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Star Wars: The Old Republic: Free-to-Play and Schadenfreude

MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community ManagerQueens, NYPosts: 5,717Administrator Uncommon

EA's announcement that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be going free-to-play in the Fall has sparked some interesting reactions from gamers around the 'net. In this week's SWTOR column, we're weighing in on the news and explain why we feel the switchover is worthy of praise over doom-n-gloom.

The reaction to the news has been mixed. Many gamers have responded well to the announcement and appear to look forward to checking the game out once it goes free-to-play. On the flipside, the self-congratulating and practical foaming-at-the-mouth rush to get one’s “I told you so!” in has been nauseating, to say the least. I realize schadenfreude is pretty popular around these parts, but some of you are reading the wrong signals in this announcement.

To some, it would seem, Star Wars: The Old Republic going free-to-play in less than a year is the ultimate vindication. This news, some would believe, is clear proof that Star Wars: The Old Republic has been an abject failure, validating the various criticisms that have been leveled at the game for some time now.

I disagree wholeheartedly.

Read more of Michael Bitton's Star Wars: The Old Republic: Free-to-Play and Schadenfreude.

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Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB

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Comments

  • tawesstawess LkpgPosts: 2,535Member Uncommon

    I think it might have been a case of "shit this is not working but it is way to late to change from sub to hybrid before launch" as they did admitt that they completley missed the market. As for WAR it is eaither a contractual thing between mythic and EA or it is not worth saving. Saddly i think it is the later, it would cost to much to convert it for it to be worth it.

     

    As for this news, i am happy as it let's me do all the things i like in the game without paying a subscription.

  • WhiteLanternWhiteLantern Nevada, MOPosts: 2,732Member

    How did Garrett miss the hat-trick? He sleeping in or something?

    I want a mmorpg where people have gone through misery, have gone through school stuff and actually have had sex even. -sagil

  • victorbjrvictorbjr Quezon CityPosts: 185Member Uncommon

    @Bigbenz

    If by Dumas, you mean Alexandre Dumas, the chap who wrote the Three Musketeers and Count of Monte Cristo, then I will have to correct you. The author's name is Michael, and he's a cool fellow as well. 

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandre_Dumas

    A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

    Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  • lifeordinarylifeordinary AgadirPosts: 646Member

    I wish EA would turn WAR into F2P but they won't because it doesn't have a huge player base like SWTOR to support that model.

    EA is going to roll in money just like Turbine did with LOTRO F2P. Very smart move.

  • Ice-QueenIce-Queen USA, GAPosts: 2,451Member Uncommon

    [mod edit] Warhammer and SWTOR subscriptions sharply declined in just months because they were both  poorly designed, wanna be WoW clones, that were rushed too soon. Developers didn't listen to beta testers in either game and paid the price, so yah "I told you so" is in order. They didn't listen and paid the price, losing hundreds of thousands of subscribers. It's humorous that BW and their hardcore fans try to spin it as if people just don't want to pay a sub as the reason for the game doing so poorly, it's laughable. The game is a niche game and will only retain the harcore SW and Bioware fans. Face it, the game is crap and will never recover to it's original numbers. Mmo fans are tired of mediocrity.

    image

    What happens when you log off your characters????.....
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFQhfhnjYMk
    Dark Age of Camelot

  • TerranahTerranah Stockton, CAPosts: 3,605Member

    One of the problems with SWTOR is it was mislabeled.  If you think of it as a co op game and not an mmo it's good.  But as an mmo it fails.

  • WolfClawsWolfClaws Arlington, VAPosts: 554Member Uncommon

    I have to agree with this as well.

    TOR was not a failure.  The main design of the game was to focus on the story for 8 characters (the classes on each side).  They did a fantastic job with the several classes I have played through.

     

    As a MMO of the standard genre of it all, it did not make the mark, however.

