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[Column] Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Slippery Slope of SWTOR’s Cartel Market

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,362MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Is BioWare on a slippery slope with their Cartel Market in Star Wars: The Old Republic? We weigh in with our thoughts in this week's SWTOR column.

In Game Update 1.6 in particular, the Cartel Market now features Level 50 ship equipment that when purchased will allow players to essentially jump right into the new Heroic space missions. It’s true, the Market has offered gear for some time now, but the gear on offer is either adaptive gear without any stats, or gear with pre-endgame stats (capping currently at Level 41). Introducing level 50 gear, even if it is just for ships, goes further down that slippery slope. I don’t want to say this is out-and-out ‘Pay to Win’, but this is a concerning trend to say the least.

Read more of Michael Bitton's Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Slippery Slope of SWTOR’s Cartel Market.

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Comments

  • wildtalentwildtalent Huntsville, ALPosts: 380Member

    I'm glad for the F2P conversion.  Had it not happened I wouldn't have given the game the second chance it deserved.  However,  I think the things that are being sold piece meal are a bit ridiculous.  Action bars?  Really?  

    The addition of endgame level equipment is regrettable as well.  I think what is happening here is that while Bioware knows how to make a great game with an amazing story...even one year in...they still don't understand how to run an MMO.

     

    That being said, the game is fun but Bioware need to take a closer look at other game's F2P model and make some changes.

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  • aslan132aslan132 Tampa, FLPosts: 378Member Uncommon

    Im in total agreement. I have fun in F2P games, but usually understand that I wont ever have all the coolest looking stuff, because i wont pay for them. I dont mind a cash shop in free games, in fact i actually encourage them. They do provide a needed financial gain to the company while providing convenience and appearance items to players.

     

    Most cash shops know convenience is a way to save time, but not bypass content. Game developers still want you to play through the content they design, but allow you to do so at an accelerated pace. They dont sell max level characters, or levels at all, but instead give you xp potions. They dont sell raid gear, or max stat gear, they give you level appropriate gear with slightly better stats to help a players level quicker, but then cut it off before level cap, so youre still working for end game items. Most will also sell resources from every tier EXCEPT the max, to allow players to work on crafting UPTO the final tier, and still leave the most current content something to be worked for by the player.

     

    What a cash shop shouldnt do, is completely bypass progression altogether, or negatively impact a player driven economy. Sadly, in this case, it does both. Anyone who thinks this trend wont only continue, but grow worse with time, is naive or delusional. 

  • Dahkot72Dahkot72 Pelham, ALPosts: 261Member
    And the hits just keep coming. It's almost as if EA is truly experimenting with doing the worst decision on every possible move in this game.
    Can anyone truly think that buying character level 50 gear is not next ?
    Pure comedy gold is what the SWTOR saga has been.

    I never thought anything could beat the vanguard mcquaid meltdown crying on FoH - parking lot firing drama.

    EA proved me wrong.
  • apocolusterapocoluster newport news, VAPosts: 1,321Member Uncommon

     Well if they are testing the waters for lvl 50 character gear more power to 'em....Im using my credits to farm the AH for lvl50 gear just to blow my money..the 350k credit cap is rediculously easy to get too...like 2 days of dailies...Is my AH farming P2W?

     I think peeps need to quit sweating what other peeps do with their money.

    No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  • Esquire1980Esquire1980 Stillwater, OKPosts: 529Member

    Nothing new here.  This is the way it all started in STO via Cryptic and their ships in the store.  1st, 1 small P2W item (excel), then more bigger and better, now the entire game is P2W, and based solely around the store.  Both PVE and PVP gameplay.  PvP is almost non-existant in STO with even developers coming to their game forums stateing; "we could take PVP out of the game and no-one would even notice". 

     

    Looks like BioWare is headed down the same path.  Good luck to them.  Looking forward to ESO.

  • vgamervgamer Texas, IAPosts: 195Member
    Pay to win and Pay for UI? This game will be very succesful
  • SkuzSkuz WorcesterPosts: 1,034Member Uncommon

    I agree on the "ship upgrades" being in the cartel market is a bad move, I was rather hopeful it would have added some more patterns to cybertechs (who are actually now probably the most-used crew skill due to the ability to create such a big chunk of high-end item mods).

