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Star Wars: The Old Republic Adding Free-To-Play Option In November 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the couldn't-pay-me-to-play-hutt-ball-again dept.
EA and BioWare announced today that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be getting a free-to-play option later this year. Players using the F2P option will be able to reach the level cap and play through the full class stories, but their access will be limited for other parts of the game; they will only be able to play a certain number of Warzones (their PvP battlegrounds), Flashpoints (their instanced dungeons), and space missions each week. Access to travel functionality and the game's auction house will be limited as well. F2P players won't be able to participate in Operations, the end-game raids. Subscribers will retain access to all of these features. There will also be cosmetic items sold through the 'Cartel Market' using a virtual currency.
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Star Wars: The Old Republic Adding Free-To-Play Option In November

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @04:36PM (#40834743)

    I'm not being sarcastic, I really am curious. There was a HUGE amount of hype around the release (the usual "WoW killer" stuff that seems to accompany any major MMO release these days). Reviews seemed generally positive. Everyone was talking about it for a week or two after release. But then I stopped hearing anything about it. Don't think I've heard anyone mention it for a while. Considering this was supposed to be the game that finally fixed Sony's Galaxies [wikipedia.org] fiasco, I expected more enthusiasm.

    I do like the free-to-play stuff, though. And this might lead me to try it out. I just hope they don't cripple it to the point where it's hard to get an idea of what the paid game looks like (like some MMO's do--some that have initials like "W.O.W.," maybe).

    • by angelasmark (856143) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @04:42PM (#40834815) Journal
      Enthusiasm died off because there "endgame" is pretty bad. The class story lines were the best part of the game. Did not live up to hype. SWG was a better game in some regards.
      • Sorry, I know this is just announced, but wouldn't it be more newsworthy (and useful) to ignore this for now and report it in November when it is an actionable news item?

      • The lack of of a matchmaker was really a bad idea to launch without.

      • by danudwary (201586)

        Contrary to what everyone is posting, endgame content is not the only problem with SWTOR. (Though it is a problem.) It lost people early on, not months in when people are lacking endgame content. It failed because (IMO):
        -- It wasn't Star Wars-y enough. The aesthetics of the Old Republic are different than what most people are looking for in a Star Wars game, and there's (by design) no connection to the characters or game world we know.
        -- You're not supposed to be able to shrug off 800 blaster rounds, or cut

    • by Huggs (864763)
      That would be because you bought into Blizz' marketing the WOW DEMO as actually being F2P...
      • by Huggs (864763)
        And I guess in some respects it IS F2P... but it's not the full game so it's a half hearted version of F2P that doesn't really count in my book. All they did was remove the time restriction on their trial.
      • That would be because you bought into Blizz' marketing the WOW DEMO as actually being F2P...

        Did you pay to play the wow demo? Then it would seem as though it WAS free to play, up to a level requirement, which was clearly posted everywhere when you download the demo.

    • by Terrasque (796014)

      From what I've heard, they front loaded the content a lot, so when endgame came it was nothing to do. It also had claustrophobic maps..

      Most I have talked to agreed that it's nice game on the leveling, for the first characters. Almost like a single player game. But after that, no point continue playing.

      • by mrxak (727974)

        It was as single player game. They divided the world up so much that you never ran into anybody, even on the high population servers, unless you were at the main space station near a mailbox or trainer.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @05:30PM (#40835451) Journal

        Well my oldest was in the beta and subscribed to it for about 5 months afterward before quitting and he said by the time he quit it had become pretty badly unbalanced. He said the empire could just camp and slaughter the jedis at the spawn points. But other than that he said the same thing, front of the game was nice but once you got your character up there really wasn't much to do.

        Kinda a shame, the Star Wars mythos has enough there you could build tons of new stories out of it but I just can't believe they spent a couple of hundred million on an MMO and thought they could take on WoW. With WoW its got network effect, where many i know play it because that's where their friends are, so trying to compete with that is kinda stupid. Its like FB in that it won't go down until they seriously fuck it up, just like how MySpace got greedy and turned it into a giant ad ridden spam dump and ran everyone off. As long as they keep adding new content WoW will have the big numbers although the F2P games do seem to be slowly lowering their stats but not by much.

        With those MMOs they are such time sinks that people rarely play more than one at a time and I just can't see enough Star Wars nerds willing to shell out a monthly fee to make up a 200 million dollar development budget.

