SWTOR: The Price Of Returning

Free To Play Without The Fluff

I took a good look at Star Wars: The Old Republic’s free to play system.  Some of the unlocks aren’t necessary for me. A lot of them aren’t necessary for me.  I took a look at the Cartel Market prices, and the prices of Cartel Coins, and looked at what it would cost me to play Star Wars.  Keep in mind this is only for single character unlocks.  Account wide unlocks are roughly double, plus a little bit more.

You can buy all these unlocks with credits!  No real money necessary.  Here is a list of all the basic unlocks you’ll want to pick up.  Afterwards I go over the ones I feel most important.  There are more unlocks than these, but they go beyond the base game.  Extra hairstyles, extra daily quest hub, and so on.

  • Customization Control: Display Character Titles
  • Customization Control: Display Legacy Name and Titles
  • Crew Member Appearance Customization
  • Unlock: Quickslots
  • Customization Control: Unify Colors
  • Customization Control: Hide Head Slot
  • Guild Bank Unlock
  • Artifact Gear Unlock
  • Crew Skill Assignment Slot
  • Unlock: Inventory Module
  • Unlock: Cargo Hold
  • Galactic Trade Network: 10 Sale Slots

*The Event Equipment unlock is no longer necessary to buy.

Only What You Need First

For starters, I looked at only what I would need to play.  If you have a Free Account, you’ll want two extra hotbars.  You need at least four for the endgame.  If you have Preferred Status, you already have four and won’t need to purchase extra.  Next up, the ability to equip Artifact gear.  Now if you have Rise of the Hutt Cartel unlocked, you can equip Artifact gear that is 51+.  You only need the Artifact gear unlock for purple gear up to level 50.  It’s probably not worth buying if you’re just going to level past 50.  If you want both though, that’s a total of 1400 Cartel Coins.

(Two Quickbars = 500, artifact gear = 900)

*It is rumored that soon an Artifact gear unlock will not be required.

Now Make It Worth Playing

There’s no sense in playing a game halfway.  There are just too many games out there that you can enjoy, to play this one and not thoroughly enjoy it.  So here’s to looking good while laying waste to the galaxy.  The unify colors option is a must.  As strangely as it seems to work, the few good looking pieces don’t always match up.  Next up is the legacy name.  I like my legacy name, and i’d like to display it.  ’nuff said.  Finally, hiding the head slot.  Talk about the most random of restrictions.  My head gear looks awesome, but I don’t want to wear it all the time.

(Unify colors = 350, legacy name = 100, headgear = 350)

How Much Do Cartel Coins Cost?

The magic number of Cartel Coins needed is 2,200.  I’ve been getting my monthly allotment of 100 Cartel Coins for having a security key attached, so I can knock off 500 right away.  That leaves a difference of 1,700 Cartel Coins.  What it costs in real money is the most important question though.  That sum comes in the form of the $19.99 package of 2,400 Cartel Coins.  I could also buy the $39.99 package of 5,500 Cartel Coins, and use the leftover balance for future Cartel Market additions.  The $39.99 route would offer the best value in the long run.

It’s All Relative

Warzones were all I ever played in Star Wars.  I really enjoyed them with my smuggler.  Huttball is such a unique game, and I haven’t even tried the new warzone that came out in the last content drop.  I’m considering, again, trying to get back into warzones.  I’d need all six hotbars at the very least, so I might pick those up first.  If I enjoy it, I may try dropping $19.99 and see how things go from there.

Or, you could shop the GTN for these unlocks.  You’re looking at about 2,000,000 credits for a single set of unlocks, more if you hold out for the Account unlocks.  My suggestion is going the Account unlock route.  I made the mistake of thinking i’d only play one character, and then ended up buying everything.  Again.  Account unlocks also work on every server, because they are Account bound.

What features do you need to play at endgame in Star Wars: The Old Republic?

14 Comments

  1. I have no desire to hide my headgear (must be about the only person from what I read). Kallig’s Countenance is part of my character’s story, and I won’t ever ditch it or hide it! If it’s underpowered, so be it (though hopefully I can upgrade it).

    • LoL! Yes, you’ve got to the only person who doesn’t want to hide it! But hey, if you don’t need the unlock, that’s credits for something else! Also if it’s an orange item, you can just upgrade it. It’ll never be underpowered.

      • Paying extra to hide headgear seems a bit ridiculous to me. I haven’t played very long, but if I decide to continue to play, I don’t think I will ever pay extra for a headgear unlock. If they make crappy looking headgear I guess I will proudly display it.

  2. Great guide. All the F2P negative hype is BS spread by morons that are to stupid to figure it out. I’m a founder. Paid full price for the damn game (retail disc) took nearly a damn week to install the day one updates and even get in a server (I have a massive fast connection. Only game that gave me issue) and went through all the growing pains BS for the first 6 months of my pre-paid sub. I did it all way too much and got burnt out on end game BS after a year or so. Not to mention all the unfixed bugs back then. Frustration! I took a 4 month break or so. Then I heard about F2P pref.

    If you use your brain and shop smart on the GTN you can do as exactly as this guide says. I was one of the first to do this (only I new of) when F2P dropped. Guildies and friends wondered how the hell I was doing everything while not paying a sub. lol I’m no sucker. If this game was not STAR WARS themed it would have failed long ago. I would have deleted it and wanted a refund in the month of release. They got my money. I just like to screw around now to get my Star Wars fix. No need to pay for that when it should be far better. I support the game and help the community all the time. For those that don’t like that. No one cares. lol

    • I really fault Bioware for not marketing it better. There’s so much negativity around the F2P stuff, but what you see next to nothing from Bioware on is the fact you can buy 90% of the unlocks on the GTN. I’m a founder as well, and have never lacked for money in game, even with having to buy all the unlocks. I’ve supported the game with subs for expansions, and even some Cartel Coins (when they were half off), but I like to get what I pay for. In other words, when I see something I like (Galactic Starfighter for example), I don’t mind shelling out some IRL cash to support it.

  3. I’m not 100% sure, but I believe as preferred you get 4 hot bars, so you would only need to buy 2 of them. I actually think the game is playable with just 4 hotbars. I’m currently using 5 as I’m a sub for the next 2 months, but there’s lots of free space available on 2 of my bars.

    For me it’s the little things that would push me to sub over f2p. Things that you mentioned, color matching, bank access, professions, and so on. In the end, if all you’re doing is leveling up to 50 to see the stories then F2P is the way to go, but if you want to do any endgame, subscribing will workout to be most efficient. And I believe it’s designed that way.

    • After looking into what Aydrien said, I think it’s actually probably best to subscribe for 3-4 months, save all your coins, then cut back to F2P. You can use the Cartel Coins you saved to buy whatever features you want to keep. Kind of a combination of sub and F2P.

  4. And then you have to weigh that off against resubbing. It’s $41 for a three month sub and you get the expansion for $10 and an allowance of 500-600 cartel coins each month, plus you don’t have to pay extra to unlock WZs. That seems about the same cost but I suspect if you play more than a few months it depends mainly on the number of repeating unlocks as to which is actually more cost effective.

    And hiding the head slot. I can’t believe that they actually require people to buy that! Does that not come with preferred status?

    • That actually might be the best way, Aydrien. 3 or 4 months will get you 1500-2000, plus 300-400 more for having a security key would get you the 2400 you need. Meanwhile you get the expansion half off, and all the features you want in the meantime.

      And yes, the head slot thing was the most disappointing monetized feature I thought. It encourages them to make hideous-looking headgear so you want to pay to hide it. Shouldn’t it be the opposite? Shouldn’t artists want their work to be displayed?

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