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SWTOR: Going Down A Path I Cannot Follow

August 1, 2012

(Yes, I made a prequel reference. I realize I deserve to be taken out back and beaten savagely now, but I could not resist.)

It’s official. Yesterday, the news broke that one of the biggest MMOs we’ve seen in years is going free-to-play later this fall, though not too many, least of all us current players, are surprised.

Disappointment abounds though, from EA execs to yours truly. I wish the best for the game, but it does appear — after being continuously subbed since its launch — that this is to be the beginning of the end of my time with Star Wars: The Old Republic.

It’s not that I think a free-to-play model isn’t a good move for SWTOR or that I’ve suddenly decided it’s a bad game or going to be a bad game — the same way I’ve never thought switching to a F2P hybrid model has been bad for Lord of the Rings Online or Star Trek Online. On the contrary, I think it has worked out smashingly for Turbine and Perfect World, respectively.

I’m simply going by history here. Looking back at past experiences, my play time in the two games mentioned above dropped dramatically and ceased completely very soon after the announcement and switch. Maybe things will be different this time, but the data is against me. I can only extrapolate from that and apply it to what I think might happen with me and SWTOR — that I will continue to sub and play as normal from now until the switch, but afterwards I can expect to see my play time taper and diminish.

I really have nothing against F2P. I think it’s a great system which allows for a great deal of freedom and flexibility. I also know that I can go back to SWTOR whenever I want — in fact, it’s an inevitability, if they continue to update the game. But it never fails; rather than draw me in, F2P just tends to make me drift away.

While I love free MMOs, my problem is never having enough time to play them. These days, when a couple hours of game time is all I can manage each night, priority rightly goes to the MMOs to which I pay a subscription fee. I realize the hybrid model means I can always maintain a SWTOR sub even after the switch, but while I’m sorely tempted, being currently neck-deep in The Secret World and having both the Rift and World of Warcraft expansions (all sub games) and their promise of fresh content on the horizon, my economic mind is urging me to save money where I can.

I also tend to be the all-or-nothing type of MMO player, which is probably why I don’t particularly mind forking over $15 each month if it will buy quality content and everything I need to enjoy a game. In the words of my friend and fellow blogger Belghast (whom, by the way, put thoughts to words far better and more coherently than I ever could in his latest blog post), a subscription model is upfront and honest. I know I will never have to worry about encountering a roadblock and having to hit up the item store for the solution. I personally cannot imagine myself playing SWTOR this way, paying piecemeal to get restrictions removed.

For an “all-in” person like me, it tends to be a sub or nothing. That doesn’t mean I won’t find myself resubbing to SWTOR at all, but if my past experience with LOTRO and STO are any indication, it’s questionable whether or not I’ll be able to dedicate myself to the game with the same fervor again (though apparently, my purchase of a Collector’s Edition and the many months of being subscribed adds up to a good number of Cartel points which should last me a while). And let’s face it, when it comes to allocating my limited game time to a free MMO this fall, if anything that privilege will likely go to Guild Wars 2.

That said (and I’m clearly speaking from a bias here), despite witnessing one of the most highly anticipated big-budget triple-A game announcing it’s F2P plans after only a mere 8 months, I don’t think this necessarily spells the end of the subscription MMO. We currently have sub games including niche MMOs that are still flourishing, underscoring a need to keep in mind that each and every situation is different. To me, the message behind this whole situation with SWTOR isn’t so much that F2P is inevitable; rather, it is simply a company doing what it is best for their game.

Who knows how much, how long, how often I’ll find myself in the Old Republic, but no matter what, I wish them the best of luck.

