BioWare Charts Star Wars: The Old Republic Free-to-Play Restrictions

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Mygaffer:
Hey, how long do you guys think it will take EA to kill Bioware?

Well, since the end of last year Bioware has been on the quick train to the chopping block, as it were. They're tanking faster than any other development studio I've seen, except maybe 38 Studios. I imagine the next Dragon Age game will now be announced to be a City-Sim co-developed by Maxis.

Christ, how quickly they're falling.

So you have to pay to grind dungeons, pay to pvp and if you get lucky and find a decent item you have to pay to use it. Most people's experience, mine included are hinged on the character creation. Well you have to pay for options from the get go you'll never be able to change later on. This is an amazing idea, in a vacuum where no other games exist. It's like they don't understand that there are games far better than the subscription version of old republic that are free to play, and they have payment options that are reasonable and don't break the game or restrict content. I hope the business department that came up with this model is exiled to another plane of existence, after getting fired.

Don't understand the hatred that this F2P restrictions get. Lotro had a lot more annoying restrictions, having to grind points in order to unlock quests. Here at least, I am going to be able to finish all of my quests and personal story-line without trouble.

As for dunegons and PvP - meh. The combar in Swotr wasn't very good in first place.

I might try it someday, but not today.

StriderShinryu:
I'm sure this will prompt many to try the game that haven't before. I must say, though, that it definitely seems at least at first glance that these restrictions are much harsher than in other F2P/Optional Sub games I've heard about/played. LOTRO, for example, is F2P with an optional sub too, but you can earn credits for the cash store in game easily enough. With some effort and running a couple of characters at a time, you can pay for pretty much everything this way without even opening your wallet once. The optional sub for LOTRO just makes things easier and quicker but it isn't the only way to get a quality game experience which sounds like it may be the case here.

One thing you left out with the sub part of LotRO is that you don't just unlock the stuff that is locked to F2Pers.

My sub is 30 dollars for three months, plus each month I get 500 of those Turbine points to use in the story. Though, other than cosmetic stuff, I did end up using those points to pick up an eighth character slot. The only class I'm not running right now is Rune-keeper. Though I will fill that class when I get a ninth character slot.

The nice thing is now I have 8 characters from my main account that are the kinship I made, so I don't have to bother with my second free account and worry about my kinship auto-disbanding.

The F2P seems to be an infant still, since even though a lot of MMOs have very similar mechanics, everybody still thinks of different ways of charging money...and EA again thinks of annoying ones.
F2P is supposed to entice you to pay, but it seems all this will have a very weak effect, since these restrictions make the game seem annoying before you actually find it enjoyable. If it's supposed to be a demo, then cap the levelling and restrict side missions and stuff, but all this is just clunky as hell.

Plus, as someone mentioned, how much are they gonna pay me to install Origin?

DaxStrife:
How much to play it without using EA's Origin system?
...Yes, that's still a deal-breaker for me.

Origin isn't required to play this game or even install or run it. Assuming you don't do the stupid thing and buy it digitally.

If you have the disc to install it, you're good to go. Or you can download the client from the SWTOR website. Linking SWTOR to an Origin account is optional.

anian:
The F2P seems to be an infant still, since even though a lot of MMOs have very similar mechanics, everybody still thinks of different ways of charging money...and EA again thinks of annoying ones.
F2P is supposed to entice you to pay, but it seems all this will have a very weak effect, since these restrictions make the game seem annoying before you actually find it enjoyable. If it's supposed to be a demo, then cap the levelling and restrict side missions and stuff, but all this is just clunky as hell.

Plus, as someone mentioned, how much are they gonna pay me to install Origin?

You don't have to install Origin.

I'll just keep it plain and simple.

I didn't want TOR. I wanted KotOR 3. They didn't give me KotOR 3. They gave me TOR.

I would've been willing to go F2P just to do the storyline, but even that seems like a chore with all the restrictions they put on it. Screw them, I won't get it. So many MMO's made a better deal out of their F2P model, this just seems stupid.

GundamSentinel:
I'll just keep it plain and simple.

I didn't want TOR. I wanted KotOR 3. They didn't give me KotOR 3. They gave me TOR.

