SWTOR Goes F2P – Blogger Reaction Roundup

So, yeah, Star Wars: The Old Republic is going Free To Play. Anyone got any opinions on that?

Staggers back, deafened.

I’m honestly not sure if any MMO event this year, aside possibly from the first Guild Wars 2 beta, has attracted this much comment and discussion. So, if you want to hear all the great points that are being made about ELectronic Arts’ shock decision to take their flagship MMO title Free To Play less than a year after launch, dive in!

Long and Detailed

  • The Ancient Gaming Noob has never been a fan of SWTOR, and he offers cynical but still very interesting commentary on many aspects of the F2P transition“We shall see where the money ends up coming from to keep the lights on for SWTOR. Maybe EA will surprise us at last. Or maybe they will tinker with the system with their usual crowbar-like subtlety in order to try to get more juice out of the system. I expect, in the end, that SWTOR will end up the embodiment of all that I dislike about cash shop games.”
  • Psynister looks through the F2P vs subscription limitations for SWTOR point-by-point” If what I’ve seen and heard this morning are actually true then this is not only going to restrict you from being able to create new characters but it will also remove your ability to play existing characters if their species ends up being locked. From the perspective of making this a good cash generating thing this is a good idea, but if they really do end up removing your access to characters you already have then this is going to piss some people off. “
  • Scott Jennings at Broken Toys looks at the internal contradictions of F2P – that it’s seen as failing, but that even WoW is trying hard to appear F2P“The subscription model is rapidly becoming the “new car price” initial markup of even the largest budget MMOs – once you get past the first year, that markup devolves to the default free-to-play model quickly.”
  • Tales of the Aggronaut looks at the reaction of the gaming community to this announcement, and rather despairs“We have built a zero sum climate in massively multiplayer gaming, that really doesn’t need to exist. While every game is in essence competing with the games that came before it, when did we start having to tear the others down?”
  • In a post many other bloggers are praising, Player vs Developer looks at both the announcement itself and how it game to pass“As I wrote last week, the game may be a victim of its times. Non-subscription payment models are lowering the cost of switching games and may be diminishing the appeal of the repetitive mechanics that previously sustained subscriptions.”
  • Spinks writes an FAQ for anyone confused about this new announcement, including the question should you start playing or unsubscribe?“Well, if your main interest is levelling alts, you don’t care about Ops, and you aren’t too bothered about grinding flashpoints or warzones, it looks at the moment as though F2P would be the way to go. “
  • The Nosy Gamer analyses EA’s announcement and the state of the company, coming up with some very interesting quotes and information“Outside of the call we discovered the name of SW:TOR’s new executive producer. The original executive producer, Rich Vogel, left the company on 17 July. In the Executive Producer’s letter to the players on the official forums, we learned his replacement is Jeff Hickman, the original producer for Warhammer Online.”

Personal Reactions

  • MMO Gamer Chick is saddened by the decision, as she feels she’ll never be able to stay with SWTOR as Free To Play“A subscription model is upfront and honest. I know I will never have to worry about encountering a roadblock and having to hit up the item store for the solution. I personally cannot imagine myself playing SWTOR this way, paying piecemeal to get restrictions removed.”
  • Werit looks at his experience with Warhammer Online, and fears SWTOR will go down the same path“For players like me, it is very disappointing. The main reason being that it takes time and resources to convert the game to this new model. This is time that should be spent on expanding the game systems and other fun things.”
  • Shintar at Going Commando is upset and disappointed both for personal reasons and for her hopes for the future of the game“I also don’t expect this to be good for the company’s bottom line. There’s got to be a reason you never hear anything about how much money F2P MMOs make after the initial duh announcement of “wow, so many more people play our game when we give it away for free”.”

Short And Sweet

  • The Altoholic compares EA’s decision to his toddler’s attempts to learn to walk“Between the layoffs and declining subs, SWTOR has been stumbling but under this new model it looks like they’re doing what they should have been doing from the start: selling a box to the casuals while getting the hardcore to subscribe.”
  • Keen of Keen and Graev is excited about the awesome new F2P single-player RPG coming our way“In a way, one could argue the game is now an amazing low-price RPG based on what you get for the price. I can’t figure out if Bioware knows this or not.”
  • Rohan quickly runs through some speculation about the F2P model, including character slots and its effect on raiding“The thing is that the raiding in TOR is decent, but the class stories are the major attraction. Right now, you have to sub to get both aspects. When it goes F2P, it might better for an extended player to switch to another game for raiding, while maintaining TOR in a F2P mode to finish the class stories at leisure.”
  • Adrwulf quickly touches on the decision and a couple of points about EA’s announcement he feels are notable“I’m not sure I believe that, given the shrinkage in the number of servers, but perhaps there’s lots of people who bought 12-month plans and just aren’t actually playing anymore.”
  • Liore doesn’t understand why everyone believes the subscription model is the problem for new MMOs, when there are plenty of other bad decisions being made“Stop orienting new MMOs to the most casual of casual players, because they are fickle and will just migrate to the next big thing. That’s fine with a box game, but if you want a stable, faithful community then it’s time to again acknowledge stable, faithful players.”
  • Unsubject looks at the risks that SWTOR faced on release that seem to have led to its downfall“EA was funding SWOR for the wrong reasons – they weren’t looking to develop a profitable title, but instead create a WoW-level success with a financial break even point of 1m players. “
  • Hawt Pants Of The Old Republic goes bullet-point on the announcement, asking a number of questions about the future“Is it going to be a real pain in the ass when you have a subscription and someone else in your group does not? Like “sorry, would love to help you, but…””

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