40 comments

  1. My thoughts are pretty much in line with yours on F2P. I personally don’t like the trend Im seeing in the genre. My fears are more towards what will happen to a community that is invested in the game financially and ‘works to keep their house in order’. Conan went from a fantastic RP community to awful after F2P. LOTRO, which had quite possibly the best community I’ve ever seen has also taken a hit. Now Chuck Norris will taint the Halls of the Emperor. /sigh


    • Take heart, I don’t think it will be that bad. I don’t know why, but community has never been a part of my worries. Maybe because I’m so used to it by now, and because I tend to ignore general chat on principle :P


    • It’s so sad the RP scene in Conan went all wrong where you were :(. I didn’t really notice it on the server I was on. However, I was with a bunch of crazy RP people and I was quite new, so perhaps it didn’t affect me quite so much. That said, I think AoC lends itself far more to RP than SWTOR (mores the pity, yes?), so perhaps the disruption to TOR won’t be quite as dramatic. And I might have this wrong, but after a bit of adjustment, I think LotRO is now one of the most vibrant, busy, robust mmoRPGs out there.

      My hope is that once the dust settles, SWTOR will find it’s feet. We’ll turn round in 18 months and find it’s blossomed in the way we wanted.


      • I think I was on an RP server in AoC too, or at least the unofficial one. I’ve always liked the community there too. I know while the mature rating acts as a natural barrier, it doesn’t filter out all the jerks, but for the most part I’ve been lucky. It also makes me sad to hear from Pagan that the community has gotten awful.

        And I adored the LOTRO community. Always so friendly and alive. I kept playing for a while even after that game went F2P, and for the most part I felt it has remained that way.


  2. How many subscription models have actually been honest in the past? I don’t recall seeing a whole lot of service agreements being tossed around. Generally it’s been assumed that we should expect some content for our monthly dollars, but personally I’ve mostly seen bug fixes being passed off for regular patching.

    At least with the F2P games, you put quarters in the slot and get a piece of candy. I can see the appeal on a terribly basic level as far as getting what you’ve paid for.


    • You’re really talking about two things here, bug fixes as patches (which applies to most MMOs, not just sub ones) and microtransactions.

      Speaking from my own experience at least, I have never had to spend a penny more than $15 in a subscription game to access EVERYTHING I need to progress in and enjoy a game. I expect nothing less from the monthly fee I pay.

      On the other hand, F2P charges me piecemeal, for pretty much anything they want to put a price tag on, and we’re not even talking about vanity items but actual features and services you need to play the game — bag space, removal of chat restrictions, quest packages, even keys to lockboxes that contain loot…the possibilities are virtually endless. Game makers are out to make a profit, even makers of F2P MMOs. If they think they can get you to pay for something, they will put it up for sale. Left to my own devices, it is possible and even likely I would spend more than $15 in a F2P game to get a full experience :P I guess that’s sort of why I agree with Bel that a sub is at least more upfront and honest.


      • I would expect bugfixes to be a given, regardless of what sort of game it is. That they’re often written off as patches dilutes what you’re paying that subscription fee for. If you’re tossing out 15 a month and only getting bug fixes, where a F2P game is handing out virtual candy for every penny spent, it’s a tougher sell. As far as honesty goes, if the sub game isn’t giving you solid monthly content or the equivalent over time (twice yearly content patches in EVE for example) then where’s the honesty?

        F2P games give you the same bugfixes and server maintenance without a charge. I think pointing at your monthly patch in a sub game that doesn’t actually add any significant content comes off as dishonest.


      • I agree, I do hate that bug fixes are sometimes sold as content patches. I feel SWTOR has been guilty of this in the past, but to be honest they are the first game that has done this so blatantly as to actually draw my notice. I have not experienced this too much in other MMOs. Maybe I’ve been lucky.

        This also sort of goes back to my question on “What is content?” I’ve seen a lot of people use “$ per hour played” as a measuring stick. In that sense, my $15 absolutely buys your “solid monthly content” providing I haven’t already burned through everything in a matter of weeks (has never been a problem for me, with the exception of STO). Again, assuming there’s always stuff for me to do (which is generally the case), conservatively speaking, 2 hours gaming a night adds up to about 60 hours a month for me? For $15 I feel that’s pretty awesome :D Again, I understand this depends on what the individual considers content, so I know your mileage may vary. I just like to think that I can go from level 1 to whatever, knowing I don’t have to go beyond the monthly fee to access the full game in order to get there. It’s a very predictable figure, vs. how much I might spend doing the same thing in F2P.

