Jump to content
LOTROCommunity

SWTOR goes F2P


Recommended Posts

It's sad, really. SWTOR had one of the biggest - if not the biggest - launch of any MMO in history so far. They sold, what, 2-3 million boxes? And after the initial free 30 days of subscription time, dropped to 1.6 million actual subscribers, then a few months later to 1.2 million, and now they are below a million. All in eight short months.

F2P was inevitable for the game, and probably the only way EA could save their rather hefty investment. Unfortunately, I see a heavy push for in-game purchases coming to SWTOR, much like in LOTRO now. It may not be P2W, but I expect there will be a LOT of things on the Store that will turn out to be essential if you don't want to grind your ass off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems sub numbers have dropped below 1 million, hence the decision to switch to F2P

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19077238

Wow, I didn't realise SWTOR was so successful to have 1.7 million subs on launch. I don't think LotRO has even had that many. But to drop to almost half the subscribers in about half a year, that's a massive fail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The end game seems to be rather poor so that may explain the drop in subs so quickly. Players get bored and go play one of the other myriad of games on the market. This may also explain why the F2P model does not allow operations unless you sub. Players will pay a sub when there is new end game operations and once they have done them and got their goodies they stop subbing. Now they can still log in fro time to time and do some other things like war zones or flash points. This should help keep the population up and also encourage players to resub for new content which they say they will try to release every 6 weeks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The end game seems to be rather poor so that may explain the drop in subs so quickly. Players get bored and go play one of the other myriad of games on the market. This may also explain why the F2P model does not allow operations unless you sub. Players will pay a sub when there is new end game operations and once they have done them and got their goodies they stop subbing. Now they can still log in fro time to time and do some other things like war zones or flash points. This should help keep the population up and also encourage players to resub for new content which they say they will try to release every 6 weeks

Honestly, many of my guild will tell you that killing Soa on hard mode in SWTOR ranks right up there with our best MMO moments, I don't think its that the end game is poor necessarily, the operations themselves are quite enjoyable and very accessible, its more like "been there done that" thats the problem. The whole MMO genre is becoming stale to be honest and I think many were expecting something different from SWTOR but it is just the same formula repeated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's sad, really. SWTOR had one of the biggest - if not the biggest - launch of any MMO in history so far. They sold, what, 2-3 million boxes? And after the initial free 30 days of subscription time, dropped to 1.6 million actual subscribers, then a few months later to 1.2 million, and now they are below a million. All in eight short months.

F2P was inevitable for the game, and probably the only way EA could save their rather hefty investment. Unfortunately, I see a heavy push for in-game purchases coming to SWTOR, much like in LOTRO now. It may not be P2W, but I expect there will be a LOT of things on the Store that will turn out to be essential if you don't want to grind your ass off.

It's worse than that.

A lot of people initially bought 12-month subscriptions. At this time in the year these count as current subscribers although they might be disgruntled, don't play anymore, wouldn't pay if they had a way to get the money back and don't pay ever again.

I would like to know how many people made a subscription payment within the last 30 days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One part of the game that will suffer is war zones. Since expertise gives a huge boost and they only way to get more is to play war zones and then get the higher level gear, subscribers will be able to get the better gear but those that don't subscribe and have a limited number of war zones will fall behind which will make it harder for them which may turn off a lot of players

The same thing will most likely happen on PvP servers with the added issue that their may be items that give a significant advantage in the store, making it P2W rather than F2P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, totally unexpected at least this early for me. About 95% (35-40 regular players) of the active players in my old kin quit en masse for TOR because they were sick of the LOTRO business model. Now that TOR is following the same path to hell I wonder if they will inhabit ME again, stick with TOR or all move on to a different game?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, totally unexpected at least this early for me. About 95% (35-40 regular players) of the active players in my old kin quit en masse for TOR because they were sick of the LOTRO business model. Now that TOR is following the same path to hell I wonder if they will inhabit ME again, stick with TOR or all move on to a different game?

I think that is the $64,000 question, really. All those people who left their previous MMOs for SWTOR because they were going F2P or already were under that model (LOTRO, EQ2, STO and many others), what will they do now? Will they stick with SWTOR? Will they go back to their old MMO? Will they find a new MMO, likely one that is sub-only? Or will they just stop playing MMOs entirely?

