As 2012 comes to a close and we celebrate the one-year anniversary of Star Wars: The Old Republic, we thought it'd be interesting to take a look back at the articles Darth Hater has published over the past year and see which ones were the most popular. Browsing the articles that have had the most views of 2012 gives an interesting snapshot of how the year went for SWTOR and Darth Hater. Patch notes during major updates (and long downtimes) account for several of the top viewed articles, so those were excluded from the list. Hit the jump for the list in full.
Star Wars: The Old Republic's Free to Play model is live. BioWare posted a new video on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic site providing some additional information. Cory Butler explains details regarding "Preferred" status, highlights several customization options available on the Cartel Market, and talks about limited time Life Day items.
As with any Free to Play launch, there are restrictions that need to be...well...evaluated. Luckily, over the last couple weeks BioWare listened. In response, changes came to the new option starting today.
Starting today, Preferred Status Players will see an increase to their default Quickbars from two (2) to four (4). If you’ve already purchased additional Quickbars, don’t worry: we will be refunding your Cartel Coins for any Quickbar-related purchase.
Additionally, in an upcoming patch (no exact date yet, but players won’t have to wait long), Preferred Status Players will be given four (4) additional character slots, which means that they will have a total of six character slots. As always, Free-to-Play Players can reach Preferred Status simply by purchasing anything from our online store or purchasing a physical copy of the game.
Last but not least, I wanted to share the news that the 50 character limit on Global Active Characters for Subscribers will be removed and increased substantially in the same, aforementioned patch. If you wanted to, you can truly create your own army of Troopers or a legion of Sith Warriors.
For the post in full, visit the official announcement page.
Since the launch of the Free to Play option, a few minor things were changed due to the response of the community. Today, Community Manager Joveth Gonzalez revealed that due to feedback, Preferred Status Players will receive two new Quickbars to use in their journey of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
As you know, we take player feedback very seriously and we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for being a part of our Free-to-Play transition.
When Game Update 1.5 was on PTS, we heard your feedback and increased Quickbars for Free-to-Play Players, increased Warzones from three to five per week, and reduced the Cartel Coin temporary bind.
We want to let you know that we are constantly listening to you folks, and we’ve heard your feedback regarding limited Quickbars for Preferred Status Players.
This is why, after an upcoming patch that is scheduled for next week, Preferred Status Players will be given two additional Quickbars (for a total of four) that will immediately improve their gameplay experience.
We’ll have more details for you – including information for Preferred Status Players that have already purchased extra Quickbars - once the change goes live.
For the post in full, head over to the official forum.
With Game Update 1.5 and the F2P conversion upon us, many people have spent the last few weeks dissecting and analyzing all of BioWare’s decisions regarding how they have structured the conversion and the new Cartel Shop. Some have been received positively, others with disdain and dislike. However, there is one aspect that immediately gets my blood boiling -- Cartel Packs. Read on after the jump as I lay out just why I think these lottery boxes are possibly the worst thing to happen to The Old Republic, and MMOs in general.
This week's Open Forum is a little different from what we usually do. Since Game Update 1.5 and the Free to Play option just came out, we’d like to see what the community at large thinks about the new content. How many Cartel Coins did you start out with? What did you spend those initial coins on? Did you end up buying more coins even as a subscriber? If you do not subscribe, did the game convince you to buy coins to use on things? If so, which points convinced you to buy coins to unlock? If you have a comment that does not fit these questions but you think is relevant to the subject, feel free to add it after the jump as well.
We will hand select a few choice comments to be featured in the next podcast episode. Be constructive with your comments and do not flame or degrade others. We will moderate accordingly.
Now that Game Update 1.5 is on the live servers, we've taken some time to aggregate all of our coverage into an easy-access compendium for your referencing pleasure. Below the jump you'll find a convenient table of contents linking to all of the related content and more we've produced here at Darth Hater. This guide will be continually updated as new content is added to the site, so take a second to bookmark it and tell your friends. You can also look for the handy link in the "Feature" box to the top right of your web browser for easy navigation in the future from our homepage. Keep reading to check it out!
Update: All servers are back online!
With the Star Wars: The Old Republic launch of Free to Play and Game Update 1.5 today, also comes the launch of the new SWTOR online store. Located at buy.swtor.com, players can now purchase Cartel Coin packages of various size and cost:
- $4.99 - 450 Cartel Coins (90 Cartel Coins per dollar)
- $9.99 - 1050 Cartel Coins (105 Cartel Coins per dollar)
- $19.99 - 2400 Cartel Coins (120 Cartel Coins per dollar)
- $39.99 - 5500 Cartel Coins (137 Cartel Coins per dollar)
For the full list head over to buy.swtor.com. For additional information on items available for purchase with Cartel Coins, check out our piece listing all available items and their costs as well as our article examining the real money costs of these items.