    All of the crew skills need updating, I proposed changes to more evenly distribute particular items so that "as a percentage of a total gear set for a cvharacter each crew skill was equally represented" but never expected those to be adopted - BioWare have their own set of criteria but I strongly disagree with how the end results are implimented in game as the crew skills have no relative balance to each other.

  • CogohiCogohi Driscol, NJPosts: 4Member

    On the up side it looks like 1.6 didn't come with any critical gameplay bugs like 1.4 and 1.5 did... So, win?

     

    I agree with the sentiments about the ship parts in the CM.  The "oh that's for the single-player space missions, who cares about that?"  There are credible rumors that they'll be reworked.  That gives EA the freedom to run market experiments with the current one.  If it fails, no big deal, the new shiny will wipe the slate clean.  God help us if it works because then it will spread.

     

    Thanks to the game press, EA backpedaled on some of the draconian F2P restrictions.  We need more articles jumping on this latest move before it trully becomes Pay to Win.

     
  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Manchester, NHPosts: 2,928Member Uncommon
    Bunch of idiots running this game.  They are more blatent than Turbine (who started off fine and slowly added P2W items).
  • hockey98hockey98 Edmonton, COPosts: 26Member
    Originally posted by FrodoFragins

    Bunch of idiots running this game.  They are more blatent than Turbine (who started off fine and slowly added P2W items).

     

    Swtor and lotro are very far from p2w. Oh wow you can buy a nice ship upgrade for a single player aspect of the game. How does that make it p2w? In lotro you can buy crystals, relics for your lendary items, and upgrade your traits, again if you had any knowledge of lotro you would know that doesnt make it p2w.
  • bobdole1979bobdole1979 beverly hills, CAPosts: 210Member

    ok so about a week ago people were complaing about the Space Missions saying Bioware was wasting time making them and no one plays them. 

     

    However now people are saying they are Pay 2 Win (Ignoring the fact that you can earn all the ship upgrades for SINGLE PLAYER PVE)  and that it ruins the game.

    It's very clear they are just trying to lower the treadmill.  Allowing new players to actually try the content.  This is why at level 50 now you get 99 tiionnesse commenidations and recruit PVP gear.  it's why they got rid of Battlemaster gear.   The content has been out for a long time and they want everyone to try it.

     

    Are you honestly saying that grinding out the Space Mission dailies is the fastest way to get BH coms???   With out doing the Space missions you could be full BH gear ijn a week by joining a good guild. 

    If you go to the SWTOR forums now you would think that everyone in the game plays the Space Missions and they are more popular and competitive then PVP.

     

     

     

    Sorry you don't like the snow speeder mount but it's just a cosmetic item.  You don't have to buy it.  So what it's ugly find me a MMO that doesn't have some ugly mounts.  

  • barezzbarezz Granite City, ILPosts: 140Member Uncommon

    I think that EA and Bioware will do whatever they can to make money regardless of what it does to the game.

    Long term vision is obviously not one of their strengths.

  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member

    I find it increasingly hard to want to play, since I realize that everything I work for can just be purchased by someone with excess disposable income.

     

    It takes away from the thrill of actually working for goals, and showing off those rewards.  WoW would not have been very popular if someone could just purchase max reputation, or purchase every possible in-game mount with one money transaction, for instance.

     

    As mentioned earlier, selling stuff to those leveling to help their character mature faster is largely accepted in the MMORPG community.  Go and sell end-game content so people can have bragging rights for rewards they didn't earn, and I'm not going to be very interested in your game (EA).

     

    It's a slippery slope, and EA is already losing their footing.

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • hockey98hockey98 Edmonton, COPosts: 26Member
    Coming on a forum and providing facts is acceptable, coming on a forum and not telling the truth makes you look like a fool. The ship item is not end-game content. You cannot buy anything in the cartel market that is end-game. There isnt Rakata gear or Black Hole gear or anything close to it in the cartel market. Those who are saying there is, are ignorant and wrong. These people should be banned for trolling but we know mmorpg wont do that.
  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member
    Originally posted by hockey98
    Coming on a forum and providing facts is acceptable, coming on a forum and not telling the truth makes you look like a fool. The ship item is not end-game content. You cannot buy anything in the cartel market that is end-game. There isnt Rakata gear or Black Hole gear or anything close to it in the cartel market. Those who are saying there are ignorant and wrong. These people should be banned for trolling but we know mmorpg wont do that.