        I will agree that a casual player will benefit most from F2P — I love how I can hop into a game and play for just a few days to get my fix, without having to spend a cent. But like I said, once I make up my mind to play something for longer than a month, I tend to be the “all-in” kind of player. In that case, my wallet might not benefit from F2P as much because I will feel like getting all the fixtures tor the “full” experience. If hybrid model is available, I usually just go for the sub.


      • “Left to my own devices, it is possible and even likely I would spend more than $15 in a F2P game to get a full experience”

        I’m pretty much on the same side of the F2P/Sub debate as you are but I do have a comment regarding the part I just quoted.
        To be somewhat fair to the F2P games, I don’t think you’d average over $15/month if you played some of those games over a longer period of time. Yes, you’d get charged for bag space, no chat restrictions, and the other things you mentioned and then some. And maybe if you buy all that at one time, you may go over $15 for that month but then those purchases are yours forever, aren’t they? The next month you won’t incur those same expenses so your payment average will go down.

        I tried LotR and DnD for a few weeks each. I tried Fallen Earth over a weekend. And while each of those games had their moments, I didn’t find too much in them to decide to keep playing and spend any money to have more access. If I would have done that, I would’ve started down that slope and kept playing and spending, spending and playing to justify the money I was putting into it. But deciding NOT to play them longterm made it easy to not put any money into it.


      • I don’t know, never underestimate my penchant for cosmetic and vanity items like outfits and pets ;) Good god, on one occasion I’ve spent money in WoW’s pet store, like what is it again, $10 just for a little moonkin pet? Normally, I wouldn’t…but it was during an event where some of the proceeds went to a children’s charity, and that at least is a cause I could get behind.

        But no, in all seriousness though, I get ya. If we’re talking only “quality of life” features and services, you’re probably right about coming in under each month after all the one time fees.


  3. Honestly, I think it’s a good thing. I pretty much hate the “pay $60 for a client and then a sub fee for access even to the base game” payment model, I’m happy to see it continue to wither.

    I like that I can bop in and visit my LoTRO guild or my EQ II characters even though I don’t play either enough to justify a sub fee. If I get a wild hair and want to screw around in AoC for a few evenings, I can even though I haven’t subbed in years.

    I have been saying for a while that SWTOR will likely be the last sub based MMO I play.* There are simply too many solid FtP options out there to justify paying a fixed amount. In a FtP MMO you buy the bits you care about and call it a day. In a sub based MMO you pay for everything including raid and PvP content even if, like me, you won’t likely use it. With the sub fees I’ve dumped into SWTOR the last 6-8 months (depending on how you count) and what I payed for the client, I could have permanently bought access to all the content I’ll ever want or need in most FtP MMOs. However, until it goes FtP I will lose access to everything I’ve paid for so far as soon as I stop subbing.

    *Confession: TSW was too damn good, it made a liar of me. But seriously, I’m done with sub based MMOs after this…probably ;-)


    • Yeah, while I like to pop into a game and play a few days, that’s generally not my MO. I find when I want to play something I have to put in at least a month to enjoy it to its fullest. Hence sub is probably the better model for me in cases that that.

      * Glad to see TSW is shaking things up for you a little :) It really is a great game; now that’s one I don’t mind paying $15 a month for, especially with the monthly update schedule.


      • I definitely agree that the update schedule in TSW is encouraging. Too often a sub fee gets you server access and not much else (cough.. WoW ..cough). In games like TSW and year one of LoTRO where the sub fee gets you free content on a steady schedule, I’m much more comfortable ponying up.


