Star Wars the Old Republic: Free to Play Details

Star-Wars-The-Old-Republic

Sadly we all saw Old Republic barreling head first toward free-to-play a long time ago especially when we heard of the downsizing. Never a good sign. Now we have better details on what you will and will not have access to if you opt for F2P.

So for those who loved the storyline of the game and the single player aspects you are in luck because you get that for free. As far as other parts of the game they decided to put you on a three times a week program (kind of like how your wife might do you). This means things like Flashpoints, Warzone battles and Space Missions will only be accessible three times in a week.

Now no F2P worth its salt is without add on items you have to purchase and in SWTOR’s case you can purchase Weekly Passes to give you unlimited access to all the above restricted instances. The same goes for Operations, there is no 3-day pass for that so you will need to purchase a weekly one. The problem here is that most purple loot cannot be equipped so what is the point of running an Operation if you cannot wear the loot. I guess that is the point.

Star Wars the old republic - free to play - features list

Like other MMO’s before it namely Everquest and EQ2, you are have less Cargo Bay and Inventory space which can become an issue, but fear not because you can use Cartel Coins to purchase additional slots. Other things to make the F2P version a little less attractive and give subscribers a reason to keep paying includes priority login as far as the queues, a faster cool-down on Quick Travel and the ability to use the Emergency Fleet Pass. Finally you only get one Crew Skill slot with F2P, as well as a limited number of Field Revivals to use when you die.

So we all know why this is happening. Old Republic subscriptions has been dropping like zombies in The Walking Dead. The question is will this bring in new players or give subscribers a reason to go free-2-play instead. Only time will tell and speaking of which we still do not have a date when F2P will go live. The original word was “sometime this fall” and yet here we are. When SWTOR goes F2P will you start playing?

Star Wars: The Old Republic going free to play

star wars the old republic

I remember looking into our official Obsolete Gamer crystal ball and seeing that DC Superheroes Online was destined for the free 2 play route and it came true. After playing Star Wars, The Old Republic for a weeks, sadly, I knew it was headed that way as well. When we reported that SWTOR were downsizing and then offering free 2 play for up to level 15, it was inevitable.

EA sent word via a press release that The Old Republic will indeed go free to play this November. In addition, the game will cost only $15 starting next week and will come with a free month of gametime. Now as expected, there will still be a subscription service for SWTOR that grants you access to additional content and features of the game. For the free to play model you can level all the way up to 50 and enjoy most of the features of the game.

Here is a breakdown of the two options for Star Wars:

Subscription – A service designed for players who want unrestricted access to all the game features via ongoing subscription or by redeeming a Game Time Card. In addition to gaining access to all game content as our current subscribers do now, subscribers will receive ongoing monthly grants of Cartel Coins, the new virtual currency that will be introduced later this fall. Cartel Coins can be used to purchase valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.

Free-To-Play – The first 50 levels will be Free-to-Play, with restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be “unlocked” with Cartel Coins.

Check out the chart as well:

star wars the old republic subscription vs free features

We will spare you the PR spin on the upcoming change. We all know the game had flaws and in today’s market gamers are not going to continue paying for something they feel should be free. Just like with DC heroes, the people left in mass droves after the first month and the spin began, but in the end it went free to play and SWTOR has followed suit.

Is this a failure for Bioware and EA, will you find yourself playing the game once it goes free to play?

Atlantica Online Review

Atlantica Online screenshot

One Sentence Review:
“A modern day MMO that’s a mix of Ogre Battle and Shining Force”

Overall Review Score:
8 out of 10

The Good:
– MMO version of a remake of Ogre Battle (SNES) and Shining Force (Sega Genesis).
– Free to Play MMO that for the most part has no subscription system.
– Laid back MMO for PVE.
– Great music creates a nice atmosphere.
– Great auto travel system.
– Gets-the-job-done auto combat system (for PVE).
– Awesome crafting system.
– Awesome party system for power leveling other players.
– Addictive.
– Daily and weekend special events.
– Many optimized gameplay functions that are taken from other great MMOs.
– Some quests require you to type something in reply to a question (making it more like a real RPG or old text adventure game).
– Guild to Guild, Nation to Nation warfare, cross server warfare.
– A guild can control one town and run it (infrastructure, improvements, population, etc.).
– Cross server based player crafting run economy.
– Referral and mentoring system for getting benefits of referring new players and power leveling them faster.
– World based on Earth’s map so you don’t need to learn the geography of some random fantasy world.
– The art style of the game looks a lot like Soul Calibur.
– Most of the time you can play the game while afk or alt tabbed, when doing pve.
– So much killing… oh and when you kill, you craft at the same time!
– All the concepts and items that can be bought with real world money can also be bought with in game money.
– In a high level area, a mob of mobs of monsters can potentially jump you. That makes the game a lot more challenging (feels like a last stand kind of fight).

