Star Wars: The Old Republic adds 2 million users since F2P switch

BioWare reveals new user milestone following business model conversion; thousands of new players join every day.

by

Since Star Wars: The Old Republic adopted a free-to-play business model in November, over 2 million new accounts have been created and thousands of new players join every day. BioWare executive producer Jeff Hickman revealed the news in a "State of the Game" blog post today.

Recalling the past year, Hickman acknowledged that there was "uncertainty" surrounding The Old Republic as it began to lose subscribers, while some players grew frustrated over the state of the game.

"In fairness, many of the complaints and worries were justified," Hickman wrote.

He explained that BioWare addressed these issues by making it easier to find friends to play with through Group Find, regularly releasing new content updates, and "bringing back vitality to the game" through the introduction of a free-to-play option and new purchasable items.

"So how did it go? Well, you can see for yourself when you log in to the game. Our new, high capacity servers are teeming with people," Hickman said. "Since launch of the free-to-play option we have had over 2 million new accounts created and have thousands of new players jumping in every single day. This means more people to play with, more growth for your guilds, more Warzone matches, and more ways for players to continue to advance their characters."

Hickman said some "dissent" from gamers still exists, but noted this is true for any massively multiplayer online game. And in fact, he said player feedback regarding The Old Republic's new business model and offerings has been "very positive."

In addition to this spring's Rise of the Hutt Cartel digital expansion, Hickman today revealed that The Old Republic will add a new customization feature this summer. This will allow players to change a character's hair style, eye color, body type, or species using Cartel Coins, the title's in-game currency.

Hickman concluded his blog post by noting BioWare still has much to do to make The Old Republic "the best experience it can be." He said the developer is aware players want a hood toggle option, improvements to the Cartel Market pricing a content, and to see various improvements and bug fixes.

"In fact, our major focus after Rise of the Hutt Cartel launches is going to be on 'quality of life' improvements. We will keep at it, I promise," Hickman said. "We’ll keep listening to your feedback and continue to dedicate ourselves to making the game the best it can be. Nothing is more important to us than getting it right."

Discussion

168 comments
mastone123
mastone123

I am just wondering if those 2 miljon are still there or that they just had a look at it because it is free and were gone within the same month.
I never understood the decision to make KOTOR an MMO, I don't mean on a creative level, but on a business level:
Only a portion of gamers like starwars, of the portion that likes starwars only a portion of that likes MMO's ( IE the targetgroup was to small to begin with, WoW is generic enough to appeal to the masses).
So EA just say to Bioware that they had their try but that it has failed on all levels ( not enough MMO to please MMO players not enough RPG to please RPG players) and that it is time to pull the plug.

I agree with John the Foul below that KOTOR 3 should have been made instead, below are some idea's you could implement:
- Start out as a kid( like fable) instead of going for the lost memory route again
- Step away from D&D rules and go for real time combat.

- Step away from character classes( IE Jedi consular/guardian etc) instead of that have people choose how they develop a character based on how often they use a certain type of skill/weapon
- Bring back Pazaak( blackjack) and Swoop races and offer players a possibility to play online against each other with these minigames

- 3 paths( Light, Grey, Dark -side), with 3 separate storylines, companions and missions

- Do not try to implement choices of players from KOTOR 1 &2, instead start out with a canon story or only slightly refer to KOTOR1&2

- Each planet a free roaming level ( no paths)

- Diversity in levels from a lush green world to a city, from modern to ancient

- Crafting/customization of gear and weapons

- Ebon Hawk is a must
- Characters from Kotor 1&2 as cameo appearance throughout the game
- Divide the game into 3 episodes ( Childhood, young adult, adult) where decisions made during each episode affect the world where applicable.
- alternate between exploration, dialoque, racing, puzzles and fighting to keep things interesting
- Make it difficult to see consequences of choices beforehand ( IE the nice answer not always leading to the light side favourable result)
- no DLC unless it is used to bridge the gap between KOTOR 3 and 4, it not only breaks immersion but storytelling as well ( think ME3 with Javik/Leviathan/Omega).You can also make DLC for things like multiplayer worlds or prequels ( as long as it doesn't require a replay or breaks the main game).

If the excuses for DLC is money just calculate what you want to make  on the game and if it means an 80 dollar fully developed game, I'd pick that over a 60 dollar half baked game with DLC to fill in the gaps.



