“Free-To-Play” for SWTOR has been launched fro a couple weeks now and we are all settling in with the new model. Let me first say, of course, that I, for one, welcome our new micro-transaction overlords.
I know there is marketing power behind “FREE” but it’s sort of misleading to talk about what we’ve got as “free to play” and I think Bioware and EA would have been better served and set better expectations by calling it something else. What they’ve actually done is built a solid, flexible unlock and subscription model that includes three ways to play.
FIRST, there is an absolutely free mode that allows you to play the core game, including every class story all the way 50. Sure, it has some limits on it, but for someone new to the game there is a huge amount of content and a taste of almost everything for absolutely no cost, no credit card at sign up, no nothing. It’s like if Bioware make KOTOR 3 and just put it out on Steam for free download.
SECOND, there is an ala carte mode that allows you to “pick and choose” to unlock only the parts of the game that you CHOOSE to pay for, like just PvP, or operations or space missions or the mix of anything you feel like playing for the week. You pay for and unlock ONLY the additional races, storage and slots that matter to you. Spend $4.99 in any way, and you are in the “preferred” status and they throw in some quality of life unlock, that were mostly locked up to help throttle credit farmers.
And THIRD, there is still a full subscription mode that unlocks ALL the various parts of the game. This is still a great deal, in my opinion, and still the way I choose to pay.
So… how much does free cost. Here’s a bit of a breakdown. The two different dollar amounts are for if you buy your cartel coins a bulk discount or in little bits. The “credits” represent how much I’ve seen these unlocks going for in game. That’s correct. By design, almost every unlock is purchased as an in-game item that can be gifted, traded or sold for in-game credits. Yes, enterprising players could probably play as much of anything they want and never pay a dime by grinding credits and buying their unlocks in game.
|Crew Member Apperance||325||349000||$2.36||$3.60|
|Section X Authorization||600||200000||$4.36||$6.65|
|Inventory (+10 Bag Slots)||175||90000||$1.27||$1.94|
|Quickbar (Beyond 4)||250||122000||$1.82||$2.77|
|Hide Head Slot (Cosmetic)||350||$2.54||$3.88|
|Major Experience Boost (3 Hour)||120||48000||$0.87||$1.33|
|Trade Network (+10 Additional)||125||75000||$0.91||$1.39|
So, to sum it up, for the price of say, that cool sparkly pony in the World of Warcraft cash shop, you could unlock the following and play for FREE:
- 14 weeks of operations, OR
- 114 hours of experience boost, OR
- A new race, head slot customization, some customizable gear, epic equipment access, access to Section X AND extra bag slots