Wednesday, August 1, 2012

[SWTOR]: F2P, A New Hope

Well, my feedreader just exploded like Alderaan.*

By now, I'm guessing most folks have seen the announcement that SWTOR is going Freemium and taken a look at the subscription vs free features of the game.

Not enough verbage?  Don't worry, the blogosphere has you covered. Inquisitor's Roadhouse, Sprinksville, SWTOR face, Moon Over Endor, SWTOR commando, Blessing of Kings, Hawtpants of the Old Republic, Fynralyl, Aggronaut.  (Who'd I miss? My reader is moving at Kessel-record-breaking speeds.)

Alright, now everyone use the force, turn off your targetting computers, and just say to yourself "I'm alright".**

At this point, its probably a great idea to mention what SWTOR's F2P announcement isn't:
  • The death of MMO gaming.
  • The death of subscription models.
  • TORpocalyse Now.
  • Evil incarnate.

What this is:
  • A good time to wish SWTOR well.
  • A ton of potential.

I've always viewed SWTOR as a first-rate RPG just finding its footing as an MMO. Setting up a persistent RPG story with regular continuations via patches and expansions seems to be the most promising selling point of SWTOR.

Problem is, most RPG gamers I know are skeptical of subscription models.  This keeps them out of the MMO market. If Bioware can now attract these players to the MMO market, they can escape from the mentality that the "mmo market is zero-sum". They can use their solid RPG - for a box price - to hook players on MMO elements - for a subscription. They'll have found a sustainable niche.

Obligatory EA hedge: don't get me wrong, they could blaster-to-the-foot this design in the details. They could nickel-and-dime the fun right out of it. They could market it to the wrong crowd. If they are shooting for an RPG crowd, they need better tutorials to adjust folks into MMO gaming.

Side note: I don't think this move is being made because they currently have between 500k-1m subscribers. Those numbers, if sustainable, would make everyone happy. I think they're doing it because they see a WoW expansion, Rift expansion, GW2,... and wonder what would happen to those numbers unless they do something big.

But the potential of this change... I find impressive.

EDIT:  MMO melting pot posts links to yet more posts on the topic.

* Video added for soothing effect.
** Optional step: at this point, find a Sith to shoot your ship droid. I'm happy to volunteer, so long as you aren't grouped with a smuggler.


  1. Thanks, that video made me smile. :)

    And I do appreciate reading some optimistic thoughts on the subject. I just... personally don't like F2P, any way you slice it.

    1. Turns out most everyone I know dislikes F2P too, and they've started the jump to another MMO dance. Again. Argh.

  2. As Shintar said, I just don't like F2P. I hope there's a way getting totally around it through subscribing. You're totally right of course that it isn't the end of MMO gaming. ^^

    P.S. - Oh please, how much for killing my ship's droid? xD

    1. To Kill a Ship Droid:

      Invite friend to party.
      Go to your ship.
      Friend can now freely target and kill droid.
      Droid instantly respawns on death.

      If you do this with a lethality op, dots immediately hop to the respawning droids, killing them as they spawn. This makes for a waterfall of droid death. (Haven't done this in a couple weeks, but I'll upload a video of it when I get back).

  3. I am VERY impressed with the logic and meticulous detail that you have put into your blogs. Very informative and actually useful. Great blend of math/science and understand-ability for us non-Hawking type people. Keep up the great work


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