     

    Most definately no end game content that was worthwhile to play.  And the pvp is mind numbing.  They designed an entire planet to be a PvP only WORLD.  But that was a bust.  Then you had the PvP servers.  That was a bust.  Why?  No incentive, no rewards, and in turn, no risk.  Add all that up, and you get a PvE server.  Meh.

     

    But the Free to Play model might not be all bad.  Star Trek Online did it, and with them pushing out New Chapters on a regular basis, which is awesome.  They have bug fixes and new ships, equipment, and bridge officers.  All awesome.  I might have to redownload that...

    DC Universe Online, fun game, awesome graphics and you get Mark Hamill and Gina Torres which is all kinds of win.

    Lord of the Rings Online has a huge amount of content.  Not just huge, sorry, ginourmous huge.  And it is pretty to boot.  I wish I would have stuck with this but something about the combat made me, meh.. or it might be how the quests are delivered, or maybe it is just so damn huge that I don't know where to begin.

    Dungeons and Dragons Online... FTP and continuing to bring out new areas and classes and races.  Decent looking game with great dungeons and "active" combat.

     

    So there a  number of FTP games.  But yes with Guild Wars 2 coming out, who knows what will happen.  MMOs in my mind should have a social aspect to it.  It should have housing that you can customize from your exploits, guild gathering locations that everyone can get to quickly, and most of all, it should be allowed to have others visit and give a reason to visit.

     

    You could check out my blog.. it has stuff on there for a Shadowrun MMO and what it should have, but all MMOs should contain these perks. http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/WolfClaws 

     

    Will I keep playing TOR?  Maybe.  I dunno.  Once I am done with all of the class quests for all the classes, not sure if there is a reason for me to stick around, until they do something drastic, and engage the Multiplayer part of MMO.

  • Methos12Methos12 Maladis 46Posts: 1,234Member Uncommon

    Of course everyone thinks it's a great idea. Gotta reserve some room for those "TOR going F2P" adds that are bound to come. But hey, I'm OK with this. After all it lets me play through class story without paying a dime and that's ultimately the only standout thing worth mentioning in TOR.

    Nature without Technology is little more than animals running about.
    Nature without Magic is without wonder or miracle.
    .........
    Magic without Technology is fantasy.
    Magic without Nature is formless and useless.
    .........
    Technology without Nature is application without understanding.
    Technology without Magic is repetitious and uninventive.
  • DenambrenDenambren Montreal, QCPosts: 320Member Uncommon

    Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t necessarily experienced a decline in subscribers as sharp as we’ve seen  solely due to any particular failure on BioWare’s designers to create a solid MMO but more on Electronic Arts’ failure to recognize (and perhaps significant levels of arrogance) of what is clearly a strong trend away from subscription based MMOs. I know this sounds like I’m using a scapegoat to excuse the game for all the myriad deficiencies of which some of you are clearly convinced, but honestly, EA’s biggest mistake with Star Wars: The Old Republic was a financial one, not necessarily a design one.ri

     

     

    You hear that, guys? The writer is telling us, as fact, that EA's biggest mistake with their MMO was their subscription model.

    [mod edit]

  • RoxtarrRoxtarr Freeland, MI, MIPosts: 1,122Member

    As much as I respect MikeB's opinion, all I will say is this: if the game was better, I would have kept paying the sub.  

    If in 1982 we played with the current mentality, we would have burned down all the pac man games since the red ghost was clearly OP. Instead we just got better at the game.
    image

  • IllyssiaIllyssia LondonPosts: 1,524Member

    I think it is the right way to go for SWTOR and it nicely  makes the game competitive with GW2 as casual players don't have to stop playing they can just go casual and free-to-play. For those looking at keeping the sub then there are a heap of incentives to be gained and the prospect of regular content added to the game.  After all this is the Star Wars mmo and I think it can and will succeed by this strategy.

     

  • FadedbombFadedbomb Aiken, SCPosts: 2,081Member

    It's about companies abusing terms in order to generate more profit. Simply because you call a car a boat doesn't mean it won't sink any faster because it's a CAR.

