SWTOR_F2P_6

Star Wars: The Old Republic isn’t exactly held up in most gaming circles as an example of free-to-play done right, in the same vein as games like League of Legends or Team Fortress 2. It makes you wonder how much the people who implemented its F2P design were aware of exactly what they were doing.




At least one person seems to be. Speaking at the recent Game Developers’ Conference, former SWTOR lead developer Damion Schubert had a few interesting things to say about free-to-play design that would seem to be at odds at the direction BioWare went with its MMO. According to Wired, Schubert understands how the market has largely shifted to free-to-play/freemium model, saying that “Not only is free coming, we’re going to see things get more free” and how “absurd” it seems these days that the majority of games used to charge up front for boxes.

But his most telling statements come near the end of the piece, a combination of paraphrasing by the article’s writer and a direct quote from Schubert:

…free-to-play evangelists… warn against going down the slippery slope of chasing microtransactions. In his talk, he emphasized the importance of free-to-play designers always having someone in the room to advocate for players’ interests; someone to ensure that conversations don’t shift too far into methods of squeezing players for every penny.

“You want people to feel good about every dollar they give you,” Schubert said.

It makes you wonder if there was that kind of “advocate” in the room when SWTOR’s F2P system was under discussion, or even whether Schubert took up that role. If he, or someone else did, it seems to have gone largely unheeded.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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  1. Danny on March 24, 2015

    That was hilarious… i dare to say SWTOR has literally the WORST business model out of all “f2p” games. It’s just a clunky trial that doesn’t even let you take off your helmet or show your achievments. I played SWTOR after release for months and it was awesome (the game really is) but their free to play model is pure crap, it’s unbearable even with “prefered” status. Just check their website about the differences between sub and f2p and then look at this article 😀 What a joke really.
    They aren’t very creative about their ways, instead of rewarding people who pay for it, they punish people that don’t spend by denying them basic features that are essential in a game to be playable. How can anyone be proud of a system like that?
    Not to mention, it’s a huge cash grab. The original Buy + sub every 30 days actually costed LESS than it does now to do have everything you need. They charge you for every single imaginable thing that makes any sense in the game 😀
    Being able to buy that stuff with in-game money did help it but you can still only get the absolutemost important things.

    TL;DR It’s the worst “free to play” business model on the market currently, and it’s creators being proud of it shows extreme ignorance and money hunger from their part. What a joke.

  2. Urs-00 on March 24, 2015

    “It makes you wonder if there was that kind of “advocate” in the room when SWTOR’s F2P system was under discussion”

    no it doesn’t, it is EA games, they only have business people talking about money, gold and diamonds xD

  3. NeoS on March 24, 2015

    Content? What the hell is that? Just buy this “Sword of Bling +5” and be grateful you even have a game to play.

  4. Terranova667 on March 23, 2015

    I’m willing to bet it was brought up but with EA being the publisher there is no way in hell they would do a proper F2P model, just look at the bs they tried to pull with dungeon keeper, you would think after all this time they would change to a proper F2P model but i guess to many are willing to sub so they couldn’t give a shit what happens with the F2p side of things

  5. NAnboisgawd on March 23, 2015

    Proof of P2W scammer company. Putting the blame on players in passive aggressive lingo: “F2P avangelist”…yes because in the darks or on some side line are a F2P controlling the market. Horse poo. They went F2P because they know their product does NOTHING that warrents 12 dollars a month. This is not the players fault. F2Pers are potential subbers and payers, and instead of creating an ideal world for them to play in, they create poo, and create lines “You are F2P or not, so fight it over”…it oddly is like today’s politics. “You are not for lady gaga barfing on other women or you are anti and not obama lover cool like us”….It is so twisted and disgusting. Mid 2015 and I am a converted private server man. Like music, prices to high, they wanted us to buy CDs only (20 bucks a CD back in the day). “Hackers” smart people, shared music for free online. THAT FORCED the companies to go digital or lose. So they made it criminal…This happened around the time they tried selling “micro CD”s” fooling the public we will still be using encoded discs well into 2000’s but “mini”…The “F2share” people brought the business to the knews, and companies lost millions in mini discs (plastic producing corporations, encoding, etc.. all went bye bye). And things all went MP3. Look at your MP3 player. THANK A HACKER for it. You consimer idiots. Private server greedy peoples diheareah. I am LOVING my favorite game done right on a private server right now (vanilla wow, and Blade n Soul English). The rest suffer a greedy mans poo fest.

  6. cacalips on March 23, 2015

    Proof of P2W scammer company. Putting the blame on players in passive aggressive lingo: “F2P avangelist”…yes because in the darks or on some side line are a F2P controlling the market. Horse crap. They went F2P because they know their product does NOTHING that warrents 12 dollars a month. This is not the players fault. F2Pers are potential subbers and payers, and instead of creating an ideal world for them to play in, they create SHIT, and create lines “You are F2P or not, so fight it over”…it oddly is like today’s politics. “You are for lady gaga barfing on other women or you are anti gay and not obama lover cool like us”….It is so twisted and disgusting. Mid 2015 and I am a converted private server man. Like music, prices to high, they wanted us to buy CDs only (20 bucks a CD back in the day). “Hackers” smart people, shared music for free online. THAT FORCED the companies to go digital or lose. So they made it criminal…This happened around the time they tried selling “micro CD”s” fooling the public we will still be using encoded discs well into 2000’s but “mini”…The “F2share” people brought the business to the knews, and companies lost millions in mini discs (plastic producing corporations, encoding, etc.. all went bye bye). And things all went MP3. Look at your MP3 player. THANK A HACKER for it. You consimer idiots. Private server greedy peoples diheareah. I am LOVING my favorite game done right on a private server right now (vanilla wow, and Blade n Soul English). The rest suffer a greedy mans fuk fest.

