Welcome to the war, comrades. We are taking a break from strategies this week because we have news from the front that more soldiers will be joining the fight for free. Let’s talk about what Free-to-Play might mean for PvP in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
More after the Jump…
Free-to-Play (f2p) has certain connotations that are not necessarily good. People often assume that f2p is the death blow to a game. The forums are a-buzz with people screaming the sky is falling, and columnists are writing about the “short life” of SWTOR.
But how bad is it really? I have been through this before, I played Lord of the Rings Online before it went f2p and for about a year afterwards as well. It is still going strong, they are doing better than ever, and they have released one expansion already and are about to come out with a new one in September.
PvP will be affected by f2p in some way, that is for sure. Here are the good things I think might happen.
A lot of people are saying that they just don’t have the time to play SWTOR enough to justify the subscription. This change to f2p will enable a lot of people to get back into the game. I have seen multiple friends on Twitter saying that they will reinstall the game for this.
New, Good Players
There are some people who are really good at PvP in other games that will now be able to come to our game and give it a try. A lot of people were holding out if they didn’t want to pay a sub, and now they don’t have to.
Faster Content Updates
Here’s hoping that SWTOR uses the extra money from f2p (which should be a lot, if it goes like Lord of the Rings Online) to produce more content, more frequently. This can only mean good things for us if they do. They are already coming out with a new Warzone soon, so they may be able to give us more Warzones more often.
Ok, so with that note of optimism, what could go wrong?
Bad PUG groups could be made worse by the influx of players who have no idea what they are doing. I am going to hope that the relative concentration of good vs bad players will be the same, meaning that you will still have about two really good players per PUG, two that are ok, and four that are clueless, just like now.
Pay-to-win (P2W) items in the cash shop are a real danger, and SWTOR needs to be careful about this. If they offer items in their cash shop that provide a statistical advantage in PvP, then they could lose people who are disgusted with the prospect of paying real money for in-game items for the fights to be fair. It isn’t quite as bad if the items are available in the game itself, like Warzone Medpacs for example, but it still is annoying.
With the massive influx of new players, there will probably be queues to get into the servers again, diminishing the experience somewhat. That being said, I’ll take queues over empty servers.
The Ugly Details
Here are a few ways I think they might limit free players’ ability to PvP.
Individually Priced Warzones
This is pretty simple; if you want a Warzone, you have to pay for it. This may mean that certain Warzones may pop more frequently than others, causing a shift in the balance that we currently have right now.
Cap On Games Per Week
This would be harder to do, but there might be a limit on how many Warzones you can do per week as a free player. This could be removed by a sub, or the cap could be raised or eliminated through cash shop purchases.
PvP Locked At 50
This scheme also seems likely, as Operations are locked to free players. Level 50 PvP is a different bracket than the 10-49 bracket, so it seems feasible that level 50 free players will have to unlock level 50 PvP with a sub or in the cash shop.
So what do you think? Is f2p going to revitalize PvP or crash it to the ground? Let me know in the comments below, and till our next briefing, DISMISSED!