Star Wars - The Old Republic Vs Guild Wars 2
EA/Bioware earlier this month announced that their hottest MMORPG title SW:TOR will become free to play this month (now live). However with Free to Play still being defined by publishers, we need to have a closer look at what exactly is on offer. EA/Bioware released a chart to say what is and isn’t available on each of its gaming tiers.
The chart itself is useful but not totally accurate when you read deeper and look on the forums for more information. For instance it says Sprint isn’t available unless you pay for it, however at level 15 you obtain it as a skill, so at some point you will be able to use most of the skills for free, but there is still quite a bit on the list I cant imagine EA or Bioware releasing for free.
Lead designer Damion Schubert confirmed changes that were made just before the release of the F2P model based on community feedback “Free-to-Play players will now get a second quickslot bar. Free-to-Play players will now be able to do 5 Warzones per week instead of 3. The Cartel Coin item lock (i.e. temporary bind) will be reduced to 3 days for Free-to-Play players, and 2 days for subscribers.”
However the priorities for the company were cleared up by Schubert
“That being said, one of our golden rules is that the Free-to-Play experience should not cheapen the experience for paying subscribers. If it turns out that the Free-to-Play conversion results in a degraded Warzone experience once we go live for subscribers, you can rest assured that we will quickly make adjustments to the system to ensure that subscribers have an optimal experience.” With other models such as Guild Wars 2 where you can buy the game outright and play it without subscription, and Star Trek Online being available totally free to everyone with optional purchases or extra content becoming available when you switch to a premium package. How will free to play actually be defined? Sadly, no one knows, however looking at the development of the model is interesting with each company trying something different.
Personally I like the guild wars 2 model, whereby expansions are brought out and you can buy them or continue on the original story lines, but without subscriptions they need to make money somehow and this is done with optional purchases at the store. While this does mean that the game is unfair and with enough money you can buy everything you need for a relatively easy time – it is also reliant on the gamers themselves making the purchases and as the game develops like a living organism, so must the available purchase items.
SW:TOR does have dated graphics now compared to Guild Wars 2, however this does not make it any less of a fun game. For those who want to follow the Star Wars stories before the films, this is an excellent place to catch up. Like any other MMORPG, SW:TOR does require quite a bit of time to get into, settled and find out the main aspects of the game, however it does include the standard features such as character builds, skill allocations, and resource allocations. Well worth a look until level 50, and you will get a nice feel for the game and after this you can continue by purchasing a subscription.
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