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Star_Wars:_Knights_of_the_Old_Republic_3

KOTOR 3 was in development years ago, but Lucasarts cancelled the project at the same time they cancelled Battlefront 3. The game was supposed to be developed by Obsidian and BioWare as a team.

A few years later, Lucasarts and BioWare started working on an MMO, and the idea to set it in the KOTOR universe came through. After BioWare was bought out by EA, EA jumped at the idea to make the game and started pouring money into the project.

I personally don't care about MMOs or Star Wars, so I don't care in any possible way (and in few impossible ways too)

shrekfan246:

Mygaffer:
Hey, how long do you guys think it will take EA to kill Bioware?

Well, since the end of last year Bioware has been on the quick train to the chopping block, as it were. They're tanking faster than any other development studio I've seen, except maybe 38 Studios. I imagine the next Dragon Age game will now be announced to be a City-Sim co-developed by Maxis.

Christ, how quickly they're falling.

Well Bioware is making C&C:Generals2
A pseudo-C&C game without single player experience made by guys that specialize in RPG's
If this won't be the last nail in Bioware's coffin, then they are indestructible

P.S. What exactly is in your avatar picture?

StriderShinryu:
I'm sure this will prompt many to try the game that haven't before. I must say, though, that it definitely seems at least at first glance that these restrictions are much harsher than in other F2P/Optional Sub games I've heard about/played. LOTRO, for example, is F2P with an optional sub too, but you can earn credits for the cash store in game easily enough. With some effort and running a couple of characters at a time, you can pay for pretty much everything this way without even opening your wallet once. The optional sub for LOTRO just makes things easier and quicker but it isn't the only way to get a quality game experience which sounds like it may be the case here.

Yeah, LotRO is a good example of how a F2P MMO should work. You can play the game just fine without paying anything, and it's possible to access any of the content without ever paying. However, if you want to access all the content, paying is really the only reasonable way to do so since it would be an incredible grind to earn enough points by in-game actions.

Unfortunately, LotRO seems to be a big exception. Plenty of others are actually much more restrictive than TOR seems to be. For example, the entire point of Champions Online is to develop your own superhero with whatever mix of powers you feel like. But if you play it F2P, you're stuck with a very limited selection of pre-made classes that make it little more than a WoW clone with silly costumes. It seems as though many devs see F2P as little more than a glorified demo where you have to pay to experience the proper game, rather than as a full game where you pay for additional convenience.

Somethingfake:
Look at EVE, a monthly subscription MMO, with a high learning curve and a brutal universe that has no mercy and yet it's doing just fine.

To be fair, Eve isn't always a good example for this sort of comparison. Sure, it's one of the few MMOs that has consistently gained subscribers throughout its history, but it still doesn't actually have that many. Earlier this year, Eve hit 400,000. WoW has lost an order of magnitude more than that, yet still has over 10 million left. TOR is considered to be in bad shape because it's dropped below 1 million subscribers, but that's is still mroe than double Eve. Eve continues to do well as a relatively small niche game, but it's not what you want to copy if you're looking for millions of subscribers.

blackrave:

Well Bioware is making C&C:Generals2
A pseudo-C&C game without single player experience made by guys that specialize in RPG's
If this won't be the last nail in Bioware's coffin, then they are indestructible

More accurately, 'Bioware' is making Generals 2. As in, a bunch of completely unrelated dudes who got a Bioware sticker smacked on them by EA in hopes of it encouraging sales. Nothing to do with the actual Bioware.

Mathak:

blackrave:

Well Bioware is making C&C:Generals2
A pseudo-C&C game without single player experience made by guys that specialize in RPG's
If this won't be the last nail in Bioware's coffin, then they are indestructible

More accurately, 'Bioware' is making Generals 2. As in, a bunch of completely unrelated dudes who got a Bioware sticker smacked on them by EA in hopes of it encouraging sales. Nothing to do with the actual Bioware.

