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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Burden of Freedom

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126 posts found

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/09/05
Posts: 288

11/24/12 3:10:38 AM#61

A few things this article completely misses, from the founders' point of view:


I have spent about US$100 on cartel coins this week, on top of the allowance granted me for my tenure in the game.  I spent the allowance on basics:  I got extra bank and pack storage and some "legacy unlocks" for conveniences on my ship (mailbox, auction house access,...).    


Then I started having fun with it.  A number of us have been getting into the mini-pets and rares, and there are a few of us gamer grrls who like our male companions with the new phantom chest armor that allows us to have our hunky male companions bare chested (finally!  something besides Princess Leia slave girl armor for those grrls and guys who like a hunky pec).  


A number of us started alts specifically to haunt the crowded starter planets as goodwill ambassadors and to help out in general -- not only with technical problems but as advocates for the newcomers.  Many of us are scarred veterans of LOTRO's conversion to F2P.  


On the EU RP-PVE (English) server, The Harbinger, one of the saddest issues I've had to go to the Bioware droids for consultation with is bullying over non-English speakers in General chat.  The default planetary chat is not restricted to English language on an English server, but some players feel that this should be so and resort to ugly behavior when non-English languages are used in the public channels.  Bioware's suggestion is that they /ignore non-English speakers if they don't want to "hear" them, but if they harass other players for whatever reason, it is simply harassment and they are liable to be reported.  This comes up every hour or two of game time, sadly, that some aggressive and parochial git thinks it's his/her god-given right to live in a Polish- or Spanish-free world, say, and can't figure out how to use the /ignore command, and wants to recruit the server to this POV contrary to community guidelines.


F2P has brought the world to SWTOR, and for the most part it's bubbling, fertile, and far more diverse -- and highly parallel to LOTRO, which went through a very similar analysis here at first.  "Oh, no one's ever done it this way.  Oh, this will never do!"  Gnashing of teeth.  The veterans will leave in droves.  No one will stay, it will fail, it will never stabilize.  The starter zones are chaos.  Schadenfreude.


Well, damn, schadenfreude sells page views, good on you.  Hard work builds game communities.  We will keep calm and carry on, tyvm.


Free to play isn't just a model, it's a change in community.


You may well be right.  I'm not saying you are wrong.  But for example, there are probably hundreds of us propagating work arounds on how to best play with the crew skill restrictions.  How to work around this or that restriction.  How to get a guild structure where with one guild bank access unlock you can bypass a half dozen or so f2p locks if you can trust your guildies and police the guild bank ledger regularly and buy an extra guild bank panel.


Do you see?  You are not focused in the right places, with due respect.  The people who play the game are...well, the people playing the game.  The people who are populating those full servers.  You might take the time to talk to us.  Not because we are fanbois (or grrls in my case) but because we actually are seeing what's happening on the virtual ground.


The neatness of theory sometimes is tempered by the messiness of the facts.  It's a very colonial attitude you have here, sometimes, to talk about a game from the point of view of the people who don't play, don't like it, profit from others who would decide to pass it up for the game they prefer or is more fashionable in the moment or is more exciting upcoming.  Or the point of view of people who don't like the company who sells it (frankly EA can burn in a fire for all of me, but I love the game -- it's a conflict...but so many things that involve big corporations are ultimately aren't they?  I bet you don't know very much about your cell phone manufacturer or even the telecom provider, and if you did you'd throw the device against the wall).


Meanwhile, we in the communities who are trying to hold things together, not just gaming but seeing it as a "third place," would like to ask that you widen the perspective just a tad.  Every so often Garrett or someone talks about community in gaming nostalgically but it's still there, and games like SWTOR and Eve have those overlays.  Why don't you put your juice into community when it needs help, rather than only when the council is falling apart in Eve or somesuch?  


It's sheer laziness in reporting that only the drama llama crap ends up here.  No  wonder people glorify the drama; it's all the game press reports so it's all that people are used to talking about.  Or maybe I'm just an optimist.  Probably no one wants to know about how to build a good guild.  Or organize good events.  Or self-police a good community that is safer for new people to come into a game so a game can flourish.  These are certainly things we talk about at the MIT Game Lab (formerly GAMBIT) and at Berkman, and most of us practice in our personal time.  And some of my friends go around and give talks at PAX and various conferences on these topics, and they are usually well attended, or write articles on Gamasutra -- but these topics are never covered in rags like this where real people in real games could use them.


