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Free-to-Play Preview Episode 3 Now Live!

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Free-to-Play Preview Episode 3 Now Live!
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Whillwynn's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 12:06 AM | #31
Feedback on the Cartel Market offerings? Sure:

I understand that the reason you put all the most coveted items in gambling boxes is to squeeze every penny out of us that you possibly can... but it looks desperate and low of you. Since I realize that you'll never drop the gambling boxes because some customers are probably spending every penny of disposable income on them, I offer suggestions to make the system something that benefits you, but might alleviate the feeling of gouging that your Cartel Market currently exudes:

1. Offer the "old" Cartel Pack's offerings for individual purchase when you introduce a new Cartel Pack. It is clear that you seek to monetize the new hotness. But surely you realize that there is a sizable chunk of us that would gladly pay a reasonable fee (read: not $15 for one item) on top of our subscription from time to time to obtain specific items that are currently only available through a Cartel Pack. Your current system drives people like us to the GTN, which can be frustrating at the best of times because obtaining items from a store shouldn't involve tons of credit grinding unless one is unwilling to pay. Your current system drives us to the GTN because we're unable to pay for what we want to buy. That's a failure on your part, in my opinion.

I see one easy solution to keep Cartel Packs relevant if you made this change: make the direct-buy versions bound (read: can't convert them to credits or mail them to alts, which makes Cartel Packs appealing since repeats and undesirables can be sold or mailed to alts). As it stands, you're undermining your own store by driving customers to the GTN if they know what they're after. Your current scheme only encourages "whales" (compulsive buyers or people with tons of disposable income) and grinders to try for these items, since the "middle man" finds the prices on the GTN absurdly high.

2. Balance maximizing profits with offering value for purchases. I cannot scientifically prove anything, but I suspect that if you polled your playerbase at large, more than a few of your customers would consider the current implementation of the Cartel Market a shameless money grab with very poor tangible offerings. Most items I see are "padded" with potentially undesirable extras to increase the purchase price (sets of shells stuffed with epic level 30 and 43 mods that are largely useless, along with full sets of unmodded shells that only have one original piece in them -- like the Valiant set introduced very recently, just to name two examples).

While the store should provide you with a profit margin, the goal should be to provide value and desirable items to show good faith to the customer. Currently, it feels like your intent is anything but. Almost every addition to the Market feels like a minimal-effort attempt bundled in the most anti-economic-for-the-customer way to push them to purchase Cartel Coins. And while this may be the REAL intent, the common expectation is that you court customers to maximize long-term profit... as it stands, you might manage to exploit the current scheme a while before people get sick of it and stop participating.

3. Leave some item categories out of Cartel Packs entirely. Some things, such as emotes, have the potential to sell really well if you market them separately, and offer them at a reasonable price. I feel you're trying to hit the three-pointers, and underestimating the value of lay-ups, to use a basketball analogy. Both are important components for a well-rounded game, but focusing exclusively on one or the other will limit your possibilities.

Perhaps this last bit I am about to add will be what trolls and the blindly devoted quote when they respond to this post, but I feel it might be of value to you given that, despite all my displeasure with the current affairs, I am a huge Star Wars fan and started playing MMOs after playing (and loving) KotOR:

The introduction of F2P could have been a very positive thing for this game -- and your PR folks have and will continue to spin it as being an overwhelming positive. But as someone that should have been a shoe-in for a long-term customer for your product, I have found myself looking at other MMOs whose development teams have shown better judgment in case this game continues to go the way it has. For the time being, I remain subscribed... I think it's a tad early to call the Cartel Market and this game a complete disaster, but even someone as biased in favor of this game and developer as me cannot help but think that your poor decision-making is going to drive what could have been one of the financial success stories of the decade into the ground.

I urge you to take a long, hard look at your current offering, and at the decisions you have made that brought you to this point. Even if one were to grant you the assertion that you've not driven customers away in droves by your decisions or lack thereof, a product such as yours, with its pedigree, IP and foundation should be performing far, far better than it is. It should have been able to stand up on its own two feet with subscriptions alone. As that's water under the bridge, I think that the least you owe your remaining and future playerbase is some honest self-evaluation and a F2P offering that shows you care about your customers and not just their wallets.

I haven't posted much since you rebooted the forums prior to launch, but I felt this needed to be said. I hope you're actually listening, as you've said you are.
"People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it." - Edith Schaeffer

Bowoci's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 12:09 AM | #32
LOL, Happy Life Day....

Yeah, so you put up a bunch of crap for us to BUY to celebrate Life Day.

Just realized the tree is actually a re-skinned version of the trees on the Imperial Fleet... cheap:X

I haven't bought any of it and I won't. You should have had a LIfe Day EVENT where we could earn the items... like SWG used to do:X Same goes for the Anniversary of the game too.... stack of Fireworks? What a joke:X

Tarn_Sirun's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 02:14 AM | #33

Mevan's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 02:17 AM | #34
Quote: Originally Posted by Whillwynn View Post
I hope you're actually listening, as you've said you are.
I can say with 100% certainty that they are not listening at all. Very nice post though, they'd learn a lot if they read it.

