I wondered for a long time whether western MMOs could survive a free-to-play transition, especially since many of them were bent on having both a cash shop and subscription fee. Star Trek Online
is a key example of this. You couldn't even play that game without a subscription, and yet it still had a cash shop. Then you also had hybrid models like EverQuest II
and Lord of The Rings Online
, which didn't require subscriptions but seemed to force players into one. And despite my initial thinking, even these games thrived -- STO
especially surprised me. Now, Star Wars: The Old Republic
has picked up a similar model, and despite the negativity from the comments on gaming news sites, Electronic Arts
says it is pleased with the results
. In fact, SWTOR
was listed as a major contributor to the company's $185 million in F2P revenue.
As I've stated before, I don't really spend money in SWTOR
's cash shop. But at the same time, I don't have any moral opposition to it. Plus BioWare
is giving me 600 Cartel Coins a month thanks to my subscriptions and security key. It's just easier for me to buy items from the Galactic Trade Market, and no item on the Cartel Market has excited me enough to buy it right away. I know that eventually everything will end up on the GTN, so I just wait.
However, since this model seems to be working well for the game, I thought about where there could be an item that would compel me to immediately buy it from the Cartel Market. I also asked some of my friends whether there are any items that they would immediately buy if they were to appear on the Cartel Market. I received some very interesting results.
Of course, character transfers top a lot of lists. Because players were not given a choice when the server transfers and mergers happened, many people are looking to move some or all of their level 50s to the servers where all their friends are. Personally, I would like to join some of my friends on in the TORWars guild on the Shadowlands server, but the prospect of having to level another character without the Legacy and "twinking" perks that I have on The Ebon Hawk really deters me from joining them.
BioWare has said that character transfers are coming. In fact, if you visit your account right now on the official website, then you will notice that PTS transfers are already available. BioWare mentioned that if PTS transfers and server-to-server transfers didn't happen at the same time, one would shortly follow the other. I'm crossing my fingers that we will see this on the Cartel Market in a month or so.
Players love to change their hair or jewelry or maybe even skin color to suit the occasion. James Ohlen has said that a barber shop is not for a new game but rather for a maturing game. Well, I'd say that SWTOR
is now mature. It's about time the game had a way to change your characters' looks. The game has been live for over a year now, and I don't know about you, but generally speaking, I'm a bit tired of my character's hair style. I need to change her up a bit. And my guy characters need to shave, or in the case of one particular one, grow a beard.
The next step after a barber shop would definitely be species change. Originally, species changes would have been out of the question, but with the legacy system, any species can be any class, so why not allow for a species change? As a roleplayer, I've run into situations where I believed that a certain species didn't fit a specific class, but as the game matured, I realized that in fact it does work. And of course, who doesn't want his own Twi'lek army? You can't have that when your Marauder is a Sith Pureblood.
I will give credit to Laura from my guild for coming up with this one. The Chevin event gave us weapons that could be traded between alts on the same account and same server. However, that leaves people who did not participate in that event and lightsaber-wielding classes at a disadvantage when it comes to equipping alts.
Custom (orange) legacy gear can be kitted with any mod then transferred to one of your alts. If you have a full set of legacy gear, which can be purchased from the legacy vendors on Dromund Kaas or Coruscant, then you can assist your alts by giving them some of your old gear or spending tokens that you have no need for. This includes giving your alts endgame gear mods, such as Black Hole gear.
Unfortunately, custom weapons cannot be bought off the Legacy vendors. My oldest level 50 has a multitude of commendations that it has no use for. I've transferred most of the endgame mods to my other characters through Legacy gear, but my Force-users are severely lacking in the weapons department. I would pay Cartel Coins for a Legacy-bound lightsaber hilt.
Another guildie named Matt suggested that even though BioWare has yet to add a hood toggle in the game proper, BioWare could sell Cartel Market cloaks that have a hood toggle on them. It's possible that an option like that might make some people mad, but if it's too much to change our existing cloaks to have a hood toggle, perhaps by creating a brand-new cloak it would be possible. Players have been asking for something like this since before launch. This is yet another example of how BioWare could comply and make money at the same time.
Many people have asked for dye sets since the game launched. I know that adding dye sets will cut down on the number of alternate armor sets that BioWare can sell, but maybe there are color combos that would work for multiple armor sets or that are so off-the-wall that BioWare would never put them in a standard armor set.
Before I go, I want to ask your opinion. What types of items would you like to see on the Cartel Market, and more importantly, which items would you be willing to pay for? Let me know in the comments.
The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!