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Open Valentine's Day Letter to SWTOR

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Open Valentine's Day Letter to SWTOR

Pelell's Avatar

02.14.2013 , 07:55 AM | #1
Open Valentineís Day Letter to SWTOR


Let me preface this letter by professing my love. I have been with you since the beginning. We have had some ups and downs during the past year, and you have had some very vocal critics. You brought some new dynamics to the table with your inception, from voice acted quests to a pretty sweet Legacy system to new and exciting boss mechanics. You hosted a SWTOR Guild Leaders Meet-Up, which I was fortunate enough to attend and meet some wonderful people. And whether it was forced server moves, legacy name changes, converting to F2P, or creating the Cartel Market, I have always stuck with you, because I love you so. But lately, Iím feeling that Iím doing the most work in this relationship. Iím hoping that with this open letter, that we can work on staying together instead of heading down the path of splitsville.

There were bound to be some growing pains with a game of this size. Itís really unavoidable. This is becoming a saturated market in respect to MMOs and you have to bring it big if you hope to have an impact as well as staying power. It doesnít help that a good majority of the feedback you get is frequently negative, and written by people who sometimes have nothing better to do than troll. I am not that guy. Again, I love you. So, what I say is from the bottom of my heart and hopefully itís met with an open mind.

I will say that as a subscriber to you, I feel a bit entitled. There, I said it. I am spending money on you every month for what it seems like is the privilege of accessing certain content. And on top of that, I get what I consider a paltry allowance of Cartel Coins once a month. At this point in the game, as a subscriber I feel a bit slighted, and I know I am not the only one. Iím wondering if the time and money I have invested and will continue to invest will be worthwhile. Let me say I am not one of those that comes into a relationship with no solution on how to rectify my feelings or the problems at hand. So let me present you with those issues, and then how I propose to fix it.

Issue 1~ Subscribers feel slighted with a 500-700 monthly coin allowance, depending on subscription model and authenticator use, for the $12.99-$14.99 a month. For $14.99, I can get 500 coins if Iím subbed and access to all content. Thatís about $180.00 a year for 6000 coins. That doesnít give me a whole lot of coinage for purchasing items in the Cartel Shop. Now, if I unsub, I become preferred. I could pay $19.99 a month for 2400 coins a month, which equals $240.00 for 28,800 coins for a year. Wow. That hurts just typing it. So, for $60.00 more a year, I get over 4 times the coins. After calculating the cost of item unlocks on the GTN versus Cartel Shop, it really makes sense to go preferred if the model continues to stay the same. The problem there is, that once a person goes F2P or preferred, you no longer can count that person as monthly revenue since once a person unlocks everything they want, there is no guarantee that they will continue to purchase coins on a regular basis, as opposed to regularity of the monthly Subscribersí dollars.

Solution~ Give Subscribers a higher allotment of Cartel Coins, say 1000 a month for the single month Subs,1250 for 3 month Subs, 1500 for six month Subs, with the addition of a couple Cartel Packs with said allotment. This will ensure that Subscribers indeed feel like the special people we are, the people that are helping to pay for the game with our almost guaranteed monthly purchase. And it will also stimulate the in-game economy via the GTN. Which leads me to the next item....

Issue 2~ The Influx and Dilution of Cartel Packs and Mount/Pet/Outfit re-skins. Since the Cartel Shop debuted, we have had 5 separate packs released: Black Market, Blockade Runner, Skip Tracer, Life Day, and now Space Pirate. Because there is no master list available for any of the packs to the general populace, itís a literal crap shoot to what you have the potential to get. That is, unless someone like Dulfy or TORWARS has amassed enough info from others to create a somewhat full list. And when you have the same mounts, pets, outfits just re-colored and labeled as ďnewĒ, itís just another thing we feel slighted by. And adding the Superpack (24 packs for 7344 CC) for around 60.00 is absolutely ridiculous, despite itís 15% discount.

Solution~ Cartel Packs are released once a month, with a master list available to either to general public, or to authorized fan-sites for dispersal. Offer Subscribers discounts over F2P/preferred players, something that may entice others to resub. These things are non-existent, non-corporeal items that provide entertainment value to the people that are still playing. How hard would it to be to offer those who have been with you and continue to pay a monthly subscription a decent discount on items that have no real world value? Granted, I understand it takes a certain number of man-hours to code up a reskinned slave bikini, but once itís done, itís done. There is very little overhead for an item that takes up no physical space, per se.

