I think you definitely have a point. I'm glad you voiced it in a clear way.
...I think I have two concerns with your idea, and they may not be much but:
- Do you think there will be enough people willing to pay real money for credits (real money for cartel coins for creds based on in-game market fluctuations)?
- What about the possibility of a monopoly in-game? ...Actually, scrap that, because a monopoly would only be the greatest "cost" for one person...
I don't know. I think you might be onto something. I would have said this probably won't happen, but I didn't think the game would go f2p for years, so go figure....
EDIT: BTW, love the Dr. Stangelove allusion...
My thoughts on your concerns:
1) Yep--I think there will be enough money~ The neat thing about letting the economy go player-based is that it finds its own balance point between what the customers are willing to grind in credits and pay in cash, rather than forcing Bioware to guess what people are willing to do. In short, supply and demand accomplishes a price point in both currencies that players are comfortable with.
If Cartel Tokens can be used to unlock end-game and extra group-play opportunities, they will be a vital and consistent resource for F2P players. If there are not people buying tokens or selling the ones they get from subs, then the Token cost in credits will rise, and spending a few dollars will become worthwhile to players who could use a few credits. As a side effect, I would expect to see the price of Tokens at a steady mark that spikes when new, desirable perks or limited-time content items are available. As bonus indicator for Bioware, the change in prices will directly reflect how interested players are in various additions to the game.
It will simply be up to Bioware to continue to deliver interesting content and needs for credits. They can accomplish this with legacy character perks, world events (I know quite a few people who spent millions on the Chevin event to get everything they wanted for every toon), and other player customization items. As long as there is demand for "stuff," the allure of credits from selling a few tokens will be a great motivator.
2) Exactly, to your second point.
If a would-be monopolist tries to undercut prices, he will lose credits in the long run (or will have to spend real $) because tokens are added to the game via an external mechanic, rather than an in-game time/reward system. If he tries to fix prices high, he will be constantly undercut by subscribers or other entrepreneurs who can get tokens just as easily from outside the game.
I agree--I'm not tremendously confident that this system will be there when F2P goes live, but I strongly believe that if it does, it will provide a benefit both to BW and to the players, as I've seen elsewhere. Hopefully, Bioware agrees--or states their opinion here; I'd love to talk concerns!
Hahaha, yes!! Someone gets the reference~ A winner is you!