      • Sounds like Diablo III. Guess I can skip this one too until Guild Wars 2 comes out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spire3661 (1038968)
      The combat was not fun at all. Very clunky and missing the Blizzard polish. Mechanically, no one can beat Blizz. The depth they put in their controls is really outstanding and often over looked. Playing a wow character is like playing an instrument in some cases.
      • Ultima Online is still far superior.

      • by mrxak (727974)

        Yup. Very clunky, I noticed that in beta, and it never changed in the release game. PvP was just annoying.

        Also when are people going to understand that macros and interface add-ons are rather important?

      • by flimflammer (956759) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @06:28PM (#40836041)

        I wish more game studios saw and understood this. There's too many games out there that feel like they should be fun but suffer in some way by control and by association, character animation. Movement in wow is precise. The character goes when you want it to, stops when you want it to, and manages to do it while looking good, as opposed to just swapping animations which is what a lot of games still do. It's also rather jarring when you play a game where a character is moving but his feet animate either too fast or too slow for the speed they're actually going and the character slides across the ground. It's one of those touches that I see often overlooked in games, but it seems so obvious when you consider it's the most common action you will ever see as a player.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Good point. It's one of the main reasons Mario worked so well. The walking/running/jumping was tweaked for a very long time until it was perfect.

        • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:24PM (#40837325)

          " It's one of those touches that I see often overlooked in games..."

          And it shouldn't be. Game designers should be taking "The Uncanny Valley" into account when working on such things as animations, facial expressions and such.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley [wikipedia.org]

          I think the focus is more on fluidity then accuracy. I honestly don't understand why motion-capture isn't used more often then it is. Maybe someone can explain why it isn't used in 3d modeling (based on the animations I've seen in games so far), but is used often in motion picture CG. Seems to me that technology could be applied, but perhaps I am unaware of a crucial limitation inherent to 3D modeling--I don't do it for a living.

          Speaking of "The Uncanny Valley", does anyone besides me think that people that have had a lot of cosmetic surgery are back-sliding into that Valley? Some of that shit is getting a little creepy. Michael Jackson is the first thing I think of when I hear the words "uncanny valley".

          • The problem with stopmo is that you need multiple people to pull it off.

            First, the stop mo equipment is about $60k right now for the good stuff, but it is coming down.

            So you spend 60K, and hire an actor to do the motions, then hire a technical guy to capture the data, then hire an animator to clean up the key frame data because it's too big.

            Now what's the one thing an animator doesn't want to do? That's right, fix up somebody else's shit. So they don't, most animators *hate* stop mo, and rightly so as it'

          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            A friend of mine does animation for a UK based games company and they do use motion capture for some stuff. It has to be extensively cleaned up by the animators though. Once they get past the basic walking/running and so forth they tend to animate other stuff by hand. Aside from anything else it is hard to mocap someone operating an imaginary weapon they can't see or appreciate the weight of.

            The other issue is game engine limitations that, well, limit the amount of animation you can put in. You can only hav

      • by Greyfox (87712)
        Bah. It'd be tough to go back to either after playing Tera's combat system in a while. Tera had an awesome combat system and beautiful graphics. Too bad about the writing. If you could get Tera's combat system, SWTOR's leveling quests and WoW's endgame in one place, well that'd probably be the be-all and end-all of MMOs.
      • by yodleboy (982200)
        This is a good point. These new MMO's seem to be so dead set on being NOT WOW that they end up making mistakes Blizzard made years ago. If nothing else, WoW can show them what NOT to do, ever. No one expects 7 years of content like WoW at release. What's disappointing with most other MMO's is you've got 7 years of WoW to study, 7 years of failed WoW killers to study and they STILL can't get mechanics, interfaces and quality of life items right.

        It's not like they are being tasked with inventing the MM
    • by Nyder (754090)

      I'm not being sarcastic, I really am curious. There was a HUGE amount of hype around the release (the usual "WoW killer" stuff that seems to accompany any major MMO release these days). Reviews seemed generally positive. Everyone was talking about it for a week or two after release. But then I stopped hearing anything about it. Don't think I've heard anyone mention it for a while. Considering this was supposed to be the game that finally fixed Sony's Galaxies [wikipedia.org] fiasco, I expected more enthusiasm.

      I do like the free-to-play stuff, though. And this might lead me to try it out. I just hope they don't cripple it to the point where it's hard to get an idea of what the paid game looks like (like some MMO's do--some that have initials like "W.O.W.," maybe).

      It started having a Free Trial and I checked it out, and I don't understand what is special about it. It's sort of boring and it has way the fuck too many cutscenes. Nothing takes you out of a MMORPG like prerendered cutscenes.

