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



  • RemyVorenderRemyVorender Riverside, RIPosts: 3,480Member Uncommon
    A mmo going free to play isn't in and of itself an admission of failure, but when you drop 300ish mil on a game that goes F2P in less than a year...ya your game is shit.

    Played: AA, AC1, AC2, Aion, AO, AoC, CO, CoX, DAoC, DCUO, DN, EVE, EQ1, EQ2,
    ESO, FE, FFXI, FFXIV, FF, GW1, GW2, Istaria, L2, LoTRO, MO, MxO, NW, Rift, RoE,
    Ryzom, SB, SWG, SWTOR, TERA, TSW, WAR, WoW, WURM...

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member

    I disagree wtih Michel Bitton article.  


    Basically whole article is "EA-Bioware made a good game, but it is player's fault".


    What game corporations don't get is that making a game that is more similar in design to either single player game, co-op game or lobby game will get them millions of players paying a subcription.


    WoW had this enourmous success cause it was first mmo game that creted a world, was accessible and released at a time when internet was spreading to mainstream gamer population. Prices of internet dropped, broadband connections started to be avabile in many locations in multple countries and there was boom in economy.

    For many of players WoW was first mmoprg and it is always special AND players tend to be able to go on painful compromises with their first mmorpg.


    Now WoW is just like train that was going at extremly high-speed. It is slowing down but it take a long time for it to actually stop.


    NO mmoprg in future will be able to capture so big PAYING population.  Becasue mmorpg playerbse when playing another mmorpg do NOT want to go on compromises anymore like with their first mmorpg.


    That's why aiming for millions of players paying sub in one game in NA  & EU is just crazy.  Won't happen. It might happen in mmofps or mmorts game in future first one that will provide good enough really unique experience. Planetside 2 has this potential (Trion one and Dust won't be able to compete they are too much like lobby instances games, too much like CoD, BF3 or TF2 to compete with P2 unique experience).




    Anyway - failure of Swtor was NOT because of business model but because it was and is BAD game. That's so simple.



    Schadenfreude  accusation - another proof why some of media and devs don't get why there is so much hate.

    Most "I told you so" people are not content because they want other people suffer or 'watch the world burn', but because community is saying same thing for 5 years alrady.   "Don't follow variation of one gameplay  model only" ,  "don't try to capture every single gamer for catering for common lowest denominator", "be relistic".

    Instead game corporations try to repeat WoW success with using same template with bit diffrent, instead ACKOWEDGLING that mmorpg playerbase IS FRAGMENTED.


    Trying to unite hordes of players under one game roof and competing for same crowd will not work long-term anymore.


    Try to USE playerbase fragmetation for your own benefit. 

    Cut down a bit on ridiculous budgets and provide diffrent games to diffrent niches and gain long-term players or forget about mmorpg and try to catch huge audiences by making other non rpg mmos or non mmo multiplayer games or even single player games.




    Meh who I am talking to...


    Propably I will just hear that I am bitter, old or it is my fault that most modern mmorpg's cannot capture big amount of players for long-time.

    Close your ears and kept singing lalalala more with articles like this. 

  • TarotMageTarotMage Tampa, FLPosts: 126Member

    The blame for TOR's less-than-successful performance was totally BioWare's the minute they got into bed with EA.


    Associating with EA is like asking Carrie White to the prom.


    You think that ultimately you're doing the right thing but the truth is that it will turn out very, very badly...


    Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. - Marie Curie

  • LanfeaLanfea EssenPosts: 222Member Uncommon


    free to play will not rescue sw:tor because its not that people are afraid of paying something for a good game its because people don't pay for a boring game. don't get me wrong, there are a lot of people out there who love sw:tor and the game like it is now, but the gamedesign of sw:tor is mostly like any other mmo(rp)g we saw in the aftermath of a - back at the beginning in 2004/05 - very average and low on features but successful world of warcraft. for the same reason the elder scroll online gets no credit ('just another wow-clone' to quote the opinion of the majority) and gw2 and archeage gets hyped (maybe overhyped).

