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Announcing a Free-to-Play Option

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Announcing a Free-to-Play Option
First BioWare Post First BioWare Post

BlackTalos's Avatar


BlackTalos
08.01.2012 , 08:18 AM | #491
That would be one way to at least reduce the error in their ways

Zaibys's Avatar


Zaibys
08.01.2012 , 08:28 AM | #492
There was no specifications yet given, yet there is so much panic. I don't actually see much difference, of course, if this will be done right.

I expect that:
all the content is available for subscribers. 100%. I mean there should not be any p2w items. If you are sub and you want to buy an item, the only things separating you from that must be level, proficiency requirements, and the amount of ingame currency. Not real money.

Money should not enable anything, that subs do not have by default. Maximum what f2p player would be able to do with money injections, should be unlocking the content that subs already have.

F2p should not be available anywhere, where teamplay or proper behavior is expected. That includes flashpoints, operations, warzones. Why? Try LOL (which actually has pretty good experience of trolls and how to deal with them). They have autobans, punishments and stuff, and they still suffer from trolling. SWTOR does not have a good anti-troll system. Therefore, areas requiring to have trust in teammates should be worth something.

Raeyan's Avatar


Raeyan
08.01.2012 , 08:32 AM | #493
I love how everyone is addressing BioWare as if their staff really have any part in the decision to destroy SWTOR for a profit. Now c'mon guys, does that sound like BioWare? No. That sound like EA? Ohhhhh yessss.

They're making the game F2P because EA ruined the launch. They're making the game F2P because EA botched up the preorder/early access mechanism so that many players got to see the buggy, feature-lacking game they were pushing out early to hit the "christmas crowd". They're making the game F2P because the end result of a botched launch, missing features, and bugs is that they've had to pump more money into staff/development to keep things rolling the past 8 months.

But wait... if they make it free... how does that "fix" the lack of revenue? o.O

Well quite simply, they gave everyone who had canceled (myself included) a free week of playtime when 1.3 added the LFG tool and consolidated the population down to make the servers actually playable. After the week of time was up, the majority of those players didn't resub. Newsflash: Same thing happened with 1.2's release. They've realized that the early, buggy, featureless launch of the game started a downward spiral in which players already have a bad "taste" in their mouth for the game and they can't develop fast enough to convince those players to come back and pay $15 a month.

One of the biggest issues is the overall population. MMO population works on an inverse exponential scale. The more people you lose, the more people you lose. And you always lose them faster than you gain them. Look at WoW. They had what? 13, 14, 15... million subscribers. RIFT came out, they lost millions overnight. Then slowly gained some of them back. SWTOR came out, same thing happens. When Guild Wars 2 releases late August we'll see the same thing. All other major MMO's will have a population dropoff, then some people will come back, others won't.

SWTOR needs to get ahead of this population loss or the game's going to completely die and they're just out the money they spent on development. Now I'm pretty sure everyone at BioWare, EA, and the vast majority of players on here agree that the launch was way too early and responsible for most of the issues we have right now. Better to wait and launch a functional game, than launch early or on time with a craptastic one. GW2 is a great example of that. Did they have some preorders get canceled when they pushed the launch back a month? Sure they did. Did they lose as many purchases as SWTOR lost with the early launch (and I'm talking percentages here let's not get into semantics), no they didn't. Because we all know in the back of our minds that it's better to wait and have something done right, than have something now that's broken or rushed. Apparently EA missed that little life lesson.

So going F2P is the only option at this point, and the way they're doing it is clever. Rewarding all the players who've already paid for the game with start up credits for the F2P store. Here's what'll happen. The game goes free to play. Mass emails fire out over the internet to all past subscribers: "Hey it's FREE now! Oh and on top of that we gave you money you can spend on stuff to thank you for being a subscriber in the past!" Now what happens when someone tells you "Hey there's this cool new store you've never been too in a place you used to really enjoy oh and here's a gift card for it" You bet your wampa you've got a trip to make. So what's going to happen is most of the canceled subs will come back and have a look at the game if for nothing other than to check out the F2P store/model and see what's what. Many of them will probably go "Oh wow... I can like enjoy the questing and stuff for free? Well hell... that was like my favorite part... I guess I'll stick around..." Because let's face it, the questing and storytelling in SWTOR is the most unique feature of the whole darn game.