Update: Additional details regarding the bonuses players receive for subscribing, using security keys, and more are available now as well.
With the Star Wars: The Old Republic Free to Play model launching tomorrow, players have several decisions to make. Former subscribers are considering coming back to the game. Current subscribers are debating whether or not to cancel their subscription and continue playing as Preferred status. New players of all backgrounds and various levels of MMO experience will be coming to the game for the first time. Recently we took a look at how many Cartel Coins it would cost Preferred and F2P players to unlock the same features available to a subscriber. At that time, we did not know how much Cartel Coins will cost in real money. BioWare gave us some price points during last week’s Press Q&A session. Today we do some math and present some real money numbers with the various Cartel Market unlocks.
When the Free to Play model for Star Wars: The Old Republic was first announced, a November timeframe was given. Now we have the exact date. On a conference call with members of the media yesterday, BioWare confirmed that Free to Play and Game Update 1.5 will go live on Thursday, November 15th. Luckily enough for us, we were selected as part of the group of sites to take part in the call and were able to ask questions of our own of the developers.
Several other details came out of the call, including the pricing for Cartel Coins. Packages for Cartel Coins will start at $4.99 for 450 Cartel Coins and go up to $39.99 for 5500 Cartel Coins. Several additional packages will be available in between with the value players get for their dollar increasing as the size of the package increases. Also noted was that subscribers who pay for several months at a time will receive more than 500 Cartel Coins as their monthly reward though BioWare gave no example on the amount that players would receive in exchange for the extra months.
Additional notes from the call can be found after the jump.
Update: Free to Play Preview Part 2 added to the bottom of the post. Podcast where we discuss the incoming features is available now as well.
With the Free To Play launch coming soon to Star Wars: The Old Republic, current subscribers will be faced with an important choice - Continue to subscribe or cancel their subscription and convert to a free account? Many factors must be considered when making that decision. Among the considerations are: Which types of gameplay does the player participate in? How often does the player engage in those activities? How important is character and companion customization? How many character slots do I want on each server? Are crew skills and access to the GTN necessary?
Players who remain active subscribers will generally not be limited in any of those ways. Players who cancel their subscriptions will have to unlock or purchase access via the new Cartel Coin currency. After the jump, we take a look at the limitations imposed on players who choose to no longer subscribe and the cost in Cartel Coins in order to unlock the features that subscribers have access to.
With the upcoming Free to Play system coming to Star Wars: The Old Republic in the near future, BioWare used their official forums to collect questions from the community last week. Senior Producer Blaine Christine has now answered several of those questions. Among the revelations are that Free and Preferred players will be limited to two character slots per server and the credit cap for Preferred players will be 350k credits. (As opposed to 200k credits for F2P players.)
VarrusTheEthical: How often can we expect new content to appear on the Cartel Market?
Blaine: You’ll see regular adjustments to the Market that line up with game patches. We plan to make content additions as often as once a month (including new Cartel Packs!), but the major releases will be every 4-6 months.
The full Q&A can be found after the jump.
With Free-to-Play on its way shortly in November, we thought it a perfect time to ask players what they think of the restrictions. In this week’s Open Forum, we want to ask all of you out there your thoughts on the subject. Do you think the restrictions are appropriate? Are they too harsh? Should BioWare change some of them? If so, which ones? With the preferred status restrictions announced, are you more apt to unsubscribe? If you have any feedback that does not fit the above questions, feel free to include it here as well in the comments section of this post.
We will hand select a few choice comments to be featured in the next podcast episode. Be constructive with your comments and do not flame or degrade others. We will moderate accordingly.
Since the first unveiling of the new +41 crystals being a part of the Free-to-Play system, many in the community raised concerns. The issues brought up range from destroying low-level Artificing, altering low-level PvP progression, Flashpoint gear progression, and more. To say this addition is a contentious one would be understating it. To help in understanding why this will occur, Principal Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert took to the forum to answer community concerns.
So the other bit of discussion to have is about the color crystals. I thought in this case that I would start the discussion with all of you, so that you could understand our logic and guide our thinking.
Currently, these crystals appear in cartel packs with a level 10 requirement, and on the store with a level 35 requirement, in order to access stats roughly equal to a standard level 50 color crystal. It's worth noting that color crystals are something that the itemization team stopped improving the itemization of shortly after launch, because people really hated losing their signature lightsaber color because it was no longer Best in Slot. We have, incidentally, seriously entertained removing all itemization from color crystals entirely (it makes many problems go away for us), but we didn't have the time to make such a large change on itemization before this patch went live.
