the target group. I have level 50 characters, and I have an active subscription, but I'm really not excited about the game. It's a good game (better on the Imperial side) while leveling but it just dies at 50. I was waiting to see if they intended to actually add content for max level - other than Flashpoints you will run a few times to get drops and dailies that will last a few weeks. Looks like they aren't, and the free month isn't much motivation to stay around.

    This was the "game we wanted to launch" patch, so 1.3 may actually add something, but i doubt it. From what they've pushed it looks like the legacy system and running alts is the intended end game.

  5. It's a "please don't abandon us for Diablo III" freebie.

  6. I never felt like the game encouraged you to hit 50 before starting an alt. it DOES encourage you to unlock your legacy, but that happens long before 50.

    I tend to be in a camp of either "they are padding the numbers for specific date" or (I think I read it in comments on Sprink's blog and it makes sense) as a peace offering for lvl 50 characters, for removing rated pvp at the last minute.

    my personal issue is with how the offer was phrased.

    I don't have a level 50. my highest is 44. when I do play, I tend to split my time between 2 servers AND 2 factions (on both servers) - to play with various friends. I have preordered. I have digital deluxe upgrade. my account is still active.

    telling me that I'm less valuable or loyal then someone who may have started less then a month ago (I seem to remember a recent sale on SWTOR, I think it was to celebrate release f ME3 if I remember correctly) and speeded to 50? EA needs to hire entirely new marketing/ PR department. becasue the ones they have right now well.. I have no diplomatic way of putting it. they suck monkey balls, as evidenced by their handling of both SWTOR and Mass Effect.

  7. All those who unsubscribe actually have 7 free days to play actually good sir :)

    That being said, i think that this offer comes at a hell of a bad time for oceanic region. It takes a month or so to hit 50 and i would say that about at least 75% of the oceanic population has not hit 50 yet. It's kinda of a raw deal for them.

    Come to think of it, I would also agree that it's actually padding for some investors meeting or some such. Though with the internet having such a long memory, i am pretty sure that any such announcement from Bioware/EA will be met with scorn and the pointing of fingers to this offer as well.

  8. @Redbeard - I'm with you on that.

    I also think with how Bliz has been tossing beta invites like candy, I think this is Bioware's way of shooting back.

  9. I thought SWTOR strongly encouraged someone to get to 50 before starting alts, so I'm not sure how common the above scenario really is.

    Anecdote time. My highest was at level 48 when the due date fell. The reasons were a) play being restricted to weekend, due to work, and b) my main is synced with my wife, so if we both can't play, we fall back on alts. So that's two accounts.

    That said, I didn't find out about the offer until after it happened. (And I subscribe to the news feed.... it wasn't announced.) It's possible we could have pushed for 50 if we'd known, but... meh.

    I'm not going to get too worked up about others getting something that I didn't know about, and which doesn't change my mind anyway.

  10. update. it seems that it finally occurred to bioware that they may just be punishing the actual loyal costumers with their ill worded offer. so they have updated it.

    now you get 50 free days if you have a lvl 50.. OR legacy lvl 6 (which is entirely possible with altitis playstyle)

    in addition, the offer to acquire said minimum has been extended until april 22.

    I guess fallout from ME3 PR debacle (as well as bigger MMO competition) is teaching them something.

  11. My 3 month sub is about to run out. I have had a lot of work to do and am a few levels from 50 on my Trooper. Now, I'll make sure to get her to max in time to get my free month, maybe enjoy some endgame stuff with her, and play alts a bit with my friends who just started. So it wound up working great for me!

  12. It could be Biowares concept to force non-raiders to raid. Raids are very cheap to produce for endgame compared to real content. Blizzard tries to do that since forever.

    I think the 30 days are primarily to keep whole guilds online during the patch. If people who don't like raiding quit, people who would like to raid might not have enough friends in the guild to raid and abandon the game. But if everyone stays online you can easily socially-force them to raid with you. And if the raiders are able to raid they will continue their subscription for another year.

    It's the same concept as F2P. People who don't pay (those who didn't want to raid but planned to leave the game) will be abused to produce content to those who pay (those who do want to raid and will stay for another year with SW:TOR).

  13. I suspect (without a single shred of data, as is natural on the Internet) that it has to do with organizational time. I think people might be getting frustrated if they're at 50 but are having a hard time getting raids going solidly from an organizational stand point. By giving a free month only to players in that specific situation, they're saying, "Look, give it another month to get your guild together!" Otherwise, people who have 50s but aren't raiding regularly in a regular guild might be frustrated that new content is coming out faster than they can get their organizations together and decide "to hell with it." That's the only logical reason I could come up with for this deal at the same time as this patch with levels 1-49 being excluded.

  14. That's an interesting explanation, Stubborn. Buying time to get a critical mass of level 50s.

    Very nice. I don't know if it's the real reason, but it's certainly plausible.

  15. I didn't see it mentioned here, but bioware said they have expanded the free month offer to players who have hit legacy 6 as well, so you alt-o-holics without a 50 should still get you play time.

  16. "Everyone will have until April 22nd at noon CDT (5:00pm GMT) to gain either Legacy Level 6 or a level 50 character."

    What is ironic is that in my case, the free month kicks in a week after D3 is released.