Thursday, October 25, 2012

SWTOR F2P Model Thoughts

The Old Republic is releasing more details on its Free-2-Play option. It looks like they are setting up a three-tier system:

  1. Subscribers - people who predictably pay money
  2. Preferred Status - people who have paid money in the past, and therefore might do so again in the future
  3. Free To Play - people who have never paid money and/or gold seller/scammer/suspicious accounts
The last tier is heavily restricted, but a lot of the most annoying restrictions are lifted as soon as a bit of money is spent.

Now, you all know my position on F2P. I think the amount of money Bioware will get from the second tier will be negligible. Most gamers are just talk and don't put their money where their mouths are. The real money will come from people they convert to subscribers, and the extra money that dedicated subscribers will spend.

That being said, this doesn't seem that bad. Once you get to Preferred Status, the restrictions are not crippling, and are minor annoyances. There's a lot of cosmetic gear that looks kind of interesting. 

Most hilariously, there's a chestpiece for male characters which is transparent. I guess that matches the female bikini armor. Equality for the win?

One other thought: I don't think a lot of people complaining about restrictions on the forums really understand how much a gold seller or hacker could do with free accounts. Just imagine what someone could do with a thousand accounts all slaved together. Even simple things like the /who command could bring a server to its knees if invoked simultaneously by everyone.

Or the credit boxes from Slicing. That profession is credit-positive, so you could just set up all the accounts to continuously run slicing missions and generate tons of credits, and feed it to a main character. Massive inflation, anyone? So Bioware has locked away the credit box missions behind a paywall, and F2P players can only use the Slicing missions which generate augment parts. Lots of people are upset about that restriction, but to my mind, it's a very necessary one.

Ah well, this will be an interesting experiment. Personally, I really enjoy The Old Republic, and recommend it to all my readers. I think it is a very good themepark MMO, especially if you like story and group PvE.  Imperial Agent is the best story line, possibly the best RPG storyline I've played in the last couple years. Most of the others are quite good too, with many people voting for the Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior story lines.


  1. Well, maybe it's me being negative, but it smells like the crap it is: F2P glued over a game which was NOT designed for F2P. Well-designed F2P games don't have to rely on this kind restrictions to defend from hackers/scammers: they design the game from the start so that bringing an account to the point of being exploitable is a massive investment.

  2. If the Invis Chest and gear like it was offered in WoW for transmog I think it would be a huge seller. They might be onto something,

  3. I loved the Bounty Hunter Arc, by far my favorite. I'm hoping they expand on the Mandalore aspect, felt like a true badass when hunting down the badass's of the galaxy while screaming "FOR MANDALORE" causing my wife to laugh hysterically while posting it on youtube

  4. I'd say you hit on a big point in TOR's F2P attempt: people aren't considering the security risks that F2P engenders to the environment.

    If you look at it from the "how can a black hat expose something for gain?" angle, then that's a start. There's always openings, but they have to be balanced against risks. Sure, maybe it would have been smarter to limit slicing to non-safe items, but it is much easier to defend agains slicing abuse in a purely subscription-based model. (And to be honest, slicing without being able to hack a safe would seem, well, weird and gamey.)

    If there weren't enough people around to run exploits, then a lot of these restrictions wouldn't exist. But people being people, there's always somebody who finds an exploit to use. Hell, just look at the Paragon controversy back in Cata, and that was a guild that should have known better.