Welcome to the war, comrades. Let’s get to the briefing. We will be discussing changes coming in Patch 1.5 with the Free-To-Play option, and what its impact on PvP might be.
More after the Jump…
We have gotten a ton of information this last week on the option coming in Patch 1.5 to become Free-To-Play (f2p). What do these changes mean for PvP, both for the f2p individual and the game as a whole? Let’s discuss it!
NOTE: These changes are still up in the air. Nothing is final until the official Patch Notes for the live servers.
F2P Players in PvP
The first question is “What can f2p players expect PvP-wise?” Here are the restrictions and the quirks of f2p with regards to PvP.
Free players will only be able to play five Warzones per week, which is enough to get one daily at level 50. This is up from the previous number, which was three per week, as it was changed due to tester feedback. They also said that the number may change in the future, even after launch of f2p.
Ideally, they would do something like they did with the Flashpoints. They would let you run as many as you want in a week, you just can only get rewards from three of them. In PvP, this could be done by giving flat zeroes across the board for Warzone wins and completion, except for experience, so people can’t unsub and turn themselves into twinks.
Slower Valor Gain
Free players will earn Valor at a slower rate. Combine that with the Warzone Cap, and you are looking at a very long grind to Battlemaster and beyond.
Artifact-level Gear Restricted
PvP gear at level 50 cannot be equipped without purchasing a license, like all Artifact gear. If you are a returning Subscriber with gear already, you will have to purchase the license to wear any new gear that is not already bound to you. Bound gear will function like normal.
All costs across the board at vendors have been increased by 25%, and that includes commendation costs for PvP gear. Because, you know, it wasn’t grindy to begin with…
Free players will only have access to two quickslot bars, forcing them to use the skill panel to activate skills. I know one of my first purchases would be to buy more quickslots, as I cannot imagine my Sentinel without a ton of quickbars.
Game-Wide Impact of F2P on PvP
There will definitely be an impact on the PvP-sphere with the changes incoming. What the impact will be, exactly, has yet to be worked out. Here are some predictions, mostly speculative.
There are some really cool things that you can get in the store. There are a bunch of crystals available with +41 Expertise on them. Some of these are available directly, and some drop from the Cartel Packs. Also available in the store are Valor boosts. These increase the rate at which players gain Valor, hopefully bringing f2p players back to the normal rate.
I am conflicted about the Valor boosts. A lot of changes do not impact me at all, but the lessening of a grind which serves only the purpose of a status symbol seems a little untoward. I was proud to get to Battlemaster on my main the first time I did it, because it wasn’t as easy as it is now. War Hero is still a challenge, but it won’t be anymore with these boosts. I think I will still refuse to use them on my main, but I might use them on my lower alts, so I can equip the custom gear. My Commando, though my second level 50, is sadly only rank 40, which is low compared to my rank 50 Juggernaut and Powertech, which I in turn don’t play as much as my rank 65 Sentinel and my rank 74 Gunslinger. Getting the characters up to use the fancy orange gear does have a draw to those boosts.
I can guarantee that pro players will not want to PvP on Tuesdays, following maintenance and the reset of weekly lockouts. The reason behind this is because they won’t want to PvP with the “f2p noobs.” I personally share no such opinion of free players, as they are probably better than some of the Subbed players we have now. That being said, I know this mentality will exist. What will happen to the f2p experience then?
F2Pers will play their five Warzones with a lot of people that don’t know what they are doing. Trying the feature out to see if it is worth Subscribing will give them a false idea of what PvP is like in SWTOR. I think it will be detrimental to the view of PvP, and a lot of forum posts by f2pers will pop up saying that there was one guy farming them, that the system sucks because it pairs you with bad players, and that the game has crappy PvP. These are just my predictions, but I can bet that it will happen eventually.
Quality of Players at End-game
With the lack of native ability to purchase and wear Artifact-level items unless you purchase the license, I bet we will see a lot of former Subscribers come back to Preferred Status and PvP in some Warzones with grandfathered gear, i.e. Centurion and Champion gear. They will have 500 or less Expertise, will get their butt handed to them, and will still stay in that gear because they can’t get anything better without paying.
Level 50 regular Warzones could potentially be even worse than now, with a bunch of players in Recruit landing on your team. I predict that we see an uptick of people queuing together with other well-geared players to play Ranked, leaving the f2p and Recruit-geared players to the regular Warzones. This might not actually be a bad thing, but it will create an artificial dichotomy of f2p Warzones and Subbed Warzones.
Ultimately, we should see more people come into the game, which means more people to play against and with in PvP. A lot of those players will subscribe because it makes sense to do so if you love PvP, and the end result will be people trying the game that wouldn’t have, and then sticking around to PvP with us. Hopefully that, with the addition of Ancient Hypergates (whenever that comes), will make the PvP community stronger and more vibrant, making the Open World PvP offerings promised for January even more successful.
What do you think of the f2p changes? Will you be staying Subbed or will you switch to f2p?
Use this information well, soldier. Fight for victory and die with honor. Till our next briefing, DISMISSED!