Earlier this week, Massively got a chance to interview Gabe Amatangelo, SWTOR’s Principal Lead PvP Designer. During the interview, Game Update 1.4 as well as the game’s fall move to free to play were discussed. Here are his thoughts on the model switch, which follow the original questions in bold:
I’m excited for the opportunity to see what a free-to-play model will do for TOR. However, there have been some mixed reactions regarding F2P in general. What is your take on F2P, and what do you believe it will add to the player’s experience in the game?
It will make galactic trade market entrepreneurs happy. Free-to-play members can buy but can’t list, meaning more customers with less competition. Who wouldn’t like that? My take is that what happened to the music industry is happening to online games. Free-to-play options are the future of most, if not all, online games. There are all types of players out there, and the ability to subscribe to a game — or multiple games — is a dividing characteristic. This will open the game up to more types of players to try or retry the game, which will be good for all players.
The bit about the Galactic Trade Network restrictions is interesting. It isn’t entirely surprising to see economy-based restrictions in general, but it is somewhat surprising to find out that F2P players won’t be able to list items whatsoever. SWTOR’s player-based economy could definitely use a boost, however, and part of me wonders if this is perhaps BioWare’s partial intention here.
Will more buyers and less sellers help the GTN flourish? Perhaps, but it’s hard to say. I tend to think the issues go a little deeper, and that the game’s crafting system needs to see some major work before SWTOR sees a true, healthy player-driven economy. I guess we’ll just have to see what fall brings.
This bit was also interesting:
You’ve given us hints as to what types of things will be available in the Cartel Market, my favorite being the Kowakian monkey-lizard. What other types of items will we see, and which is your favorite so far?
Expect XP boosts, gear appearances, special mounts, certain content and feature access, etc. My favorite is either the XP boosts or rocket boosters. I have a few more advanced classes I need to max out on my live account. The XP boost and rocket boosters will help that quite a bit.
Some of these items have been hinted at already, including the XP boosts, appearance items, and mounts. Rocket boosters could be nifty. Hopefully in the months to come we’ll find out more information about the items BioWare has in store for us to purchase with Cartel Coins. For many players, the choice of subscription model depends on the item spread available.
In the meantime, make sure to check out Massively’s full interview.