Why SWTOR's F2P Model Needs Help
ByDate: 02-01-2013 Views:
Star Wars: The Old Republic went free-to-play last November, and with it came changes to accounts and access restrictions. As someone who has played a lot of F2P games, this is by far the most restricted one I've seen yet, in that it's more like an extended trial than anything.
Really, the only free thing you have full access to is the story content. This allows you to play through each of the story lines to the maximum level, learning the lore and such as you go. While this is unrestricted, everything else has tight restrictions on it. Let's take a look at the biggest restrictions and their problems.
Credit Cap. There is a credit cap of only 200,000 for F2P players, essentially hurting both paying and free players. A lot of things that can be bought via the Cartel shop are able to be sold, but the only people who really need them are the F2P ones. As a result, inflation is kept down (contrary to most items) and there is a cap on what players are able to charge. If they charge more than 200,000 for anything, no F2P player can buy it and it won't sell. If they charge less, their earnings are low.
Operations. F2P players can't do any operations at all. This is group content, and the more available players there are the more groups there are for paying players to enter with. Disallowing the Operations altogether keeps the number of eligible players (and groups) lower than it would be otherwise.
Warzones and Flashpoints. These really go along the same lines as the Operations, although not to quite the same extent. At least with Warzones and Flashpoints you are able to take part in some every week. The number is still pretty low, however, for things that are a somewhat big part of the game for a lot of us.
Item Equipping. This one is very restrictive, in that you can't equip most purple items. Not only does this limit your own ability to enhance your character, but it also hurts any paying players that group with you, as you aren't able to gear yourself up as well.
Quickbars. This one is a bit in the air. For paying subscribers, there are a maximum of 6 quickbars. For F2P players, it's a maximum of 2. Many players have complained about this, being that quickbars are a major part of usability in the game, but really you should be able to get by pretty well with just two. Regardless, limiting them in the first place just doesn't make sense.