    if you substract gear grinding endgame features like raids, dailies and pvp (and its always the same) from games like world of warcraft, warhammer, aion, rift etc. what is left? yes, only a month or two playtime for a casual gamer like me with 2hr average playtime a day. these features, once motivation enough for those who never were in this before, are growing old, boring and meaningless. 

    sw:tor showed us that the time for 'the same old concept' we experienced in mostly any mmo(rp)g in the last decade is over, especially the endless repetitive gear and questgrinding in pve aswell in pvp. and i belive that sw:tor will soon show us something else: f2p isn't the holy grail and the solution for everything publishers and developers did wrong with the design of their product.

    in my opinion the industry does have to realize that there aren't many 'first timers in mmogs' left they can attract to a concept that is boring to 75% of the existing mmog playing crowd. the industry now have to satisfy the needs of players who are into mmogs for years. and the first game which is able to give us all the great features we like in mmogs and add new features for a longterm motivation to it will win the jackpot.


    p.s.: dear ea/bioware employees, i really advise you not to have a booth on the gamescom in cologne. either you will be avoided like a leper colony or your booth will be filled with angry and dissapointed customers.

  • KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon
    So you would agree that Tera, Rift, FFXIV and TSW all are doing it wrong also? Do they suffer from the same problem? The failure to recognize that the market is changing(maybe because of arrogance too)



  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,021Member Uncommon

    I have to totally disagree with Mike on this one, it is not the players fault,  It is not the fault of the folks saying I told you so.

    If ea/bioware made a great quality game,   we would not be where we are currently at.

    The problem was once you finished your main characters story arc, you were finished.  After you do about 4 of them you were sick.  Unfortunately for us they did not make a quality game.   It was fun for the first couple of alts after that it became boring repetition.

    For all those saying free to play is going to save the game. I would not be to sure about that either. Just because it worked for Turbine and semi worked for SOE does not mean it will work Ea/Bioware.

    You have to make a fun game that folks want to play in order to hang onto those folks.  So that is yet to be seen.  I think player retention will be the huge issue, and I think we might be in for another I told you so moment later.  After all everybody said hey if we merge up the servers that will fix the game,  well guess what that did not fix anything.




  • AdiarisAdiaris RomePosts: 381Member
    Smells (and reads) of PR spin tbh...

    That said I agree that F2P is a better model for swtor, but it's clearly (they said it themselves) not what they had planned and I seriuosly doubt that at EA they're as happy about it as the author of this editorial is.
  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 21,626Member Epic
    Originally posted by erictlewis
      If ea/bioware made a great quality game,   we would not be where we are currently at. The problem was once you finished your main characters story arc, you were finished.    

    Except that I think they did make a great quality game.

    The problem with that is this "other sentence" that is spot on.

    Considering I only tried SWToR out of curiosity (love the star wars movies [well, the original first two] I would still be playing SWToR if it wasn't for your second sentence.

    I put all my criticisms of the game in that little survey they sent out.

    I loved all the story stuff. Including the story stuff in the regular quests. Problem was that there wasn't much else to do after that.

  • nobloodnoblood New York, NYPosts: 13Member Uncommon

    Besides the bad implementation, lot of bugs, etc they failed miserably to keep the game updated, look at trion and rift.

    Still love the IP and maybe in a few year we can have a good mmo with it.

  • PyukPyuk Eugene, ORPosts: 714Member Uncommon

    SWTOR's failure lies in the fact that it is a linear single player game with MMO elements with the (wrong) intent to retain players by providing souped up alts. When a player plays through content once, they rarely want to play through the exact same content a second time, even with a alledgedly different character AND pay $15/month for it. If Bioware didn't pour all their cash into VO on every little thing and instead put $$ into creating a broader range of content that included functional exploration, alternative paths (the dialogues never actually offered alternative paths, only alternative replies), action combat similar to DCUO or Tera, and plain did not actively try to make an even more linear WoW with a Star Wars skin, they might have reached their $$ and retention goals. Instead, EA and Bioware put their faith in the bozos that initially broke SWG (all the Bio execs at Austin were from the early days of SWG & the NGE) and expected a hit from them. Way to look at previous dev history, Bio.