Meanwhile the website announces F2P, Facebook and other social media announce it. Right now you're all posting in all your other forums and websites and chat rooms about how SWTOR is going free to play. Well hey guess what, that's advertising for them. Not to mention I'm sure we've all had this experience before:

You: Hey [insert friend's name here] have you played [insert game name here]? It's really super awesome and totally amazing and you should come play it with me!
Friend: How much is it?
You: Well it's $50 initially, then $15 a month, but it's really awesome and totally worth it and we could play together.
Friend: Ehh... I dunno man we'll see.

You make the game F2P and the conversation changes:

You: Hey [insert friend's name here] have you played [insert game name here]? It's really super awesome and totally amazing and you should come play it with me! Plus they just made it free to play so you can come check it out with me and it won't cost you a dime.
Friend: Sweet! I'll go download it tonight!

Bottom line is F2P means returning players, new players, better server populations leading to better player retention. Some monthly players will stop paying and go F2P. Some non-existing players will sign up and opt to pay monthly. Some old players will return and make some micropayments with their free currency, then buy some more here and there to augment the play experience.

In short, they're not losing any money by going F2P, but they are losing money with the current model. The game will die faster as it is right this moment than it will on F2P, and the only chance of pitching this downward spiral back up into growth is going F2P so they can reach the audience and get people involved in the game. The real question in my mind is, now that EA is finally exhibiting a little intelligence in their decision, are they going to screw up the F2P store with real stats gear, daily/weekly/monthly stat augments to turn your toon into superman for 24 hours so you can pwn noobs in pvp with a single hit, etc.

As long as the F2P store is set up with micropayments correctly, they just might turn this around. Some items to consider for the real money purchases:
  • Additional character slots
  • Race unlocks
  • Additional Cargo Bays
  • Increase in max currency able to carry per toon
  • Cosmetic pets
  • Moddable gear with unique looks only obtainable in the real money store (has no stats/augs in it yet)
  • Color crystals with stats comparable to in-game ones but colors unique to the store
  • Speeders/mounts with the same speed/knockoff protection as in-game, but unique looks
  • XP boosters (maybe 12 charges each, 2 hr duration, persist through defeat)
  • Legacy XP boosters (maybe 12 charges each, 2 hr duration, persist through defeat; stacks with regular xp booster)
Just a couple ideas there for things people might shell out some real money for, and obviously that stuff needs to be realistic in terms of price. People aren't going to pay $10 for a color crystal or a speeder. Also, set up a system where maybe every weekend there's a random store item/unlock that goes on sale for each person. Discounts the price 50%. But it's purely random. Could even be something they already unlocked on the current character but could unlock on another. That's the sort of thing to get people to make spur of the moment decisions on. "Oh hey wait what? I can get an additional character slot for half off right now? Hmmm... well I have been wanting to try a ______ and it's only a couple bucks on sale... Yeah ok."

Anyway, if you guys can do this right, SWTOR just might see an upward trend for a change I'll be keeping my sub active for the time being in the hopes the store doesn't get filled with game-breaking items to make a quick buck.

SveinEternity's Avatar


SveinEternity
08.01.2012 , 08:36 AM | #494
Quote: Originally Posted by Rashne View Post
Excellent decision Bioware, I applaud you and look forward to what you provide for the players.

I for one will continue to subscribe so that I can enjoy everything the game has to offer and get the perks that come with it. I have been a subscriber since Day 1 of Early Access with the Collector's Edition. I enjoy the game and the content you provide, despite what all the haters and trolls have to say (every day) about how "terrible" the game is.

I believe this new model is an acknowledgement of the changing business model of online gaming and reflects the best way to approach the market now.
I totally agree with you. I think its really sad that the hate and trolling this game gets, half of it is undeserved. How is F2P a bad thing???
The Eternity Legacy

stms's Avatar


stms
08.01.2012 , 08:39 AM | #495
I'll still pay if Jeff renames that heroic mission it sounds like it rolled out of a 50's horor flick and as for runing swtor with f2p not relly cause the free-pers should have to fork out a few bucks in a micro-transaction store for new content and say if they want chaper four of the story line they should fork out $10 say?
C.Edmund

SveinEternity's Avatar


SveinEternity
08.01.2012 , 08:40 AM | #496
Quote: Originally Posted by Raeyan View Post
I love how everyone is addressing BioWare as if their staff really have any part in the decision to destroy SWTOR for a profit. Now c'mon guys, does that sound like BioWare? No. That sound like EA? Ohhhhh yessss.

