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Star Wars: The Old Republic Interviews: Cathar, Update 2.1 & Free To Play

By Michael Bitton on May 13, 2013

MMORPG.com: Can you give us some background on the Cathar race? How do they fit into the Star Wars lore?

Cory Butler: One of the reasons we chose Cathar is because they are new and unfamiliar to many of our players - in much the same way as Rattataki and Chiss - but have been well-received by our players. There were many community requests for the Cathar to be playable. We haven't introduced playable species such as Wookiee and Trandoshan because of their inability to speak Galactic Basic. Early in our development, we experimented with playable alien species that could not speak Basic and... well, let's just say you can only listen to so much alien VO in cinematics before you want to re-roll.  Cathar characters will come with their own Social Ability "Pride of the Cathar".

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MMORPG.com: With your change to offering a Free-to-Play option what is the most positive reaction you have seen from the players?

Cory Butler: Our players have been overwhelmingly supportive of the addition of the Cartel Market and the many different items available there.

MMORPG.com: What are some of the negative reactions you have seen with Free-to-Play? Do you have a plan to fix some of the issues?

Cory Butler: We are always listening to player feedback.  Some of the restrictions we had in place at the launch of the Free-to-Play option were called out for being a bit too restrictive – and we have already changed those aspects of the Free-to-Play experience.  Some of these included, number of quick bars available, number of Warzones playable per week, etc. 


MMORPG.com: What can players expect from the new high levels of customization in the next patch?

Cory Butler: Players can expect much more control over how their character and their armor looks.  You’ll be able to change body type, hair style, use Dye Mods to recolor almost any piece of armor in the game.  As well as changes to their character and/or Legacy names.

MMORPG.com: You're coming up on six months since SWTOR went Free-to-Play. How would you say players have reacted to the switch overall? Where does the game stand today?

Cory Butler: The reaction has been incredible.  Every part of the game has benefited from the transition.  Player populations are higher, origin worlds are teeming, PvP is thriving and the overall sentiment of our community reflects all of those things.

MMORPG.com: F2P is a clear value add for subscribers, but some gamers have complained that the restrictions for F2P or Preferred players are still too restrictive. What's your take on this?

Cory Butler: Finding the perfect balance between the value of a subscription and making sure we have a robust F2P experience is a challenge.  I think allowing all classes, stories, and a certain amount of Flashpoints, Warzones and Space Missions to be experienced at no cost is the right approach for our game. This gives players access to the compelling storylines and engages them in the ongoing evolution of their character.  This is a big part of what makes SWTOR unique in the MMO segment. 

MMORPG.com: Can you talk about the customization options coming in Game Update 2.1: Customization? What can players do as far as re-customizing their characters goes? How will dyes work and be acquired? Will they be available in the Cartel Market?

Cory Butler: Players will be able to change everything about their character with the exceptions of class and gender.  We’ve added a Dye Mod slot to most pieces of armor in the game, so similar to existing mods, players will slot the desired color, apply and presto – white/white Eradicator Warsuit!  Dyes can be found in Dye Mod Kits and in future Packs available in the Cartel Market.  Additionally, the Collector’s Edition and Security Key vendors will have Dye Mods available for in-game credits and players will be able to craft Dye Mods.

MMORPG.com: Cathar are also coming in Game Update 2.1.  What sort of pricing are you looking at for Cathar? Can we expect to see additional species added in the future? What are some of the top requests you've seen for additional species options?

Cory Butler: We currently have the Cathar Species unlock priced at 600 Cartel Coins for the entire account. This price will be the same for both Subscribers and Free-to-Play as well as Preferred Status players.  Changing Species of an existing character in the Appearance Designer will always incur a charge. The charge to change your species (whether from Human to Zabrak or from Sith to Cathar) is always the same and is independent of the cost to unlock the Cathar Species itself. Note that once the Cathar Species is unlocked, it is available for every character on your account and will not have be to unlocked again. The cost to change your Species, like all options in the Appearance Designer will be significantly discounted for Subscribers.

MMORPG.com: Are for-pay server transfers coming? If so, when can players look forward to this service? Can you talk about any additional for-pay services players can look forward to?

Cory Butler: Paid Character Transfers were originally slated to be part of Game Update 2.1, but we ran into a few bugs with the new Legacy Achievement system.  You can expect Paid Character Transfers to be coming in hot on the heels of Game Update 2.1.  No new announcements for paid services to make at this time.


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