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The Importance of Player Feedback with the New Free-to-Play Option

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
The Importance of Player Feedback with the New Free-to-Play Option
First BioWare Post First BioWare Post

merera's Avatar

01.06.2013 , 03:42 AM | #351
Dear Jeff,

As of now the free-to-play seems to work well, at the time of writing there is a ton of players on Red Eclipse server in most locations and finding company for a mission is usually a matter of minutes, not hours.

This (second) wave of popularity comes with a price tag attached, since most of these new players are reluctant to pay for playing at all and some of them come from countries where the $10 monthly subscription fee is a considerable sum, several days' earnings in some cases.

Still all these new players are willing to donate to the game their most precious resource: their time. The mere presence of these new players is the fuel that drives the game today. And the fact that fiscal reasons force the company (I mean Bioware) to restrict these players' activity in so many ways is a great disappointment for me. I mean - these guys are already sharing their ultimate treasure so why force them to pay? Well, yes someone has to pay for the lightsabers and the great stories and voice acting and stuff of course, I understand. But can't we make it a bit less direct, maybe the rich players can pay for the poor? We'll see...

I think that all these chat restrictions, limits on the amount of in-game currency and (especially!) limits on character running speed do little to encourage new players to pay up. Arguably they seem to piss off a lot of new players who would otherwise happily spend a lot of their time in the game (is it only me thinking of time as the ultimate irreplaceable resource?).

I suspect (only the company books could prove me right or wrong) that the biggest trade goes on in vanity items and other non-F2P stuff: cartel random packs, nifty armor sets, speeders, pets and (oh yes, this one) the artifact unlock. The latter is the only item really required for an F2P player to access the endgame character gear.

If my guess about the bulk of sales is correct (and I have a feeling It is) it could open a new perspective for the company on directions to evolve the policies regarding F2P players.

I would ask developers to kindly consider the following idea: introduction of a game item that would be a monthly subscription ticket (in EVE this item is called a Pilot License Extension or PLEX) and let rich players buy these items for real money and sell them to the poorer but more active players for in-game credits. This way a new F2P player would be able to access full game features spending only their time, not money while the richer player would pay for both subscriptions.

Further on I would like to ask developers to lift most of the restrictions on F2P, the only real restriction should be access to warzone and endgame. And all the permits should be tradable and auctionable in-game. The ultimate goal thus could be to have everyone pay for play, either with dollars or with galactic credits.

The idea itself is anything but new, it has been successfully implemented in several MMOs, one outstanding example being EVE online (yes, I love the game).

And one natural outcome of the introduction of such items is that they are a legal and sound way of purchasing in-game currency. This option deals a mortal blow to third-party farming and real-money trade aka RMT, that has ruined many a good game.

To sum it up: (1) please introduce a game item that would be the equivalent of a monthly subscription. Players should be able to buy the item for real money and then sell it in-game via trades or auction. (2) please lift the restrictions that make F2Ps feel they are second class passengers, namely: the limit on wallet size, chat restrictions, sprint and speeder handicap, market slot restrictions, craft skill restrictions. Limits on war zones, ops and flash points can stay, provided there are in-game permit items that can be bought for in-game currency. Arguably, the FP restriction could be tighter, allowing entry to 3 FP a week only, rather than limiting only drop access.

Yes, this will create in-game billionaire speculators that will live off the in-game market. Yes this will call for competent governance of in-game economics. But it will also fuel the game with the energy of players now so severely curbed. Let us hope we will see some of these issues addressed in the coming expansion.

Meanwhile I have recently received and reported my first spam mails with offers to buy in-game money and power level a character - which means that RMT merchants have finally recognized SW:TOR as a target of their destructive work. Hopefully the expansion will be about something like PLEX and will do something to address RMT.

Kuronan's Avatar

01.24.2013 , 11:13 AM | #352
I think they are only actually listening to the people who pay, not the true F2Pers...