They're making the game F2P because EA ruined the launch. They're making the game F2P because EA botched up the preorder/early access mechanism so that many players got to see the buggy, feature-lacking game they were pushing out early to hit the "christmas crowd". They're making the game F2P because the end result of a botched launch, missing features, and bugs is that they've had to pump more money into staff/development to keep things rolling the past 8 months.

But wait... if they make it free... how does that "fix" the lack of revenue? o.O

Well quite simply, they gave everyone who had canceled (myself included) a free week of playtime when 1.3 added the LFG tool and consolidated the population down to make the servers actually playable. After the week of time was up, the majority of those players didn't resub. Newsflash: Same thing happened with 1.2's release. They've realized that the early, buggy, featureless launch of the game started a downward spiral in which players already have a bad "taste" in their mouth for the game and they can't develop fast enough to convince those players to come back and pay $15 a month.

One of the biggest issues is the overall population. MMO population works on an inverse exponential scale. The more people you lose, the more people you lose. And you always lose them faster than you gain them. Look at WoW. They had what? 13, 14, 15... million subscribers. RIFT came out, they lost millions overnight. Then slowly gained some of them back. SWTOR came out, same thing happens. When Guild Wars 2 releases late August we'll see the same thing. All other major MMO's will have a population dropoff, then some people will come back, others won't.

SWTOR needs to get ahead of this population loss or the game's going to completely die and they're just out the money they spent on development. Now I'm pretty sure everyone at BioWare, EA, and the vast majority of players on here agree that the launch was way too early and responsible for most of the issues we have right now. Better to wait and launch a functional game, than launch early or on time with a craptastic one. GW2 is a great example of that. Did they have some preorders get canceled when they pushed the launch back a month? Sure they did. Did they lose as many purchases as SWTOR lost with the early launch (and I'm talking percentages here let's not get into semantics), no they didn't. Because we all know in the back of our minds that it's better to wait and have something done right, than have something now that's broken or rushed. Apparently EA missed that little life lesson.

So going F2P is the only option at this point, and the way they're doing it is clever. Rewarding all the players who've already paid for the game with start up credits for the F2P store. Here's what'll happen. The game goes free to play. Mass emails fire out over the internet to all past subscribers: "Hey it's FREE now! Oh and on top of that we gave you money you can spend on stuff to thank you for being a subscriber in the past!" Now what happens when someone tells you "Hey there's this cool new store you've never been too in a place you used to really enjoy oh and here's a gift card for it" You bet your wampa you've got a trip to make. So what's going to happen is most of the canceled subs will come back and have a look at the game if for nothing other than to check out the F2P store/model and see what's what. Many of them will probably go "Oh wow... I can like enjoy the questing and stuff for free? Well hell... that was like my favorite part... I guess I'll stick around..." Because let's face it, the questing and storytelling in SWTOR is the most unique feature of the whole darn game.

Meanwhile the website announces F2P, Facebook and other social media announce it. Right now you're all posting in all your other forums and websites and chat rooms about how SWTOR is going free to play. Well hey guess what, that's advertising for them. Not to mention I'm sure we've all had this experience before:

You: Hey [insert friend's name here] have you played [insert game name here]? It's really super awesome and totally amazing and you should come play it with me!
Friend: How much is it?
You: Well it's $50 initially, then $15 a month, but it's really awesome and totally worth it and we could play together.
Friend: Ehh... I dunno man we'll see.

You make the game F2P and the conversation changes:

You: Hey [insert friend's name here] have you played [insert game name here]? It's really super awesome and totally amazing and you should come play it with me! Plus they just made it free to play so you can come check it out with me and it won't cost you a dime.
Friend: Sweet! I'll go download it tonight!

Bottom line is F2P means returning players, new players, better server populations leading to better player retention. Some monthly players will stop paying and go F2P. Some non-existing players will sign up and opt to pay monthly. Some old players will return and make some micropayments with their free currency, then buy some more here and there to augment the play experience.

In short, they're not losing any money by going F2P, but they are losing money with the current model. The game will die faster as it is right this moment than it will on F2P, and the only chance of pitching this downward spiral back up into growth is going F2P so they can reach the audience and get people involved in the game. The real question in my mind is, now that EA is finally exhibiting a little intelligence in their decision, are they going to screw up the F2P store with real stats gear, daily/weekly/monthly stat augments to turn your toon into superman for 24 hours so you can pwn noobs in pvp with a single hit, etc.