      Not really that fun, 4 different classes that are lame.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @04:58PM (#40835019)

      Hence the whole "free to play" thing, they are trying to salvage it.

      There were multiple problems with it, but the big one is a lack of endgame. It was basically an online single player game. The questing was pretty good, and the story was way better than your normal MMO. However then you hit the top level and there was fuck-all to do. PvP was very bad, dungeons were poorly done and finding groups was problematic, there was just little reason to keep playing.

      I bought it and enjoyed leveling, I'm not sorry I spent the money on it I was entertained. However there was nothing worth staying around for. Hence it has been dying off. Well that is particularly problematic to EA given how incredibly much was spent making it.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @05:03PM (#40835087)

      The end game is an was terrible. Bad balance between professions and loot drops. Bizarre itemization and gearing requirements as you move past the first tier of raiding. Buggy content (floors not spawning, interactive objects not working properly). Dailies take an excruciatingly long time to do not because the dailies themselves are bad, but because there are so many load screens etc.

      Then the population started dropping and the game became a shell. They've moved just about everyone onto about 10 or 12 mega servers, which is actually a good idea, generally, but they implemented it poorly.

      The game has a series of hard DPS checks, which is fine, but then it didn't provide tools to asses dps. Problems like that basically plague the game. You can't ask players to reach a benchmark they can't see, or understand (gearing is especially guilty of this). And the game performs badly on loading, which by itself is forgivable, except they didn't design the game to be bad at loading, (which would mean doing things like giving players free teleports to group or the like) they just... expected you to put up with it.

      It's interesting how much the 'convenience' stuff in WoW matters. Having a calendar, so you knew who was going to show up to a raid in game was a whole lot better than trying to use and outside tool. Being able to summon everyone in the group to a summoning stone, again huge improvement. WoW didn't start with those things, but they make a huge difference to how much time you can spend actually playing the game versus how much time you spend getting to the content. I think the difference is that as WoW has evolved the people who make the game want time to be able to both play the game, and have jobs and lives at the same time - so they've molded the game into something they can actually approach as adults. SWTOR didn't get that initially, and to some degree still doesn't. So it's not approachable.

      Making a game accessible doesn't necessarily mean making it easy. Hard mode Ragnaros was a fucking hard boss (in Firelands not molten core), and I never did manage to kill him with my group. But I didn't have to spend 15 minutes running between 3 or 4 loading screens to get to him. And Rag is a long run back by modern WoW standards.

      • by crazyjj (2598719) *

        Wow, excellent post. Thanks!

      • by jxander (2605655) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @06:30PM (#40836061)

        The one thing WoW did best was make themselves mod-friendly.

        Most of the little 'convenience' stuff wasn't originally a part of wow. The Calender, a much-improved Auction House interface, the ability to switch between specific gear-sets, the more intuitive quest interface, even the clock under the map,.** Originally provided by 3rd party tools because Blizzard didn't have them. The key is that Blizzard embraced that functionality. When you install the game, there is a folder called "AddOns" by default. And not only do they allow such additions, butthey take the good ones and run with it, including them as full-fledged features. Now, instead of having to download all those, and hoping that my clock addon is compatible with my yours, or manually adding each calendar item, we all get the standard clock, and can easily pass appointments between each other.

        ** There are a TON more, but I've been clean and WoW-free for just over a year now (after being a serious raider for many years prior) so you'll forgive if I don't recall every add-on that graduated into Feature status, or what was added when.

        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          Certainly true. Although I can see an argument for having an MMO without mods precisely because requiring mods to play significantly changes the game as time goes on, and is a barrier to entry for some people for whom the mods become more confusing than helpful. Think AVR, or even deadly boss mods. Mods can reduce the game to responding to little bars on the screen, and there's probably a legitimate case to have a game that doesn't even offer that. Unfortunately your designers have to understand that, a

      • If I'm understanding you correctly ...

        Summary: Blizzard has raised the bar so high with essential MMOs features that everybody else just half-asses it and wonders why the players aren't there ...

        WOW while having a good UI, is a bad MMO; every one else is significantly worse in both fronts. :-(

        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          I'm not sure WoW is a bad MMO. But it does suffer from feature bloat, multiple raid sizes for the same content is stupid, there's too much emphasis on the 'world first' community etc.

          There are a lot of things I could improve with WoW, but they have a decent product, unfortunately it's starting to suffer all of the problems any software project does after so long: Feature creep, a growth in complexity that is beyond a lot of new users, trying to contrive a reason for their existence. It's not that, for ex

          • Well, the idea wasn't so bad. SWTOR certainly has a higher quest density than even WoW, and that was already quite a step ahead compared to earlier, more grind oriented, MMOs. What SWTOR did wrong mostly was a lack of content to keep players once they went through the story.