Quote: Originally Posted by Bowoci View Post
I haven't bought any of it and I won't. You should have had a LIfe Day EVENT where we could earn the items... like SWG used to do:X Same goes for the Anniversary of the game too.... stack of Fireworks? What a joke:X
SWG had fireworks, purchasable for a negligible amount of in-game credits, as many fireworks as we wanted, basically for free... EAware sell us extras via the Cartel Market. I don't pretend to speak for all Humans, but I think it's safe to say most of us would be ashamed if we even suggested the crap they actually think appropriate to implement.

We lost SWG because of this capitalist experiment... :/

Goretzu's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 03:08 AM | #35
Quote: Originally Posted by Shingara View Post
If you are going to charge subscribers for a previously called content patch update why bother having f2p at all. Just switch to B2P and remove subs all together and have us pay for adventure packs if you are going to treat your constant subscribers in such a way.
I actually think this would be a better model.

It would also remove much of Bioware EA temptation to double change, gouge and nickle and dime subscribers.
Real Star Wars space combat please, not Star Wars Fox! Maybe some PvP and flight too?
Goretzu's Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving "Entitled" approaches 1

Propane's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 11:59 AM | #36
Quote: Originally Posted by matraque View Post
I want this game to succeed. I'm no expert, but i think any of us would do a better job at designing the F2P stuff.
100% agree.

nidalad's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 12:57 PM | #37
You'd think they would be trying to draw attention away from all their fail so far this holiday season. Merry Christmas Star Wars fan bioware and ea have a big lump of coal for you in the form of an mmo.

Jonoku's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 02:02 PM | #38
Quote: Originally Posted by matraque View Post
I want this game to succeed. I'm no expert, but i think any of us would do a better job at designing the F2P stuff.
ya that christmas space segway looks terrible.

democha's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 07:57 PM | #39
I have been playing the game since it went F2P, funnily though i went and subscribed.
Why subscribe to a F2P game? Because a lot of the options needed to play this game are horribly expensive through cartel or the credits/req. lvl.

Why should i have to pay extra to have a workable UI?

A lot of the features needed to truly play this game require a 100 cartel coins each (or more) then one really has to wonder about EAware. Is EAware really that pathetic that they need to charge a massive amount of real money so a person can get a mount with a bunch of light bulbs hanging from it? Or to have a title next to their name or their legacy name?

The cartel is a disgusting money grab, they could have reduced the painful slap in the face that this is by having more reasonable prices. It could be as simple as making a inventory expansion apply across the whole account (for the normal cost for one character). Players should not have to need to pay 200 or more dollars just to get the game to a playable state.

So, on the off chance that EAware reps actually listen to their customers, and i have strong doubts about that considering many of the games EAware has recently released.

1- Decrease Costs of cartel items across the board, change it from a blatant money grab to something more subtle.
2- If a person buys multiple of the various packs, then make it so that they don't get multiple of the same item.
3- Make discounts for players, ranging from F2Pers, Preferred, to Subscribers. And if you have any loyalty towards former players then maybe extra benefits to those who have spent a certain amount through subscriptions or on the cartel market.
4- Make character unlocks applicable to all characters on the account. Eg. paying to unlock inventory space, XP unlocks, riding skill unlocks, etc.
5- Give incentives for people to play or come back to the game, former subscribers get a small amount of cartel coins when they reactivate but tell me how much they then have to spend to return the game to a playable state which may include resubscribing anyway.

6- This is the big one, I KNOW that EAware does not pay much attention to anything but themselves, but for your sake and that of the players having second thoughts about this game, LOOK at other free to play games. Give incentives for people to play and pay and keep that cycle going. EA does not know everything, yes you can make a lot of money in a short period of time by making costs for the needed features massive,
OR you can make a lot more money over a long time by Listening to your customers and observing successful games ( or more successful F2P games) and adapting your game according to what you have done. Do some in-game surveys, Forum polls, and actually give feedback while receiving same from customers.

Fact is, as much as i hate it, WoW is still going strong hasn't gone free to play because they did do number 6. I like SWtOR even more than i have WoW, or Rift, or Aion, or The Secret World sadly however my interest in SWtOR is waning, do i want to create another character and then fork out for all the necessary unlocks in order to play correctly? Or do i buy into a blatant scheme such as the life day 'products'? (are they that good anyway? they look pretty dodgy, i think i'd die laughing if i saw some unfortunate sith who bought one of those mounts).

Please for the sake of the game, the customers, and yourselves address your actions with this game, after all the fate of this game is no longer in your hands but OURs. If this game survives long term or fizzes out is up to those who play/pay it.

Lastly why was it called preview? Wouldn't it make more sense to just call it a some 'State of the Game' video?

willathlon's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 10:31 PM | #40
sometimes, saying sorry is better than no reply...