Bioware, here's some problems with F2P I'd like to see addressed:
Emote Locks, WHY?!:
Why the hell would you do that, make it so only a very few emotes can actually be used and the rest have to be bought with the roulette machine known as Cartel Packs? Why can't just give them those emotes, or how about putting them in a single pack so they can use them all and not have to pay 20$ HOPING to get that /bow or /kneel emote....
Experience Restriction:
Okay, now, I think I can get behind removing actual Rested bonuses for free to players, but you literally have a reduction of the experience they actually get from quests, and it's ridiculous... You are better than that.
Restrictions in Guilds and Free to Play Guilds:
Bioware has crossed a few lines when they literally created a different kind of guild just for Free to Players, and when they impose major constrictions on subscription guilds. I can't remember the specifics, but other people's privileges should not be impeded for playing with others simply because those other people don't want to pay.
Appearance Permissions:
I have to pay actual money, to buy an unlock so a free to player could sync the color of their gear or hide their helmet? Honestly? That's low....
Authorization: Artifact (and Event) Equipment:
This is literally the one thing that does not actually make this game Free to Play, but Pay to Win. You literally need to pay to put on end-game gear. People will always prefer the person with higher level gear, unless they are known to be less skilled. They don't pay, so that means they have literally no right to an end-game experience?
Race Restrictions:
I think this one is a bit too far, I can agree in some cases... (Sith Purebloods, Miraluka, and Chiss are very specific races, they could be reasonably restricted from free to players) but I think the current system of Human, Cyborg, Zabrak is counter-productive. Mirialan and Twi'lek should also be allowed, but beyond that... I guess I can agree, some races could be restricted reasonably.
The Estimare Legacy
I used to be a Jedi once, but then I took a Lightning Bolt to the Knee.
We, the roleplayers, need this.

leojreimroc's Avatar

01.24.2013 , 02:29 PM | #353
I've posted this in another thread, but I'll post it here as well. Here is my advice for further unlocks available for f2p/preferred players:

1-Permanent credit cap unlock (and commendation cap unlock)

The credit cap is crippling for players. We simply cannot buy anything over the cap unless over the top measures are taken. It's not impossible, but it makes everything needlessly difficult. It also does not help the server economy, and I'm sure that the people who are buying cartel unlocks for sale on the gtn are also not appreciating that their prices have to be below 350 in order to sell to anyone who can use it. Think of it this way, your sales of the more expensive stuff like artifact unlocks etc would go up because more people would buy them to put for sale on the gtn.

2-Permanent medical probe unlock

Sometimes it's not a big deal rezzing at a medical post, sometimes it's the most annoying thing (when you've just cleared a full cave of mobs and die and have to re-clear them). In either case, having to pay money for each death is never a good thing for f2p games. A permanent unlock would be a good seller.

Alternately have medical probes recharge, either one an hour, or some per day.

3-Aleviated chat restrictions for preferred members.

1 post every 10 seconds or however long it is is so annoying when you're talking to people on general chat. Most games level lock their restrictions so you have to be a certain level in order to avoid gold trader spam. Have it so that chat unlocks at level 20 or 25, combined with a preferred status possibly. Preventing or hindering communication is MMO is rarely a good thing.

4- Customer support for all players

I think this one is so obvious. If you don't provide support (especially for cartel purchases), you just make your players angry and they leave. You will not receive purchases or further purchases when you piss off your customers (or potential customers).

Mailek's Avatar

01.24.2013 , 03:17 PM | #354
Why are you bothering to ask for player feedback 13 months after you launch when you guys couldn`t be bothered to listen to us before...

As a former beta tester of this game you guys couldn`t even listen to us then. All you would say is we`ll fix this or implement this post launch. Has any of that happened.....nope.

So here is my feedback: you guys didn`t listen to the concerns of us back then, you guys **** the bed, and now all I can say is ``Serves you right``