     

    Similarly, simply because Bioware said SWTOR was an MMO didn't mean it'd generate the retentionrate & subscriber base than an MMO is capable of doing. They abused the StarWars IP for an "easy sell", and failed miserably to do so. I'm not saying it HAD to be a sandbox to be an MMO (as i played DAOC for YEARS), but an MMO is hardly what I could try to glue to SWTOR.

     

    The announcement that SWTOR is going F2P is a sure sign that it has failed miserably. Everyone and their brother knows that a HEALTHY MMO can easily be far more profitable with a subscription plan than F2P. F2P is where MMOs go to die due to old age or being failures.

     

    I wholeheartedly, DISAGREE with everything you said.

    The Theory of Conservative Conservation of Ignorant Stupidity:
    Having a different opinion must mean you're a troll.

  • Ice-QueenIce-Queen USA, GAPosts: 2,451Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Denambren

    Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t necessarily experienced a decline in subscribers as sharp as we’ve seen  solely due to any particular failure on BioWare’s designers to create a solid MMO but more on Electronic Arts’ failure to recognize (and perhaps significant levels of arrogance) of what is clearly a strong trend away from subscription based MMOs. I know this sounds like I’m using a scapegoat to excuse the game for all the myriad deficiencies of which some of you are clearly convinced, but honestly, EA’s biggest mistake with Star Wars: The Old Republic was a financial one, not necessarily a design one.ri

     

     

    You hear that, guys? The writer is telling us, as fact, that EA's biggest mistake with their MMO was their subscription model.

    [mod edit]

    Quite hilarious, if the game had been a solid mmo, people wouldn't mind paying $15 a month for it. I'd pay $50 a month for a solid game. Money isn't the issue, it's poor quality/mediocrity of mmos these days.

    image

    What happens when you log off your characters????.....
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFQhfhnjYMk
    Dark Age of Camelot

  • lifeordinarylifeordinary AgadirPosts: 646Member
    Originally posted by Tayah
    [mod edit]

     Warhammer and SWTOR subscriptions sharply declined in just months because they were both  poorly designed, wanna be WoW clones, that were rushed too soon. Developers didn't listen to beta testers in either game and paid the price, so yah "I told you so" is in order. They didn't listen and paid the price, losing hundreds of thousands of subscribers. It's humorous that BW and their hardcore fans try to spin it as if people just don't want to pay a sub as the reason for the game doing so poorly, it's laughable. The game is a niche game and will only retain the harcore SW and Bioware fans. Face it, the game is crap and will never recover to it's original numbers. Mmo fans are tired of mediocrity.

    [mod edit]

    By the way SWTOR still hovering around 500K subs, did WAR had same after 6+ months of release? how many P2P themepark MMOS you know right now holding half a million player base?

     

    [mod edit]

  • FadedbombFadedbomb Aiken, SCPosts: 2,081Member
    Originally posted by Tayah
    Originally posted by Denambren

    Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t necessarily experienced a decline in subscribers as sharp as we’ve seen  solely due to any particular failure on BioWare’s designers to create a solid MMO but more on Electronic Arts’ failure to recognize (and perhaps significant levels of arrogance) of what is clearly a strong trend away from subscription based MMOs. I know this sounds like I’m using a scapegoat to excuse the game for all the myriad deficiencies of which some of you are clearly convinced, but honestly, EA’s biggest mistake with Star Wars: The Old Republic was a financial one, not necessarily a design one.ri

     

     

    You hear that, guys? The writer is telling us, as fact, that EA's biggest mistake with their MMO was their subscription model.

    [mod edit]

    Quite hilarious, if the game had been a solid mmo, people wouldn't mind paying $15 a month for it. I'd pay $50 a month for a solid game. Money isn't the issue, it's poor quality of mmos these days.

     

    Pretty much sums up my personal feelings. [mod edit]

     

    The Theory of Conservative Conservation of Ignorant Stupidity:
    Having a different opinion must mean you're a troll.