            BW made single player games so far, and SWTOR would have been a quite stunning Mass-Effect like single player game. Problem is, MMOs are not just games where you play through the story and then you put it aside and wait for the next inca

          • > I'm not sure WoW is a bad MMO.

            That's because you are not viewing from a game design perspective.

            While it can be a fun toy at times, it has a lot of bad game design principles; the ONLY reason being because they want to keep customers paying and paying.

            The biggest problem with MMO's and Social Games is the total disrespect for the player.

      • by Aerowin (1798844)
        I'm currently a subscriber to this game, and am an officer with a guild that is aiming to tackle the end-game operations (read: raids). So I'm pretty much stuck with this flying turd unless / until my guild moves on which may be very likely to happen soon. The biggest problem we have? Bugs. Tons upon tons of them. Some of them minor, others hilarious, but there are a few downright game-breaking.

        Best example I can think of is: There's an operation called "Eternity Vault". Beautiful place overall, Balanced
    • I believe the majority of the people that have stuck with the game are huge fans of the Star Wars franchise. Most everyone else has left the game because, well, it is bad. The game does not stand on its own and if you are not a Star Wars fanboy then the negatives do not outweigh the positives. The only really great thing I continuously hear about the game is its story. However, I have played the game and was immensely bored by the story. So, again, it seems as though only those that are real fans of Star Wa
    • I am.

      SWTOR is fixing many issues and has locked most of its low pop realms and added a flashpoint funder aka dungeon finder. In higher pop realms it is much better. I do not want to go back to Wow at all and think SWTOR has great potential. It is just new and half the people left because it was not as mature as WOW on opening day is silly.

      You should try it again? You can get a free account where you can play up to level 15 and you will e thrown only in a high pop realm by default now. They are adding more h

      • It's not that TOR wasn't mature on launch. It simply lacked polish and things to do after capping out. It's DCU all over again, and BioWare simply didn't think that far ahead. The first 6 months are a sign of how well an MMO will do, and TOR did badly. Very badly.
        • It beat all others but Wow. It did fairly well and attracted almost 2 million subscribers. GW and Warhammer did not even get close. They are fixing it now and my guess is the next expansion will greatly improve this. They already added 2 heroics in the past few months and with higher pop realms and a flashpoint finder it will approach wow.

          • Sure, it got 2 million players, then proceeded to loose somewhere between 400,000 to 1 million subscribers by this point in it's history. They should have held it back and took into account what beta testers like myself were trying to get through to the developers. People capped out, saw the endgame, and got bored. Or dealt with how wonky gearing is and left. Or tried at PVP and quit from how broken portions of it are. All of this could have been avoided and TOR would still have a viable playerbase. But let
      • by z3d4r (598419)

        I am.

        ... I do not want to go back to Wow at all and think SWTOR has great potential...

        SW:ToR had great potential during the betas. what it has now is lost subscriptions.
        Bioware did not understand MMOs when it made this game. It was made like a single player RPG. Once you reached the level cap, there is nothing to keep the player interested. Even the recent legacy system showed this by encouraging players to level new characters, giving rewards for leveling every class of every race of both factions.

        When i canceled my sub, there was the ussual questionaire asking for feedback. After this is d

    • by kenp2002 (545495) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @05:38PM (#40835563) Homepage Journal

      It was an embarrassment to EA to say the least. They lost over 50% of their subscription base within 90 days actually surpassing the industry's worst launch\retention Warhammer. It was a single player game with an MMO bolted on and after everyone beat it in 30 days. less then 1/2 people bothered to subscribe.

      Think of this as a resturant: 50% of the customers didn't like the food enough to come back. Doesn't sound good. Prior to Warhammer, retention at 90 days was about 80% by estimate with players usually averaging 6 months before attrition. The problem is with the market saturation the demographic changed when WoW came into the picture. The Old School MMO players (pre-WoW players) had a much longer attention span in regards to rewards. The pacing, the very core was a longer experience. A novel. WoW came along and transformed that experience into a Short Story. Both enjoyable in their own right, but with the advent of the Theme Park and Sandbox styles (rather then the Virtual World model of Everquest in contrast to say WoW or Eve respectively) and the addition of a structured tread mill. The demands to engage this new demographic are not, IMHO, sustainable via a subscription model.

