Yesterday we received a couple dev tracker posts stating important changes to some of the free-to-play player limitations coming in this fall’s subscription model shift. The first of these is the addition of a third type of subscription group that players can belong to and receive different bonuses in– the preferred status player group. Preferred status players are those who have subscribed in the past, but have returned to SWTOR as free to play, or have purchased items directly from SWTOR’s site. This includes Cartel Coins, a subscription of any length of time, and time cards.
Preferred status players will receive more benefits than pure free-to-play players, but less than full subscription players. This status is also permanent. This is an excellent compromise, in my opinion, and will give past subscription players a reason to return yet not feel quite as restricted as players completely new to the game. Here are some of the details on the restriction differences:
Originally posted by NathanEmmott (Source)
As a Preferred Status Player, you will gain the following benefits compared to Free-to-Play Players:
• The Sprint ability at Level 1
• Access to your Cargo Hold (an 80 item Player Bank)
• Access to Secure Trade (starting at level 10)
• The ability to send Mail, including one (1) attachment
• Increased allowance for chat message frequencies in Public chat channels (such as /general)
• An increased Credits Cap
• Access to the Who List
• Three (3) additional Sale Slots on the Galactic Trade Network (for a total of 5)
• One (1) additional active Crew Skill Slot (for a total of 2)
• Reduced skill point respecialization costs
• Increased Server queue priority
The addition of preferred player status will make many players happy, I believe.
We also received some changes based on player feedback to the Cartel Market and base restrictions on free-to-play player quickbars and Warzone limitations:
Originally posted by DamionSchubert (Source)
We’ve been observing PTS closely over the last few days. In that time, we have generally been very pleased with how well the build has been performing, as well as overall reaction to the build both on the boards and in-game. That being said, based on community and internal feedback here and further deliberation, we will in short order make the following changes to the Free to Play restrictions:
- 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.
We’ve found some crucial bugs that needed stomping, which is good. These changes will make their way to you probably early next week.
There are a couple of key concepts that should be kept in mind as you review free to play changes. The first is that, to be honest, all of you are looking at a gameplay mode that you will likely never see. Subscribers who choose to cancel their account will typically revert to something that we refer to as preferred status. My fellow designer Nathan Emmott has a post up describing the ins and outs of Preferred Status. Originally, the second quickslot bar was part of preferred status, but this morning based on feedback here and what they were seeing in the community we decided to give it to everyone.
The second is Warzones. Perhaps the most interesting point regarding the Warzones limitation is that some players have concerns that putting limitations on Warzone runs might make Warzone queues less likely to fire. While it is possible that this may happen, we don’t think it will — our subscriber base likely will not shrink much, and for some of our competitors, converting to Free-to-Play has resulted in a subscriber increase! Which means that Warzone queues should likely see improvement from what you experience in game, and at minimum be relatively unchanged in experience.
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.
That being said, it is important conversely that the subscription offers subscribers strong, tangible benefits over the Free-to-Play experience. We value our subscribers greatly, and they are crucial to the success of Star Wars: the Old Republic.
Thank you for helping being our guinea pigs through this experience, and please continue to keep posting your feedback on issues here. We’re listening!
For more information on the Cartel Market and how it’s shaping up so far on the PTS, stay tuned later today for our PTS Cartel Market preview.