To close I would also advise that after they  announce KOTOR3, that they revamp KOTOR1 and finish KOTOR2, with updated graphics and ask a 3rd party to make this so it doesn't eat away from the KOTOR3 production team and release these in the ramp up to KOTOR3. ( I recently played KOTOR1 again and it wasn't that big of a game, also a lot of reused level elements throughout make it fairly doable)




JohnTheFoul
JohnTheFoul

I'm still shocked that they made this instead of Kotor 3, so I can't really bring myself to give a damn about this crappy mmo failing.

pumpkinpatch
pumpkinpatch

All I can say is... what a shame! How long I waited for SWTOR!! I played the beta like everyone else.  There were  so many problems from the start. I was surprised they planned to go live with so many unresolved issues.  (But what choice did they have?) It didn't feel ready for prime time at launch. 

More than a few players joined SWTOR looking for space combat. But that was left for future development...  Big mistake on their part!! Space combat was little more than a mini-game at launch. How could they have been that stupid?

F2p isn't going to save SWTOR; it ends up costing more than a monthly fee.  I assume it is EA's way of trying to minimize losses before SWTOR is shut down  I hope  Elder Scrolls online does well but after seeing SWTOR  fail, I have serious doubts. 

Let's hope EA doesn't try to develop an MMO based on Mass Effect.  It would ruin what was (IMHO) a perfect trilogy. 

Unfortunately, most MMO's are pretty much the same. If Elder Scrolls doesn't offer anything different, I fear that it too will suffer the same fate. The developers have hit a wall of sorts. What would be both innovative &interesting enough to capture and retain a large fan base? That remains to be seen. 

borelq
borelq

make a game f2p is not a success its a failure. all f2p means is that the game is not worth paying for every money to play Elder Scrolls Online WHOOOOOP WHOOOOOOP 

borelq
borelq

my account been inactive and i dont plan on activating it ever again. this game sucks and is boring as fuck

topgun182
topgun182

EA has a history of dumping games when the profit isn't high enough. Be warned. If I want to buy a subscription, I'll get a magazine. And I used to like this franchise. There was a time all my favorite games were by EA. Now I can't find a game that I would buy.

chipone
chipone

They are counting how much new accounts are created not how much are cancelled. The funny thing is till now you cannot really cancel an account with them so their number show a lot of accounts that are really not active at all. Only the payment sub can be cancelled but not the whole account. I, as many other people have tried to totally cancel my account, as to have my data erased from their servers, unfortunately that is not possible. Yay for corporate manipulation of artificially keeping their sub numbers high!

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

So what that doesnt mean F2p is better than a pay to play model. 99% of the time you pay more on a so called free to play game. THIS game is total crap because it isnt even a proper mmo its linear as hell its the most linear game Bioware has ever made....

bruta
bruta

2 mil yea right.. this game is dead, everything they release since f2p relaunch is based only on milking players via cartel market.

TESO will steal even the few remaining loyal subscribers this failure has left.

Hurvl
Hurvl

This sounds all very good, but I don't care that much about this game. The thing I like about this is that although ToR is seen as a commercial failure (one of the reasons EA's CEO left the company), the Star Wars brand is still popular. Probably popular enough to warrant new games being made. Star Wars 1313 and that RPG Obsidian pitched, http://www.gamespot.com/news/fallout-dev-pitching-star-wars-rpg-6403654, seems very promising, but we're almost as in the dark (side of the Force :P) about 1313 as the RPG, so I hope we hear more on those soon.

Imperiusmax
Imperiusmax

Well may the force be with them then. Lord knows they could use some good news for a change.

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

this is a no-brainer.  i'm not going to waste 20-30 bucks every month to play a game.  that adds up. f2p is the future

FlameBoyBen
FlameBoyBen

honestly, its bioware, there is no way of knowing if they are telling the truth or not

MidNightStrikes
MidNightStrikes

This is one of the better MMOs, FREE. I mean... a little restrictive but... I paid 4.99 just to upgrade to a better status account.. you get alot of content then :D

Digifox006
Digifox006

I am really starting to hate people that call themselves gamers now. Maybe it is just the online comments that I hate, But I miss the days were people knew that the story line of a game is someone's novel and not open for debate. If you like a game fine if you don't like a game fine either way people didn't spend month after month trolling or trashing a game that others will enjoy just fine. They just played something else END OF STORY! Take a Free to play MMO. Gamers are complaining that they are not getting enough stuff when the stuff they are getting is Free. That is sick.

MuddVader
MuddVader

I'm kind of sick of seeing these "f2p success stories."
It's bull**** and it's going to kill future MMO's

I just hope companies don't give up making games that are actually worth the buy and sub, and don't resort to nickel and diming.

