Monday, 16 November 2015

My Fine-to-Play experience in SW:tOR

If you've read this blog for a while (although, to be completely honest, why the Hell would you?) you'll know that until recently I only blogged about SW:tOR; it was the only game I played.

Not long ago, however, other games started to get a mention here and there (Wildstar, primarily, and GW2).

I realised that after three years of playing SW:tOR exclusively, it was time I branched out and tried other things. So I chose a bunch of games that had Free to Play (F2P) models and that looked mildly interesting and I set about installing them on my trusty Linux operating system.

I used to easily rack up 20-30 hours a week of game-time. These days, between other games and RL commitments, I squeeze in significantly less, making the $20 a month (after converting my South Pacific Pesos to USD) subscription much less of a value-for-money proposition.

So I cancelled my recurring payments and waited for the day my account got bounced back into the friendzone that is Preferred status.

That day came recently, and with it it brought a raft of unexpected difficulties. This blog post is my way of venting about, exploring, and possibly finding peace with, those problems.

As the Escrow flies:

This was a weird problem to bump into. I knew going in that I was going to be limited to 350K in-game currency on any given toon. I took the precaution of stockpiling commodities that I could reliably sell for a reasonable amount whenever I needed cash (but not more than I could bank in any one transaction).

The problem has arisen because I didn't bother to check the market price on some of the unlocks I need as a Preferred account. For some reason, people think it's sane to list items that are only of use to F2P accounts for more than a Freeper can have in their wallet at any given time (in some cases twice as much).

I know that I have access to the Escrow system, and that when I have enough currency to afford the unlock I need, I can cough up some Cartel Coins to pull the appropriate (preset) amount back into my active wallet to buy the unlock. But as a Freeper, it takes a longer to save up that cash. And the experience is no sweeter knowing you're being gouged for (up to) twice your allowable limit.


Edited to add: I've explored this situation more fully in a follow-up post here.

Cartel Coin Stipend(ed):

This was a silly oversight on my part. Once I realised the difficulty I was going to have buying the necessary unlocks with in-game currency, I thought to myself "Oh, that's fine. I'll just wait and get them with my Cartel Coin stipend.

Except my stipend has ended. Or it would have if not for the fact that I have a security key attached to my account. 

Which means I can score 100 Cartel Coins a sixth what I'm used to. At this rate it would take three months to save up for the cheapest unlock I need (which only lasts a week).



The unlock I keep referring to is the Weekly PvP Pass. The one that gives unlimited access to PvP for a week to non-subscribers. 

Aside from the cost of the subscription, another reason I was keen to downgrade my account was to focus-level some toons I created solely for PvP. 

I'd left them languishing while I concentrated on getting my PvE toons up to max-level and through Shadow of Revan (as well as grinding out all the Legacy-bound companion gear and weapons I needed from Rishi and Yavin).

Since a Preferred account is topped at six active characters, I figured I could activate my PvE main, and then, one at a time, activate and level my lowbie PvP characters.

Yeah..that's gonna be tough when I'm only allowed to do five Warzones a week!

And to think, there's so many subscribers in this game who NEVER set foot in a single warzone...and they have unlimited access!!


Artifactually Speaking:

So far I haven't activated any characters other than my PvE main. I wanted to glut myself on the 'Alliance' content at the end of KotFE Chapter 9 first. 

But even though it's my main PvE character, I do PvP on it as well, and I happened to be in my PvP gear when my account was demoted. And now I can't take it off. 

F2P and Preferred accounts need to buy an unlock in order to be able to use Artifact (purple) level gear (because of course, why not?!).

Like most people, I've worked hard to attain purple gear. Only now all that gear is worthless to me. I can't use it until I get the unlock (which thankfully is account wide and permanent):

But until I can save up the Cartel Coins for it (at my new crippled rate) I'm too scared to take off my (purple) PvP gear for fear I won't be able to either equip it again or put my PvE gear on instead. 

So I can't take off my PvP gear, can't equip my PvE gear, and can't buy upgrades to either!


Edited to add: I've just found out that I can, in fact, equip the purple items that were greyed out to me when I wrote this. All I had to do was log out with them in my inventory (they were in Legacy Storage before). Apparently they are "Previously authorized by subscription" according to the tooltip.


But it's not all bad.

Admittedly I haven't been a Preferred account holder for even a week yet, but so far, I'm not hating it. Yes there are some obstacles to my original idea. But they're not driving me away from the game.

In fact, the gameplay changes introduced in update 4.0, and the fact that I'm now playing for free, is attracting me to the game even more. I like that I'm having the same fun as I used to, without the monthly price tag.

Cheers, and thanks for reading.

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