Y'all would rather just grouse about it all, like a bunch of armchair quarterbacks.  Most of you can't program and don't know how to run a business, but you're cocksure you know everything that's wrong with every technical and business decision that's made with every MMO.  What you need to do is spend more time learning and less time in an echo chamber.  Try writing more articles that teach people *why* EA is making these decisions and fewer articles poking the hornet's nest, or you're just part of the problem and MMORPG is WHY the game industry is breeding a generation of people who will tear down EVERY NEW GAME.


Educate and explain a few more things to people.  Research things like -- oh -- that EA/Bioware Austin was still trying to hire their head of F2P strategy a month or so before F2P launched -- the position was advertised on their hiring site -- whether due to someone quitting or due to firing someone or whatever I don't know.  That's *your* job as a journalist.  So they launched this project without a head of strategy in place it seems to me?  Or did they...  I'd love to know, but I'm not a reporter.  I'm just a game industry retiree who sees  the game ads in Gamasutra.  For all I know that ad is *still* up.


Do a little historical comparison between this and Turbine's LOTRO.  Give us some real comparisons.  Was LOTRO's first month smooth?  Were their servers full?  Was their press good?  Was the press reaction good or bad?  How did it look three or six months in?  How did it hit the community?  the bottom line?


In journalism as in gaming, content is important.


We can print you your nemesis EA t-shirt later.  You could probably put one on CafePress and sell a zillion, but you'd get sued.   Heh.


Elite Member

Joined: 7/17/09
Posts: 2968

11/24/12 3:18:58 AM#62
I had to post shava.....beautifully done and amen.

Uploaded with


Elite Member

Joined: 4/06/11
Posts: 474

11/24/12 4:10:54 AM#63

Very good piece. I installed SWTOR, intending to play for free. Then I took one look at the restrictions, aborted the install, and never looked back.

All I can say is EA is up to their usual transparent, money-grabbing stupidity. 


Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 2672

11/24/12 4:32:24 AM#64
Originally posted by shava

A few things this article completely misses, from the founders' point of view:


I loved your post, and not only because of the LotRO references (is that a Harfoot lass on your avatar? :) )

I personally don't bash the game, I loved the storyline. If they release it as a standalone game, I'd put it right behind the KotOR's and praise it 'till this day. Or if they'd wanted so much attaching TOR to their servers, they could've release it as a b2p game, still ok for me. But TOR simply doesn't worth the monthly fee - at least for me (and a million more players). So I'm bashing EA (not the game) for their decisions - first the release, now the chosen f2p model. I do it even more so, since every time I launch TSW, and those same two letters appear, it reminds me that I have to worry those same EAdiots can ruin TSW too, any time they want...


It's sad to hear about the chat problems even on the RP server, but it was way more saddening on the regular pve one. (and if someone suggested them 'you should join your own language channel' it just made things worse, since f2p's cannot join channels... so after that there was always a few minutes of whining about chat restrictions :) )


Historical comparison: naturally I don't have the data, only my memories, but I think it went pretty well. Of course Turbine made a new server and preferred that to free players, so they were gathered on the same place. I admit I'm not fully aware of the problems at the first f2p update, since I was under Codies that time, and we went f2p two months later -> we've got a mostly bug-free update :)  But as I remember the press reactions were mostly average/good (and the few negative ones only cursed the bugs, and not the actual f2p model like in TOR's case), and the forum reactions were the total opposite of TOR's: in LotRO the subscribers were the complaining, hating ones (as you said yourself, 'scarred veterans of the conversion'), and free players were the supporting ones. Guides appeared on how can you get the most out of the f2p option, mmorsel launched the TP finder tool to help TP farming, etc.

Sure, there were teeth gnashing too. Some restrictions are indeed harsh. But it's not a hostile model, like TOR's. Up to level 30ish you barely notice any of the restrictions. And LotRO has a clear advantage against TOR's model: you can earn TP in game. It's slow, it's very grindy, but it's there. And it alone worked like a Song of Soothing, made the hate dropping against Turbine :) And in the long run the model proved a working, and pretty successful freemium model. Actually it was so successful, that a lot of subscribers switched back to premium as well, and those who are not, are still complainig today about how meaningless to keep the subscription...


