Some Thoughts on Improving SWTOR’s F2P System

Hey Everyone,

With the recent cancellation of Shadow Realms and the increasing hype for The Force Awakens, I think it’s about time SWTOR had a look at their Free to Play System and improved on it. If they want to capitalise on the hype of TFA, they really ought to make some adjustments and improvements to not only bring old players back but to attract new players.

It looks increasingly likely that they are going to attempt to capitalise on the TFA hype with the creation the Star Wars Game News Website which features SWTOR, vague hints from the Road Map and from other mumblings here and there that they have big plans for this year. Removing some of the F2P barriers and restrictions and improving on the rewards would be a great way to complement the ‘big plans’ they have.

ea sw website screenshot

Whether the plans they have will turn out to be ‘big’ remains to be seen…

Less Restriction’s on Former Subscribers

People who have been subscribers (for a certain number of months to years) at any stage should have less restrictions as preferred status. Anyone who has been subscribed consecutively for say a minimum of 6 months or for a year should not have any restrictions on ‘fluff’ perks such as:Cartel-Coins

  • Artifact Equipment Authorisation
  • Ability to hide head slot like subscribers
  • Access to all 6 Quickbars
  • Same price as subs for mod removal and adding augment kits
  • Ability to equip event rewards

It’s a shame that people who have been long time subscribers and who may go preferred for whatever reason are so heavily penalised. Obviously the duration someone has to have been subscribed before they have less restrictions as preferred status is up for debate, but I think either 6 months to a year is pretty decent.

Make PvP More Accessible for F2P (with exemptions)

Both the 10-29 and 30-59 brackets of PvP should be fully accessible to all players regardless of their subscription status. I’m still undecided as to whether F2P should have access to 60 PvP but I don’t think they should have access to Ranked at all (or maybe they could with a weekly pass).

People can already dodge needing to be a subscriber for PvP by grouping with a subscriber then queuing for PvP anyway. So it makes sense to just make it more easily and readily available for everyone to PvP anyway.

the confronation

More Rewards for Subscribers

Other games do a better job at this in my view (like Wildstar’s lootcrates). Yes, we get 500 cartel coins a month but that’s barely noticeable. Perhaps every couple of months someone stays subscribed give them a cartel pack or instead do something like WildStar’s lootcrates which have random fluff in them like pets, mounts, decor and colour crystals.

The point is, you need to make your subscribers feel more valued give them cute little gimmicks and fluff that they can show off and feel special about. But make the items exclusive. Long term subscribers say 2 plus years should get even more bonuses. Just a little more something to make subscribers feel special and to make having a subscription look even more appealing.

Additional Thoughts

The key to a good free to play system is having the right balance between making a subscription worth your while and making the game somewhat playable for free to play players. SWTOR’s F2P system has been heavily critisised in the past and some mark F2P as the downfall of f2p cartoonan MMO. But there is no denying that SWTOR has had great financial success by adapting to this system.

It could however be improved up on and simply making PvP content more accessible, not penalising long term subscribers who go preferred and adding in more fluff rewards would be a step in the right direction. You can’t just make bad advertisements for your game and expect people to come play it. You need to give them some incentive and good content.

Improving the F2P system is merely one step in taking advantage of all the hype for The Force Awakens. I will make more posts about this in the future.

What are some ways SWTOR could change/improve their F2P system? What other improvements would you like to see them make to SWTOR (besides PvP content cause that’s an obvious one)?

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  • Stephen

    Like many people I am a subscriber who purchased the retail version of the game. Because of that I am not a fan of giving more to F2P players. It is unfair to us for players to get the same benefits for little to no cost.

    I think a 10 day full access trial would be a nice start. Or maybe a returning subscriber trial every once in a while. Currently they need to close the loophole that allows a F2P player to queue with a subscriber for unlimited pvp.

    SOE games have used a system that subscribers get rewards based on length of subscription for years. Some of the stuff is fluff, some is useful. Everything from Xp boosts to mounts, to furniture for character housing. It seemed to work there.

  • I agree Xami, the SW:ToR f2p/preferred model needs to be adjusted. Being able to remove the credit cap would be my first change suggestion. Its just a rip off having to pay money/credits to get money out of your escrow and since most unlock stuff on the GTN gets listed at 300k credits+ makes it harder unless you got some nice, caring guildies to help you out =)

    So far out of all of the MMO’s I’ve played, LOTRO would have the best f2p system (imo of course). Every achievement you did would earn you Turbine points which you could use to buy expansions, account perks (riding skill, taking the f2p cap off your money etc, more costume tabs etc) which meant if you, as a f2p player, went out and did all your achievements to earn points you could have quite a bit of stuff unlocked that a subscription would get.

    Another one I liked (though vaguely remember) is the one from City of Villians – subscribers were awarded points each month they were subscribed which they could use to unlock in-game rewards like costume pieces, hair styles etc. And as you suggested Swtor subscribers could have the option to unlock account benefits so when the drop to preferred its not as bad.

    Other improvements I’d like to see – how long have I got lol? Nar it’s not that bad, ill just select my tops ones aye?.
    – Conquests – Instead of guild vs guild I figured it would be better Republic vs Empire (keep in with the theme of the game, get people working together, ya know nice stuff). All guilds contribute points to their Faction, whichever side has the most points at the end of the week gains control of the planet and players in that faction gain a buff on that planet for the following week. It would be nice if they made it easier for other guilds to get the guild reward too (say top 10 guilds on the side that wins) because not all of us like to be in guilds that lack elbow room.
    – Account wide ignore (make life easy for me)
    – Happy pandas roaming pvp area of fleet to make people happy after a terrible pvp match, maybe slap em with a “its just a game” whisper.

    And I’ll just leave this sentence here…
    … I would really love to see more bombing maps though – kinda like Voidstar but not so liner….

    Anyway love reading your blog Xami, keep it up ^^