SWTOR doesn't have a F2P model, only a F2P Demo.
I recently attended the SWTOR Cantina Tour in San Francisco and while I'll get more into my thoughts on this shortly, I have to mention the first thing that not only caught my attention, but enlightened me to why many, like myself, have the opinion that TOR’s F2P model is terrible.
It’s terrible because while Bioware and EA marketed it as "SWTOR is now F2P" they don't consider that the actual game model, but rather purely a demo option. Something similar to Rift’s or WoW's first 20-40 levels of gameplay being F2P. While TOR’s option allows for all story content and limits all other options significantly it now makes sense to me why so many limitations have been put in place.
Unlike true F2P game models such as STO, Tera or TSW which encourages its users to stay logged in playing the game and make their income from not-so-micro-transaction stores, TOR’s model is still that of Rift and WoW where the subscription model is the focus, but augmented with a pay-to-catch-up game store. I say pay-to-catch-up rather than pay-to-win since, with exception of space missions, one can only purchase gear up to a score of 108, not the 140+ that is currently in game from PVE hard mode or PVP tokens.
So now onto my SWTOR Cantina Tour take-a-ways.
I’d like to thank Damion Schubert and Community Manager Eric Musco for doing an awesome Q&A. It was my first time at an event like this and I have to admit my expectations were low, but I was extremely impressed with how forthcoming they were with information that they could answer.
Below I’m listing out the things that I cared most about, but if you’d want to find out more from the event I highly recommend reading, or at least skimming through: Food, Drinks and a lot of laughter.
- Unfortunately for those who want, or would even pay, to be able to re-watch any of the cinematic scenes your character has participated in – it won’t be possible. The game currently does not record all of the interactions your character makes along the way, only the ones that are required for quest and light/dark advances. There are no plans to store more player data in this area.
- Coming to you Soon: this term only means that the team at Bioware has seen a working prototype somewhere internally, it does not actually mean that it will be coming to the players “soon”. Unless you consider six to twelve months “soon”, some out there might I suppose.
- The developers seem to be spending a significant amount of time on updating the Hero Engine to do the things they want players to be able to do in SWTOR. Why more attention was not spent on choosing another game engine wasn't addressed and doesn't matter at this point either way.
- Bioware wants to do fleet ships, but they want to do them right and are putting a lot of planning into this before they will even start working on prototyping this.
- The escape pods were a bad game design that has not been removed yet.
- Expect some Magic Mike outfits for your male toons to be coming in the expansion, stripper outfits won’t be for just females anymore, yay!
- The problem with some classes being over or under-powered is often behind the keyboard.
There was a lot more, but sadly nothing that would make me re-subscribe to the game again. Perhaps when Rise of the Hutt Cartel is released and I see how well they've handled SGR and more interesting endgame options I’ll give the game another shot.