(ps: 'Most of you can't program and don't know how to run a business' True, I'm just an average programmer, but I do have a degree in management :) )


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/24/11
Posts: 7

11/24/12 4:41:09 AM#65

I'm still subscribed. I won't unsubscribe. Subscribe or die!


While PvP is limited to less instanced match zones than fingers on one of my hands (my good hand), I love the PvP mechanics. Especially when pitting (pun intended) eight Vented guildies against another eight Vented guildies. And while SWTOR crafting hasn't delivered a master artisan component to character builds for PvP (I maxed all crafts in DAoC and regularly did full consignments for players), there is enough to do: grinding ranked commendations for War Hero and Elite gear, switching skill tree builds (and re-gearing accordingly), doing all that again on your other seven characters (one for each advanced class), AND... working with your team to optimize tactics according to the sum of your groups individual character builds.


Will I ever de-sub and take up the F2P option? NEVER!


F2P is not for PvP.


When my guild and server are no longer able to muster together Ranked Warzone matches, I will suspend my account and play more GW2 or PS2 or whatever.


Sadly, SWTOR is not the open-world Empire-v-Republic territory control PvP skirmish experience that my post-DAoC and SWG-crushed heart hungers for.


There will never be such a game.


But, there is still a community of players in SWTOR who are in it for the PvP, meager and under-realised as it is. And they ALL SUBSCRIBE!


Signature’s are a waste of space.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/29/06
Posts: 630

Has successfully forgiven SOE/LA for the NGE.

11/24/12 4:46:21 AM#66

Wait a sec... you have to pay to get the free coins they offer, for being a loyal customer?! Did I read that right?

Ah ha! Ah hah hah! Ahhahahhahahah ahahahahah ahahahah ahahaaaaa!!!

*cough wheeze*


Novice Member

Joined: 12/07/04
Posts: 11

11/24/12 6:32:15 AM#67

The thing is, this is EA we're talking about.

I'm amazed some people are actually surprised by what's happened to the f2P side of SWOTOR.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/21/05
Posts: 557

11/24/12 7:35:15 AM#68
You all can hate all your want, but honestly, the game is not bad especially since it is free.

Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/08
Posts: 4

To reign is worth ambition, though in hell: / Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.

11/24/12 7:38:13 AM#69

Is it just me or are the 'free to play' crowd getting awful entitled and self-important?

It seems to me like they want the full game without having to pay for it and have an equivalent play/reward experience to folks who pay their monthly subscriptions.  Honestly, I could care less whether the folks who want a free ride are frustrated or not.

What really frustrates me is that BioWare wasted valuable Dev time on trying to please folks who wanted a free ride (and failing) when they could've been working on new, more solid content.

-=Star Wars Galaxies: Sunrunner=-
-=World of Warcraft: Shadow Council=-


Advanced Member

Joined: 8/22/09
Posts: 2267

11/24/12 7:43:03 AM#70

Another mess indeed. The problem to start with that brought this game down, and the problem that still persists is that the developers have not listened to their players and haven't shown any loyalty toward their players.

Sadly, when I visit the SW:TOR forums today, the only people left are a bunch of elitist pricks who see themselves as great (even though they aren't, I saw every great PvP and PvE player leave before or shortly after 1.3) and support all the frustrating mechanics that new players have to deal with in all game areas (the gear grind first and now this F2P bullshit).

Feel free to use my referral link for SW:TOR if you want to test out the game. You'll get some special unlocks!


Novice Member

Joined: 8/11/11
Posts: 541

11/24/12 8:52:09 AM#71
Originally posted by WolfClaws
You all can hate all your want, but honestly, the game is not bad especially since it is free.

Being free doesn't have anything to do with gameplay. I can see how it may allow you to overlook certain issues, but that's two different things.


A free turd is still a turd (not that I'm saying that SWTOR is a turd, just stressing the point further).