      The problem with F2P is without safeguards, every troll douche and his inbred cousin can just script up and troll, ban, repeat. F2P is a recovery and long tail approach to MMOs and I see the industry needs to change.

      MMOs should be more like muds and Counter Strike servers. More intimate, targeting 200-300 people a shard and allowing people to "roll-their-own" shards much like a counter strike server. Transform the MMO industry into a hosting industry where a few of you "Roll-Your-Own" and throw in what mods you want then invite people. Open it public, set a level cap, or an age limit, customize some rules, or make it invite only. Oddly I am seeing an uptick in Muds once again courtesy of CoffeeMud and newer Diku\Merc\Rom derivatives. Maybe a second golden age of MMOs is coming, perhaps the MMO will die and the GMUD will be revived. Who knows.

      What I can say is that the original demographic of EQ players are as a majority, parents (statistically, they should all now mostly be about 35 years old) and the time commitment for old school MMOs (you know Virtual Worlds rather then Theme Park\Sandbox MMOs) means devs are left with the ADHD FPS converts that can't stand waiting more then 4 seconds before something spawns.

    • Things were looking pretty bad for a while. They had a large number of low pop servers and it really made it feel like you were playing a single player game with a subscription model.

      A few months ago they began consolidating servers and it had a significant (beneficial) result in the game. Between that and the implementation of "Group Finder" features, the result is that you have access to a lot more players to do content with which makes for a much nicer levelling and end-game experience.

    • by Cinder6 (894572)

      I'm actually nearing the end of my free month (picked it up at Gamestop for $20; now it's actually just free to play for a month without retail purchase). I have really enjoyed the game, but now that I've hit 40 (level cap 50), I've started to become a bit bored. The class quests are still fun, but I'm finding myself with a lack of interest for whatever reason.

      I'd say it's worth checking out. As a F2P game, I'll continue playing it but not paying for it. I don't do many Flashpoints and have little inter

    • by yodleboy (982200)
      i wanted to play. Didn't get in the beta, and when it was released, there was no free trial. Even a couple of days would have been enough. I've got room in my schedule for ONE MMO, and I will not pay full retail on the unlikely chance it's going to replace WoW. Later on I believe they had trials, first where you could get invited by a friend, and now I THINK they have a free trial. Too bad. At this point after reading complaints and all the missed opportunities I think I'll pass.
    • by gmhowell (26755)

      My son and I just started playing this. We played for a weekend during one of their freebies. We're bored waiting for the WoW expansion. This lets us fill a few hours a day. It's fun. We like the different combat. I like the class stories. But I can tell that once I hit level 50, I've got zero interest in the game.

      Of course, once I hit 90 in Wow, I likely won't have any interest.

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:10AM (#40839627) Journal

      The class story line is pretty much the only reason to play. It is a classic black and white Bioware storyline complete with all the standard plot elements and binary characters that have become the staple of recent Bioware RPG's.

      Limitted access to flashpoints? Only the first one is anything like what was shown in the teasers, a story rich, choice rich, not endlessly long instance. The rest? One moral non-voiced choice in the middle, that is it for story telling.

      Travel was never that hot to begin with, for F2P, you can make do without it.

      Fewer space missions? Oh NO! Those were like the best part of the game!!! Not! The only value they had was that for people with an insane boredom treshold, they were a way to level up with ease. Just very very boring. Mind you, there are bots for them. Anyway, since the class story is the best thing about the game and you would miss that if you just auto-levelled to 50 and there is no end-game... I can't quite see the point.

      Bioware screwed up. They already become something of a joke once they started releasing more RPG's because they all had the same story and the same support characters but that was okay in a 60 then 40 then 20 hour game. Then you can ignore that one support character gets upset if you don't kiss a kitten while saving the world, the other gets upset you don't kill said kitten while saving the world and the third says he has meaningful advice on saving the world but never actually gives it.

      This can carry a single player story but a MMO that is supposed to have infinity playing hours? Not so much. Bioware and indeed many single player RPG's already suffer from dungeon creep. The Bard's tale was extreem in this. In the beginning you get 70% story and 30% dungeon, near the end you get 1% story and 999999% dungeon. 3 fucking levels of endless monster slaying without a single story advancement for the Bard's tale.

      For SWTOR, actually getting from class story point to class story point is a very long slog. At one point I was already level 50 I was just passing all the side quests and getting really fed up with yet another dungeon crawl having to defeat mindless mobs randomly played along copy and paste hallways I had already defeated a thousand times before.