This will be interesting, and I believe Blizzard will be watching what happens with SWTOR's F2P conversion very closely. If SWTOR gains a large amount of players and starts making big money under that model, I think Blizzard will look at their diminishing subs in WoW and consider going hybrid F2P in 2013. especially if "Mists of Pandaria" is a bust of an expansion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was one of those people who quit lotro after getting fed up with the direction of things and moved on to swtor (decided to drop back in to see what was being said about the latest news) and I'm pretty bummed out about it. I'll be moving on from there as well. Might wait for Elder Scrolls Online, might give Rift another shot, don't think I can bring myself to go back to WoW. Maybe I might even do a detox and not play an MMO at all for a year or so. Who knows...

What drives me crazy when I see people talking about how great f2p is (and a good number of them on the swtor forums cite lotro as a shining example of how great f2p can be for a game) how so many of them sound like a shareholder or investor but not a gamer. They keep talking about how so many more players came to lotro after f2p and my response was, So? What does more players matter if they are not spending any money? What does more players mean if they don't even have access to the same content that you do? It means nothing except there are more players playing? How does that help the business end OR the player end? I don't get it. They talk about more content faster but they don't talk about quality. RoI (last thing I bought before leaving) was a rushed, bugged, glitched, barebones mess of an expansion. That is what I have to look forward to having more of under f2p? Well, just keep churning that shit out then!

They gloss over the fact that over time eventually just about everything in the game becomes monetized. I used the barter wallet and milestone as an example. A while back WoW increased storage/bag space and reduced the cooldown on players heartstone. This was done as a general game improvement due to player requests. They didn't have to pay extra for it. Lotro on the otherhand....All of these improvements to the game suddenly become a "Convenience" that we don't need (the favorite excuse of the f2p/cash shop defender) but we can decide to purchase separately if we want. I was doing the 3 months for $30 deal and no way in hell was I going to pay the equivalent of a months worth of that (even with my stipend) for a few extra inventory spaces. That is something that should have been added for everyone.

The final point I made was that none of these game has seen a dramatic or even noticeable increase in quality after switching over to the f2p model. It might be good for the investors and shareholders who see a short term surge in revenue, but how does it benefit the player in any way? How does it benefit the game when the focus changes from long term improvements to keep players subscribed long term to short term changes that emphasize store bought solutions and player churn? It seems to me that the people most in favor of a f2p system are cheapskates who just want to play a free game and have no intention of spending any cash on it at all and don't mind playing a incomplete and watered down version of the actual game.

I don't know, I just think this trend is bad for MMO's and gaming in general and I'm ready to give up on them. Well, I'm done ranting. Just needed to vent a little. Take care guys.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see a problem with f2p per se.

It depends on what exactly you sell there and how you treat people who feel that there is pay-to-win or money extortion based on holding your characters hostage is going on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see a problem with f2p per se.

It depends on what exactly you sell there and how you treat people who feel that there is pay-to-win or money extortion based on holding your characters hostage is going on.

This.

F2P can work well, if the company running the game sells fluff items and true Convenience items (mounts, for example), and doesn't venture into "Pay-to-Win" and "MONETIZE ALL THE THINGS!" territories. In my opinion, Champions Online is a good example of how to do things right. I have a Lifetime sub there, and I have never bought a single point for their store, and only spend my stipend of store currency on Hideouts (basically housing that is available to all characters) and special cosmetic sets. That's it. I could buy more, but don't need to, and as a Lifer I shouldn't have to. Meanwhile Silver players (F2P) have to buy more stuff, and spend money to do so. It works for all concerned.

LOTRO is a great example of how NOT to do F2P. Sure, they are making money for the company, but they have turned their players - VIPs and Premiums alike - into ATMs that Turbine is constantly hitting up for more money. Sure, you can play the game for free, but the grind is so extreme that the Store items are almost required unless you are a complete masochist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... I think Blizzard will look at their diminishing subs in WoW and consider going hybrid F2P in 2013. especially if "Mists of Pandaria" is a bust of an expansion.

I'll be one of the first to jump into WoW if they make it F2P. I've played through their trial version multiple times and I loved it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's worse than that.