  4. What is painful to me about this is that F2P may have saved WAR a few years ago. I don’t know how it will really help SWTOR that much other than to mothball the game into maintenance mode. As always, EA/Bioware/Mythic is a day late a dollar short and standing in the wrong line.


    • To be honest, I’m not sure how well SWTOR will fare under F2P either. Its future isn’t going to just depend on the pricing model, it’s also going to depend on the will of the dev team which unfortunately will be at the mercy of the attitude of EA. If EA doesn’t show much interest in growing SWTOR after this (and that’s the feeling I got from reading the quotes from the investor’s call) then nothing, not even going F2P, can save it.


  5. I’d disagree that f2p has worked out really well for Turbine. Well perhaps for Turbine’s pockets, but who knows as the population at least at end game on my server seems to be the lowest yet. Why don’t I think it’s worked out well over all? Well, the quality of the game has become increasingly worse. It seems priority is always given to the store, what they can nickle and dime us for, whilst massive bugs and lag are ignored. There are even quests/games in the festivals you can only do for a limited number of times unless you buy more chances. f2p can work, but not in the way Turbine has done it. I think they’re a good example of how NOT to do it. It’s too much pay-to-win with them and frankly I find myself playing the game less and less because I’m sick of the in-your-face greed. :(


    • Boo! What a shame. :( Out of interest, if you pay the monthly subscription (do they call it Premium?) do you get all the stuffs included or do you still have to buy things from an item shop? I really don’t like paid-for play-advantage items. Part of me understands that games companies need to make money, y’know they aren’t doing this stuff to be nice, I can’t bare that ‘everything has to be fair for everyone’ attitude. For e.g. I don’t PvP or raid much, but I don’t fall on my sword/lightsabre/kitchen knife when I see other players with items I’ll never have. However, when I waft that hard-won rare recipe/mount/bobble-hat I search for about, I expect others to be suitably impressed. I worked for that dammit!


      • VIP is what they call a subscriber. There’s Premium which you’re apparently upgraded to the first time you buy something, but with that I think you only get what you’ve paid for, as in you have to buy quests, bank storage that a subscriber would automatically have, stuff like that. I’m not completely sure as I’ve never been a Premium player. If a VIP has subscribed and has bought all expansions, then they have full access to the game. If they stop subbing, I believe they’ll still have access to all content they’ve paid for (ie expansions) but they’d lose access to some characters and have caps on storage, gold, the Auction House, travel, etc.

        But lately Turbine has been listening to their customers ideas! Players had been asking for an extra bag. Turbine finally says sure, we’ll make one… but then a month later we find out EVERYONE has to pay money for it. You don’t get it even if you subscribe. So what used to be general game improvements for subscribers are know used as additional money makers for Turbine. There are also items in the store that you cannot get in game that make your weapons better. There are tomes that increase your stats that I’ve seen drop all of 2 times in 2 years. They say stuff is available in game to circumvent some of the pay-to-win arguments, but they’re so rare the only viable way to get them is through the store. So people pay real money to better their toons. And the latest trend is during festivals giving people a limited chance at games but offering them more chances if they want to spend real money. Oh on the PvP side, monsters can buy their skills rather than earn them.

        It’s gone completely against the feel of Tolkien for a lot of people unfortunately. Yet there are some that love it of course! I do have to admit it’s handy to be able to log into the game whenever and check things out. I know I’ll certainly be taking advantage of Swtor’s f2p. I just hope they handle it better and keep it to quest packs and fluff, like a proper f2p store should be.


    • That actually makes me really sad to hear, simply because it’s LOTRO, a game that’s given me many good times in the past. What you’ve described is the dark side of F2P gaming which is exactly why I’m wary whenever a game announces its F2P plans. Game makers are out to make a buck like any company, and sometimes they overdo it by making that shockingly blatant. If done well, both the company and players can be happy. If not, it becomes as you described, pay-to-win :(


      • That’s the problem with most of these f2p conversions. I was around when LoTRO changed. And yeah, to start off it wasn’t too bad. The problem comes in when people say how great it was/is with no idea of how the game is now and how the cash shop changed, far from what it was at the start.