TheSabi
TheSabi

Key words "new accounts" that doesn't mean new players.  With the craptastic f2p model it's cheaper for people to make new accounts than spending money on character slots.  It's like saying Wizards 101 really has 50 million people playing.  Also how many of these account are active? no one ever cancels a f2p account.  So a number of them could be people being curious got bored shortly after and never played again but their account is still there.

Brazucass
Brazucass

People should stop playing wow for a while to force it to become FTP

PacoTaco
PacoTaco

Very restrictive F2P model.  But mathematically not that bad if you want to be casual.  

Gave a definite shot in the arm to a well-designed, but fading MMO.


Lothos_Delion
Lothos_Delion

Their version of free to play stinks. You can't do anything and are so limited its not worth the time. If they ever open up the game so users get a decent go ill roll a toon till then ill pass.

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

If they were to tweak the atrocious f2p model then maybe even more people would try it out.  Just a thought.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

And how many players stay?

I bought the game, paid for a sub for 9 months after that, even continued paying out of principle - wanted to send a message that I loved that they had actual local servers for Australia.

Then they went F2P, and I'm treated no differently to a new player who hasn't given them anything. I loaded it up once, noticed that I had to BUY action bars and the ability to hide my helmet slot, gold was capped, companions gone, etc, quit, and never looked back.

Emplehod
Emplehod

@borelq Being a subscription game does not make a game interesting either. Eve Online and WoW are great examples: both are boring as hell. I'm convinced though that a lot of people will never be happy with any game because they like to complain about everything. This is the way of the new generation.

Meteor7
Meteor7

@bruta I have a feeling that TESO will also be a failure of a game as well... I stopped giving a rat's ass on all the new MMOs being release because they all are just bad. Just because it's an Elder Scrolls MMO doesn't mean crap, SWTOR proved that already.

gufberg
gufberg

@bongsyas_23 Not neccesarily. 

A subscription based game has a responsibility to release frequent high quality content which many developers cannot provide in the long run. World of Warcraft was succesful because it maintained high quality updates for a long time. In the first two year of my WoW subscription i bought, perhaps, 2 other games. IN TWO YEARS. 

My point here is that a high quality subscription based game will not be anymore expensive than a pay-once game because you get that much more content and will likely spend less money on other games. You've only got so many hours in a day afterall. 

Personally, i'd rather play a high-quality subscription based MMO than a f2p MMO that releases infrequent, less substantial updates. I'm not trying to argue with you (each to his own) just trying to provide some perspective. 

marzipanwarrior
marzipanwarrior

@Digifox006 But the big problem isn't that they're complaining about the content. It's that SWTOR is advertised as "free" to play, but that's very misleading. Someone will see their website ("Now free to play, download now!"), download the 38GB client, and after playing for a while, discover that you get XP slower, you MOVE slower, you can't equip purple Artifact equipment which you NEED to survive past level 35, and you only get 2 quickbars - 24 slots for attacks, skills, heals, buffs and items - and later in the game, you need at least TWICE that many to survive! It's unfair that they call this "free-to-play" when the reality is that it's nearly impossible to make it to the end of the game for free unless you're really masochistic and have loads of free time to burn. They should really make it clearer that you're getting an extremely nerfed character who has all these restrictions and will move through the game much slower. If you want to argue that one should spend money for enjoying all that content, fine - but then you shouldn't call that "free" to play to begin with! Overall, the f2p and subscription versions are two very different games and they shouldn't disguise the f2p the way they are - as being able to play SWTOR for free. SWTOR: Slow and Impossible Edition would be more accurate.

Emplehod
Emplehod

@MuddVader Even the subscription games still charge extra for things, so what's the difference?

Jarek_Cyphus
Jarek_Cyphus

@MuddVader Guild Wars 2's resounding success disagrees with you.  Freemium is the future, but not every game company is going to be worth a damn at it.

Fiscaldeal
Fiscaldeal

@MuddVader MMOs are very expensive to produce, and F2P is a more lucrative business model. Expect to see almost every MMO be free to play in the future.

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

@MuddVader I think the pay to play model is essentially dead at this point.  WoW will be the last successful one, and even its days are closing in rather quickly.