The reason why we put these in with low level requirement is pretty simple: getting an item you can't use in the Cartel Packs really sucks. It's the same reason we pursued the tech that allowed us to make mounts adaptive - we expect a very large influx of new players when we launch free to play, and those guys opening cartel packs to get items they can't use for months (literally, for casual players!) is a negative experience, not a positive one.
So after discussing with the balance team, we decided to put these in with lower level requirements, with the following reasoning:
- The balance math shows the bump to be pretty good at level 10 (not something the balance team was uncomfortable with, though), but pretty unremarkable by the time you hit, say, level 30 or so. Since pretty much open world PvP doesn't happen at those low levels, the impact on open world PvP is pretty much negligable.
- The way the math works out, the benefit pretty much washed away by the bolster system in warzones, which means there is no significant advantage there.
- The crystals are exactly as good as end-game color crystals, which means they have ZERO impact on endgame activities (level 50 ranked warzones, operations, heroic flashpoints, etc). We're still philosophically avoiding putting any stat advantage at this level that subscribers cannot earn through reasonable normal play.
- The fact that these items are fully tradeable means that players who do think there's a balance advantage here can acquire them on the GTN for pure credits without spending a single cartel coin.
The net result of all of this is that slapping one of these color crystals in your saber at level 10 effectively makes levelling from levels 10 up somewhat easier, with the benefits tapering off quickly as the player levels up, and eventually zeroing out altogether. We felt, in general, that that was okay. The focus groups that we ran also seemed to think it was okay, as long as we avoided endgame power.
We are more than open to having a discussion about this and other options here (with the proviso that we have very limited time to make changes before this goes live!) if this continues to be perceived as an issue.
Head to the official forum for the thread in full. For now though, what are your thoughts on the matter?
Since our initial foray into Free-to-Play on the Public Test Server, we wondered about the preferred status. Up until now, we had no idea exactly what it entailed or how players become a part of it. In a follow up post on Damion Schubert's changes post, BioWare Systems Designer Nathan Emmott jumps in to detail how players become preferred, their unique restrictions, and more.
By now - from the comments here, on Reddit, and our community sites - y'all have gotten a good look at both our Cartel Market, and the Free-to-Play experience. I've seen a whole lot of back and forth discussions on what we are offering to our Free-to-Play Players, specifically when it comes to what features we have locked off or restricted when compared to Subscribers. Well, I wanted to jump into the discussions here to introduce our Preferred Player Status.
When we launch our Free-to-Play option this Fall, it will include three ways of playing The Old Republic: as a Subscriber, as a Free-to-Play Player, or with Preferred Status! We have previously mentioned Preferred Player Status on our website (http://www.swtor.com/free/features) but have not really gone into details, something I plan to address here.
Once our Free-to-Play option launches, Free-to-Play Players will gain Preferred Player Status by making a single purchase through our website. This purchase can simply be a quantity of Cartel Coins, or a Game Time Card, or even a month of a Subscription. Additionally, former Subscribers who are returning as Free-to-Play Players, will find they have Preferred Status!
As a Preferred Status Player, you will gain the following benefits compared to Free-to-Play Players:
• The Sprint ability at Level 1
• Access to your Cargo Hold (an 80 item Player Bank)
• Access to Secure Trade
• The ability to send Mail, including one (1) attachment
• Increased allowance for chat message frequencies in Public chat channels (such as /general)
• An increased Credits Cap
• Access to the Who List
• Three (3) additional Sale Slots on the Galactic Trade Network (for a total of 5)
• One (1) additional active Crew Skill Slot (for a total of 2)
• Reduced skill point respecialization costs
• Increased Server queue priority
In addition to the above benefits, Subscribers who return as Preferred Status Players will find that they retain any Cargo Hold and Inventory expansions they had unlocked, any Legacy Unlock or Perk they have gained (including Species) and can continue to use any Artifact equipment that was bound to them previously.
To view the thread, hit the official forum.
Update: Community Manager Joveth Gonzalez commented on security keys for preferred players.
@zirak @BigDamn_Heroes @SWTOR FTP and Preferred cannot use NEW keys, but if you had one as a subscriber and then downgraded, you can.
During this week's podcast, we mentioned how most of us had issues with a few of the restrictions going too far. Well, BioWare appears to have listened to the community at large who also professed concerns regarding a few of the restrictions. Principal Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert jumped on the forum to let players know how they plan to change Free-to-Play in response.