        My gut feeling tells me that TOR f2p has more to it than meets the eye. Funny how legacy was not mentioned at all. What happens when that is all cash shop stuff or grind for ages to unlock?

        I think once the curtain is fully pulled back, it will be a Darth Vader moment… “I have altered the deal, pray I do not alter it further.”


      • Oh yeah, I didn’t even think about that, but you’re absolutely right. I can see a lot of the perks of legacy ripe for moving to the item store, their silence on that topic is ominous.


      • That sounds terrible! I don’t know if you’ll agree, but I would much prefer THEM (sweeping gesture at companies) getting me to pay through the nose for cosmetic stuff as long as they stayed well away from practical or advantage items. Im far too embarrassed to tell you how much money I’ve spent on stupid clothes in TSW. Getting players to pay real money for bag space is AWFUL.

        To me, it’s not the spending real money per se, it’s what they’re selling that’s the problem.


      • The shockingly blatant part is what bothers me the most. I understand all companies are out to make money. But the best don’t let themselves appear to be greedy and instead offer good customer service and quality products. Turbine hasn’t done that in my humble opinion.


      • Tarante11a, I completely agree with you!


  6. Hey, this is not related to this particular blog post of yours but since I know you play TSW, I need some assistance. I downloaded the game client from a link on another blog. I then went to The Secret World website and wanted to read up on it a bit more since I hadn’t visited since beta. I tried posting this question on the same blog I got the game client from but they need some login for AIM, etc for which I don’t have accounts and don’t plan on making even fake ones. So here I am.

    Anyways, unfortunately, I mislicked the year for my date of birth to make me under 18. Now all I get is “Sorry, you are a minor and have no access”.

    I’ve deleted cookies, I’ve deleted browsing history, I’ve rebooted, good god. When you accidentally tell them you’re under 18, they totally hold you to it, it seems. Meanwhile, actual under 18 kids purposely change their year of birth and can visit the site at will.

    I can’t even go to the forums or anywhere to check out the support info on how to correct it. Any suggestions from you or your readers?


    • Hmm, that’s strange because in these situations deleting cookies usually works. Anyway, do you have twitter? Send a tweet to @funcom_tsw or better yet, @morteia the community rep. They’re usually really good and prompt about getting back to questions. Good luck! Let me also go hunting around to see if I can find a support email address, but for now, I recommend going to twitter if you have it!


      • Thanks for the info. I just ended up downloading Firefox and getting to the website from there. :D


  7. I’ve been playing off and on for the last 6 to 8 months, and while i would love to tell you SWTOR has been the best mmo i’ve played outright, that would be kind of a reach. The sad part is that it’s not because of the grind.

    I’ve hit 44 on my BH, and the most fun i’ve had as been the compelling story, my companion’s stories, and just the pursuit of finishing the class quest *and getting a Mandalorian helmet, and a collection of different colored orange chstplates for style*

    It hasn’t been a joy getting groups *until the group finder, which somehow was going to kill the game o.o* it hasn’t been a breeze getting people together for teamups, even with social points at stake and plenty of reason to group up.

    And quite frankly the game hit an all-time low with me when the community became sour, and that hit it’s peak when my BH was all but forced off of his tiny server anyway, and into the fray with everyone else.

    The general chat is mindless and the forums are full of hate……the sad part to me is…

    I think F2p is awesome. Because even if they slice my cargo space and keep my credits @ a certain point, i’ve been burned out on END GAME CONTENT since The Burning Crusde around the time Sunwell came out.

    Personally in this game i love the story, i love the fluff *or lackthereof?* Magenta and Purple and White Lightsaber crystals, Mando Helmets, Clone Trooper Armor complete with buttflaps, and now adaptable social armor.

