Making it free does not make it fun
Needless to say the news that Star Wars: The Old Republic is going to officially go F2P is taking the blogosphere and gaming sites over the last two days. At last look the article on Massively had 1500 comments. I think it is safe to say people have feelings about this.
I of course do as well.
Ok… I shall share.
To give a proper back story though I should disclose that I was a huge Galaxies fan. I played at launch up till the NGE. Even after the NGE I would pop in from time to time, but not with the level of commitment that I had before the changes. To me, Galaxies was the ultimate immersive MMO world. I was NOT this pivotal hero in the epic struggle. I was just another guy running around DURING the epic struggle between the Rebels and the Empire… and I loved every minute of it. I loved the fact that it really and truly felt like the world of Star Wars.
Now to jump forward roughly 8 years to the launch of SW: TOR.
It was not a bad game. I enjoyed it for a few weeks after I picked it up. I played a Bounty Hunter mostly. The story line was fun. Then I stepped outside of the story line and looked around and things fell flat. There was no depth to the world. It was Star Wars… but it did not FEEL like Star Wars to me.
Now to be clear, I do not now nor did I think at the time that the game was poor. It looked nice, handled well on my system and sounded like Star Wars. It just did not pull me in the way Galaxies did. While Galaxies was in and of itself a grind with my character sometimes spending hours at a spot harvesting or killing, it all felt as though it was towards something greater. The creation of my shop, building my home or finally getting that freighter I had been eyeing for so long. They were achievements that took real time and were great moments when they finally came to pass.
Nothing in SW:TOR compelled me to keep playing and grinding away. A new piece of armor? Not that appealing. Getting to the next level just to choose where to spend a simple skill point? No thanks.
So now SW:TOR is going to switch business models to F2P. Will it pull me back in… I highly doubt it.
See about 2 weeks ago, right at the time of the food poisoning incident of 2012 😦 I started reading the Timothy Zahn Thrawn Trilogy again. Anyone that has never read these and considers themselves a Star Wars fan needs to get off their ass and read them RIGHT NOW. They just bring the feel of Star Wars to the page like nothing else written. It helps that they came out at a time before Lucas starting going back and redoing the movies and the prequels. Waiting for the new installments to come out made me feel like a kid again waiting for Empire and Jedi.
Anyway, so I started reading those again and wanted to get some Star Wars gaming going on. I could not fire up Galaxies, thank you so much whoever is really to blame for that, and SW:TOR just did not appeal to me at the time. I did what any sane Star Wars fan would do, I fired up my copy of Knights of the Old Republic and spent the next 4 days blasting and cutting my way thru that epic game like it was the first time I played it so many years ago.
Now some folks have said that SW:TOR going F2P is great as it is a wonderful single player Star Wars RPG. To that I say nay. Playing KOTOR again reminded me just how great of a world the Star Wars mythology is, a feeling that SW:TOR never delivered on at $14.99 a month and will not deliver on for $0.00 a month either.