  • lifeordinarylifeordinary AgadirPosts: 646Member
    Originally posted by Fadedbomb
    Originally posted by Tayah
    Originally posted by Denambren

    Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t necessarily experienced a decline in subscribers as sharp as we’ve seen  solely due to any particular failure on BioWare’s designers to create a solid MMO but more on Electronic Arts’ failure to recognize (and perhaps significant levels of arrogance) of what is clearly a strong trend away from subscription based MMOs. I know this sounds like I’m using a scapegoat to excuse the game for all the myriad deficiencies of which some of you are clearly convinced, but honestly, EA’s biggest mistake with Star Wars: The Old Republic was a financial one, not necessarily a design one.ri

     

     

    You hear that, guys? The writer is telling us, as fact, that EA's biggest mistake with their MMO was their subscription model.

    [mod edit]

    Quite hilarious, if the game had been a solid mmo, people wouldn't mind paying $15 a month for it. I'd pay $50 a month for a solid game. Money isn't the issue, it's poor quality of mmos these days.

     

    Pretty much sums up my personal feelings. 

    [mod edit]

     

    I wouldn't... so who decides the pulse of the MMO industry since it varies from player to player? unless you somehow think that you and the person you quoted are somehow part of majority? GW2 is damn good but i wouldn't pay 50 bucks for it,  and i am glad it is B2P.

     

  • Ice-QueenIce-Queen USA, GAPosts: 2,451Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lifeordinary

    Can i sue the same logic you sued to label him a Bioware fanboy to label you as a hater? does that make sense?

    By the way SWTOR still hovering around 500K subs, did WAR had same after 6+ months of release? how many P2P themepark MMOS you know right now holding half a million player base?

     

    The only one with blinders is you. I am not a Bioware fanboy but some people just love to throw logic and reasonign out of window to make more space for their veitrol against SWTOR.

    I don't hate anything or any one. I'm just not ignorant enough to sit back and believe that because Warhammer, SWTOR, AoC, Tera, and many other terrible mmo's reason for losing subscribers is because no one wants to pay a subscription fee, it's because they were terrible games and didn't warrant a $15 a month sub, simple as that.

    image

    What happens when you log off your characters????.....
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFQhfhnjYMk
    Dark Age of Camelot

  • ZefireZefire lol, CAPosts: 676Member

    i hate those per week limitations.

    Either give players to unlock warzones instances etc by paying once and be bound to account or dont get this game free to play.

    I can play gw2 and play all instances for free why do i need to pay per month for not having this limitation.

    Free to play is good as long as u can pay and unlock things for lifetime.other than that is crap and not worth playing and paying.

  • lifeordinarylifeordinary AgadirPosts: 646Member
    Originally posted by Tayah
    Originally posted by lifeordinary

    [mod edit]

    By the way SWTOR still hovering around 500K subs, did WAR had same after 6+ months of release? how many P2P themepark MMOS you know right now holding half a million player base?

     

    [mod edit]

    I don't hate anything or any one. I'm just not ignorant enough to sit back and believe that because Warhammer, SWTOR, AoC, Tera, and many other terrible mmo's reason for losing subscribers is because no one wants to pay a subscription fee, it's because they were terrible games and didn't warrant a $15 a month sub, simple as that.

    And how many good games are running right now which are worth 15 bucks?. I bet you will be done even before you finish counting on fingers of first hand.

    Majority of people here would tell you how much WOW sucks but still millions pay 15 bucks for it. On the other hand a niche game like TSW which is considered to be such an amazing game you have people who would say 'yeah good game but not worth 15 bucks'.

    With such varied opinions from player base i wonder how you arrived to such an accurate conclusion. Not saying Mike B is right but there is no need to flame people for their opinions. Is it really that hard to be civil?

    neither you are right or him, the truth lies somewhere in between.