Issue 3~ Rep Grinds. This has recently been introduced in the game. While it seems like this is going to be an unavoidable evil in relation to ďThe GrindĒ, there are ways to ensure that it doesnít have to become the chore it seems to end up being. Putting a weekly cap, but offering Subscribers a 50% boost just means we just reach that cap much quicker than F2P players. Iím really trying to wrap my head around how I benefit from this.

Solution~ Remove or significantly increase the weekly cap for Subscribers. I donít mind the boost, so long as Iím not done in a couple days worth of grinding.

SWTOR, I want this relationship to work out. I really, really do. That is why I am giving you this letter, so you can see how much that I care. This letter is an honest attempt to encourage more open communication and improve the BW/SWTOR Community relationship. One of the biggest complaints about the game is the lack of communication between the players and the devs, and again, this is me trying to bring a solution to the table instead of making flammable posts that do nothing for constructive criticism or working towards providing a solution.

SWTOR, I love you. Happy Valentineís Day!

Jayson aka Pelell
Guildmaster of AIE: SWTOR

*Also, I provided my math, for those interested.

GTN Prices/Cartel Shop Prices
Jedi Covenant Server

Weekly Pass Flashpoints - 150-250k/ 240 CC
Weekly Pass Operations - 150-200k/ 240 CC
Weekly Pass Warzones - 125-144k/ 240 CC

Skip Tracer's Cartel Pack - 250-320k/ 360 CC
Blockade Runner's Cartel Pack - 320-350k/ 342 CC
Black Market Cartel Pack - 165-180k/ 180 CC

Artifact Equipment Authorization - 500-550k/ 900 CC
Crew Member Appearance Authorization - 120k/ 325 CC
Crew Skill Assignment Slot - 100-200k/ 420 CC
Customization Control: Display Character Titles - 50k/ 100 CC
Customization Control: Display Legacy Name and Title - 75k/ 100 CC
Customization Control: Hide Head Slot - 130k/ 350 CC
Customization Control: Unify Colors - 138k/ 350 CC
Event Equipment Requisition Authorization: 200k/ 175 CC
Galactic Trade Network: 10 Sale Slots: 38-80K/ 125 CC
Server Character Slot: 200k/ 600 CC
Unlock Cargo Bay: 140k/ 475 CC
Unlock Cargo Hold (Account): 325-500k/ 475 CC
Unlock Inventory Module: 90k/ 175 CC
Unlock Quickbar: 68k/ 250 CC

F2P Credit Cap~ 200,000
Preferred Credit Cap~ 350,000
Subscriber Credit Cap~ None

Cartel Coins: 450 coins= $4.99
1050 coins= $9.99
2400 coins= $19.99
5500 coins= $39.99

Monthly Subscribers currently get 500 coins per month, 3 Month Subs get 550 coins per month, 6 month subs get 600 coins per month, and authenticators get an additional 100 coins per month.
Guild Master of Alea Iacta Est in SWTOR

neuroid's Avatar

02.14.2013 , 08:13 AM | #2
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AlaricSevGirl's Avatar

02.14.2013 , 08:18 AM | #3
I concur 100%.

Zsavooz's Avatar

02.14.2013 , 08:27 AM | #4
well met

lokozar's Avatar

02.14.2013 , 08:50 AM | #5
Nice post. Agreed. There are much more points BW should care about, but one step after another, right?
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Vandicus's Avatar

02.14.2013 , 09:03 AM | #6
Your issue 1 doesn't make a whole lot of sense. You don't sub for coins, you sub for access to everything. Even if subscribing offered no coins, it'd still be cheaper than buying everything with CC as a preferred account. Now if they were somehow to raise the credit cap and you were to buy weekly warzone/ops/fp access from the GTN, they still come out ahead as those are more expensive than a subscription and someone else is buying those to sell to you. Everyone wins, you no longer have to pay cash to play, the middleman gets his credits, and Bioware gets more money than before.

