Photo-Receptor Focus on: Free-to-Play
So, it’s old news that SWTOR is going free-to-play. However, Bioware released a lot of new info this last week, with more details. Some of their choices in just how this will work are great and others are – well, interesting. Today, I’ll chat about a few things that caught my attention.
More after the jump…
One decision they made was to release the entire game for free. You can download it for free – no cost at all. That’s great for those who’d like to play the game and are strapped for cash. However, it’s some cause for concern because that means every young kid who has a computer will be able to just download the game. And that makes me wonder what kind of player base we will have after this.
When a company charges for a game, at least some of the kids who can’t afford to buy it are weeded out. Are we losing some good players in that bunch? Probably, but I feel it’s worth it to restrict it somewhat. Being invaded by super young kids is not an attractive idea to me.
The other good thing for the free group will be that they can complete their entire story line from start to finish. They can level their characters to 50. There are limitations for them as to the races they can play, but once they start, they don’t get cut off. That’s a great thing.
Also free players get to check out Warzones. Granted they only get three, but that should be enough to let them know if they want to purchase a pass to play them more frequently. The same thing with Space Missions, where they get three to try and then buy a pass with cartel coins.
Operations are a different animal. You must purchase a weekly pass to try those. The thing is without the right purple gear, not too many groups are going to be thrilled to have free players. So, I would imagine that the quality of PUGs is going to go down even more. And keep in mind that you have to have a license to equip most purple gear.
However, if a free player does get the chance to run some Ops with their weekly pass and likes it, they will most likely switch from free over to a subscription. That’s a good thing.
You can check out this page http://www.swtor.com/free/features to see what else is offered in the free-to-play model.
Frankly, the subscription is still the best way to go, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, free-to-play will give the new player a taste of the game. For those who are casual players, those who don’t raid and don’t PVP, it will be a good chance for them to check out the game all the way to 50. And those who fall in love with the Star Wars universe and want to have complete access will be able to with a subscription. Hopefully this will provide players with the best of both worlds.
That’s my two credits. What’s yours?