     

  • FadedbombFadedbomb Aiken, SCPosts: 2,081Member
    Originally posted by lifeordinary
    Originally posted by Fadedbomb
    Originally posted by Tayah
    Originally posted by Denambren

    Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t necessarily experienced a decline in subscribers as sharp as we’ve seen  solely due to any particular failure on BioWare’s designers to create a solid MMO but more on Electronic Arts’ failure to recognize (and perhaps significant levels of arrogance) of what is clearly a strong trend away from subscription based MMOs. I know this sounds like I’m using a scapegoat to excuse the game for all the myriad deficiencies of which some of you are clearly convinced, but honestly, EA’s biggest mistake with Star Wars: The Old Republic was a financial one, not necessarily a design one.ri

     

     

    You hear that, guys? The writer is telling us, as fact, that EA's biggest mistake with their MMO was their subscription model.

    [mod edit]

    Quite hilarious, if the game had been a solid mmo, people wouldn't mind paying $15 a month for it. I'd pay $50 a month for a solid game. Money isn't the issue, it's poor quality of mmos these days.

     

    Pretty much sums up my personal feelings. 

    [mod edit]

     

    I wouldn't... so who decides the pulse of the MMO industry since it varies from player to player? unless you somehow think that you and the person you quoted are somehow part of majority? GW2 is damn good but i wouldn't pay 50 bucks for it,  and i am glad it is B2P.

     


    Taking the whole "See what I did there?" passive aggressive approach won't work. There are just some things you can look at and go "Yea, that car is on fire".

    I've been around for quite some time in the Online market, and i've tested/played almost every MMO out there. Time after time I see the same complaints, or new ones formed, and I can tell you the current MMO market is sick and bloody tired of over simplified games that have no replayability, proper end-game, or depth whatseoever to them.

    Developer designed content simply isn't sustainable in an MMO anymore. That stopped after 2005 being viable. You also have to consider than MMOs take 3+years to create for launch, if not MUCH longer.

    GuildWars 2, for example, isn't necesarrily a "Damn Good" game, but it is a positive step in the right direction which is why most people are looking @ GW2 with Rose colored glasses simply because it's a break from the hysteria of clones that has been going on for years now.

    Just because it's better than a WoW-clone doesn't make a God's Gift to Mankind. What it means is that the current market is so saturated with the same stagnant Developer driven content that anything broken from that mold is seen as pure gold.

     

    The market's new direction is the "Sandbox" player driven content model with Subscriptions that are Cash-Shopless. Mostly, this will be driven by Indie developers until a smash-hit is created and then a AAA company might take that first "leap" into the Sandbox genre.

     

    Themeparks are done being Sub model, and that isn't a good sign. It's a sign that if people want to play WoW they'll pay a sub for WoW or play your cheap knockoff for "free".

    The Theory of Conservative Conservation of Ignorant Stupidity:
    Having a different opinion must mean you're a troll.

  • RobsolfRobsolf Grand Rapids, MIPosts: 4,247Member Uncommon

    One thing we’ve heard consistently, and something I’ve even heard in my own circles, is that SW:TOR is actually a really fun game to play, many have simply felt that it wasn’t necessarily worth putting $15/month into.

    That's pretty much it for me.  I loved the game start to finish, but that's the problem; it finished.  Had they stuck to their promise of a full team creating new content constantly, it may have been able to keep my sub past 4 months.  But as it turns out, that promise was nearly as empty as DCUO's was.

    B2P definitely would have been the perfect model for this game.  Folks would have killed for KOTOR to have Xpacs every 4-6 months, and had they have done that here, methinx they'd have a pretty strong revenue stream.  We'll have to see now if they can do F2P right.  EA certainly gives me reason to doubt.

  • SuperDonkSuperDonk Vancouver, WAPosts: 781Member Common

    While I have been a "hater" of swtor, I would not of uninstalled if it was B2P with a cosmetic shop from the beginning. Swtor was never going to be a long-term MMO for me like SWG or WoW has been, but it would be worth logging in once a week or so to catch a huttball match or something.