Om bhur bhuvah svah
tát savitúr váreniyam
bhárgo devásya dhimahi
dhíyo yó nah pracodáyat


Novice Member

Joined: 8/20/11
Posts: 367

11/24/12 10:02:46 AM#72
Its Ea we are dealing with here.. When it come to setting what's free and what's nickle and dimed to us, Ea has the final say.. Ea knows what it will take to get more person to play, but you won't feel restricted into paying for anything now would you.. Plan A, restrict you so much that the monthly plan seem like God send... Plan B, let you pay for the simplest thing, hoping you don't see that you have just spent more that the sub cost..

All boils down to cooperate greed.. If Bioware was still independent this game or there first mmo would have be handle differently... Its much different Bal game when the publisher owns you than when you're on your own and can shop around..

Elite Member

Joined: 5/23/06
Posts: 5281

11/24/12 10:07:33 AM#73
Day late and a buck short. Whats out there now for F2P/B2P options is way more then whats being offered in SWToR. Whats coming out over the next year thats B2P/F2P offers a lot more again then what SWToR is offering. In short, to restrictive model that does not stand up to the current market value! To bad because I am a huge SW fan and would come back to SWToR and put some cash into the online store from time to time if the cash shop followed something like GW2, not pay to win model. They lost a customer with me!

=-D Only on a forum can optimism be called the bad thing and pessimism is the good thing =-D


Novice Member

Joined: 1/06/07
Posts: 2541

Hype (noun)
1. to trick; gull.
2. exaggerated publicity; hoopla.
3. swindle, deception, or trick.

11/24/12 10:14:16 AM#74
Welcome to the F2P Scam.

"Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky


Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/10
Posts: 241

11/24/12 10:26:56 AM#75
I was excited to see the game going F2P but cringed when I finally found the free to play matrix. They make free to play seem more bleak than a single purchase offline RPG. I'd much rather just buy a single player RPG, get a better experience and not be held over a barrel if I want a quest reward I just died 50 times to get. I can't get into this game nor can I back it with any support if they suck the life out of the game unless you pay a subscription.

I played WoW up until WotLK, played RoM for 2 years and now Rift.
I am F2P player. I support games when I feel they deserve my money and I want the items enough.
I don't troll, and I don't take kindly to trolls.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/04/09
Posts: 241

11/24/12 11:05:32 AM#76

This article is so much win. Good job. 


I cannot believe they even restrict simple quest rewards but what do you expect from morons that restrict quickbars and hide/show helmet, lol.


They need to act fast and fix their f2p and that incredibly stupid preferred status privileges or it will just be a running joke, and such a shame too.


Elite Member

Joined: 11/12/07
Posts: 1967

Crosby P. Jenkins

11/24/12 11:16:42 AM#77

Novice Member

Joined: 6/22/11
Posts: 21

11/24/12 11:18:52 AM#78
I am a subbing customer and I enjoy the game. However iI would not suggest this to any F2P customer, it is so painful for them. I played on the PTS of 1.5 and as a free to play customer and sadly you just don't get what I think you should as a f2p customer. The cash shop is't bad but the restrictions are just ridiculous. If they can fix their restrictions and make it more user friendly I think they could have a hit.

Novice Member

Joined: 6/14/06
Posts: 2030

11/24/12 11:21:28 AM#79
Originally posted by whitney
I think the worst part for me in the free to play version is the credits jips. Come on, I do the quest and over and over again they till me "you'll get your credits" " heres your credits" then your quest complete pops up and on no you dont get credits you have to subscribe for that feature. I would say about 80 % of quest give you a credit reward and you feel like something is getting taken from you everytime. It's really unbearable ....

Huh?  You mean they don't give you your quest reward of credits if you don't have a sub?  This doesn't make any sense.  Are you over the credit limit, that is the only thing that would even remotely make sense.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/01/10
Posts: 134

11/24/12 11:48:43 AM#80

I ll be quick:

I started folowing SW:TOR in 2009, was in beta, bought the game, was bored as hell and left in march.

Now after few months and patches that finaly added the mechanics and content like all othe sub MMOs have I gave game a chance and payed for a month.

I am having a blast and best of all there are no Trolls and haters like in other games, you realy have to be fan of Star Wars cause game have so many good things to ofer when you hit lev 50 and much more are coming in near future.

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