I apologize for using video that was already used to death 2 years ago, but I simply must

I just...
It is so wrong on so many levels, that I just can't anymore :(

THAT'S IT
New story
After defeating CABAL, GDI and Nod found common ground, together they were able to deal with Tiberium and a new Golden age started for humanity

I AM DONE WITH C&C >:(

I never played The Old Republic, want to, but haven't yet. I wouldn't complain about subscribing as long as the content was worth it, heck I'm paying Eve Online. But... How come they call it "free-to-play" but make the game worthless unless you pay? So it's not free-to-play, it's an enduring demo mode... Yeah EA, I'm not fond of how gamers usually hit you in the balls for whatever mistake you make, but this time you took a big DUMP on the consumers' heads...

Frostbite3789:

StriderShinryu:
I'm sure this will prompt many to try the game that haven't before. I must say, though, that it definitely seems at least at first glance that these restrictions are much harsher than in other F2P/Optional Sub games I've heard about/played. LOTRO, for example, is F2P with an optional sub too, but you can earn credits for the cash store in game easily enough. With some effort and running a couple of characters at a time, you can pay for pretty much everything this way without even opening your wallet once. The optional sub for LOTRO just makes things easier and quicker but it isn't the only way to get a quality game experience which sounds like it may be the case here.

Unless you have oodles of time...god, the amount of grinding to earn anything substantial in LotRO feels absolutely absurd.

I wouldn't say that it takes oodles of time. Yes, it does take time, but that's sort of the point. If you could easily and quickly get everything in the store without paying for a subscription or buying extra Turbine Points, then no one would pay the sub fee or shell out for TP. Despite the fact that LOTRO is a F2P game, it's still not free for Turbine to run and create content for. They need to make money somehow, even if that money is made off of nickel and dime convenience purchases.

That said, and as I said originally, if you run a couple of characters through all of the free content, make smart purchases with the TP that you do earn, and make sure to do all of your available quests and deeds, you can easily play a full enjoyable game for completely free. Of course, there are expansion packs to buy at certain level plateaus but you have to pay extra for those whether you're a free player or sub player.

I seem to be in the minority in that I really liked the game. I'm glad to see it's going to free-to-play so I can play through the other stories when I feel like it. It's a shame they've gone as far as they did to hamper the free-to-play characters but I'm still excited. With luck and little common sense, they'll ease up a bit later on.

TWEWYFan:
I seem to be in the minority in that I really liked the game. I'm glad to see it's going to free-to-play so I can play through the other stories when I feel like it. It's a shame they've gone as far as they did to hamper the free-to-play characters but I'm still excited. With luck and little common sense, they'll ease up a bit later on.

I'm actually still a paying customer. Been so since launch. I enjoy the game. But not for it's MMO aspects, more so I like the character stories (as I think pretty much everyone does). Someone said it earlier, but I don't understand why Bioware won't give us more of that. Once people finish their main class story, there is no reason to keep playing. The majority of players came for the story. Now, instead of expanding it, they keep pumping out battlegrounds and flashpoints. Oh well. Back on point.

I really would love to know what they were thinking when they decided those restrictions. IIRC, when they first announced it was going f2p, they were going to limit flashpoints and PvP. But now they are taking out fleet passes, item usage, crew skills etc? That's insane. If anything, this whole thing paints EA/Bioware in an almost passive aggressive light. I can't imagine they will be attracting many new players with this. Maybe at first, but those limits are going to get old fast.

nikki191:

Valanthe:
That's just obnoxious, it's like giving out free candy, but putting it in a locked box and telling people they have to buy the key.

thats what star trek online does haha

Yeah but be fair, at least with STO you can easily get enough Cash store points to get a key, I mean your on an 8k dilithium cap per day, which is easy to max, 8k dilithium equals roughly 200 Zen, keys only 125 Zen.

Dont get me wrong, they hand out lockboxes at a ridiculous rate, a few friends of mine considered using them as currency... maybe ammunition, their cheaper to replace then torpedo's :P

I don't really get all the hate their restrictions are getting. Sure it's not exactly optimal, but frankly that's something to expect. The simple fact that we can (supposedly) play all the way to 50 without spending a copper is pretty darn generous in my opinion. LotRO's system (which I also find pretty good) doesn't even allow that (as you have to buy quest packs after 30).