  • lifeordinarylifeordinary AgadirPosts: 646Member
    Originally posted by Fadedbomb
    Originally posted by lifeordinary
    Originally posted by Fadedbomb
    Originally posted by Tayah
    Originally posted by Denambren

    Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t necessarily experienced a decline in subscribers as sharp as we’ve seen  solely due to any particular failure on BioWare’s designers to create a solid MMO but more on Electronic Arts’ failure to recognize (and perhaps significant levels of arrogance) of what is clearly a strong trend away from subscription based MMOs. I know this sounds like I’m using a scapegoat to excuse the game for all the myriad deficiencies of which some of you are clearly convinced, but honestly, EA’s biggest mistake with Star Wars: The Old Republic was a financial one, not necessarily a design one.ri

     

     

    You hear that, guys? The writer is telling us, as fact, that EA's biggest mistake with their MMO was their subscription model.

    Damn.. to think this game would have been a smashing success if only they had the visionary forward thinking of Michael Bitton.

    Quite hilarious, if the game had been a solid mmo, people wouldn't mind paying $15 a month for it. I'd pay $50 a month for a solid game. Money isn't the issue, it's poor quality of mmos these days.

     

    Pretty much sums up my personal feelings. Michael Bitton hasn't a clue about the pulse of the MMO industry.

     

    I wouldn't... so who decides the pulse of the MMO industry since it varies from player to player? unless you somehow think that you and the person you quoted are somehow part of majority? GW2 is damn good but i wouldn't pay 50 bucks for it,  and i am glad it is B2P.

     


    Taking the whole "See what I did there?" passive aggressive approach won't work. There are just some things you can look at and go "Yea, that car is on fire".

    Nope sorry but it is not as simple as watching a car on fire. Unless you have some data to back up that majority will pay 50 bucks for a game which is good (soemthing that is so subjective) i don't think you have any solid argument.

    I've been around for quite some time in the Online market, and i've tested/played almost every MMO out there. Time after time I see the same complaints, or new ones formed, and I can tell you the current MMO market is sick and bloody tired of over simplified games that have no replayability, proper end-game, or depth whatseoever to them.

    You are not the only special one.

    Developer designed content simply isn't sustainable in an MMO anymore. That stopped after 2005 being viable. You also have to consider than MMOs take 3+years to create for launch, if not MUCH longer.

    It never was, people have always been consuming content as long as they have laods of free time. This is not a new problem and we had lot more hardcore players back in old days.

    GuildWars 2, for example, isn't necesarrily a "Damn Good" game, but it is a positive step in the right direction which is why most people are looking @ GW2 with Rose colored glasses simply because it's a break from the hysteria of clones that has been going on for years now.

    Nice so you just proved what i was saying. 'Good' is subjective. You can not decide the pulse of MMO gamers on basis of just that.

    'I will pay 50 bucks a month as long as MMO is solid and good'..do you see the fallacy of that statement?

    Just because it's better than a WoW-clone doesn't make a God's Gift to Mankind. What it means is that the current market is so saturated with the same stagnant Developer driven content that anything broken from that mold is seen as pure gold.

     Again subjective opinion.

    The market's new direction is the "Sandbox" player driven content model with Subscriptions that are Cash-Shopless. Mostly, this will be driven by Indie developers until a smash-hit is created and then a AAA company might take that first "leap" into the Sandbox genre.

    A big 'IF'. We will see when that will happen..yet no basis to come to a conclusion that majority will pay 50 bucks in sub for it.

     

    Themeparks are done being Sub model, and that isn't a good sign. It's a sign that if people want to play WoW they'll pay a sub for WoW or play your cheap knockoff for "free".

     

     

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    I had to look up schadenfreude. It is a pretty apt description for a lot of posts on these forums. It's not enough to find fault in a game, but people seem to need to find fault in the people who may like a game.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • ScalplessScalpless SnowballvillePosts: 1,396Member Uncommon

    The problem with F2P is that it doesn't generate as much income as successful P2P. Yes, several games have become more profitable after going F2P, but that's because those games weren't successful P2P titles in the first place. With TOR's humongous budget, it NEEDED the P2P model to be profitable enough.

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