    Really i could care less about fp’s and op’s and credit grinds because i’m not that kind of mmo guy anymore. I’m now officially rhe guy who wants a solid heavy armored yellow chestplate to compliment his mkandalorian helmet, and i want lightsabers, in several variations and colors, and i dont care if i have to pay for Revan’s Mask, or some cool gear if all i’m going to do is stand around and farm enough Gold to make Gault and Torian or Bowdaar and Risha open up to me and show me their soul.

    The story is what sucked me in, in some ways i wish it wasn’t even an mmo….but i don’t think it will last long.

    Not because it’s not a good game, but because they need more content, to fix the problems they’ve created, and they won’t have time between EA putting their feet to the fire, and the community refusing to take BW’s feet off of the fire, it’s only a matter of time before this nasty mmo community that’s grown and festered over time wrecks every other mmo that drops 1 month at a time -.-


    • I’m with you on your first point. I love SWTOR, and while I could say that it’s one of the best MMOs I’ve ever played, the caveat is that that only applied to the 50 levels. The experience sort of went downhill after that.

      The story was what made my journey special, but once I completed it I didn’t feel like there was anything left for me anymore. I have a feeling SWTOR relied heavily on the hopes that people would reach 50, then turn around and happily roll an alt to start it all over again. I mean, fair enough, as so many of us have said, “I want to experience all the story lines!” But still, it’s unrealistic to rely solely on that for replayability, especially when you consider the planet quests are all the same. I love alts, but even I can’t stomach doing that over and over and over again for each character one after an other.


  8. I don’t mind the f2p switch, what bothers me is that the switch just gives those who have an axe to grind with TOR more ammo to proclaim it’s impending doom.


    • That bothers me too. I think that for me is the most negative aspect of this situation.


      • Yeah i know exactly what you mean, it started to sink in when i brought my marauder from korriban to Drommund Kaas and it hit me. “Omg, the bulk of what i like is the story quests, and everytime i look up, i have 6 quests accompanying this quest that I DONT EVEN CARE ABOUT!”

        I think that’s what bothers me the most about TOR. Life in general would be so much easier if people didnt JUST team up for heroic 2’s and 4’s. I mean i literally have to single handedly do roughly 40 quests per planet!!! You want to talk about a grind?

        I cant even turn a quest in before another quest pops up, AND ANOTHER ONE, and another one, and another one and another one.

        That’s another absolute drag i can’t bear to sit through with the game. :/


  9. I’m going to stay subbed to SWTOR. It’s my replacement game for Star Wars Galaxies. :D

    I’m excited about F2P because I’m going to get obvious perks for my subscription and I’m nervous about F2P because of the population bloat that’s going to happen every time there’s a content release (ala STO). All told, I’m glad more people (like my friends who are starving artists) will be able to experience the game that I love, and that’s really the most important part of this for me.

    I know how you feel though. My friend who has a lifetime for STO said a year ago that “Star Trek isn’t going anywhere right now and I can play it whenever I want to without a problem, so right now I’m going to play something else.” It wasn’t until the recent addition of the Armitage-class ship that he dove back into STO (also, the Starbase thing keeps him coming back).

    I come and go from some games, but I said this when Everquest came out: “I will pay to play a Star Wars game. I will always pay to play a Star Wars game.” So far so good. :D


    • As of now, I’m still subbed. I really don’t know what to do. Right now I still like to check in once in a while, so maybe I don’t want to unsub yet, though I’ve been thinking about it.

      When it goes f2p come November though, that’s when I know I will go off the subscription. I’ll have a bunch of cartel points to see me through then. After that, I may play it how your friend plays STO, check in every now and then and definitely each time a big update comes around.


  10. I totally understand the sub-or-nothing idea, though I wonder if a game being free-to-play right out of the box also puts you off unless it is absolutely incredible? Guild Wars 2 though seems a bit different, because much like the original game, it’s not quite free in that you have to buy the box (and in effect that’s like 4 months of a sub right there), but they will update/expand on it so much that it should be a superior experience.


