Bioware and E.A. Deserve an Apology
I don’t know where to start other than to say I was completely wrong about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s free to play model. The only bad thing to say is about their marketing department. One small detail that changes everything has been left out of the discussion, and it’s a very important detail. I’ve read several articles about the free to play system, as well as every bit of information Bioware put out. I never once saw this little detail mentioned. Bioware got a lot of bad press for no reason, from myself included. My apologies.
The Galactic Trade Market is Key
The Galactic Trade Market, or GTM, is the economic hub in the game. It’s like your Trading Post, Auction House, or whatever you call it. You can buy every Cartel Coin purchase on the GTM. That means you can use in game money in place of real world money. It is extremely similar to the system in Guild Wars 2 in that regard. This eliminates any pay-to-win claims. I had the maximum 350,000 credits on each of my characters. I logged in, swapped around my three characters, and have already bought everything I need to play warzones. That’s about 1 million credits, and 200,000 I spent on a one-week warzone unlock. I estimate with about 2 million credits, you could unlock almost everything you wanted. Maybe 4 million for account wide unlocks.
Some Restrictions Still Apply
As for the restrictions on non-subscriber accounts, I haven’t found any that affect gameplay. I played all five warzones I was allowed and didn’t notice anything. Sending credits in the mail, and not being able to do some emotes were the two big ones I noticed. I did notice reduced experience gains, but that’s no different than World of Tanks. In Star Wars, you pay to remove the reduction. In World of Tanks, you pay for a bonus. It’s the same thing, but Star Wars should really rethink its marketing strategy.
A Hidden Gem
The free to play model for Star Wars: The Old Republic is actually a good model. I played for 12 hours yesterday, and enjoyed every bit of it. I am going to come up with a F2P guide as a little penance for my ignorance. I’m also going to evaluate it from a Prefered Account standpoint to see what it would take to keep up my play style. I’ll also answer any questions about the free to play system in the meantime. My weekly warzone pass is ready for Monday, so let the good times roll!
Update: Check out my F2P Player’s Guide.
Anything you want to know about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Free to Play system?