Transition To A Preferred Account With Ease
I subscribe and unsubscribe from SWTOR randomly. Initially, I read about all the free to play hype, about how bad it was, and thought i’d probably never return. In February of 2013, I found out just how wrong the free to play hype was. I returned to the game full time, wishing I had started sooner. I only had to subscribe for one month in 2013 to get the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion discount, and didn’t subscribe again until the next expansion. The system hasn’t changed as of the time of (re)writing this guide (January 2016). This guide assumes you have a preferred account. If you bought the game before, or have subscribed at some point, you will have a preferred account. This guide is for players who are returning to SWTOR, or players who are simply dropping their subscription to play for free. Level 50 or 65, the guide works for both.
Before Dropping Your Subscription
I did not have the opportunity to prepare myself before leaving the game. If you do, you have an enormous opportunity. This section is for players that are just ending their subscription. The following are suggestions you should follow before losing subscriber status. Your main advantage is access to all your credits. If you are a returning player, skip to the Return To Preferred section below.
Conquest Credit Certificates
Once you decide to drop your subscription, start saving your conquest reward credit certificates. You can hold these in your cargo bay like a little savings account. You can vendor them as you need credits or space. You can continue to save them after you hit free status as well to avoid escrow.
The GTN Is Your Friend
Hit up the Galactic Trade Network (GTN), and buy Account unlocks. If you have at least a week’s notice, watch the prices. You can make sure you get the best price on the unlocks, because you’re going to need the credits. Check out my suggested unlocks guide for an idea of what you might want.
Account Security Key
Attach a security key to your account. You can use the free security keys for Apple and Android smartphones while you are subscribed(affiliate link). You cannot apply security key apps to your account without a subscription, but they will work if you unsubscribe. There is no longer a physical security key available. The security keys will grant you 100 cartel coins per month. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but there won’t always be something you want on the Cartel Market. Buy what you can from the GTN, and use your saved Cartel Coins for what you can’t.
What To Do With Leftover Credits
Anything over 350,000 credits is going to go into escrow. You won’t get this money again unless you re-subscribe, or buy a temporary credit unlock from the Cartel Market/GTN. Use your leftover credits to unlock your account-wide Legacy unlocks. GTN on your ship, Droid Vendor, and Mailbox are good unlocks to have for a free account. Whatever you think you might want, get it now. If you have any leftover credits after that, make sure to spread them around to all your alts. Each one can hold up to 350,000 credits.
Return To Preferred
If you’re coming back to the game like I was, you’re going to come back to a Preferred Status account. You won’t lose anything you’ve unlocked when you transition to Preferred. You’re going to be a little behind everyone else, with a few more hurdles. It’s nothing that running some daily quest hubs can’t fix though. More on daily hubs below, as they will be important to you. In the meantime, below are some things you need to do right when you return to the game. Step one is to find a referral link. This will grant you a week of subscription time, several unlocks for each character, and a free character transfer. You can use my link below if you don’t have a friend to refer you. Referral Link (Good through 09/27/2017)
Scout The GTN
Hit up the Cartel Market, and buy Account unlocks. Watch the prices to make sure you get the best deal on an unlock. You’re going to need the credits at first. Check out my suggested unlocks guide for an idea of what you’ll want first. My best advice is to be patient. It’s worth the wait.
Account Security Key
Attach a security key to your account. You can use the free security keys for Apple and Android smartphones while you are subscribed(affiliate link). You cannot apply security key apps to free accounts. There are no longer physical security keys. The security keys will grant you 100 cartel coins per month. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but there won’t always be something you want on the Cartel Market. Buy what you can from the GTN, and use your saved Cartel Coins for what you can’t.
What To Look Forward To
Preferred accounts have it much better than plain free accounts. You can find a list of the restrictions here. Some of them may look daunting, but don’t worry. I have a guide to help you get around some of the restrictions on free accounts.
It’s not going to be a lot different than it was before. You can buy just about everything you need to play ‘normally’ from the GTN. If you’re leveling up characters and don’t have a level 50 or 65 to do daily hubs with, it may be a bit of a struggle. I’ve put together a guide to help with that too. It includes suggested professions, how to get customer service support, as well as leveling tips and strategies. It also has some information already posted above, but it is worth reading again.
Daily Hubs Are Your Friend
Whether you are 50 or 65, daily quest hubs will be a fixture in your everyday SWTOR life. At first you’ll need to run 2 or 3 a day. It’s not as time consuming as it sounds, but it is a needed investment. I try to run the fastest daily quest hub (CZ-198) at least once a day. Here’s the good news: I don’t log in every day, and some days I just log in and skip it. Once you are settled in with all the account unlocks, gear, etc that you need, the 350k credit cap is your friend. I am amazed at how much hamster wheel spinning I did in games like World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic, just trying to amass as much money as possible. This has taken a lot of stress out of my game. Check out my guide below for details and suggestions on which hubs are best.
SWTOR Is Worth Trying Again
It’s a free game, after all. You only have to invest your time, and you can stop playing whenever you want. The game’s F2P system has gotten a lot of bad press, but it’s not deserved. Please understand the value of free. It costs you only your time to try out, and let’s face it, you’ve wasted time on worse things.
What tips would you give to returning players in SWTOR?