Issue 2, who do you think is spending money on cartel packs, f2pers or subscribers? Providing loot tables would probably reduce purchases since it'd probably discourage people from going for those small % items like they do now. The idea that this would somehow raise revenues is not sound. Discounting cartel packs for subs probably won't convince people to sub, and the packs are probably already close to their optimal market price(as calculated by professionals whose jobs depend on their analysis, rather than by armchair analysts). Again, subscribers are probably the ones already buying the packs rather than f2pers, the revenue lost from reducing costs is unlikely to be offset by f2pers who regularly buy cartel packs subbing(people who buy cartel packs regularly are likely already subbers).

Issue 3, you complain about grinding and then something that makes grind time shorter in the same breath. Attaching it to the general gear grind in your post(which the game doesn't have much of anyways), is a mistake, since its purely cosmetic. If you don't like doing it and don't care about the particular cosmetic items offered, don't do it. Thankfully, the rep grinds are not required for PvE or PvP progression.
Darasuum kote ner vode!
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neuroid's Avatar

02.14.2013 , 09:42 AM | #7
@vandicus - The way I see it, issue 1 isn't a direct comparison between the monthly allowance and the $20 for 2400, i think it's more about the value that each package he references offers in totality over the course of a year. It's the unbalance that doesn't make sense to me and I agree with the solution. Alternatively it would be great if BioWare offered broader (not necessarily deeper) discounts for subs than they do now. I know I would spend more $$ if the items I actually wanted were more affordable.

Also, providing loot tables would not reduce purchases if the loot was seen as valuable to the players. Nobody wants to pay money for a cracker jack box that has nothing good in it. Just like nobody wants to put coins in that stupid claw machine at the arcade and get no furry pets. Do you think people buy cartel packs for the items they HOPE they get or the items they don't care about getting or are clueless about? Information is power, and to make money you have to show customers that you're providing them with something they want. Providing no evidence for your opinion that subs buy more packs is a perfect example of armchair analysis, so maybe watch where you sling that mud around.
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Vandicus's Avatar

02.14.2013 , 10:05 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by neuroid View Post

Also, providing loot tables would not reduce purchases if the loot was seen as valuable to the players. Nobody wants to pay money for a cracker jack box that has nothing good in it. Just like nobody wants to put coins in that stupid claw machine at the arcade and get no furry pets. Do you think people buy cartel packs for the items they HOPE they get or the items they don't care about getting or are clueless about? Information is power, and to make money you have to show customers that you're providing them with something they want. Providing no evidence for your opinion that subs buy more packs is a perfect example of armchair analysis, so maybe watch where you sling that mud around.
My mistake, I believed he was asking for odds, not a simple comprehensive list of items.

There is such a thing as a reasonable assumption. It is reasonable to assume that the packs sales in this game do not substantially deviate from similar goods in other MMOs, in which case the purchases are generally made by subbers. It seems you do not understand what the word armchair analysis means nor what I was using it to refer to. There is a specific critique frequently bandied about on these forums that "the price of good X is too high, lower it and make more money". My post simply states that the professional analysts are the ones with the data to indicate whether or not the proposed discounts would increase revenue.
Darasuum kote ner vode!
Darasuum kote Mando'ade!

Kaarruu's Avatar

02.14.2013 , 10:15 AM | #9
I'll try to keep this brief and to the point, because writing this isn't easy and I'm sure you've heard all this before from others.

When we started, it was all storylines and voice acting. There was a real plot and I felt like we had something special. Sure, missions got repetitive but at least the planets were different and there was enough of a story to keep me interested.

Now I'm done with the story. The companions you got me are all silent. You don't want a house, you think living on a cramped starship is good enough. Most of the clothes you get me have weird metal bits and spikes in them; I understand we have different tastes and I'm willing to humor you, but I'm not going to wear that stuff outside.

It's like you don't care about anything but the Cartel Market anymore. It's always gamble pack this, insanely expensive armor set that. I don't want to stay on the ship and do dailies while you take me for granted! You said we'd go to Makeb and I should get a Cathar. Although it's a nice gesture, I think you're still trying to avoid admitting that we have real problems. Jawagrams can't fix this.

I'm going to stay at a starbase for a while and let my subscription drop. Take some time to think about what you really want. I still care about you and want us to be together, but you need to show me that there's more to look forward to than expensive clothes and gambling.

Take care,


SlimsPicken's Avatar

02.14.2013 , 11:10 AM | #10
For every man there is a sentence, a string of words, which has the power to destroy him.