Bioware Meltdown Watch - The Burning of Star Wars: The Old Republic
Editorial - posted by Infinitron
on Mon 17 December 2012, 00:26:47
; Electronic Arts
; Star Wars: The Old Republic
As you've probably heard, Bioware's beleaguered MMO, Stars War: The Old Republic
, recently adopted a free-to-play model in response to plummeting subscriber numbers. As usual for Bioware circa 2012, the transition has not gone over quietly. Over at Gamasutra, Simon Ludgate has written a devastating takedown of TOR's F2P policies.
Back when F2P was first announced, I created a trial SWTOR account to talk to some existing subscribers.
They all said roughly the same thing: They were looking forward to F2P because they hoped it would mean a lot more players for them to play with.
The existing queue times for Flashpoints (group dungeons) and Warzones (PvP battlegrounds) were tediously long, and it was exceptionally difficult to find people to do world boss raids or create new Ops (raid dungeons) groups. More people would mean all this multiplayer stuff would become better.
Unfortunately, that's exactly where BioWare aimed its shotgun when blasting holes in SWTOR's available content.
Locking players down to a handful of Flashpoints and Warzones a week and out of Ops entirely was a big part of the plan (and the source of that $56-a-month fee). Which means the F2P solution they came up with does nothing to help address the concerns subscribers had when they were cancelling their subscriptions in droves.
So, on the one hand, BioWare is trying to create an F2P experience so horrifically bad that it brutally coerces players into subscribing, but on the other hand they actively sabotage the very thing subscribers wanted in order to remain subscribers. Two hands here, folks.
Apparently, they can't even get greed right:
The one major free thing in all of SWTOR's F2P is the single player storyline. If you're happy doing nothing but the storyline in a fairly single-player-esque and slow, limited, grindy fashion, and you don't mind not getting any quest rewards (you have to subscribe for those), you really don't need to spend a cent on SWTOR. And that single player story is probably SWTOR's most redeeming feature.
So here's the conundrum. Droves of people are going to download SWTOR for free, connect to the servers for free, play through the story for free, and quit (for free). BioWare doesn't just get nothing from these F2P players, but in fact pays for all that bandwidth so the F2P player can do it on the servers. It'd actually make more sense for BioWare to release an offline, stand-alone version of SWTOR on The Pirate Bay then to build its online F2P MMORPG around that model.
You can read the entire thing here
. Be sure to check out the comments section. Why are you such a meanie
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