It has been a while since I have posted about SWTOR. The primary reason, and this may come as a shock, is that I haven’t had an active account. I still love the game but it was fiscal reasons that I had to shut down the account and nothing to do with the immense scrutiny the game has been under since its launch. When the game became free-2-play, of course I was going to log in and see what is different.
I was elated to see that I can still play both of my level 50 characters. While Free-2-Play restricts players to only 2 character slots, if you have more characters created, and of races that are not part of the F2P, you can still play those toons, you just can’t create any more. For example I have two level 50 characters, a level 39 and a level 14. All four toons are available for me to play and all four are races that are not unlocked for Free-2-Play. Additional character slots and races cannot be unlocked using Cartel Coins.
The one thing I think the developers succeeded in doing was enticing the player to want to purchase either a subscription or the Cartel Coins because they have locked down quite a bit of features. If you are someone coming to the Free-2-Play option from having played as a subscriber you are going to really feel the restrictions. In fact I think I am leaning toward renewing for a month to unlock all the Cartel Coins I have earned so I can unlock more features.
What will probably bother me the most about the Free-2-Play is the caps on credits and Flashpoint commendations. I think this was something that Bioware said under their breath. Folks were probably more focused on when the game will be free-2-play and crying about locked action bars (which really isn’t that big of a deal because they can be unlocked very easily, a mere $5). Your credits are capped at 350,000 which is enough to get you level 50 speeders but you will not be able to buy any of the larger mounts (such as the land speeder that ranges somewhere around 2 million to 2.5 million credits). Also, all your Flashpoint commendations (ex: Tionese, Columni, etc) are capped at 40 and your Tionese Crystals are capped at 100. Neither of these caps can be unlocked with Cartel Coins (for now).
I am honestly worried about the future of this game, now. I really enjoy it but I think people are going to be just too put off by what things Bioware has locked down. Knowing Bioware’s slow response time to some of these concerns I don’t think they will make the appropriate adjustments in time to save face. As a programmer I understand that a company needs to make money on their titles, after all a programmer’s gotta eat. I am worried though that some of the items that you cannot unlock may drive players away.
I hope I am proven wrong.