      SWTOR for story is as if someone took Kotor and increased the non-skippable fights by a factor of 10 and at the same time increasing the "didn't I meet this side character before" by three.

      Bioware has never made games with really good combat systems. This has been true since the Baldur Gates series where a wizzard has to take a nap after every fight to be of any use. Might be true to the table top game but in a computer game with endless dungeon's it just gets boring.

      MMO's typically have trash mobs who come in groups, regular mobs who can be pulled alone or come in 2-3 groups, harder mobs that usually are alone or two and elites who represent mid bosses.

      SWTOR contained far to many hard mobs. Hard isn't hard as in good AI but as in use every skill on your skill bar three times before they finally run out of hit points. THAT IS NOT FUN!

      It is Quake all over again with its shamblers requiring 3 rockets to the face. Except it ain't 3, it is 30 with a lenghty reload cycle every 5th rocket. It isn't fun, exciting or a challenge, it is WORK!

      The reason realistic military shooters are now completely dominating FPS is that other people apparently too got tired of emptying clip after clip into enemies. One shot, one kill is just more rewarding.

      For MMO's the same goes, ONE high health mid boss is a nice challenge. An entire hallway filled with them, is not.

      For me, I stopped with SWTOR when I saw yet another hallway with a ten or so single hard mobs and just didn't want to fucking do them just to get another cookie cutter story bit.

      In the days of quake, the only way to make a hard monster was to make it have lots of hit points, same with Everquest. But single player games have advanced, MMO's often haven't. Even new games like TSW a

    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      I played for about 3 months after launch. It was quite good in some respects, but badly lacking in others. I've been tempted to go back from time to time, but Bioware keep finding new ways to put me off (of which this is one).

      The good stuff:

      - The storyline stuff was pretty nice. Some were better than others - Jedi Consular was fairly po-faced and boring, but Trooper was quite fun and quite "different" for a Star Wars setting. The game also did a good job of adding further bits of story even after you finish

      • Travel was a pain in the backside. Azeroth is cut up into fairly large chunks - you can go an awfully long way without ever seeing a loading screen. In ToR, the world was split up into planets and getting between them was an absolute pain. Space-ports served no purpose other than to act as irritating timesinks.

        To put this into perspective: After 3 expansions, WoW has 5 continents:
        Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Outland (BC), Northrend (WotLK), and the area under the sea... Vashj'ir, I think (Cataclysm).

        Having said that, there may be portals for the areas on the map that exist in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms that were added in Cataclysm, I don't recall.

        Other than that, the only load screens are instance portals.

  • Dear Bioware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @04:43PM (#40834829)

    I didn't want yet another free-to-play mmo. Lord knows there are enough of those. I (and many others) just wanted KOTOR 3. Now that your little mmo has jumped the shark, can we haz?

    • Re:Dear Bioware (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @04:46PM (#40834875) Journal

      That's what I came to say. Add a single player scenario, playable offline, and you'll get my money. Don't, and you won't. Simple as that.

      • by flitty (981864)
        If this game really is fully free (no initial cost), It is very much worth playing through with at least one class to level 50 if you're looking for Kotor 3. I'm sorry you can't pause combat, but the actual story and gameplay felt very kotor3, and was awesome until you ran out of story. There was one dungeon around level 30 that should be played by every kotor fan.
        • by Hatta (162192)

          I'm sorry you can't pause combat

          That's really egregious. The best thing about KOTOR 1 & 2 was that you could pause the combat and at least approximate a turn based RPG. Action RPGs are twitchy crap for kids.

    • by taxman_10m (41083)

      I'm thinking that after all the money they sank into this that KOTOR is dead.

    • by aekafan (1690920)
      After all the money EA sank into this game, and since Biowares top programming and writing talent have left for better things, Bioware is essentially dead. It pains me to say, but I don't ever expect a good game from them again. Hopefully the former designers will show up somewhere though
  • I just wasn't impressed. I liked the voice acting, the 'universe' was alright. I just found the character development to be a bit lacking, the 'cities' to be stretched out solely for the sake of being stretched out and the architecture to be..well...boring. Cityscapes were boxes upon boxes upon boxes. Would I play it again for free with limited access...mebbe. Would I pay for it again if I got access to everything? Sure..for 5 bucks a month.

    The problem with all of these subscription based MMOs is that ev
    • by Lithdren (605362)
      I've got to agree with you on the price point.

      Myself, I didn't play this particular MMO but was a long time fan of WoW. However, life started to get in the way and I couldn't raid anymore. The Pug's and other things you can do in the game were ok, but not nearly as fun. What finally killed it for me was the freaking 15 a month.