As long as the F2P store is set up with micropayments correctly, they just might turn this around. Some items to consider for the real money purchases:
  • Additional character slots
  • Race unlocks
  • Additional Cargo Bays
  • Increase in max currency able to carry per toon
  • Cosmetic pets
  • Moddable gear with unique looks only obtainable in the real money store (has no stats/augs in it yet)
  • Color crystals with stats comparable to in-game ones but colors unique to the store
  • Speeders/mounts with the same speed/knockoff protection as in-game, but unique looks
  • XP boosters (maybe 12 charges each, 2 hr duration, persist through defeat)
  • Legacy XP boosters (maybe 12 charges each, 2 hr duration, persist through defeat; stacks with regular xp booster)
Just a couple ideas there for things people might shell out some real money for, and obviously that stuff needs to be realistic in terms of price. People aren't going to pay $10 for a color crystal or a speeder. Also, set up a system where maybe every weekend there's a random store item/unlock that goes on sale for each person. Discounts the price 50%. But it's purely random. Could even be something they already unlocked on the current character but could unlock on another. That's the sort of thing to get people to make spur of the moment decisions on. "Oh hey wait what? I can get an additional character slot for half off right now? Hmmm... well I have been wanting to try a ______ and it's only a couple bucks on sale... Yeah ok."

Anyway, if you guys can do this right, SWTOR just might see an upward trend for a change I'll be keeping my sub active for the time being in the hopes the store doesn't get filled with game-breaking items to make a quick buck.
Exactly!
The Eternity Legacy

Izeith's Avatar


Izeith
08.01.2012 , 08:47 AM | #497
Quote: Originally Posted by CourtneyWoods View Post
Executive Producer Jeff Hickman addresses the fans about our Free-to-Play announcement:



Read More

Reason?:we wanted to be able to bring the game to more people.... ummm I think the reason is more like this: Star Wars has been such an overhyped dissapointment...

1.we pushed the release date back 4 or 5 times and still released it with hardly any of the features a game should have at launch...
2. Opened not nearly enough servers causing everyone to have to wait hours until play.

3. ilum was poorly designed and allowed for tilted poplulations to DOMINATE and farm battlemaster in a few hours for which we did nothing about... no 24 hour rollback... no nothing...

4. we then realized we needed more servers open so we opened WAY WAY to many of them causing the populations on servers to drop to 150 ish players so no one could do anything.

5. we figured PvP was something players actually had to spend time doing to achieve anything so we decided to make it so fresh-to-50 players could just buy the battlemaster gear after making others spend time working for it.

6. LAST, we woke up one morning and realized CRAP we now only have 10 servers open (literally) because we condensed population because of all the subscriber losses... We better do something AH HA!!! make the game free to play because no one is subscribing anymore and it is no longer profit making.....

So in short, above is the paraphrased version of what I think Mr. Jeff Hickman was trying to say......

Also I must give a congradulatory pat on the back to Swtor... this game went F2P faster than star trek online.... lmao.

Personally I will keep subscribing for now, and I hope the F2P raises the population again.. altho it wont help the raiders at all... See you all in game!! you have a 1/10 chance of being on my server!!

oh and as a personal request Bioware/EA/swtor/Jeff Hickman, can you please raise the amount of character slots for subscribing players.. thanks again..
The threshold is mine. I claim it for my own. Bring on your thousands, One at a time or all in a rush. I don't give a damn!

Jonoku's Avatar


Jonoku
08.01.2012 , 08:51 AM | #498
Quote: Originally Posted by semplew View Post
I've been recently playing the SWG EMU. It's pretty much a complete PRE-NGE SWG!
You can get sued you know? lucas arts wants people to play swtor

Vicen's Avatar


Vicen
08.01.2012 , 08:53 AM | #499
What?! No coins or whatever for Digital Deluxe buyers? That's BS Bioware!!!! Elder Scrolls MMO here I come...
Swooping...is...bad...

Izeith's Avatar


Izeith
08.01.2012 , 08:55 AM | #500
Quote: Originally Posted by Jonoku View Post
You can get sued you know? lucas arts wants people to play swtor
swgemu is a pre CU version of galaxies not a pre NGE, and no you cannot get sued lol....the guys making the emu have been doing it officially from scratch for several several years like 7 or 8 years and you still have to have purchased an official version of galaxies to be able to install the Launcher for the EMU so no.. you cannot get sued...
The threshold is mine. I claim it for my own. Bring on your thousands, One at a time or all in a rush. I don't give a damn!