A lot of people initially bought 12-month subscriptions. At this time in the year these count as current subscribers although they might be disgruntled, don't play anymore, wouldn't pay if they had a way to get the money back and don't pay ever again.

I would like to know how many people made a subscription payment within the last 30 days.

My sub is up this month, I logged into the game once in 3 months to find that I was the only one on my server, then logged out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOTRO is a great example of how NOT to do F2P. Sure, they are making money for the company, but they have turned their players - VIPs and Premiums alike - into ATMs that Turbine is constantly hitting up for more money. Sure, you can play the game for free, but the grind is so extreme that the Store items are almost required unless you are a complete masochist.

Indeed. The only "Hybrid" model I would support would be one that treats the subscriber fairly, which none of them currently do. The current model clearly favours the non-subscriber.

After all, in the previous subscription-only model, a sub fee bought the player monthly access to absolutely everything, so by all rights they should get the same deal in supposed "Hybrid" games. They are already paying a fee that was supposedly for a complete game, so the fee should do exactly the same thing in a Hybrid game - they should be spared from all potential further micro-transactions.

Just brainstorming, so please don't think this is a well-thought out notion, but one way that springs to mind would be to not give subscribers some inconsequential stipend of points that easily runs out, but to instead set the system up so that an active subscription sets the cost of everything in the store to zero. If your sub lapses, you lose everything you've bought, and to get it back you can either buy points and buy it as a free player, or simply resub and have the cost block removed once more. That way, you pay your sub fee, you get the entire game, and the F2Pers can use the store to their hearts' content and independently of how subscribers have decided to pay.

A system like that would truly give the player '"more options" for how to pay for the game, which is of course one of their neat little turns of phrase they like to use, and one of their greatest falsehoods. The current F2P model isn't about giving players "more options" at all. It reduces the subscription to a vestigial lip-service irrelevance, it offers the player the illusion of choice, but really only comes with one option - spend points in our store or get stuffed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://v.cdn.cad-comic.com/comics/cad-20120801-bce33.png

this.. all over the place... this

I don't agree with that comic. I'm betting the reason for the third movie will be more along the lines of the studio wouldn't let him make the movies as long as he wanted, but turning 2 movies into 3 was ok with them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember posting back on the old CM forum that all MMO companies would be watching Turbine to see how LOTRO did after it went F2P and that I would be surprised if many would not follow if the income from F2P went up. In fact I would be surprised if many future MMOs dont go for this hybrid model from the off.

I don't think it has anything to do with Turbine or having sub fees for that matter. Let me explain further:

I believe there are just too many of the same-'ol, same-'ol MMOs out there competing for a finite amount of customer time. They rarely have little difference between them and thus they need a hybrid model more to survive than anything else.

SWTOR sold more than 2M boxes right off the bat to gamers who KNEW there was a sub fee. In the early days, with still a heavy population, I was surprised by how much general chat was about players rather having a sub fee than the nickel-and-dime hybrid and F2P crap. Unfortunately, in addition to the same stale game play, the industry is plagued with a lot of substandard game play coming to the table where people aren't going to pay for it - and that is what killed SWTOR. Because it is an MMO, too many companies believe the initial product can be incomplete as it is constantly in development - players just aren't going to pay for that development.

Now we have GW2 on the horizon, and it has become one of the most talked about MMO launches. The good is that they are attempting to challenge, or at least reskin, some of the stale MMO elements that have been repeated a hundred times over - and this is why I believe they are getting so much hype. The bad is, the incorporation of the F2P style gem store is creating an air a negativity and caution as many experienced MMO players know how the "lure of the store" can end up causing a company to become lazy content whores (ala Turbine) and increasing build a crappier product simply to get people to use the store.

There was an article on Massively lately about this in general and there is a common feeling among gamers that they feel the industry is treating all of them like they are addicts who will go through anything for their game fix. Unfortunately, this fix is increasingly going towards indie developers who see the opportunity by putting out a quality product for a fair price rather than seeing customers as individuals to exploit. The MMO industry, with this hybrid model, is an unfortunate example of this and I for one, do not believe it is the model of the future. I personally believe an MMO company that comes out in more the Diablo I format - make the game and expansions and charge for them, everything else is free - will end up with the winning model.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of good stuff

I agree with a lot of what you say. An MMO that tries a little harder to be unique has a better chance at long-term survival without the influence of the F2P model creeping in, provided the developers' goals are not too lofty. And I think that it will be the smaller independent developers to keep an eye on for that sort of game in the future. Mostly because they are more modest in ambition and have fewer investors breathing down their necks and pressuring them for immediate returns on their investments.

