Allow me my moment of gloating as I predicted this within my first month of playing Star Wars the Old Republic. I loved the cinematics, the gameplay, the stories, the characters, spaceships and lightsabers. I fell in love with the familiar universe of Star Wars, but I loathed it for the basic massively multiplayer online game (MMO) mechanics it lacked. Hence my prediction that it will fail as an MMO and will have to go free-to-play to draw players, which it will do from November, 15.
Lead Designer, Damion Schubert, posted a lengthy article on the Star Wars the Old Republic (TOR) website, explaining the reasoning and implications for the shift in business model. He highlights the two core philosophies regarding the design shift:
“The first core rule is that we want to be sure that players can reach level 50 without paying a cent, if so desired. The final design meets this requirement: Free-to-Play players can play levels 1 through 50 and enjoy the vast majority of the classic storyline and side quests during their journey.”
As with all free-to-play models, there are restrictions: “That’s not to say there won’t be restrictions – Free-to-Play players will earn experience more slowly, for example, and several aspects of the gameplay experience are limited.”
The second core philosophy involves subscriber based players, to be honest, I don’t see how these benefits really justify paying a subscription fee:
“The second core rule is that subscribers should not experience any degradation of their gameplay experience. Those of you who are still paying a monthly fee should still get the same gameplay experience and you won’t find anything taken away from you and the gameplay that you currently enjoy. Furthermore, we really wanted to be sure that in no way would subscribers feel they needed to make purchases from the Cartel Market in order to be competitive in the game.
We not only met these goals, in my opinion, but exceeded expectations – subscribers will enjoy new benefits from the update, including two more quick slot bars, a new purchasable Cargo Hold tab, and a monthly grant of Complimentary Cartel Coins to spend however they like in the Cartel Market. Subscribers can also buy the same experience boosts available in the Cartel Market as Free-to-Play players, which allow characters to advance at a rapid pace.”
He then explains how faithful subscribers will receive more Cartel Coins than they can handle…
What say you? I am definitely heading back to join the rest of the GameZone team on the Dark Side. Fluttershy has been tempting me to come meet his pretty lady and bosbvok keeps on throwing virtual cookies at me so I would call him “Master”.
The Force will be with me.
Source: Star Wars the Old Republic Developers Blog
If you fancy swinging some sabers and running around in a cape, head on over to the official SWTOR site to begin the massive 27Gig download. The game is a PC exclusive.
Check out this short film, it is a compilation of the Return, Hope and Deceived Cinematic trailers for Star Wars The Old Republic.
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