    The industry's big problem is that they never learn from their mistakes. It incestuaously retains all the insane egomaniacs in controlling positions and lets them - even celebrates them - continue to make the same crap and mistakes over and over again, all the while expecting different results after each try. This is the true definiton of insanity. Case-in-point: The media is all happy that Brad McQuaid is back at SOE working on Vanguard, even though it's common knowledge that Brad screwed so many devs at Sigil that he created a whole new strain of virtual VD, in addition to overspending and releasing a completly broken and (at the time) unplayable game. It won't be long before he's put back into a command position (if he's not already) and history will start to repeat itself. We'll see it in any and all failing MMOs, actually. It's like a disease in the industry - short term memory failure.

    I make spreadsheets at work - I don't want to make them for the games I play.

  • RobsolfRobsolf Grand Rapids, MIPosts: 4,326Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones
    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.

    Schadenfreudian slips abound, here... image

  • WickedjellyWickedjelly Yahoo, COPosts: 4,990Member

    You can reason it out however you want but this game going f2p in less than a year is a pretty big indication the game is hemorrhaging subs. As for War, it hasn't gone f2p because by the time they realized it was a valid pay model it was too late for the game. Not worth the cost for the transition. Same reason you'll never see DAOC or UO go this route.

    Smart move on their part. Still, considering the ip and the company behind the game this is rather amazing and frankly from a gaming perspective a rather historical moment. This has to have the people making "TESO" rethinking some things.

    Unfortunately, I don't think this is going to increase anything from a content perspective. After the content they had already in the pipeline is released this game is going to flounder in that regard.


    1. For god's sake mmo gamers, enough with the analogies. They're unnecessary and your comparisons are terrible, dissimilar, and illogical.

    2. To posters feeling the need to state how f2p really isn't f2p: Players understand the concept. You aren't privy to some secret the rest are missing. You're embarrassing yourself.

    3. Yes, Cpt. Obvious, we're not industry experts. Now run along and let the big people use the forums for their purpose.

  • korvasskorvass den haagPosts: 623Member

    This is a nice article and all, but one simple truth remains:

    If the game were doing so well, surely they wouldn't be moving into free-to-play territory.

    No paid service makes such a drastic move unless there's a problem.

    Let's be honest here, EA and Bioware took a shot and missed. Notice I didn't say 'fail'. I count a MMO as failed when all the servers shut down. But now they're having to shift into retention and recovery mode, and I think to many, who look at it logically, with such an IP this situation should never have happened so early.

  • AmanaAmana New York, NYPosts: 3,912Moderator Uncommon

    Just a reminder that our writers are also a part of the community here and attacks on them will be handled as any other. The ideas are what's up for debate here.

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  • nuttobnuttob Plantation, FLPosts: 291Member

    I liked this game when I played it, but I decided that I did not want to pay a sub for any game, because there are just too many good FTP titles out there now.  If this game had come out in the early EQ days when it was sub or don't play any games, it probably would have been very successful.  I for one will go right back to playing the game now that it's FTP.  It's a lot of fun particularly going thru the storylines, and I am not much of an end game player anyhow.  I don't think any game is worth a sub any more mainly because there are just too many FTP titles out there that are actually fun.

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko JohannesburgPosts: 6,181Member Epic

    I suspect SW:TOR converting to F2P will have a much larger impact on the industry than GW2's B2P.

    Seeing a AAA game (with a major IP) that was squarely aimed at the monthly sub model "failing" will do far more to industry attitudes than Anet's second B2P game.


    SW:TOR has most likely delivered the deathblow to subscription games. From here on, every AAA MMO will launch with a Cash Shop built-in.

  • DakirnDakirn Kansas City, MOPosts: 374Member Uncommon

    The problem with MMOs?  It's the people who play them.  Why? Well..


    Every time a publisher/developer looks at creating an MMO they are investing millions of dollars.  They can either "play it safe" which gets the "community" playing enough to make a profit or they can try something different.


    Something different turns out to be a death knell with MMOs because as much as players want something different when it comes out everyone froams at the mouth saying "WHY IS THIS NOT LIKE WOW??"


