Freeloaders in SW ToR

Star Wars: The Old Republic

It’s old-ish news now that SW-ToR is going free to play, where a freeloader can get almost all the content, and the raiders pay our way. I started thinking about what it might mean. For me its a win-win that is very attractive – I plan to freeload on it.

As a positive the populations on the servers will increase, and that may assist with keeping a sense of community and an economy flowing. Having five times the players in a zone is a great thing when you are looking to “live” in a setting.

What I don’t understand is how the “all but raids” free play will generate revenue. Tobold posted a similar thought, and the comments seems to think this too. So what do the SWToR Devs know that we don’t?

My thought is perhaps the raid content will soon be the defining feature, and the next set of raids will be good enough to act as a revenue stream. If the devs can create compelling raids for raiders there is an angle. They might be so good that people play for fun for free, but pay for raids. That would be a big call. Raiding in WoW is considered good enough to generate revenue, and a segment of these serious raiders are likely to be targets for that strategy if it is right. An advantage is that money is no barrier to entry to the rest of the game right up to raids, so many people can have high level characters who are raid ready. A disadvantage is the raid history so far, so the content will need to be amazing, and then also well communicated to the wider community.

It does ignore though that there is an opportunity cost of a free game, where the time spent playing is not played elsewhere. Free is not enough for some players when they miss out on something that is valuable, even when it costs money (I’d rather eat good food that costs something, than free junk).

Or if not raids then what else? Vanity gear and pets? Rubbish. Sure they get money, but its still not enough to keep the game floating for 1-2 years.

Pay to win model where good gear is purchasable through a backhanded cash sale? Even worse, and would be a kick in the guts to the subscribers.

4 thoughts on “Freeloaders in SW ToR

  1. I heard they’re allowing only one character per free account, so maybe they’re counting on the Legacy system to help encourage people to pay?

  2. Given that existing subscribers with many characters have the option to go free to play, I doubt there will be a one character limit. There is also not 1 toon limit in the current “free to 15” model.
    Now the legacy advantages might be a paid service, that would make sense. That does not prohibit multiple toons.

  3. The FAQ says:

    “What happens to my existing characters if I become a Free-to-Play member?

    We will not be deleting any characters from player accounts. Any characters already existing on your account at the time of the Free-to-Play launch will still be available to you afterwards. The choice of which of your characters are active under the Free-to-Play system is entirely up to you, and you can choose from any of your existing characters with no restriction other than the number of active character slots available.”

    To me, that says that they are going to restrict character slots. If you unsubscribe, you have to choose which of your characters are “active”, and then pay to unlock the other slots.

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