Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) has launched on Steam this month, 9 years after the MMORPG’s launch. For those that don’t know, SWTOR is a free to play MMO with an optional subscription, and former paying players are known as preferred. Last month, BioWare announced that it would be making some changes to the the limitations that non-subscribers would an encounter in-game. Below are the changes coming.
Increased Credit Cap
Long gone are the days where you could buy a gallon of Bantha milk for five credits. Initially when SWTOR developed its Free-to-Play and Preferred models, a cap of 200,000 credits and 350,000 respectively seemed like a fair amount. Over the years, it’s become a simple truth that those credit amounts don’t buy what it used to though. As the game has grown, so has the economy. Taking this into account, SWTOR will be raising the credit cap of both Free-to-Play and Preferred members to 1,000,000 credits.
Good or Bad: Obviously fantastic change for non-subscribers, as having more credits on you goes a long way to helping players. Prior to this it can be annoyingly tedious to withdraw bit by bit just to use the AH. It almost felt like going to an ATM machine IRL.
Extra Quickbar (Hotbar)
Quickbars are another feature that has been limited between the various account types. Currently Subscribers have six available to them, while Preferred have four and Free-to-Play accounts have just two. When this system was initially designed, only four at most were available. Keeping this in mind, SWTOR will be adding an additional Quickbar for both Preferred and Free-to-Play accounts – increasing the number to five and three respectively. With this addition, players will be able to have more abilities, Mounts, and Mini-pets available to them for immediate use.
Good or Bad: This is good news. Quickbars are a necessity as SWTOR does have quite a number of class skills and other executables we love putting on these bars. Limiting them in the first place came across as greedy – not many F2P MMORPG games at the time locked you out of quickbars.
Medical Probe and Quick Travel
Lastly, there are changes to Medical Probes and Quick Travel. Medical Probes allow a character to revive where they died instead of recovering at a Medical Station. Quick Travel allows characters to immediately travel to a discovered point on their current planet. Both of these features have been primarily available to Subscribers, while Preferred and Free-to-Play players could only obtain consumable versions via the Cartel Market. Both of these features are being removed from the Cartel Market and every player will be able to revive or Quick Travel where applicable.
Good or Bad: Decent, as this is more of a quality of life improvement but it’s not exactly game changing for F2P players.
Are These Enough?
It’s a good first step that BioWare is slowly starting to ease off on these limitations. Is it too late however, considering how the MMORPG landscape has evolved? Today you’ll find many free titles or event Buy to Play titles that ignore these petty limitations altogether. What SWTOR can do is look at the game from a new player perspective in 2020 and evaluate what can make the entire experience better. One way to do so is to make the first couple of expansions free for preferred players. That means if you’ve spent any form of money in-game at all, you’re preferred and eligible. This makes sense as the game will be getting a brand new expansion this September, and might give new players a taste of what to expect in the meantime to justify a subscription.