    With the amount of crazy, insane MMO players I'm not surprised they don't want to take a risk.  Either they play it safe and make a small profit or take a chance.. possibly losing their shirts and having personal death threats by people in the community.


    If you want a thankless job it's an MMO developer.  Until the community stops scorning any game that tries to be different than nothing will be different.


    This means if you don't like a game move on.  Don't spend hours trolling a forum for the game saying how it kills puppies and discouring any other sane person who wanders by against trying it because you have a vendetta against it.

  • waits1972waits1972 Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 46Member

    I like TOR and hope to contiune playing it.  F2p or not is not even an issue to me.  What concerns me the most is wether or not the game will continue to add new content at a faster pace, as promised, and whether or not the content is quality.  I have had fun playing the game and think it is often what you make of it.  Those that suggest that there is not a social element in the game are obviously not putting forth the effort to connect with people.   The in-game social community I have surrounded myself with is thriving.  Granted, I had to try a few guilds and find the right fit, but when isn't that the case? I played WOW for a year with very little social interaction simply because I didn't try.  As long as the game follows through with its promis to add new quality content regularly, I'll be happy.  If that comes to a halt, I will go find a new game.  l concede that the game really needs to make an effort to get creative at this point and make sure they don't continue to simply rehash what is already there.  I'm not bored with the game yet, but I definitely am not as enthusiastic as I once was.  You would think that these people would want to make an extremely strong effort to protect their investment.  Maybe it is time to bring some fresh talent in with some ideas about what can be done to significantly improve the game.  I'm still rooting for it.  I want this game to succeed. But I totally unerstand why some are discouraged with it at this point.

  • LarsaLarsa NurembergPosts: 990Member

    Originally posted by MikeBThis 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.

    EA calls it a "miss". Can't get any clearer than that I think. They expected multiple millions of customers at this point in time, they didn't get them, they missed their target by a wide margin.

    Originally posted by MikeBwhat is clearly a strong trend away from subscription based MMOs

    I always find things like this puzzling.

    Where is this trend that you say EA missed so badly? Has there ever been a AAA MMORPG that launched as F2P title? I cannot remember a single title doing so. There are exactly zero examples for this trend. To this day we don't even have an example for a AAA MMORPG launching as B2P title, GW2 will be the first one, and whether that title will do better financially and will retain players better is still an unkown.

    There is however a trend that games change their model from P2P to F2P when their subscribers dwindle, better performing games (like LotRO?) do this after many months, games that miss their target do it rather soon. In the case of SWTOR it is rather soon.

    Originally posted by MikeBThe ideal result is that the cash shop (along with those who choose to subscribe) brings in enough revenue to justify more frequent and, more importantly, interesting content for players to consume. Dungeons & Dragons Online just received its first expansion in six years of service

    Let's hope for the people that still enjoy SWTOR that it won't take EA Bioware six years as well, maybe the D&D example wasn't the best one in this case. Sorry, Mike. :)

    I maintain this List of Sandbox MMORPGs. Please post or send PM for corrections and suggestions.

  • GaenjinGaenjin Bothell, WAPosts: 19Member Uncommon

    If Lucas Arts didn't have a vested interest in this game succeeding, especially since they shut down Galaxies for this game (regardless of what they want to claim), SWTOR would still be chugging along the same Tracks of Doom that Warhammer and DAOC are stuck on.


    LA twisted EA's arm, plain and simple.  EA would never have gone this route, voluntarily.  They have a BoD that is solely focused on the success of their single player title sales, they could care less about their MMO products.  Just look at the reasons they voted to keep the current EA CEO, for example.


    EA doesn't know how to do persistent world games.  I'm glad to see that LA turned their thinking around, because once SWTOR shows some success with the new model, maybe EA will see opportunities in DAOC and WAR and decide to change those games over to the F2P model as well.

  • gaeanprayergaeanprayer Somewhere Out There, PAPosts: 2,335Member Uncommon

    While I agree with the sentiment that it's "about time", I don't agree that the dip in subs is due to a design flaw. The subs dipped because people ran out of interesting things to do, because the existing content was a mix of shallow and easy, and that combined with the cost that went into making the game is the reason for F2P. It's not about $15 a month, players WILL spend $15 a month for a game they find worthwhile. It's a fairly nominal fee for something you're getting tons of joy out of. A game like EVE is still going strong with subs, as is WoW, Rift, AO, FF11, and so on.

