Saturday, 4 August 2012

I will be free to feel the force

It happened, we all suspected it would, The Old Republic has announced it is going free to play, and I am, like about half a million other people, partly responsible. You see I am one of the droves of people that stopped playing, and I guess more importantly, to EA bioware at least, paying in the last six months. It is no secret that the game has been hemorrhaging players ever since it launched.

I am sure Hex will not be happy about this change, however he, like me, is one of those half a million responsible players.  Yes they still have several hundred thousand players, and there are undoubtedly pay monthly games that are happy with a few hundred thousand subscribers, Rift and Eve spring to mind. So the question I have to ask myself. Am I happy/interested in the SWTOR now it is going free to play. Humm I certainly will reinstall it and I will probably play it with the same level of enthusiasm that I did when I cancelled my subscription. That is a nice way of saying that it will stay on my hard drive, and I will barely think about playing it.

This is all assuming that EA don’t balls up the free to play change. They have said that you will be able to level all the way to 50 without spending a penny, and that they only intend to charge for cosmetic items and some end game content. If this holds true then I can see this doing really well, and while this is EA’s first attempt at a free to play mmo, EA have actually been in the free to play games market for years with their sports and shooter franchises. I just hope that they have learnt enough lessons from previous criticism.

Some other concerns are that the end game will be even quieter than it currently is, because people will get to max level and will be unwilling to buy the require end game content. Actually quiet servers are another issue, when I tried even the busiest servers back when I was playing, I remember queuing to get onto it, to find 150 people on the planet. Considering planets are pretty big areas, and this was a starting zone, this seemed no where enough people. I think EA are going to need to give there servers some serious work before launching free to play, or there will be crashes galore.

Regardless of how the free to play is handled I am glad that EA are proceeding to go free to play. Yes it has been done primarily to get more revenue out of a game that has seen plummeting player numbers (largely due to the games’ basic design choices), however I would rather see it go free rather then EA just pull the plug, which I think could have potentially happened.

Heh now I just need WoW to go free to play, so I can have both games I am fond of that I don’t want to play installed.

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