What A Dollar Gets You

Syp has a good post on the F2P change for SWTOR.  The main argument is against the two main models of F2P – one that lets people play for free with add-ons paid for cash and another that provides huge restrictions and essentially works as a limited trial.

Rohan has a nice breakdown of the F2P components that bears repeating, where the main ones include:

  • Box
  • Access
  • Content
  • Cosmetic
  • Convenience
  • Power

The box is simple, access too.  Content can be pieced out, as Turbine does pretty well with DDO and LOTRO.  Cosmetic is the way for most Cryptic games, including most super hero variants.  Convenience speeds up portions of the game that are clearly tedious.  Faster mounts, bigger bags, experience potions et al.  Power is the most controversial but the most prominent in the F2P world of Asia.

TOR is clearly using Access, Cosmetic and Convenience as the main drivers for cash.  Content is simply much too expensive for TOR to sell piecemeal, what with the full voice over costs and high production values.  Power isn’t an option either as the pusback on this model in western games can destroy a game.

You are paying for access to raids and PvP and whatnot but the general agreement is that these portions are a much better value in other games.  The convenience issue is an interesting one.  There is no real challenge in TOR, at any given point.  1-50 can be completed, if slowly, for absolutely zero dollars.  For 20$, much less than anyone would pay for a box copy of a AAA single player game, gets you enough unlocks to may the game very playable.

Once you hit level 50 though, then it’s much less about convenience or access.  Nearly every single aspect of the game at that point is locked behind cash doors.  You need to pay to do anything, use the AH, truly craft or customize your character.  Heck, you need to pay to equip items.

Right now, you can buy KOTOR2 for 10$ (on sale for half for a few days), a game dating from nearly 8 years ago or you can pay 0 dollars for KOTOR3 that’s 1 year old.  If you only wanted the Single Player experience, I would say “good deal”.  If you’re looking for the social experience, I would say that the F2P option isn’t an option at all, subscription is the only way to go.

This essentially means that TOR is offering a free trial from 1-50, with the option to buy perks along the way.  Once you hit 50 though, it’s a subscription game like any other.

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