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.
Both “features” are items which a few MMOs have in play, and in all likelihood these measure help add new players to the player base. It is a pretty exciting change for SW ToR and one that may increase the server pops a little. I think the recruitment drive could have happened a lot earlier, but conversely the free to play change (to level15) is something that owners may not wanted from day one, as it removes the initial splash of revenue from box purchases.
I’m interested in what effect this has, and how the current player base feel about the move?
The key free trial blurb:
Free Trial participants will experience the opening adventures of each of the eight character classes in the game. Players will explore their classes’ Origin World, and may even have the opportunity to visit their faction’s Capital World! Additionally, Free Trial players will have the chance to face off against other players in Player-vs.-Player Warzones, or join up with friends and play through a Flashpoint.
Players who have previously participated in one of the Weekend Pass Free Trials or the Friends of Star Wars: The Old Republic Trial are also eligible to join this new free trial!
For the Recruit a Friend rewards:
Active players that have passed one billing cycle can invite up to twenty five (25) of their friends to take part in a Friends of Star Wars: The Old Republic trial. During this free trial period, invited friends can play levels 1-15 with no time limit, explore each of the four Origin Worlds, and experience the opening adventures for each class as they start along their epic journey.
You can earn the exclusive Kurtob Alliance Speederby meeting the following requirements:
Looks like SW ToR will be available in Australia on March 1st. Damn it! The fact it was not local was a reason to not play. And yes, free transfers for Aussies to the new servers. Full press release. Continue reading →
Maybe because we’re a tiny population, maybe they’ll have no AU servers, distribution rights are complex, or maybe it is just because there is limited coppies…of a digital product. Even the digital version has:
Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ is not available in your region
To all of our fans outside of North America and Europe:
Today we’ve announced the pre-order details for the initial launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and as you may now know, we’ve taken the difficult but necessary decision to limit our initial launch supply for the game. BioWare and LucasArts are completely focused on building an exceptional game and an exceptional game service to go with it. We decided to constrain our launch capacity to ensure we deliver a great experience to every player.
Part of the reason this decision was made was because of the overwhelming demand for The Old Republic, and we’re humbled by that level of excitement and anticipation. We fully intend to deliver to you an amazing game when we expand our service post-launch, but right now we cannot commit to any timeframe for when that may happen. As soon as we have more information about additional launches in more territories, we’ll let you know.
We are committed to delivering Star Wars: The Old Republic to BioWare and Star Wars fans around the world, and to growing a truly global community.
They’re not humble, that is marketing speak for “opps, we’ll fix soon”. Guess I’ll just keep playing World of Warcraft. Grumble.