Tuesday, 20 November 2012
The Old republic is now Free to Rage
I have jumped back into The Old Republic a couple of times since it has gone free to play, so I thought I would share my thoughts. I booted up my Sith Warrior, who is level 41, so plenty of levelling left to do, but not miles from Max, to see what the changes are like. On the character select screen I get a message that some servers have merged to increase population (a major problem for TOR previously ) and I might have to change character name (which I didn't have to, the reasons why will become apparent).
So I log in first time on a Sunday morning and my character is on Hoth. Hoth is a really big map, I glance at the corner of the screen to see how many people are on this planet. Oh yeah 28, that's not many at all for a map the size of a couple of WoW's zones, that's a bit concerning. I log in the following night and see Hoth's population top out at 41. It is entirely possible that the lower levels are much busier, however I couldn't really check this as I only have two character slots, both of which are taken. I should point out at this point that I am Bioware refer to as a Preferred customer. This basically means that I have been a previous subscriber, so get various bonuses.
This gives me various benefits such as two character slots and immediate access to two action bars. I will let that sink in for a second. Yes that's right you have to pay to unlock User Interface options. At level 41 I struggled to cope with just the 2 action bars, with 3 or 4 skills that I ideally needed quick access to (my buff and a couple of "oh shit" skills) being only accessible via the skill menu. This, perhaps unsurprisingly, rankled me straight of the bat. Having a look at how much it is to buy points, you gain a fair amount of points for not that much money, but everything on the store is pretty expensive. You spend $4.99 for 450 points. This might seem decent until you realise that to unlock upto 6 action bars for your character is 250 points and that about 3 dollars, just to be able to play the game properly. There are other things that you need to pay to unlock, for instance a third crew skill (crafting essentially) and most shockingly, quest rewards. After completing half a dozen quests all but one offered a choice of the rewards, with only the commendation badge being available, if you wanted the gear rewards you have to pay to unlock it.
All this got me angry. Angry because this isn't a shitty Korean mmo that is all grind and isn't worth the effort. Angry because under all this free to play bullshit, this is still one of the best mmo's out there. The combat if good, the quests are engaging and it looks fab. However a lot of people are going to discount it, as it asks you to get your credit card out way too often for basic, essential, stuff.