We've been observing PTS closely over the last few days. In that time, we have generally been very pleased with how well the build has been performing, as well as overall reaction to the build both on the boards and in-game. That being said, based on community and internal feedback here and further deliberation, we will in short order make the following changes to the Free to Play restrictions:
- Free-to-Play players will now get a second quickslot bar.
- Free-to-Play players will now be able to do 5 Warzones per week instead of 3.
- The Cartel Coin item lock (i.e. temporary bind) will be reduced to 3 days for Free-to-Play players, and 2 days for subscribers.
We've found some crucial bugs that needed stomping, which is good. These changes will make their way to you probably early next week.
There are a couple of key concepts that should be kept in mind as you review free to play changes. The first is that, to be honest, all of you are looking at a gameplay mode that you will likely never see. Subscribers who choose to cancel their account will typically revert to something that we refer to as preferred status. My fellow designer Nathan Emmott will in short order have a post up describing the ins and outs of preferred status. Originally, the second quickslot bar was part of preferred status, but this morning based on feedback here and what they were seeing in the community we decided to give it to everyone.
The second is Warzones. Perhaps the most interesting point regarding the Warzones limitation is that some players have concerns that putting limitations on Warzone runs might make Warzone queues less likely to fire. While it is possible that this may happen, we don't think it will -- our subscriber base likely will not shrink much, and for some of our competitors, converting to Free-to-Play has resulted in a subscriber increase! Which means that Warzone queues should likely see improvement from what you experience in game, and at minimum be relatively unchanged in experience.
That being said, one of our golden rules is that the Free-to-Play experience should not cheapen the experience for paying subscribers. If it turns out that the Free-to-Play conversion results in a degraded Warzone experience once we go live for subscribers, you can rest assured that we will quickly make adjustments to the system to ensure that subscribers have an optimal experience.
That being said, it is important conversely that the subscription offers subscribers strong, tangible benefits over the Free-to-Play experience. We value our subscribers greatly, and they are crucial to the success of Star Wars: the Old Republic.
Thank you for helping being our guinea pigs through this experience, and please continue to keep posting your feedback on issues here. We're listening!
To see the thread, hit the official forum.
With the latest patch to the Public Test Server, the PTS now has the Cartel Market in the game. In order to bring you the news of what is contained in the market as quickly as possible, we setup a gallery below with all of the items listed with their descriptions. Feel free to browse the Cartel Market.
Note: Text version is now available. Our DB is now up to date with all of the items added with the update.
Earlier this morning, BioWare’s Principal Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert answered a few questions regarding the upcoming Free-to-Play option. Both of the questions involved responses to the restrictions and changes the game will incur. In the first, Damion Schubert outlines the future of the security vendor and fleet passes.
I asked Principal Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert this question. He said that the Fleet Passes will still be available on the Security Key Vendor when the Cartel Market launches. As with anything, the contents of the vendor may be changed in the future, but we do want to have strong incentives to encourage subscribers to apply security measures to their accounts. Free-to-Play players won't be able to apply security keys to their accounts at the launch of the Cartel Market.
Damion Schubert then addresses if players can acquire Cartel Coins through in-game activities.
I talked to Damion Schubert (Principal Lead Systems Designer) and asked about this topic to get some official clarification. He said that players will not be able to earn Cartel Coins from in-game activities when the Cartel Market launches, but that it's something we're investigating for the future. We like the idea but needed to focus on ensuring we had a solid framework for Cartel Coins and the Market first.
Both threads you can find in full on the official forum.
With the Free to Play launch fast approaching, more information is becoming available regarding the details. BioWare posted a new video on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic site providing new information. In the first of what appears to be a series of preview videos, Blaine Christine tells us about some of the restrictions placed on Free to Play players:
- Three species available for character creation: Human, Zabrak, Cyborg
- PvP Warzones restricted to three Warzones per week. New Warzone launching this fall.
- Party Jawa available to those who are subscribed when Free to Play launches.
- Former subscribers who return to SWTOR at the launch of Free to Play will be granted "preferred" status which grants certain feature unlocks.
- Sneak peek at Cartel Market features: Carbonite Chamber, Longspur Sportster Vehicle, Crime Lord's Cartel Pack, Colored Crystals, and a Holo Rancor.
With Free-to-Play on the horizon, players are curious about the restrictions coming with it. Yesterday, BioWare launched a new page outlining them in an effort to do just that. Some of the restrictions are not a surprise while others may be. I decided that it is a great time to dive into the points and give my own take on the matter. We would like to invite you all to add in your own voice to the mix in the comments section of this post. For now though, hit the jump to read more.