At first glance, it seems to me that the F2P option should be enough for people who just want to play it like a SP RPG for the class storylines. I'm kind of looking forward to it myself. I was a subscriber for 3 months and rather enjoyed the storylines, but it's pretty much the only thing I enjoyed in the game and I didn't feel like I was getting my $15's worth.

sunsetspawn:

Mygaffer:
Hey, how long do you guys think it will take EA to kill Bioware?

Some of Bioware's top talent have left. Many of the remaining employees are unhappy. The atmosphere has been crushed up there in Edmonton, and the excitement of making a great game is gone. Deadlines and profit maximization have taken the place of joy and creativity. We all talk about Bioware yet have no idea that it's Bernie fucking Lomax.

Bioware's been dead for awhile now and a couple of assholes (EA) are propping it up and pretending it's alive, and we, the naive public, talk about it as such.

Great post and so true.

Character creation options I get - I assume they'll lock out species options (not that there's much a real difference, they're all basically humans with different skin tones and hair styles). What I don't understand is the 3 times a week limit. I have never seen any game do that. At most you can charge money for newer dungeons and raids, but leave the ones that are already in the game open. That said, with the limit they've imposed, the weekly pass could be an interesting idea, depending on how much it ends up costing.

TheDrunkNinja:
Got the itch to play again a little early last week. I must say, I forgot how much I enjoyed this game. I don't know what you guys have been seeing, but as far as I've seen in game, TOR has been thriving. Maybe not excelling but it's not on a downward spiral like most people who haven't picked up the game in months have been saying. Honestly, I've never had this much ease finding people to go do heroics and dungeons with in an MMO. That's probably due to the merging servers that took place earlier, but if that is the case then it was a good move on Bioware's part. The more lively a server is, the happier the customer, and it gets up to the hundreds in the Imperial Fleet hub.

I think people started calling TOR's death before it even got through its adolescence. From someone who just got back in the game, I think we can establish that it's pretty damn hard to see from the sidelines, now isn't it?

Anyway, still fun, start the free-trial if you want try it out without any monetary risk.

Just because there are more people per server, especially after merging servers, doesn't necessarily mean it's "thriving." There are overall less people playing, you just see them more because they're all in the same place.

Twyce:

TWEWYFan:
I seem to be in the minority in that I really liked the game. I'm glad to see it's going to free-to-play so I can play through the other stories when I feel like it. It's a shame they've gone as far as they did to hamper the free-to-play characters but I'm still excited. With luck and little common sense, they'll ease up a bit later on.

I'm actually still a paying customer. Been so since launch. I enjoy the game. But not for it's MMO aspects, more so I like the character stories (as I think pretty much everyone does). Someone said it earlier, but I don't understand why Bioware won't give us more of that. Once people finish their main class story, there is no reason to keep playing. The majority of players came for the story. Now, instead of expanding it, they keep pumping out battlegrounds and flashpoints. Oh well. Back on point.

I really would love to know what they were thinking when they decided those restrictions. IIRC, when they first announced it was going f2p, they were going to limit flashpoints and PvP. But now they are taking out fleet passes, item usage, crew skills etc? That's insane. If anything, this whole thing paints EA/Bioware in an almost passive aggressive light. I can't imagine they will be attracting many new players with this. Maybe at first, but those limits are going to get old fast.

Agreed on both counts. I'm trying to figure out how much of this is bitterness or simply a ham-fisted attempt to try and make free to play as limiting as possible to encourage paying.

Gatx:
Just because there are more people per server, especially after merging servers, doesn't necessarily mean it's "thriving." There are overall less people playing, you just see them more because they're all in the same place.

Duh, that's a given. I'm saying it doesn't feel any less lively than any other MMO I've played during their peaks (including WoW). That includes both fleet hubs and general quest areas. There's always at least one person of my level doing the same quests in the area I'm doing quests. Help for a heroic quest is simply a request away. And don't take "thriving" as if I'm saying it's currently reaping many benefits and success. I simply meant it as TOR is doing well for itself given the hardships it has faced. I made it clear that this is just what I've personally experienced. To declare an MMO is either a complete success or dying without full experience of the product is just foolish, yet so many are comfortable to do the latter.

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