MuddVader
MuddVader

@Brazucass Haven't they lost a lot of subs lately anyways? I'm not really sure.
Either way, I'm sure if Titan turns out a decent success and replacer, and a lot of people leave WoW, that it will probably end up that way.

lndf117
lndf117

@Daemoroth I subbed for one month and i know that what you said is inaccurate, a subscriber keeps all their customization options, money, and companions, and action bars. You  wouldn't have lost any of your companions even if you stopped subscribing. Now, free players do have a cap on credits action bars and customization options but some of those are lessened if you have a preferred account which means that you once had a sub or paid for something. Also if you subbed for as long as you said you did, you would have been given cartel coins(currency for their real money store) for that. If you are going to complain about a game at least be truthful with those complaints.

dashitbomb
dashitbomb

@gufberg@bongsyas_23SW provided such updates but was killed by D3 and GW2. and as to your premise i would prefer to buy a 60$ Dragon Age each month rather than farming endlessly to no end as a future patch would render my work futile in a couple of months. blizz destroyed gaming with their endless hunt for future useless items and created a whole generation of gameless gamers. prince of persia 2d was more of a challange than wow. swtor did that it emerged you into a story made you feel like you had choices and it was different. it had difficult Fp's  and operations. all in all it IS a better mmo game than wow.

Emplehod
Emplehod

@marzipanwarrior It's free to play. You don't have to spend a cent. Like a lot of people, you feel you should have every benefit of paying players. 

Compare this to other aspects of life: Do you think, if you get free clothing that it should be as good as those who pay for clothes? How about food? Is this any different? No, it isn't. People who pay for things will always get better things. Stop complaining when you're eating for free.

Jarek_Cyphus
Jarek_Cyphus

@marzipanwarrior 


I stopped reading at "Artifact equipment which you NED to survive past level 35."  This is malarkey at its finest; my wife and I each ground up three toons to level 50 in only Premium or Prototype gear, both before and since the F2P conversion, so don't give me or any prospective player that load of bull.  I've had no problems grinding in the F2P model, and if you are, you must have simply died once and complained that the game is too hard for you.  The game is challenging at times, and that's what a lot of us like about it; heaven forbid an MMOG exists with a little thrill to go along with its story.  The game is F2P.  You can play it for free.  You can play it adequately well.  Just because some higher perks are justifiably offered for those willing to shell out a little cash doesn't mean the game isn't F2P. Get over yourself.

Digifox006
Digifox006

@Lothos_Delion i got an IDEA!! It just hit me. why don't you PAY TO PLAY and stop crying that you are getting FREE STUFF!!!!


Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@lndf117 I think you misunderstand, I subbed before the switch, and I honest to god did not have my action bars - I know because I loaded up my lvl 50 and thought my UI was bugged, flipped to another server for my other toons, created a new one, checked my UI profiles, eventually found a post that it's locked and I had to buy it in the store.

Checked the store and found the unlocks, the bars being amongst them.

Everything I said is exactly what I experienced, if it has changed since then I don't know about it, I haven't gone near TOR after that day.

PS - Nope, you didn't misunderstand, though I did not have 4 bars.

Jarek_Cyphus
Jarek_Cyphus

@marzipanwarrior Pot, meet kettle, you're responding to some tough love criticism with an ignorant assumption that my wife and I slave eight hours a day to a game you assume requires your every winking minute of wakefulness to play.  Flawed logic, my friend, and it will get you nowhere but more deeply steeped in ignorance.  Speaking of "getting out more," I'm currently forward deployed in the Western  Pacific, hearing air raid sirens every day, because a maverick president who probably killed mice for fun in his prepubescence has his finger on a trigger somewhere while our own paralyzed leadership decides what the hell to do with itself.  I take breaks like these for gamespot.com with much gratitude, because it's the closest I'll ever get to any video game until I get home, and the last thing I want to read is ignorance by an indolent player who thinks they have to dump their entire soul into a free to play game.  It's free; you have no time=money obligations.  Get real, buddy. 

dominoodle
dominoodle

@marzipanwarrior "You have no choice but to do the never-ending mess of mind-numbingly dull sidequests, killing the same mobs repeatedly and going around finding all the highlighted blue objects to right-click on."

You've just described 90% of MMOs.

People who've played MMOs for years are quite used to the routine.

marzipanwarrior
marzipanwarrior

@Jarek_Cyphus @marzipanwarrior You and your wife must have a whole lot of free time on your hands if you leveled free-to-play characters to level 50, with XP nerfs and all. You have no choice but to do the never-ending mess of mind-numbingly dull sidequests, killing the same mobs repeatedly and going around finding all the highlighted blue objects to right-click on. Not exactly fun for most people, but don't take my word for it. If you're that pissed off and sensitive that you're telling a polite critic of its f2p system to get over themselves, you should probably get out a little more. Away from the keyboard. Stop right-clicking blue things for no reason ad infinitum. That will make anyone bitter.

kyle_360
kyle_360

@Daemoroth dude, the action bar thing is because your UI reset, you can customize it to get them back LOLOLOLOLOL