It’s been a big day for SWTOR, with the announcement of the game going free-to-play. Although I’m extremely cynical about the framing of the announcement of a great positive sign for the game, I do think the move is likely to grow the game somewhat. Not purely because of the change broadly, but because of the way BioWare have drawn a nice line between what F2P’ers and ongoing subscribers can access. Let’s take a look at the key ones:
1. Everyone can play right through to Level 50
This is an unavoidable move if you want to attract new players and it’s a good move when you factor in the other differences between the two player types.
2. Limited character creation options for F2P’ers
Only subscribers will get to choose species. It’s a good differentiation, as any RP’ers or other Star Wars devotees that love a particular species will be driven to subscribe. More casual players won’t be fazed most likely, so it’s not a huge issue.
F2P’ers will have a lesser number of Warzones they can complete each week. There’s no confirmation of what the exact limitation is at this stage. Rabid PvP’ers will probably maintain a subscription anyways, while everyone else can really check out if they like SWTOR PvP.
4. Flashpoints and Space Combat
Again, only subscribers will have unlimited times they can play Flashpoints or space missions. What will be interesting here is the number F2P’ers can play – if the number is relatively high then there actually won’t be that big a difference. No-one sane plays dozens of Flashpoints a week. Do they?
This is probably the firmest line in the sand between the two player types. If you want to raid, you need to be a subscriber. That said, the F2P players should be welcome additions to guilds, as they can level up and gear up on F2P and if they decide they want that last step, they can pay up then. The cynic in me says that F2P’ers will get some Operation access in the future though.
6. Travel Features and GTN
Again, less access for those who go F2P. GTN access is apparently going to be ‘extremely’ limited, with full subscribers able to have 50 simultaneous listings. There’s no clarity on exactly what falls within ‘travel features’ – perhaps there’ll be longer cooldowns on Quick Travel for those who go F2P.
7. Priority Login for Subscribers
Ok, I feel bad, but I laughed when I read this one. Subscribers will always jump the login queue ahead of F2P’ers. That’s reasonable and handy – if there were queues. Can anyone tell me the last time they had a queue? 1.3 update maybe?
Over to you: are the subscription features enough to stop you going to F2P? Let us know!