The Bad:
– Addictive.
– Some game functions do require having almost like a subscription because they expire in X amount of days.
– You don’t get to directly do stuff with your high level friends until much later in the game when you are all top levels. The game feels like a single player RPG until then.
– The servers can’t sometimes handle the load of having many players on it, like on the weekends during special event days (when most people play).
– Some common known bugs in the game are not addressed by the developers.
– Quest givers are retarded.
– Some quests require you to type something in reply to a question.
– Some people use bot programs but there are ways to rob their stuff.
– Referral program does not have a URL link with your account name embedded where a new player can download the game to give you credit for the referral automatically.
– Western audiences might be turned off from the game looking like a Korean MMO but hardcore gamers won’t be.
– Most parts of the game will be too laid back for the pvp mmo crowd (the kind that shouts all the time over ventrilo or team speak).
– The AI is pretty retarded.
– A lot of grinding.
– Repetitive kind of quests (kill, collect, buy, go here) … just the setting changes.
– Pay to win “free-to-play” problem. Some super characters that can only be bought at the real money store cost about $50 EACH. This is a game breaker for most people. They should learn from World of Tanks and League of Legends and only make the premium characters about $10 each maximum. Although this is true, they do give you about $60 worth of free stuff (licenses) which makes power leveling a LOT faster. There are sales sometimes for premium stuff and rarely you can get them from a special in game event but most people won’t wait for that to happen.
– Some UI problems like it giving certain chat windows priority over others making you waste time clicking.
– There is an PVP execution called King’s Judgement where a guild leader that is in a level 5 nation can challenge a player to punish him. If the defender loses then he permanently gives the challenger a piece of equipment.
– More drama than a spanish soap opera, except without all the hot bitches.

Conclusion:
A great game to play at work or if need to go afk a lot.

Download Link for Atlantica Online:
http://atlantica.nexon.net/

On the Record: Champions Online goes Free-to-Play

Champions Online Free for All Box
Champions Online Free For All

Champions Online

Late last week we told you about Champions Online going free-to-play. This week we wanted to go a bit deeper into this story and find out about the reasoning behind the move as well as this emerging new model for MMO’s to follow. Obsolete Gamer was able to talk with Shannon Posniewski, Executive Producer at Cryptic Studios about the changes.

Obsolete Gamer: What were some of the reasons for wanting to make Champions free-to-play?

Shannon: We think that a lot of players have made a transition from wanting subscriptions to wanting to pay as they go. Traditionally, North American gamers have preferred all-inclusive subscriptions to microtransacted games. This has changed over the last two or three years. The advent of microtransaction-based social games helped bring about acceptance of this model, I think. At minimum, it proved a robust market existed.

 

We were finding that many people who played our trial loved the game, but weren’t as willing to subscribe monthly. So we began to explore going free-to-play. We decided to provide a hybrid model because there still were plenty of players who prefer subscriptions. At the business level, subscriptions are nice because they are more predictable than a la carte item purchases.

All of this is driven by our desire to have more people playing Champions. Having more people in the game is better for a bunch of reasons. Mainly, it’s more fun to have a lot of people around on the social level. There’s more heroes to do missions with, chat with, duel with, and so on. It’s just a better game when there are a lot of people to play with.

Of course, on the business side, having more players means that there are more people who may spend some money. We use this revenue to add new content, powers, zones, and so on. So, the more people who come in and spend money, the more things we can add to and improve in Champions.

Obsolete Gamer: Did the recent release of DC Universe Online have an impact on your decision pro or con?

Shannon: Not really. We had been considering going free-to-play for a while.

Obsolete Gamer: Some fans feel that when a MMO goes free-to-play that means it is on its way out, what can you tell us to counter this belief?

Shannon: Well, for us it definitely doesn’t mean that Champs is on its way out. The early success we’re already experiencing with Free for All is great, but we always figured the transition would encourage more users to play. And, given what great competitors like Turbine have achieved with their games, it’s clear that a switch in business model can actually mean new life, not less life. So I think that’s a misconception some users have.

It is a big change to move from a subscription model to a microtransaction model. It’s frightening to the bean counters because it means potentially giving up a nice, even flow of revenue for something which is comparably unpredictable. They see such a switch as very risky. I suspect, then, that some studios may wait until it’s too late before they bite the bullet and try to switch. By then, though, they may have lost the social momentum that MMOs need to survive.

