Well, I agree that microtransactions are going to be the future of the gaming industry. Like them or hate them, the last 5-6 years have proven that MTs, DLC, Cash Shops, and their ilk are a lucrative business for developers and publishes. So yes, the face of gaming has changed from what it was 30 years ago when I got involved in playing and making games (as a hobby – damn my shortsidedness for not taking it more seriously back then). I don’t agree that the subscription based model is going to go away completely.
Even though WoW now has a free trial, they are still just too big at this point to completely throw out the sub until the very EoL of the game. For the most part, I think we will see fewer and fewer sub based “AAA” games coming down the pike, and that most of what we will see will be the continuation of established niche games like Eve and the classic ones still hanging around. Those games have a much lower overhead cost per player than any games that are released today, so they have an easier time maintaining a healthy profit margin. A few years ago, I would have liked to see more games jump on the Anet bandwagon and do what they did with Guild Wars 1. To me, that is the best way to sell a game (partly because I am old school and believe in paying one up front fee to buy “my” game and play it whenever I want). However, within the last couple of years, we have seen the rise of the pure F2P game, and the switch from sub to “Freemium”, so I think that is where the industry is headed. I see it as a good thing, again because of my old school way of thinking when buying and playing games. It wasn’t until GW1 that I finally broke down and decided to try MMOs simply because it looked like it was a great game I would enjoy playing. It has since led me to at least try many others (a couple of which I still pop in on now and again) and finally land on SWTOR.
I haven’t looked at some of the other big games that have gone F2P recently, even STO, which I originally purchased a Lifetime membership for, in order to compare their offerings and restrictions to SWTOR’s but I do agree that some things are a big puzzling to say the least. I think part of that problem is that what BW is giving for free is the best part of the game and there is no real way to gate that, so other restrictions have to be made, and the fact that it wasn’t built from the ground up to be a F2P or B2P model. Personally, I think unlimited Flashpoints and Warzones would be fine, but allow no rewards to be gained from playing them for F2P players. I don’t agree that only two hotbars are allowed, though you can technically get through the game with just two. Three should be standard for F2P and “Premium” players, with us subs still getting our six.
I snipped half of your post just to save some people bandwidth
But a lot of what you put, I have to agree with. And it's already known the part we disagree on so just agree to disagree on the now dead horse.
But the action bar, I originally said that free should get 3, Preferred 4 (which is what old subs had already before they left if they left), and subs get 6. So you are only 1 bar for Preferred off from what I think.
And STO setup is, you'd have to be a nut to be paying a monthly sub now. Basically, people should either been old school LTS still remaining or free. The money people spend on a sub every month gets them nothing they couldn't have just flat out bought with a couple of months sub poured into their Zen (the coins formerly known as C-Points).
TOR gets crippled when you unsub with too many restrictions on things like quickbars and such.
That's the main reason I say TOR went too heavy handed with restrictions but STO went too light handed.
EDIT: They had a thread on STO site a few months back that showed that the difference between a lifer and a free player only took about 45-75 dollars worth of Zen then 5 dollars a month for Zen. Only difference was the liberated borg captain which has yet to appear in their store and at least Cryptic is not going back on that statement. You know like they did with the Mirror Universe uniforms and other things. So why someone would hand them 15 each month is crazy.