  7. RyuKaiser on March 23, 2015

    I wanted to love this game so much. I just don’t play sub games, and I’m so tired of them trying to milk me dry with PvP and Flashpoint locks that I have to pay to break that I just stopped caring entirely. With games like Neverwinter Online, which has not only a Foundary (create your own dungeons/quests), as well as rewarding dungeons themselves, and PvP, all unlocked for everyone, not just on a weekly “limit break”/sub, I went straight to that game.

    I’ve never felt like a customer to SWTOR, only a cow ready to be squeezed, and it shows in the model. Weird thing is, since this game came out, and flopped as hard as it did, a lot of other games released that actually did it right. For those games, I am deeply thankful, as it showed me that EA/Bioware didn’t manage to sway the industry itself into the shenanigans it put forth.

    Honestly, I would play this game again if they’d just get rid of the limits, or put in a pack that would let you remove limits permanently. I agree that subbers need bang for their buck, but not the end game content. Going F2P doesn’t help anyone or anything if you keep endgame PvE and PvP locked away from the masses.

    • Anon on March 23, 2015

      Now, i afree to you to a certain extent. But honestly, Neverwinter is a terrible F2P model too. There are 2 different kinds of currencies, Gold and some sort of crystal.

      Gold is only useful for buying from NPC’s and after that has no use whatsoever.

      Whereas the crystals are used for stuff like the auction house.

      Not, where do you think you can get crystals…

      By “praying” every hour you get a small amount of crystals which you have to refine to use (Also, theres a limit to how much you can refine per week)

      OR buying it with real money.

      Now that doesn’t sound like a playerfriendly F2P model to me

      • MRPINKS on March 24, 2015

        stay away from neverwinter
        its a pay2win game

        those crystals called Astral Diamonds
        And its the hardest thing to get unless you pay 200 dollars worth of Astral diamonds somthing around 8m-10m astral diamonds and you can buy 1 good fucking item with 8m astral diamonds it means you are being robbed

        Perfect world is a money grabbing company

        i really did like never winter but its Pay2win
        if you are into only Pve not PVP
        you are going to enjoy it
        but if you are into the best gear and being the best in Pvp proper to waste alot of money i mean ALOT

        (but really i quit cuz i wasted lots of money on this stupid game)

      • RyuKaiser on March 24, 2015

        You also get it through the AH by selling things. Sell something of value and make the AD. People are constantly selling things on the auction house to make money, you could do this just as easily yourself. While I admit tying the AH for the Astral Diamond feels dumb, they’re not exactly in short supply. You get them also by doing events and dailies, and the reason this was kept down was so that they could do Zen to Asral Diamond conversions, allowing free players to buy things on the AH.

  8. commanderhavoc on March 23, 2015

    It would have been A LOT better if they went buy to play instead.
    That business model is much better as it doesn’t require the developers to make restrictions as they would have if they went with the free to play model.
    Honestly it would have helped SWTOR a lot if followed the example of the Guild Wars games, a simple one time fee and the whole game is open to you, no restrictions that prevent you from having fun with your friends and just about the only thing you would need to pay for would be the expansion packs.

    • kestas24 on March 24, 2015

      Expansions are the evil of the industry as well. I mean you already dished out considerable amount of money and you do so in cash shop but they still limit the game play you get from the game, I mean GW2 has extremely short story so they could keep adding those expansions to keep people paying like reading a book and buying next one (that makes sense right?). Difference is that you can lent a book after your done reading and if you want to play with buddies you have to tell him that he needs the game that cost around 50$ and expansion which some times cost 50$ as well where book you can just lent too him no extra cost.

  9. HolicAlco on March 23, 2015

    Yes, that was possibly the worst solution for SWTOR to make. You either make it f2p or p2p. They did neither. Payers got angry that people got to play for free, free players got angry for restrictions. Don’t even know how it is still alive today.

    And in regards of the topic. They can speak as much as they want, but I doubt they will ever understand. If you don’t play MMOs all the time yourself, you will NEVER understand or feel what is needed in order to be great. Developers don’t think how to make a game great, they think how to get money. That is their job I understand. Yet don’t expect a game to be good if you don’t make to play and enjoy for yourself.

    • NAnboisgawd on March 23, 2015

      It is still active because the most toxic and vile community is the blind fan boi. Not the F2P or Subber looking for regular gaming. That is how Nintendo gets away will failed sales ideas in the 80’s (VR sets, etc..)
      HOw Final Fintasy 15 has a mass following of blind fans ok that it’s main site for its 15th game has a picture of a bar b que, car, and cup of coffee (all it needs is a coke bottle) selling that as “fantasy” to mass consumers.
      How Metal Gear solid director can plead for his job after his contract is over 3 times in a row with a failed company…It just goes on and on. The blindness and brainless sheep.

      • jiong on March 23, 2015

        As far as Final Fantasy goes, you DO know that not all Final Fantasy games are placed in a medieval style setting right? Look at Final Fantasy VII and VIII. It doesn’t have to rely on horse riding and bows and arrows to be considered “fantasy”.

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