    The ship upgrades for sale are of the highest rank obtainable in-game.  Sounds end-game to me, whether it's a single player mission or not.  Bragging rights won't go to those who earn them, but rather to those who spend real money.

     

    There is also raid quality character gear from the Cartel gambling packs (lv 50 purples).  Very powerful max character level stuff too with procs.  Sounds pretty end-game to me.

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • hockey98hockey98 Edmonton, COPosts: 26Member
    Originally posted by Karteli

    Originally posted by hockey98
    Coming on a forum and providing facts is acceptable, coming on a forum and not telling the truth makes you look like a fool. The ship item is not end-game content. You cannot buy anything in the cartel market that is end-game. There isnt Rakata gear or Black Hole gear or anything close to it in the cartel market. Those who are saying there are ignorant and wrong. These people should be banned for trolling but we know mmorpg wont do that.

    The ship upgrades for sale are of the highest rank obtainable in-game.  Sounds end-game to me, whether it's a single player mission or not.  Bragging rights won't go to those who earn them, but rather to those who spend real money.

     

    There is also raid quality character gear from the Cartel gambling packs (lv 50 purples).  Very powerful max character level stuff too with procs.  Sounds pretty end-game to me.

     

    Its ok you forgot you were one of the ship missions are single player and should be part of an mmo crew. But now when you think it may benefit your cause its now considered "end game". And its ok you didnt know there are a lot more than just that one piece that go into your ship. As for your other argument if you went into a raid with just pieces you get from the cartel market you would be crushed. So again wrong on the raid gear in the cartel market. "Very powerful max character level stuff" please provide some details on what your talking about here .
  • Xstatic912Xstatic912 New York, NYPosts: 365Member
    I'll say it again, blame Ea they have the final say in all of this..

    Eg;
    Bioware : let's make this game free do it can increase player base.

    EA: What will you charge the f2p players?

    Bioware; charge for vanity stuff, etc..

    EA: No, there has to be other stuff you charge for so they will feel bombarded with need the to sub..

    Bioware: Huh, well I don't think the other choices are cool..

    EA: do it if its not cool.. If they want cool let them sub..

    I can see Ea point to an extent.. They want the money they paid for the license and some, BUT at some point you have to see your hampering the game that is suppose to bring in the cash..
  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member
    Originally posted by hockey98
    Originally posted by Karteli
    Originally posted by hockey98
    Coming on a forum and providing facts is acceptable, coming on a forum and not telling the truth makes you look like a fool. The ship item is not end-game content. You cannot buy anything in the cartel market that is end-game. There isnt Rakata gear or Black Hole gear or anything close to it in the cartel market. Those who are saying there are ignorant and wrong. These people should be banned for trolling but we know mmorpg wont do that.

    The ship upgrades for sale are of the highest rank obtainable in-game.  Sounds end-game to me, whether it's a single player mission or not.  Bragging rights won't go to those who earn them, but rather to those who spend real money.

     

    There is also raid quality character gear from the Cartel gambling packs (lv 50 purples).  Very powerful max character level stuff too with procs.  Sounds pretty end-game to me.

     

    Its ok you forgot you were one of the ship missions are single player and should be part of an mmo crew. But now when you think it may benefit your cause its now considered "end game". And its ok you didnt know there are a lot more than just that one piece that go into your ship. As for your other argument if you went into a raid with just pieces you get from the cartel market you would be crushed. So again wrong on the raid gear in the cartel market. "Very powerful max character level stuff" please provide some details on what your talking about here .

    Selling ship upgrades still cheapens a major "selling point" for this game, regardless of how you justify it.  Selling legacy is just as bad.  Does WoW achievements affect others?  Mostly, NO.  Did WoW ever sell achievements?  NO.  Because it would cheapen the bragging rights of actually obtaining them, even if most only hold value to the individual player.

     

    I retract that equipment part for now, because it seems like the powerful purples were removed, as listed in earlier patch notes (I did check).  I saw people get em on YouTube videos though, but I think the cashshop is a waste of good money, and since I won't participate in RMT's, I didn't get any personally.