      Even 10 a month, i'd still be playing. I wouldn't be buying the expansion for another 50 bucks however, I can tell you that much. I get they want to make money, but that 15
  • Wasn't it hyped as the WoW killer?

    • by jb11 (2683015)
      Yes, just like every other game that was hyped as the WoW killer. Yet none have succeeded.
    • by Grygus (1143095)

      Barring some completely new innovative MMO, there is only one game that can kill WoW, and that is WoW. It made a fine attempt around the release of Cataclysm and lost a lot of people, but then righted itself in time. Could still happen, but it won't be "WoW done better," it'll be "WoW got worse."

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      They're always hyped as a WoW killer. What was that last one, world of warhammer online or something? Everyone was like "Oh yeah that's killing WoW! I'm leaving and never coming back!" Then two weeks later they'd come skulking back. WoW's strength isn't so much the content they've amassed over the years, or the end game, or the PvP, but rather an easy social settings in which to make and hang out with friends. It's easy to make friends in WoW, and work toward common goals.

      So, exploring this hypothesis, if

      • by flirno (945854)

        This is also why I stopped playing Diablo 3. Despite providing friend lists and the ability to see as a list everyone you grouped with it did not provide key social tools of pretty much any kind to form meta-circles of friends. No private or custom channels. No group/guild/clan support of any kind. Diablo 3 is much diminished socially from Diablo 2. I found it easy to make friends in Diablo 2. It was even easier in WoW. Diablo 3 made it hard. SWToR was so diffuse at the time that I was playing it th

  • My son loves the game but no way am i paying the price they want for it, bloody extortionate in this day and age
  • by AlienSexist (686923) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @05:09PM (#40835179)
    I've played SWTOR for a while. It is a pretty game and does a great job immersing you into the Star Wars universe. If you're really into story, the problem becomes that it really does feel like the most expensive single-player game you'll ever play. It is as if other players only exist to chat and trade with. It is very easy max out a character of each class to burn out the story lines, then there is nothing to do but grind away endgame gear for PVE or PVP. That is my biggest complaint is that levels 1..49 go by rather quickly (so quickly that it is barely worthwhile to equip properly) and all that is left is to grind and raid for prettier shineys.

    The PVP Warzones were really neat and quite frankly the best PVP activity I've yet seen in an MMO. However there is presently a rash of cheating going on that BioWare is having difficulty combating.

    The entertainment value wasn't worth the subscription price and naturally players have been leaving in droves. This exodus was exacerbated by the fact that BioWare did not have a tool to help find groups after 7 months of going live! Whereas most MMOs start with one nowadays. To make matters worse server populations were crashing and it took BioWare a considerable time to effect character transfers. The first waves of consolidation did breath new life into the game temporarily... but even those servers are in decline now.

    There was some press release or statement from BioWare a number of weeks back that described subscription levels. At launch there were something like 1.5 million and in recent months had dropped to like 700k or so. 400k was stated as the minimum to retain profitability. Since then, I imagine, subscriptions continued to plummet and now they are offering F2P. Some might consider that desperation but in fairness I'd say that the true market value of the game is being established.

    If you like Star Wars it really is worth a look. The F2P offering may actually be very attractive for Story players.
  • by dammy (131759)

    Wish EA/BioWare-Mythic would do the same for the 11 year old DAoC.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @05:16PM (#40835265) Homepage Journal

    that being, no real diversity in where you level. It was worse in Star Wars. You could not even start a new character with a friend and play together unless you both chose the same type character, force user or non force user. Afterward you could meet up but then that is where the problem surfaces.

    TL;DR - Game was release three patches too early and seemed to excel in having every bad feature WOW discarded, if not all games discarded. As if their design document was completed ten years ago and never changed.

    Beyond the two starting worlds all progression through levels is always the same worlds, the same quests except for class specific quests. However the absolute worst part was the punitive travel. Oh I mean overly convoluted maps; especially palaces; where you had to run mostly empty areas around and around to meet a quest giver/target locked in the end of some crazed maze. For a game that provided you a star ship by level 15 they could never quite explain why you could not land where you wanted or worse, had to wait till 25 to buy a land speeder. Really? I have a star ship but no land craft?

    The game did have some good highlights. The voice acting and stories were pretty good, but many were space bar skip them as it could become tedious and if you were on your second or third alt it was a bit much. The sounds of the game were pure star wars, the ships, the npcs, about everything looked right. The companion system was good but got a bit creepy with the romancing a computer avatar bit. Far too many players would dress their female companions, if not characters, in the absolute skimpiest outfits imaginable. Serious declaration of idiocy amongst the players.