    • It’s basically the “I don’t have to pay so it’s not high on my priority list” aspect that is the driving factor behind my lack of motivation to play F2P games. GW2 might be different, because I find its quality higher than most others, but even then I think I will be playing it casually. ~2-3 nights a week, maybe. There’s just not that urgency to play, which can be both good and bad.


  11. For myself, I’m hoping it’ll encourage friends who were otherwise interested but couldn’t afford 2 subs to check it out. For myself, I’m not sure if I’ll remain subbed or not, simply because most of the paid features are things I don’t currently use — flashpoints, operations. Though I’m a sucker for cosmetic stuff, so I may get sucked in by the premium races, we’ll see.

    I really enjoy LOTRO and how they’ve handled things. If SWTOR does similar, I’ll be happy.


    • I agree, I’m not going to have much time for ops (that’s been the case for a while now) and what I’m most interested in is the PvE and story features. A free SWTOR would benefit someone like me a lot, and like you I might just spend some money here and there for the cosmetic stuff :)


  12. […] bloggers and current SWTOR players share their reactions to the news that SWTOR is transitioning to F2P in November. Ravelation compares her experiences in LOTRO with the proposed SWTOR […]


  13. I consider myself to be a poly-gamer, and don’t mind playing ‘Free to Pay’ models, as long as the $hop isn’t too cloying and the game is good enough and features the kind of quality-of-life items that I won’t mind forking over some cash for said shop.

    I was a beta tester for SW:TOR, but what I saw of it didn’t convince me that it would be a game that I would pay a sub for, and the entry threshold of $60 further reinforced this point.

    However as a Free to Pay (or a la cart, if handled correctly, like LotRO) model this allows me the leeway to go check out the game and its community in a low-risk fashion. And if I like what I see I’ll stick around, and maybe even buy into a sub.

    I presently maintain subscriptions with RIFT and TERA, and I’ll be buying and jumping into the FFXIV alpha (hopefully!) in the coming month so I’m certainly not shy when it comes to paying a sub. What it comes down to is value.

    As a game in general TERA presently has rather poor value, but since my multi-game guild is primarly based there… and I love them all dearly I’m sticking around for the moment, as their presence gives me very high value. Also the RP on Celestial Hills is some of the best I’ve had.

    RIFT on the other hand has very high value as the game is extremely well polished and the developers are the fastest and most responsive I have ever seen in the game industry, especially considering the scope of Trion’s ambition (3 games by 2014). Plus Dimensions essentially gives me the in-game equivalent to unlimited lego sets! XD

    SW:TOR allows me to explore a somewhat limited take on a universe that’s been in my dreams since I had first seen the original trilogy in the theaters all those years ago, and that by itself would have great value… but for a 2011 game the character models are a bit crude, the ‘worlds’ feel small and box-canyon like (which I’m used to in F2P games by smaller studios, but was surprised to find in an AAA MMO) run/walk animations stiff, the combat doesn’t feel natural and the character creator is surprisingly anemic. Couple this with the companion system and the game doesn’t feel like it should be something I need to pay a regular monthly rate for.

    So I still don’t think it has what I’m looking for in a subscription game, but despite all this I would gladly buy cash shop items to augment my game play experience… but the type of Free to Pay system that B/W has implemented isn’t very inviting – instead offering to restore gameplay functionality to my experience, at a per-character limit.

    Worse yet, there’s something seriously borked with the cash shop in that I cannot validate my email address to that I can pay to have the Chiss race unlocked. It was my goal to remake my Chiss Imperial Agent from the beta, and I would be leveraging my overall enjoyment of that character against whether I was up to adding a SW:TOR sub to my stable of subscription MMOs, but I’m being blocked from giving B/W any of my money, and that’s just incredibly frustrating.

    Note this 60+ page thread… unfortunately I’m not the only one with cash shop blocking woes: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=555534



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