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • defector1968defector1968 Nar ShaddaaPosts: 393Member Common

    space in swtor is a mini game, there is no competition since nobody but you can envolve in any space mission.

    space rewards are vanity cloths and raw materials for crafting for those that dont or cant do so much raid to get them.

    so its pointless to think that the space is end game.

    on the other hand, anything that has to do with UI and storage is a bit p2w

  • NukewrkNukewrk Mn, MNPosts: 18Member
    Space missions are a fun way to spent your time while waiting for a raid to start. In no way can space missions be used with the words "end-game". If you tried to run the 2 newest flaspoints with stuff you got from the cartel market you would be annialated , yet some think you could raid in this stuff and call it "end-game" content? What a joke lol
  • kyssarikyssari Tipton, IAPosts: 142Member

    Worst part about SWToR's F2P model is some of the things you can't even get with cartel coins but are required to subscribe to play. I returned to the game after being a previous subscriber and full time closed beta tester for 6 months before thegame launched. Now the game is completely unplayable for me and there is no way to fix it because of one of the biggest crocks of bs I've ever seen.

    F2P Accounts get no access to customer support whatsoever.... Can't even post on the support forums... So hopefully any of you who want to play your old accounts for free don't run into any game rbeaking bugs like I did cause if you do your just straight up screwed. I have even read reports of people who tried to subscribe still not being able to create new characters and thus still not being able to play at all with the only difference being they finally get customer support to fix the issue for them within a week or 2.

    I honestly wouldn't mind subbing again but can't bring myself to do so out of pure moral obligation. The way they have slapped their former customers in the face with a severe lack of customer appreciation and their blatant display of pure greed is pretty ridiculous. I've played with (and spent money on) tons of different f2p games over the years and the SWToR F2P model is the worst I've ever seen by far :

  • marz.at.playmarz.at.play Mississauga, ONPosts: 912Member
    This F2P model is just as bad as AoC. Why does anyone bother with it? It's a rip-off. Look at successful F2P/B2P models ala GW, GW2, Aion, and now TSW :)

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  • ezpz77ezpz77 Beale, CAPosts: 227Member
    First, people complain that the space missions in SWTOR are awful and pointless. Now people complain that there's cash shop items for said horrible space missions. I honestly don't blame game devs for ignoring players sometimes.
  • KabaalKabaal Edinburgh, ScotlandPosts: 3,012Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by rdrakken
    [mod edit]

    Nonsense. Money is the driving force behind businesses the mass subscription cancellations mere months into it's launch was as big a hint as any company would need. Blaming anything on the way TOR turned out on the community bickering is just silly.

  • Sevenstar61Sevenstar61 Centreville, VAPosts: 1,690Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Karteli
    Originally posted by hockey98
    Coming on a forum and providing facts is acceptable, coming on a forum and not telling the truth makes you look like a fool. The ship item is not end-game content. You cannot buy anything in the cartel market that is end-game. There isnt Rakata gear or Black Hole gear or anything close to it in the cartel market. Those who are saying there are ignorant and wrong. These people should be banned for trolling but we know mmorpg wont do that.

    The ship upgrades for sale are of the highest rank obtainable in-game.  Sounds end-game to me, whether it's a single player mission or not.  Bragging rights won't go to those who earn them, but rather to those who spend real money.

     

    There is also raid quality character gear from the Cartel gambling packs (lv 50 purples).  Very powerful max character level stuff too with procs.  Sounds pretty end-game to me.

    Cartel boxes are not giving any raid quality gear aside of crystals... which are pretty cheap on the market already... just different colors.  Nobody is complaining about it, as majority of drops are +41 Endurance - which are so common now... I am giving them out for free.  And that's it.

    As for space missions.... if they would not give space part grade 7  away at cartel shop, probably they would not be as popular as they are now. It's not like it was a top game activity in SWTOR. As somebody mentioned, some players said it was a waste of time.

    But I guess it was a wrong assumption as lots of people actually play them. And by all means space missions are not  SWTOR end game... it's a side game LOL.

    Nothing in Cash Shop is end game changer... the gear with mods is for leveling if you choose to (set - level 31 and chest piece level 42). The cool thing is that all this gear is adaptive - so all classes can wear it. For some players it's something they were waiting for... you can make DS Jedi look like a Sith... or LS Sith look like Jedi...

     

    image
    Sith Warrior - Story of Hate and Love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxKrlwXt7Ao
    Imperial Agent - Rise of Cipher Nine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBBj3eJWBvU&feature=youtu.be
    Imperial Agent - Hunt for the Eagle Part 1http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQqjYYU128E

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