    Yet you were trapped in a world were far too many mobs were "strong" or had eight second stun attacks. Where your characters could do AWESOME moves and demonstrated AMAZING powers but only in cut scenes. I kid you not. Force users rending blast doors - only in a cut scene. By the time you were mid level you had so many abilities the game became an exercise in cool down management than playing for fun.

    The game was released three patches to early. From a woefully unpolished interface to horrid zone loading times for many. Very bad and in some ways incredibly obvious exploits that rarely if ever went unpunished to an Auction House that was nearly unusable. Even mirror classes; each class had an exact copy on the other side, the effects were different; were not truly mirrored... and early raids were bug city, as in luck let you beat them more than skill.

    A great idea saddled with poor execution and far too much investment in voice acting over content. Best of luck, but with Guild Wars 2 coming at the end of the month and WOW's next expansion in September their chance is basically over

  • by twocows (1216842) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @05:33PM (#40835491)
    I think what angered me most about it was that it purported to continue the KotOR storyline. Instead, it tramples all over it. Revan is a low level boss that drops pants, everyone and their mother is a Jedi or a Sith, and it pretty much retcons everything from KotOR 2 (my favorite game of all time, speaking of which the community restoration mod "The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod" went into its final release version about a week ago, definitely check that out). Maybe I was naive to expect something more along the lines of SWG in this day and age. Still, I was pretty upset.
  • SW:TOR would have been a pretty decent single player game. But I think many people are just plain tired of formulaic level based gameplay for MMOs. In single player games it's fine but when you want to play with your friends, things like levels, separate servers, separate factions all get in the way. They should make MMOs where if you know someone in real life that plays, there are no artificial barriers to grouping with them in game and having fun together.

    • That's one of the things I like most about GW2.

      You can "guest" onto another server. While guesting you can't compete in the Server vs Server PVP, and can't join a guild on a guest server. You can, however, play. With friends. PvP or PvE. Guesting is free.

      Levels are also well handled. If you're in a zone below your current level your health, damage, etc all get scaled down to the effective level of the zone. Lvl 80 and lvl 12 friends want to play together? No problem, they'll both be about lvl 12 effective a
  • by DL117 (2138600) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @06:48PM (#40836211) Homepage

    is SWG. SWGEMU is in a playable state now, it will be perfect once they put in the faction missions.

  • That's about all there is to it. Single player game with online coop. Their grandiose dreams of taking a slice of the WoW pie were about 5 years too late.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @09:55AM (#40842485)

    SWTOR has a lot of issues, some have been solved, some will be solved and, with F2P, I guess a few will be introduced. I'm currently playing. I don't know if I will through F2P.

    What bugs me most is that they seem to have noticed the problems, but how they handle it is just so completely fucked up that it is hard to keep a straight face. Take the dwindling player numbers. The idea? Consolidate the servers. Good idea. Move the people back together on fewer servers, worked for a few others games as well.

    The way it should be done IMO? Take a look at the server populations and lump those servers together that "fit", so you get a more or less equal population all over.
    Their solution? Offer people the choice where to go. Now, let's ponder for a moment, where do people go when their main issue is a lack of others to play with? Bingo, the most populated server. Guess what happens? Right. You now have one server where you can't even complete your dailies at 4am due to people stepping on each other's toes and a few mediocre/low populated "target" servers where people feel they traded one barren desert for another one. Solution? Not really.

    Dwindling player numbers. My solution? Offer free play time to former subscribers, have them come back and see whether they like it better now. Worked for a few games out there pretty well. Their solution? F2P. There is one reason why I dread that solution: Free-2-Play very easily seduces game makers to move the game towards a pay-2-win system. And I'm not the only one who avoid playing F2P games for exactly this reason. I don't want to pay just to be "allowed" into the interesting content. A monthly sub, fine. Everyone gets the same chance for a fixed amount of money. But sitting here and knowing that I am supposed to throw money at them again and again for a shot at some content is not quite what I enjoy. It isn't really enjoyable to me to know that my "success" in the game doesn't depend on me playing it but just on how much money I am willing to throw at the company making it.

    And with EA, I kinda fear it will be P2W...

  • I am sad, but not surprised (after seeing how sub numbers have fallen) to hear this. I'll continue to play SWTOR till it dies, as I really enjoy it. It just seems it will die sooner rather than later, and not have as much new content as I would hope.

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan

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