    Yes, some of those games run on smaller communities, but it's also true that needed a lot less time to make their money back and start turning a profit. It's also true that they offered more than simply rehashing WoW mechanics.

    Personally, I have no love lost for P2P. But you'd be blind to think the only reason SWTOR is going F2P is because gamers are cheap.

    "Forums aren't for intelligent discussion; they're for blow-hards with unwavering opinions."

  • gaeanprayergaeanprayer Somewhere Out There, PAPosts: 2,335Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Larsa
      Originally posted by MikeB   what is clearly a strong trend away from subscription based MMOs


    I always find things like this puzzling.

    Where is this trend that you say EA missed so badly? Has there ever been a AAA MMORPG that launched as F2P title? I cannot remember a single title doing so. There are exactly zero examples for this trend. To this day we don't even have an example for a AAA MMORPG launching as B2P title, GW2 will be the first one, and whether that title will do better financially and will retain players better is still an unkown.

    There is however a trend that games change their model from P2P to F2P when their subscribers dwindle, better performing games (like LotRO?) do this after many months, games that miss their target do it rather soon. In the case of SWTOR it is rather soon.


    Whether a title launches as F2P or not is irrelevant. The trend is not launching as F2P, that's too shallow a target to narrow in on. The trend is that games are becoming F2P, market-wide, if they're not already avoiding the P2P mold entirely through some other means (B2P). In the future, several AAAs WILL be launching as F2P, both Marvel Heroes and NWO already stating they will and Arch Age and Blade & Soul reportedly "considering it". You'd have to be living under a rock to not see that this is the market norm, now. 

    Do a search for P2P MMOs and, where 5 years ago it would have been the majority, today it's just a handful. Most, at the very least, have gone "Freemium"

    "Forums aren't for intelligent discussion; they're for blow-hards with unwavering opinions."

  • roby55roby55 LondonPosts: 11Member

    SWTOR  failed . It wanted to be 'the' mmo with the best storyline and story telling experience and it FAILED .  What we got is a mmo feeling like a single player rpg game.


    The Secret World totaly  blows SWTOR out of the water when it comes to story telling .  The immersion of The secret world is incredible unlike SWTOR  while still feeling like a mmorpg. 


    In TSW i was focused on every cut scene because  It MADE me focus by giving hints on where to find the quest objective

  • CursedseiCursedsei Clarkston, MIPosts: 1,012Member

    Star Wars: The Old Republic didn't fail because it wanted to be a subscription-based MMO. The Old Republic didn't fail because of missing some opportunity to go F2P at the start.

    The game failed because Bioware/EA was far too busy trying to play catch-up that they completely and utterly failed to provide any substantial content for the end-game. Instead they wasted several months trying to fix something that couldn't be fixed, and just in general chase their own tails.


    And with the move to F2P and its limits, it is obvious they still don't get it. Those operations aren't going to be worth $15 a month for any period of time. By forcing the community to be split between free players and subscribers for that one instance, its just going to hurt the game. Heck, limited access would of been a far better choice then outright blocking it.


    Maybe that's just a symptom of my hatred for those games that try to claim they are free to play, yet lock chunks of actual content behind an enforced pay-wall though. I don't like the idea of downloading games labeled "Free 2 play", only to find that entire zones are locked, that if I want to participate in X I gotta pay Y amounts of cash. Its why I've always preferred the "Buy it once" model. Or if you're going to have us pay subs only for a game, make sure its actually worth the price (like Trion has been trying to do with Rift).

  • BeyornBeyorn Posts: 273Member Uncommon

    I really wanted a KotOR game but I thought I would still like it as an mmo.  I made it to 50 on my first character and I thought the game was great UNTIL I hit 50 and was done with my story.  After that it went down hill fast for me.


    I wish they had included the option to have your companions in a group like KotOR ;(.  I guess I will just have to keep hoping we get another KotOR game in the future ;(.

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