You also make a good point about the larger studios ultimately chasing customers away with this new business ethic of theirs. That too will only benefit the smaller studios as more and more players turn to them for a superior in-game experience. I also don't believe that this F2P movement will truly last long term. By its nature it's based on short-term goals, and the customer can only take so much before they become alienated and uncooperative. Although it might become the fashion of the next few years, it'll most likely eventually collapse under the weight of the developers' hubris.

And presumably when it starts to die off, the larger studios will start experimenting with new business models as they search for new means for success. Let's hope that they're less myopic than the current lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The biggest problem in the MMO world is WoW. It has been hugely successful and everyone has tried to copy it to get a slice of that success. Why would millions of people stop playing WoW to go and play a copy of WoW. The same thing is happening in other game types, like Angry Birds, there is now many similar games trying to get a slice of the success and most fail.

Someone needs to try and do something different and I hope Guild Wars 2 will be different enough to make it a success.

The other big problem now is there are so many games on many different platforms, which now includes mobile phones, that it is harder to get the huge number of players to stick around as they have many other games to try. You need to hook people from the outset if you want to have a chance

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The biggest problem in the MMO world is WoW. It has been hugely successful and everyone has tried to copy it to get a slice of that success. Why would millions of people stop playing WoW to go and play a copy of WoW. The same thing is happening in other game types, like Angry Birds, there is now many similar games trying to get a slice of the success and most fail.

Someone needs to try and do something different and I hope Guild Wars 2 will be different enough to make it a success.

The other big problem now is there are so many games on many different platforms, which now includes mobile phones, that it is harder to get the huge number of players to stick around as they have many other games to try. You need to hook people from the outset if you want to have a chance

Indeed. This is why "The Secret World" (with its levelless, classless system of play, and dynamic quests that morph as you progress through them) and "Guild Wars 2" (with all that dynamic questing and tossing the Holy Trinity out on its ear) will succeed, as they are significant changes from the old "Kill ten rats" model that has become a trademark of the "WoW Model". Games have to be different to survive, and slowly the industry is coming to understand that.

"Rift" took one small step in that direction, with plenty of dynamic content.

"The Secret World" takes a few steps more away from the old models.

"Guild Wars 2" blows up the old models and does something completely different.

The question is now, will GW2 become the benchmark game every new MMO tries to emulate? Or will the industry realize emulation has lead to stagnation, and stop doing that entirely?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that is the $64,000 question, really. All those people who left their previous MMOs for SWTOR because they were going F2P or already were under that model (LOTRO, EQ2, STO and many others), what will they do now? Will they stick with SWTOR? Will they go back to their old MMO? Will they find a new MMO, likely one that is sub-only? Or will they just stop playing MMOs entirely?

I am leaning to last option.

I just don't agree with playing in cash shop, gold selling or rmah envirooment on many layers. It is not just cause of p2w -even if that's worst and it make me run faster than angry bear when I would have honey on my face.

Even if mmorpg is not p2w - store just keep in my head and seriously gimp my fun and immersion.

I tried adjusting to it for many loong months (I think like 8?) with Lotro freemium (was VIP all this time as well), then I came back to check out as f2p players once it went on Steam - think I lasted like under 10 hours maybe.

I also tried few other f2p and freemium mmorpg's for shorter peroids - nah I just cannot stand it.

So most propably I will just simply quit playing mmorpg's at all and maybe check once every year how situation looks like.

Not yet there - but I am on quite long hiatus not playing any atm already so I might just go with it.

PS. I understand people that play multiple mmorpg's at same time and don't want to play 15$ for every of them. Well I understand their motives.

I never played and never wanted to play more than one mmorpg at every given time, so I and multi-mmo people have conflicting interests. Guess they "win" for now. Oh well fortunatelly there are more important things that mmorpg's in life (but god damn I love mmorpg's so much especially original mmorpg concept not that dilluted one we get in last years).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...