A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I played a free trial of Star Wars: The Old Republic. I wasn’t exactly blown away, but I grudgingly admitted it was a solid game, and I always wondered if I might have enjoyed it more if I’d had a few more days to explore it.
Once SW:TOR went F2P, it was only a matter of time before I tried it again. Without a time limit, I could give the game a fair shake, I thought. Now that’s it free to play, maybe I could just go through the class storyline, treating it like one of Bioware’s single-player games.
Yeah, no. My second taste of SW:TOR turned out to be some of the most painful gaming I’ve endured in recent memory.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of free to play as a business model. I’m fed up with subscriptions, and I find a F2P (or, better yet, B2P) model works much better with my way of gaming.
Even I’ll admit that I’m probably a fair bit more tolerant of irritating free to play models than most. Some might call me an apologist for the model, and I’d be hard-pressed to disagree.
I will not apologize for SW:TOR. Not now, not ever. This was the most appalling, unpleasant, money-grubbing, and utterly illogical MMO monetization scheme I’ve ever seen. It’s like being punched in the face by some random stranger and then having them cheerfully offer to stop punching you for the low, low price of only $19.95!
As a fan of free to play games, SW:TOR pisses me off. It’s games like this that give the model a bad name. They make people leery of any F2P game, and they sully the reputation of much better games. I can’t blame people for having a low opinion of F2P games when schemes like SW:TOR’s are their experience of the business model.
I just… ugh. I can’t say anymore without breaking my veneer of professionalism and just lapsing into a profane bitchfest.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. You haven’t even read my full rant yet. Head on over to my article at WhatMMO for my full review of the SW:TOR free to play experience/sadomasochistic horror show.
I read your review at WhatMMO yesterday and yeah… that’s why I’ve only logged in 2x since it went F2P — once to see how my new rig handled it (much better than the old) and a 2nd time to see if there was still any magic left for me. There wasn’t, and the F2P being all in my face the whole time actively drove me back out.
I had found a quote a while back where a Bioware representative stated that the SWTOR F2P model was essentially a demo. There are some improvements being made to their F2P implementation, but it is still lacking as you experienced. I find it bearable to play as a preferred player and I had cartel coins as a past subscriber to buy upgrades for my characters.
Yeah, I understand that’s the theory, but even so, I don’t think it makes any sense. Free to play is such a miserable experience in SW:TOR that it doesn’t at all encourage one to keep playing. It’s all stick and no carrot.
I won’t make a snarky comment about F2P, I won’t make a snarky comment about F2P….
I guess you’ve earned that.
Still, this is the first F2P game I’ve tried to truly lives up to the negative stereotypes, so I find some strange comfort in that.