I think the shift in how players want to pay for games has made it rough going for subscription-only games over the last couple years. We’ve been watching this change here at Cryptic for a long while. All our games have had in-game stores, which we used to get our feet wet before taking the plunge. The comments about loving Champs, but not wanting to pay a subscription, became so prevalent that we decided to go for it.

Obsolete Gamer: Does your free-to-play model follow anyone else’s or is it original and if so how?

Shannon: We use a hybrid model that combines free-to-play and subscription aspects. A number of other games do the same kind of thing. We decided to make it as simple as possible, though. There are only two kinds of players, Silver and Gold. Gold Members are subscribers. Silver Players are not. Some other models have four of five levels, which we found confusing.

A lot of the specifics are different in terms of what you get when you are a Gold Member. We wanted to find something in Champs that a casual player might not really care about and provide that to Gold Members as part of the subscription, since they’re enthusiast players who would care. We decided that being able to make a free-form hero (choosing powers and abilities from any framework as you wish) was a good split. We found that brand-new players were often confused about this anyway; they were used to having the role of their characters more defined and their advancement more tightly controlled.

We also don’t break our players up. They all play in the same universe. And, we don’t gate content. We decided to let everyone play all of the core content in the game and advance to the maximum level for free.

In the store, some items we sell will be familiar: XP bonuses, health buffs, damage buffs, and so on. Other items are pretty special to Champions: transform into a werewolf, growing and shrinking, and calling for a sidekick are examples. Of course, we also sell costume parts like we always have. We looked at other games to help us set prices on the items we sell in the store.

Obsolete Gamer: What are the main advantages for those who still pay monthly or are part of the gold membership?

Shannon: Anyone who subscribes, either by paying monthly or with a lifetime subscription, is a Gold Member.

Gold Members are entitled to many things that a Silver Player has to pay for. All the Adventure Packs, power frameworks, and Archetypes are included at no further charge, including any new ones introduced in the future. They have access to an extra dozen costume packs, and several travel powers for free. They also receive a stipend of 400 tokens every month.

But the big feature, which Silver Players cannot get, is the ability to build a free-form hero. Silver Players must choose an Archetype to base their hero on. This specifies which powers the hero can have and what role they play, much like a class in other MMORPGs. A free-form hero has practically no restrictions on which powers they can have. They can choose from any framework they want to make exactly the hero they imagine.

We actually have a handy Features Matrix online to better describe what Gold Members and Silvers Players get… http://champions-online.com/f2p_matrix

Obsolete Gamer: As for updates and expansions how will that be handled with free-to-play?

Shannon: Right now, our Adventure Packs (which can be thought of as micro-expansions) are free for Gold Members and have a small cost for Silver Players. Any new gameplay or systems features we introduce will likely be free for everyone. Our updates are free for everyone.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you think the a-la-carte system of buying various items and access is the future for MMO’s?

Shannon: I think a hybrid model is likely to go on for some time, maybe forever. Some people (and certainly the business) prefer subscriptions. But I think that the a-la-carte model is here to stay and will likely be the predominant revenue stream from here on out.

Free Stuff – Hello Kitty Online (MMO)

Is Hello Kitty giving me the finger?
Is Hello Kitty giving me the finger?

Free Stuff – Hello Kitty Online (MMO)

What can be more hardcore than Hello Kitty Online?

In a world were the MMO market is flooded with a ton of fantasy games with scantily clad super sluts with high armor classes, a ton of games where you fly your ship mining asteroids only to get jumped by Goon Squad, and a handful of post-apocalypse “let’s sit around crafting stuff out of used toilet paper” games, it’s nice to see a refreshing change with Hello Kitty Online. Sure, you might just be a 7 year old girl or a 40 year old pedophile but there is enough content and social interaction to keep you online. Umm… did I just say that out loud?

Click here to enter the world of Hello Kitty Online!

Free Stuff – Kingdom of Loathing

Kingdom of Loathing ... moxie baby YEAH!!!!
Kingdom of Loathing … moxie baby YEAH!!!!

Kingdom of Loathing is the ultimate play at work FREE MMO! The game is web based and it’s a total trip. The money system in the game consists of MEAT. The crafting system is basically making real alcoholic drinks and you gain bonuses by getting liquored up. The graphics are stick figures and drawings that are like made by little kids but what can you expect for FREE, ya cheap bastard! You can play the game at the following link: http://www.kingdomofloathing.com